Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Little Famers Cay

Andrew made all of his flights and arrived at Little Farmers Cay on Dec 14th around 4pm. Thanks to Damon and Melanie for taking him in and getting him to the airport in time!

The airport terminal at Farmers is a gazebo on the beach. We took the dinghy around the island to wait for him. As you can imagine, the plane was maintained in the Bahamian style, landing on an airstrip the size of a sidewalk with a nearly flat tire. We were very glad to see him again and he looks great. A short dinghy ride back and he was home, aboard the Adamo.

Interesting news from college: Andrew has a girl friend.

Due to the weather we spent the next few days at Farmers waiting out TS Olga. The boys speared fish and lobster. Did not take Andrew any time to get in on the lobster action. Sue and I went to town (that is the dock, a restaurant, liquor store/bar and a nearly empty 20 foot by 20 foot grocery store).

On Dec 17th we had our weather window and sailed with following wind and seas to George Town. There are 71 boats anchored up here. Later in the season that will mushroom to over 450. We’ll be out of here by then!

As Captain, it was good to make it here with everything working (knock on wood). Some minor repairs needed: small tear in the main sail and reconnecting the conduit inside the mast for the wiring leading to the lights and instruments at the mast head.

Fortunately, we found an islander who could patch the sail. We pulled the sail from the mast and boom and dinghied it to shore. Doug and I carried it to a little house where the repairs took place in the yard on an old (very old and rustic) Singer, foot pedal sewing machine. Three hours later we were ready to go.

Also, the local hardware store had one rivet gun in stock which we will use to repair the conduit. Having stocked up on water and fresh provisions, we hope to have the next weather window by Dec 22nd to sail to Long Island.

Exuma Bound

The sail from New Providence to Norman’s Cay was the perfect sail. We had 12-15 knots on a beam reach with minimal waves. It just doesn’t get better than that. Doug caught the biggest fish of his life, a 3 foot Barracuda. At Norman’s there were about a dozen boats in the anchorage. We went to shore and were surprised to find the bar/restaurant had been rebuilt. It is really nicely done in Bahamian Style. It was also packed with boaters. We walked back across the airstrip and down the road in the pitch black to our dingy wishing that we had our shake flashlight that we bought in Stuart.
We awoke to another beautiful sailing day so we set sail for Compass Cay. This time we sailed on the outside in the ocean. We had to motor sail, but again it was a great day. We anchored up in a cut outside of the marina. We were the only boat in the vicinity. We were surrounded by white pristine beaches and the bluest of water. It was gorgeous! Phil the lizard catcher had to catch and tame a Ringtail Iguana. Sue held firm though. No pets aboard!

At the marina Phil swam with the nurse sharks. They had grown since our last visit! The marina here has been expanded and rebuilt. Still it was very quaint. This is a favorite area once again.
We stayed for another day at Compass and explored the beaches…at the marina we got the weather report for the upcoming week. Wind! A lot of wind! So we left early the next morning for Farmers Cay en route to George Town.
We are now holed up here at Farmers Cay. The weather turned and we are having 20-30 knot winds from the southeast and huge waves. The passage to George Town is not in the cards as we would have to sail in the ocean. So, Andrew will have to fly into Little Farmers Cay onto this tiny airstrip. It should be a scenic flight down the Exuma chain. We are anchored in the bay and will be able to watch him fly in.
The guys went out fishing yesterday while I had quiet time doing the laundry and reading! Simple pleasures… They caught snapper, grunt, lobster, bar jack and conch. So I made some awesome fish chowder and we had movie night. We are rocking like crazy and the wind is howling. We will home school this week while we wait for another weather window.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Making Progress Through the Bahamas!

Wow! A lot has happened since our last entry! Our crossing to Cat Cay was good even though the wind was on the bow. The waves were 4-6 ft. to start, but they subsided to 1-3 by the afternoon. We anchored up behind Gun Cay and cleared customs. The guys couldn’t wait to dive for conch. Phillip was looking through the window as it got shallow and it was like cat nip as he saw fish, conch, and lobster beneath us. We dove and collected conch for a conch chowder, ceviche, and fritters plus we used the slop leftovers for bait! The anchorage at Gun Cay was very wavy, so we re-anchored further out on the bank. By morning I was done with the back and forth rocking so we set sail for Chub Cay across the Great Bahama Bank and The Tongue of the Ocean. It started out as a calm beautiful day. Again the wind was due East which was not ideal so we motor-sailed. By mid- afternoon the wind kicked up and guess what? So did the waves! I knew this would be another uncomfortable night as we anchored on the Bank. "Red sky at night, sailor's delight" is a myth. As you can see from the photo, the sky was quite red however, the sailor's delight did not happen.

At the crack of dawn, we again began our push into the wind and waves. I could tell this was going to be an exciting voyage as the waves were around 6ft. and tight (about 12ft. apart) and the wind had reached a steady 21 knots! It was a good thing the cats were not aboard! We were in sight of the NW Channel Light when “Bessie”, our diesel engine, stalled. This was great…not! Mike, the mechanic, changed the primary fuel filter, in record time I might add, as we rocked violently in the turbulent sea. We each held our breath as he cranked the engine, then cheered when she started! But she began laboring again. The secondary filter needed to be changed, but that is harder to get to and an impossible task in these conditions. We decided to try our luck, throw up the Main and push forward. Poor Bessie, she sounded like she would stall with the trough of each wave. I was tense, Mike was quiet, Doug cheered on Bessie, and Phillip covered his ears so he didn’t have to listen as she moaned. I was worried, not because we couldn’t throw up the sails and tack, but because we were approaching Momma Rhoda Rock and the reef. Also, there is a huge shipwreck protruding above the water that was proof of the danger lurking ahead. We decided to go to the back side of Momma Rhoda where it was calmer and avoid the channel next to the reef. We made it and lowered the Main. However, it was shallow so Mike decided to go for it in the channel. With Doug and me on the bow spotting, we headed back into the huge waves. We felt like we were on a rollercoaster ride rising and falling 12 feet with each wave. We were also drenched as they crashed over us while we held on for dear life. We could hear Bessie droning and then beeeeeep…. the alarm indicating that the engine stalled, rang out. The wind and waves were pushing us to the reef…Phil quickly cranked her back up and by the grace of God Bessie started again. How do you spell relief? We anchored, popped open the wine and breathed.

Chub Cay is beautiful. We have been here four days. The alternator broke (It’s always something) so Mike called the guy who rebuilt it to see if he could fix it. This morning my sexy mechanic fixed it! Doug and Phil have been fishing. They caught a huge bone fish (catch and release), a grouper and a trigger fish. I have been making bread, cooking, and reading. I’m on my third book! The guys have been fishing and snorkeling on the reef.

We met an English couple who are also heading to the Caribbean. We exchanged books and they gave us some movies. We will sail to Nassau in the morning.

Our sail to Nassau was nice, finally a smooth sail. The wind was still on our bow, so once again to Mike’s chagrin, we motor sailed. The guys were trolling and hooked a huge marlin! It jumped and snapped the line. Our rig was not sufficient for that kind of catch! Of course this motivated Phillip to rig a rod for the “big” fish! We are anchored up on the West end of New Providence and discovered that our English friends are also anchored up here. There is also a catamaran with younger kids on it behind us, the first kids we have seen so far. We will venture into town today at Lyford Cay, a very exclusive part of New Providence.

Our phone works here, but I’m sure it will cost a fortune! So we will stick to email! Only two more weeks until Andrew comes. We are looking forward to his visit.

Today we tried to go into town but it was too rough to get around the point.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Capitain's View ... Mechanics View

Well it finally happened. Last week, the genset that was giving us trouble earlier in the trip finally kicked the bucket. We pulled it out and split off the generator from the genset motor. After several days of trouble shooting, NextGen sent us a new gernarator under warranty. One day later we had it put back together and dropped it back into its sound dampening case under Phil's bunk. It was a family ordeal. We pulled it using blocks and tackle hung from an eye-hook freshly mounted from the cabin's ceiling. High fives all around when it started up and was working again!

We docked the Adamo at the tiki bar marina again. I guess if you're going to be stuck somewhere, it's best to be stuck at the tiki bar!

The winds are due to finally shift to the SE tonight for 2 days, which will be the first weather window for crossing to the Bahamas since we reached south Florida 3 weeks ago. With any luck we'll be sailing Thanksgiving day to Bimini. No turkey this year. It'll be four cornish game hens with the traditional fixings. The stove just cannot accomodate a turkey. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Angel Fish Creek - Captain's View

We headed north to Angel Fish Creek to wait for a weather window from the north winds to cross to the Bahamas. We anchored at Pumpkin Key and dropped both dinghies in the water. Susan and I took the inflatable dinghy, now nick named by the boys "Rubber Ducky", to check the depth of the channel to see if we would be able to take the Adamo through it at high tide to enter the ocean. It was a successful trip. The channel will be deep enough for Amado's five foot draft.

Doug and Phil took their hard bottomed dinghy, which they nick named "Little Fish", to go snorkeling and fishing. The water was cool, so they donned their wetsuits and went in search of discovery. They found a ten by ten foot mangrove island full of snapper and lobster. The boys showed up with several snapper! Susan used the catch to make an amazing seafood chowder.

The next day I went snorkeling with the boys to their little island. It was crowed with fish and lobster. Quite a sight. Then we snorkeled through the mangroves. It was an incredible experience. The depth was about three to four feet. There were small narrow creeks running thought the groves which we followed into a large clearing. It was as if we were swimming though an underwater forest. The sun was shinning through the roots and casting shadows on the sandy bottom. We encountered many fish including a large tarpon and snook. The snook hovered at arms length before disappearing into the shadows among the mangrove roots.

Susan and I started a new tradition. At sunset we stop whatever we are doing and go on deck with a cocktail to watch the sun set. I'm liking this tradition and hope it continues!

Two days ago our gen-set quit producing power. We sailed south about 10 miles to dock at Gilbert's Resort and Marina in Key Largo to wait for a new capacitor. With any luck that is the problem. If not, I'll have to pull the generator and reinstall a new one. As we know from experience, "sailing into the sunset" includes the both ups and downs. But in the end, its all good! Stay posted for updates.

I spoke with a friend of ours today, who is sailing from Daytona to Key West. Due to the winds he stayed in the inter coastal. His mast height is 62 feet. Yesterday, he passed under a fixed bridge and hit the bridge's center light and knocked the light and his mast tip wind instruments, sending them crashing down on to the deck. For all you boaters, you know how things can go wrong in a hurry.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Key Largo - Captain's View

We are still waiting for a break in the weather. The north winds just do not seem to want to subside with cool front after cool front coming through. We are enjoying the change in the weather, however. It’s been dry and cool, so we can open up the boat and shut down the generator.

Adamo is anchored up in Buttonwood sound about one mile from shore. The water is shallow around here forcing us to anchor way out. The dinghy rides get pretty interesting when the wind and waves kick up. I’m still tweaking the boat with little improvements here and there that will make sailing easier and safer in heavy weather, while Sue and the boys have been fast tracking it on the home school. Trips to shore have included visits to West Marine, the hardware store, an internet cafĂ© called Key Largo Coffee and Cyber House, Dollar General and Snook’s the local waterfront tiki bar and restaurant.
After hoofing it here and there, we finally broke down and rented a car for a day. Today, we will visit Publix (We have never been so grateful to visit a grocery store!) and Kmart (We know….Kmart sucks, but it’s all you have here).

We met Harry, a fulltime live-aboard on his 28 foot Sea Ray. Harry looks like he just stepped of the set of Cheech and Chong, and is nuttier than a fruit cake. He told us where to dock the dinghy, put your trash and park your car if you have one. He also suggested not walking around with an open container: “they’ll pick you up for that one.”

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Key Largo

Having north winds, we have sailed down to Key Largo where we will wait for the wind to shift to the south so that we can cross the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas. In the meantime, Phillip and Doug have been diligently doing home school to get ahead so that when Andrew comes they can take a break. While we were in Miami, Matthew Pellar, a long time friend of Mike’s, met us out on the Adamo with his friends. We had a great time hanging out, relaxing, and enjoying Sunday afternoon.

The sail to Key Largo took two days. The conditions were perfect with following winds, no waves due to the shallow depth of Biscayne Bay, and plenty of sunshine with cool temperatures. The water cleared up well enough for Phil to see the bottom through the glass floor in the hull, our “window to the sea”. He saw several large lobsters, but since we were in a national park, all he could do was look. Man . . . he really wanted us to stop and catch them, and eat them! Maybe next week.

We were lucky today. When we motored to shore, we were in the center of Key Largo where everything is located! We docked up the dingy at Snook's Restaurant and will have lunch there when we return. We are at a local's Cafe..internet and all! It is very quaint!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tropical Storm Noel

We are anchored across from downtown Miami waiting for tropical storm Noel to pass. The winds are up to 40 mph, but we are well protected in our hurricane hole. A friend of mine, Matthew Pellar, lent us his car for a few days, so we have been getting the last few things we need before our crossing. Getting to and from the boat is a challenge in the wind, rain and waves with the dinghy. (three loaded dinghy rides latter, and the boat is finally provisioned.)

We felt like those rediculous weathermen standing in the middle of a storm, while reporting on how windy and rainy and dangerous the situation is.

The generator is working just fine again. It ended up being an issue with bad fuel and clogged fuel filters. We were just about ready to ship it back to the manufacturer when we figured out what the real issue was. It took us an entire day to empty the spoiled fuel, dispose of it, change the filters and refill the tanks. Every one has asked what do we do all day long when we cruise, well, there went one day.

On our way from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami (on the outside because of a fixed 56 foot bridge in Miami), we encountered a couple of squalls. One was wicked, and I (Sue) was at the helm. All of a sudden, there was a wall of rain coming toward us fast! The waves were already 4-6 feet and the wind kicked up to 25 knots in an instant. So after yelling to alert Mike to come out of the cabin, he promptly pulled in the head sail (with all his might I might add). He was grunting with each pull and when he was done, Phillip said to him while patting his back, "You are my big, strong man!" (sorry, no pics for this one)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Captain's View

Overall the departure went fairly smoothly. We left the dock and managed NOT to snag the dingy or the other stuff hanging on the aft end of the boat on one of the pilings. Great Start! We also made it to the anchorage, still with everything on the aft end intact. Great Success!

Yes, the hue on our faces had changed to a lighter shade of green for a while in the morning, but we made it to our anchorage in 24 hours. (not that we are in a hurry). We did witness an amazing sun set. The kind you can only get out as sea.

Sailing through the night is tiring; and the boat looks like a hurricane blew through it when you're done. When the sea gets rough, no one wants to spend too much time below, so things get tossed in the cabin. By the end of the leg, stuff is everywhere.

There is one place on board that is the most comfortable spot to be when the waves kick up. The exact center of the boat moves the least, both forward and aft and side to side. Doug found this spot and spent the night with his pillow on the hard salon floor, another obstical to get around on the way to the head!

First Mate's View

After a heartfelt farewell at "C" dock, a tearful wave to the Luby Family at the Dunlawton Bridge, and a heart wrenching goodbye to Andrew in Ponce Inlet, we set sail in the Atlantic for Port St. Lucie (at Mike's insistence). After only 30 minutes, Doug hooked a 22 inch Spanish Mackerel! It was rough sailing and by morning everyone was green, so the decision was made "unanimously" to head in to Ft. Pierce. (Don't worry it was a bonding experience.) We happily motored down the ditch the rest of the way. It made anchoring out seem like a luxury! We set the hook at Peck Lake in Hobe Sound for the night. The next afternoon we went to see Steve and Martine (brother and sister-in-law). This was an adventure in itself. In order to meet them we had to bring the dinghy to Peck Lake Park and meet them there. We did, but we had to hike 3 miles to the parking lot through the swampland on a boardwalk/paths etc... to reach them. This was very hot and buggy, but funny. More humorous, in fact, was the trip back to the Adamo. The park closed at in the dark with a "shake to light" flashlight in covert style we hopped the fence and hiked through the dark paths back to the ICW where we ever so quietly (well, there we a few giggles) unlocked the dingy from the underside of the gazebo where we hid it. Upon our return to the Adamo we discovered that our generator was not working properly (our first clue was the loud knocking sound, duh!). So Mike worked on it...and the next day...Mike worked on it more with help from factory no avail. Since we had to pick up our life raft in Ft. Lauderdale we figured we would have it repaired there. We anchored in Lake Worth and the small "lake" in Boca Raton and now we are docked at the Coral Ridge Yacht Club in Ft. Lauderdale. Great Club and Location (close to the Galleria Mall....and much more) and guess what? they have water galore here so I can do laundry (not to mention taking a long hot shower). Life is good!
By the way, motoring down the ICW gives you a whole new view of the world.. There are incredible mansions and the "backyard" boats are 80 ft. long and the mega yachts are too many to count. WOW. We have seen this many times before, but this time the boat show is here so it is exaggerated!


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bon Voyage Party

Hi to all,

The party was awesome. We had a great time, and we thank all of you for coming to celebrate with us. After the party, we knew we still had our work cut out for us, but Mike has worked day and "early" mornings to plow through the endless list of things to do. After a couple of unexpected repairs (rebuilt injection pump) etc... we are set to depart the dock on Sat. 10/20/07. I have one more day to provision the boat and take care of the last minute minutia.
It is difficult for me now that we are set to up communication with all, only to rely on infrequent email communication, and leaving my first born on his own to survive in the big world and that of the Gator Nation. I will miss everyone, but I do expect visitors at various ports along the way! So get ready to book your flights!

First Mate, Only Mate, Perfect Mate

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Preparing for the Adamo Adventure

Welcome to the Adamocrew's site. We are eager to share our upcoming sailing adventures with everyone. Currently, we are living aboard while preparing the boat for cruising. Last week we were struck by lightning so now we have even more to do. Our plans are to leave Daytona Beach by mid October. We can't wait to set sail!
Mike, Sue, Doug, and Phil