Month: July 2016

Return to the SS Sapona

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Everyone enjoyed a restful nights sleep and in the morning while all were still in dreamland, I went for an hour swim. A huge ornery looking Barracuda followed me the whole time and several graceful stingrays glided by beneath me. A bright blue school of blue tang swam in perfect time along the reef where old worn down conch shells lay – rolling back and forth in the sand. When I returned the Creatures were getting ready for an adventure to the lighthouse after a swim over the reef. As Marci and Chad and I sat at the stern watching them, we often heard excited phrases like, “come look here guys, there are two sharks,’ or “wow, look at this stingray.” We love it.

The expedition to the lighthouse was a hit, and they allowed me to use their GoPro photos.

When we were all ready, we pulled up anchor and set sail for the SS Sapona. A concrete hulled ship, wrecked during a hurricane just outside of Bimini. We caught a swift wind and sailed at a speed of over 10 knots.

Everyone loved exploring her worn down body and the Creatures made their way to the top and jumped 50ft down to the water below. It’s a magical place. The Creatures told me that they saw some iguanas on the wreck and I didn’t believe them until they came back with documented evidence.

During the course of the morning Chad finished installing the scuba rack. He was on a moving platform, working with a moving target, and impressed us all with his skills.

We only had one casualty, and our trusty nurse, Marci, had her fixed up in no time at all.

Marci laughed at me at one point during the day because Emma came to the boat after being in the water and told me to look at her hands. They were stained purple, so i asked, “Emma did you play with a squid and get inked again?” Marci thought it was really funny that that is a question I would even have to ask my kids. It’s part of everyday life for us on Tanda Malaika! You just never know….

Aidan has an interesting hair situation going on. He brushed hi hair out and ended up with a hilarious fro, so he put funky glasses on and a groovy sign. There’s never a dull moment!

We loved our day of exploring and are so excited for church tomorrow and then whatever else Sunday brings.

Freedom!!!

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Leaving the Harbour Towne Marina was so exhillerating! We untied from the dock and navigated through the waterways, making our way closer to open water, and as the minutes passed more and more crew on the boat woke up and gathered on the bow to watch. We were all so excited, but none of us showed the excitement as much as Jude!! She just couldn’t contain herself!!

Finally we reached the last of the red and green markers and turned to starboard, headed in a south east direction to Gun Key, Bahamas. A small rainbow marked it’s stamp of joy and approval in the sky just above Fort Lauderdale, as the wind and current hit us right on our nose.

Marci decided she didn’t like the way the Bonine (motion sickness medication) made her feel – she was groggy all day and would have done fine without it. Everyone was so relaxed and happy that there were bodies taking naps sprawled all over all day long.

Chad and the boys set the fishing lines and caught a small Cero at one point, and set him free to grow some more, Jude wandered around and helped at the helm and kept exclaiming how happy she was!

We raised the main (Chad did a god job raising it manually as far as he could) but were headed into the wind, and a couple times tried the jib, which looks so great after the work they did on it, but for the most part just relied on the engines.

After about 10 hours we yelled Land Ho, as Bimini, Cat Cay and Gun Key lay across the horizon, and a US Coast Guard boat slowly made its way back and forth, patrolling the area.

Since the windlass is out of commission, Chad, Jude, Aidan and Emma prepped the anchor chain and when we were ready, used their muscle to set it. Our new 88 lb Rochna anchor bit into the sand and held Tanda Malaika tight, and Mycah came barreling from stern to bow and launched herself off into the water. Before we knew it, everyone forgot that it was dinner time and we were all immersed in the coolness of the ocean.

While swimming around we saw several nurse sharks, one of which had 3 hooks in its mouth. Poor thing. We also saw several sting rays and all sorts of reef fish. It felt SO GOOD for us mermaids/mermen to finally be back in the water. Even as I write right now, a Spotted Eagle Ray is gliding around off the starboard side below me.

We enjoyed a big Taco Salad and Key Lime Pie for dinner in the stern salon and I got to talk to my love, who landed safely in Taipei. I worry about him going to France but he keeps reassuring me that he will be fine.

It wasn’t long after some of the crew played ‘spoons’ that everyone was sound asleep in their berths, gently being rocked by the beautiful Bahamian water. A new adventure begins….

Finally!!!

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Yesterday we discovered that the windlass has given up the ghost. Danny has ordered a new one which we won’t have for a couple of weeks, so our crew will be working their muscles for a bit as they raise and lower the 88 lb anchor.

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Danny took Aidan go cart racing as a last hurrah before leaving US soil, and was surprised at how speedy Mr Aidan is.

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We also were surprised by some sweet friends who stopped to visit. We are surrounded by such beautiful people.

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Speaking of beautiful people….

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It’s been quite the day for the Tanda Malaika crew! It began with me driving to the airport and picking up our 4 new crew members, Chad, Marci, Sierra and Glade. We are so excited to have them on board. They have been quite the troopers – after catching the red eye and arriving after a sleepless night, we provisioned at Costco and Walmart, and Danny and Chad took the old generator to a guy who bought it for a measly $300. We simply didn’t care anymore and just wanted it out of our hair.

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Of course after provisioning the interesting part is figuring out where to stow everything, and while I was running the rental car back, Marci, Jude and Mycah did an amazing job of stowing things in every storage area on the boat that they could find. Here they are storing cans in the galley and main salon floor.

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We are planning on setting sail for Bahamas in the morning and are beside ourselves with excitement. We have been stuck in this marina for far too long and are so anxious to be out on the Atlantic.

Danny left on a work trip this evening. We are going to miss him so much as usual and can’t wait till he hurries home to us. He’ll be gone for two weeks this time which is a miserably long time. We will pick him up at the end of his trip in Nassau.

We have a friend (Dan Zwerg) who has the blog, sailthebahamas.com. Read it and see for yourself what a great guy he is, and the amazing humanitarian work he does for the Bahamian children in Bimini. One of the things is that he takes student from where he teaches in Mississippi, and they sail to Bimini and teach the children there how to play musical instruments. If ever you have instruments or books you’d like to donate, they would love it. We will be meeting him there and helping out in the humanitarian work.

My goal is to start the engines at 0600, so I am going to get some rest now, and will no doubt dream of open ocean and turquoise, clear water.

 

 

Looking good

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One of the things we have had done on the boat while here in Fort Lauderdale, is had cushions made for the stern salon. It was fun a fun project which we did through ‘Creative Canvas’, which is a company I would highly recommend to anyone who needs work done. We picked out a taupe color because it is neutral and we could brighten it up with throw pillows. Mycah, our little designer, selected outdoor pillows from Pier 1 Imports. Here’s what it’s looking like:

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We also recovered the seat and backrest at the helm…

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Vladamire from Creative Canvas did a fantastic job!

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I decided to try make a lure, and though I need to make many improvements, I just know that this lure is going to catch us some fantastic fish!

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Yesterday a gentleman stopped by to talk to Danny and when I looked out at them I had to do a double take. It looked like Danny had a twin lol

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Danny got done repairing something in the generator room yesterday so today we will move everything back in and then the bow will be clutter free once more. We will also defrost and clean fridges and freezers and take inventory of what we have so we can start making a food provisioning list.

I went to use a spice while cooking and noticed this…

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Jude is a jokester! She bought several plastic cockroaches and carefully places them around the boat to freak people out. After living in Hawaii where there are cockroaches big enough to carry a small child off, it still gives me the creeps!

As I’ve mentioned before, Danny and Mycah are constantly teasing each other, and yesterday just by chance I captured a photo that proves that they really do love each other!

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We have a lot of love flying around this place!

We are so excited because our friends, the Nell’s will be here on Thursday morning. The grand adventure is about to begin. Before we know it they will be good little sailors. On Thursday evening Danny will be leaving on another work trip, so the rest of us will head to Bahamas without him and when he’s done he’ll meet us there.

The day has begun and we are off to work on more projects now. The final count down is on!

 

Morning walks and projects

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In the mornings, Jude, Mycah and I wake at 6am and walk 3 or 4 miles. It’s a beautiful start to the day and I never tire of our chats. These daughters of mine are no longer little girls, but beautiful, smart women, who have amazing insight and depth. I’m so grateful to be able to spend so much time with them. Walking on the beach takes us one step closer to where we really want to be…back on the ocean.

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There are many trees around here that have the most gorgeous purple flowers on them, and I also found one with a fruit that looks like it may be a young sour sop. I bit into one and it was so bitter, but maybe…

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We have continued to work on all our projects along side the workers here at Just Catamarans, as they work on theirs.

Danny got to see what a pain it is to put molding up.

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The riggers came today and replaced the lazy jacks and the generator is fully installed and purring like a kitten.

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Mycah made herself one of Jude’s famous sandwiches. Jude has this thing with weird sandwich combinations, and the crazy thing is they actually taste jolly good. This one consists of jam, cream cheese, Swiss cheese, lunch meat, banana and hot Cheetos. Try it some time, you may like it!

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We received something exciting in the mail today – our pull behind the boat ice cream maker. You throw the ingredients inside, tie a line to it and drag it behind the boat for 15-2o minutes and Bob’s your uncle! You have ice cream! We are excited to try it out.

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We received all sorts of gifts from neighbors this afternoon. One of them brought over a filleted Mackerel he’d speared, which we thoroughly enjoyed for dinner.

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Our other neighbors transported a boat here for someone and needed to get rid of pots, pans, food, pillows, towels, harnesses and a throw ring. Some of it we will get to Salvation Army, but most it will be really handy.

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Another day has come to an end, and tomorrow we get to relax and enjoy the Sabbath. Church is at 11am so we can even sleep in! Life is good, and I love having my Sweetheart home to enjoy it with.

 

 

 

 

Mango madness

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The creatures and I painted some rocks a couple nights ago, and Emma painted a sea urchin. We found it really fun and relaxing after all the hard work we’ve been up to.

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Today we discovered the ultimate mango treasure! Four trees absolutely covered in mangoes. None were ripe but we picked a bunch to let them ripen here at the boat. Right before we set sail we will make sure to stash up on a bunch more. Jude, Aidan and Emma climbed up and picked the goodness for us this time while Mycah and I caught them as they threw them down.

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We stopped by a really cool store called ‘Sailor Man’, which is kind of like a giant sailing pawn shop. There are new items as well as those taken on consignment – in fact they agreed to take our old generator on consignment, which we will deliver to them tomorrow. Mycah called me at one point saying that if I wanted to get a head in life, I needed to come see…when I turned the corner this is what I saw…

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I told her that further down the isle, was the more PROPper place to be…

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It was hot but beautiful in Fort Lauderdale. We looked out at the ocean and longed to be out there, free from land.

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Back at Tanda Malaika, we began the anchor installation process. Danny removed all the bubble wrap, while Mycah climbed aboard a floating dock to work her way under the boat so I could lower the old anchor down to her floating platform.

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Look how totally bent the old anchor is! This is a 60 lb Delta Anchor. Remember back when I wrote about the storm the creatures and I were in, in Spanish Wells when Danny was on one of his trips? It was the same storm that broke the bridle – well I’m pretty sure it was that same feisty storm that bent this baby, and there’s no way to bend it back for use without losing integrity in strength.

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Even with all Danny’s Basque and American Indian strength, there was no way he could undo the screw on the old anchor to trade it out, so we will have to pick up a tool tomorrow to continue.

The molding for the hard top and helm station arrived late this afternoon, so we will be applying that tomorrow. Danny carried it in a box down the dock like a true African – balanced right on his head.

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As a sailor, the definition of true love, is someone who is willing to help you work on your head. Aidan is on day 3 with his head, and tonight Jude sweetly volunteered to help him out, even though she has work to do on hers. I’m not sure what’s worse, the chemical smell from another layer of polyurethane on the map, or the stench from the head. The combination of the two is simply unbelievable, like some sort of twisted abstract. One can almost reach out and grasp the thick aroma in the air and slice it like Limburger cheese.

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The amazing part is that rather than hearing weeping and wailing, joking around and laughing is coming from behind the bathroom door. What fantastic individuals. I am so proud of them…not proud enough to give them a hug right now, but I’m proud of them.

Our friends, the Nells, were supposed to arrive today so that we could begin our adventure together, but since all the work hasn’t been completed on Tanda Malaika yet, they are postponing their arrival by a week. It was disappointing to have to move it back, but we know that when this party gets started it will be epic!

 

 

 

 

 

Round 4, Map 2

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Yes, I am a glutton for punishment! After countless hours of the map project, then having to rip it all out, today we went and bought a second map to try again. On the way, the creatures had to be clowns as usual…I think they look quite spectacular.

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We came home and I applied the first coat to the table and map. Lets hope it goes better this time.

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The creatures and I worked on some boat projects. We pulled up the floor boards in the stern salon and scrubbed underneath them. It was 104 degrees today, and being outside – even with a hose, was not too much fun. But, we managed to get some good goofing around in anyway.

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A gentleman stopped by to polish the fuel. He drained our diesel tanks and scrubbed them out, then cleaned the fuel and put it back in. He said the tanks were really bad – filled with some thick sludge.

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Our engines should be a lot happier having that out of the tanks. He said that filling up in Bahamas is always a problem, and most likely Panama too. Too bad we can’t have a diesel maker on board like we do a water maker!

Aidan tackled his head today, flushing out a hose that needed some attention. When he finally finished the project he grabbed his shower bag and said, “Don’t worry about me if I’m not back in an hour, because I’m probably still scrubbing.” These projects build character!

Danny is on his way home right now. He’ll be here first thing in the morning, and we are so excited to see him. We are especially excited to show him all the things we’ve been working on in his absence.

 

 

Happy 4th!

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When we lived in Hawaii, we got to know a beautiful family that was living there for the summer. They live in Texas now, and have been here in Florida on a business trip. We received a phone call from them yesterday, saying they were close by and wanted to stop by for a quick visit. It was so wonderful to visit with the Broadhurst Family. What beautiful people. I tried taking a photo of their daughter, Kennedy, with the creatures, but the sun was so bright!

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This morning we met down at the marina office for a 4th of July BBQ, and this evening many fireworks were exploding in the air around the marina. They still are, and I imagine they will be for quite some time.

During the day today we decided to get a couple of smaller projects accomplished, so we cleaned out and organized the lazarette where the water tanks are, as well as the starboard crew berth. I caulked in Jude and Emma’s head as well as on the stern and at the helm station. Tomorrow we should have the molding for the hard top and helm station so we can complete that big project.

I mentioned in my last blog that I lay my arm down on the wet polyurethane I’d applied to the map table project…well it has taken us two days to scrape every bit of map and polyurethane off the table! What a crazy mess.

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We finally got every last bit of it off today and will begin redoing that project tomorrow. This afternoon I took a picture of my foot next to some of the polyurethane shavings and sent it to my mom and told her I’d take a razor to the callouses under my feet.

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I then told her that I had gone really deep by mistake and I was bleeding, and she gave me a good spanking over the phone! After that she texted Danny and told him he needed to talk some sense into me! My poor Mama!

This evening the creatures and I grilled some meat on the braai and made a big fruit salad to enjoy together. We are so grateful for our freedom, our health, the amazing people in our lives, and the gorgeous world we get to call home.

Dealing with a bully

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This morning after exercising, Mycah and I caught an Uber back in to the hardware store – hopefully for the last time. While we were gone I receive a frantic phone call from Emma saying, “Mom, first of all, no one is hurt, but someone just hit our boat and the person has hit other boats in the marina as well.” Given the smart little detective she is, she had copied down the type of boat and boat name as he raced off without stopping. I called Just Catamarans, whose flag we are docked under, to see how they handle such things, and they said no one was in the office but to go talk to the dock master. I asked Jude and Emma to do this since I was not there, but would be back soon.

Jude called back a little later saying they had walked down to chat with him and he had been extremely rude to them. Belittling them and down playing their information. Throwing around the fact that he was a boat captain and that they didn’t know what they were talking about and making them feel 2 inches tall. This made my blood boil, because I know that the kids went down to him in a respectful manner seeking advice. I called Danny and told him about it, and the protective father bear in him came out and called the guy to put him in his place, and he said he’d prefer it if Danny’s wife had come down to talk with him. Well…for those who know me, you know that I am not intimidated in the least by a bully – regardless of their size. In fact I despise them. We returned to the marina and I walked into the marina office asking the sweet ladies at the front desk where the person was who had been as ass to by kids. She quietly motioned with her thumb over her shoulder and I proceeded to walk in that direction. His door was ajar so I knocked on his door and without looking up from his computer, he simply motioned with his hand for me to enter his man cave and left me standing at his desk in silence while I worked on my ‘count to 10 skills.’ Once again without even glancing my way, he said, good morning, to which I replied that it was one until he made a terrible mistake and was an ass to my daughter. That got his pompous attention and he looked up in total disbelief that anyone would talk to him that way. I thought it my public duty at that point to humble him with an explanation of his personality type and to clarify just where in reality the pedestal he had himself on, really was. By the time I was done with him, he handed me a card with the boat owners name and number with shaky hands, sheepishly mumbled an apology and went to the boat to apologize to Jude. When I left his office I practically had a standing ovation from his staff, who said he constantly belittles them all and no one is brave enough to stand up to him. They thanked me profusely.

Tanda Malaika has a couple marks on it that can be buffed out, and after communicating with the guy that hit us (as well as a multi million dollar yacht in the marina), he promised to take care of the problem.

The creatures and I have continued to work hard. I have a new favorite cleaner to take care of removing all the black grime that constantly settles on the boat from the surrounding marina work zones.

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This stuff is heaven sent and gets the ugly black bad stuff off the deck with not much scrubbing.

Aidan spent a bunch of time washing all scuba masks in soap and water.

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All the creatures worked hard on giving the dinghy a good cleaning,

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and we permanently fixed the molding to the stern. First we had to pull it all off the boat since it was done shrinking to size in the sun. We lay it out on the dock and squirted a line of 5200 down the center of the molding.

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Then Jude and Mycah put the molding back on while Aidan pushed it down and taped it back into place and I followed with the drill, pre-drilling holes and then setting screws with finishing washers into place.

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It looks pretty spiffy at this point!

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I also replaced the latches on some kitchen cabinets and applied the final layer of polyurethane to the map on the table project. Later in the evening I lay my arm on the table and pushed down to get up – forgetting about it, and left an arm print across it! I tried fixing my mess with the brush but it had dried enough that all I did was make a bigger mess, so I’m going to have to take a putty knife to it and remove it all and start over!!! I called Danny and he was so sweet to comfort me in my frustration. I really wanted him to come home to a beautiful job! Dang it.

Ah well, you can’t win them all…but you can win an argument with a bully. (And that’s good enough for me!)