Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve

It is New Year's Eve and we have made it to Lake Worth just north of Fort Lauderdale. I am quickly learning that sailing is all about the weather. Every evening is the discussion on the plan for the next day with respect to weather conditions and places to anchor. We left Indian Town yesterday and made it to Stuart. Today we motored down the ICW 30 miles to arrive at Lake Worth. Beautiful day with many boaters on the water for the holiday. My first anchorage... Hopefully we will soon be on the ocean with the sails raised. Life is good!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to everyone and here's hoping you have an amazing, wonderful new year in 2010!

Dave, here's to our new web site. Merry Christmas. Love you baby! Three more days.... Can you handle it?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Preparation - Are We There Yet???

Last week I met Dave in Florida to prep the boat and get it ready to launch in the water. What a learning experience! Of course we had to start off the week by doing it right and attending a boat show in St. Pete. Dave was pulled into a conversation on the pros and cons of all the attributes of fishing poles (who knew??) while I watched a cooking demonstration. Sadly for the boat show, the only money they got out of us was for an autographed "Bob Bitchin" sweatshirt for me as I was freezing! Of course there was a party that evening which was a lot of fun with my new friends. Reference the enclosed picture and the photo link for evidence.

The next day we returned to Indiantown where it had definitely warmed up and was very humid. For those of you who don't know, Indiantown is about an hour and a half north of Fort Lauderdale near Lake Okeechobee. Dave and I began by painting the hull and boot stripe of the boat. It went on from there with all the chores to be done but I think replacing the water heater was the most frustrating as nothing seemed to fit. However, attaching the wind generator (for all my loooooong hot showers) was the most interesting as the mizzen mast had to be pulled down. Finally, the boat was ready to be launched by Friday. For those interested, see the photo site for the mast removal and then the movement of the boat into the water by Travelift. Dave was one happy camper to finally see Starshine in the water again!

Since I had to return to California on Sunday morning, we spent Saturday in Fort Lauderdale. Our first trip in Costco to begin provisioning the boat cost us about $400. However, Saturday night at the casino we came out ahead by $400 (thanks Dave for your words of experience)!

Now I am in California finishing up my last week of work before the adventure begins! Can hardly wait!!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Well, it is that time of year again, time to swallow the anchor of secure shore life and head out for adventure. After having worked for the past 6 months I have successfully completed a long list of items on my "personal to-do list". These include: re-stocking the cruising kitty with freedom dollars, completing my 50,000 mile health checkups, selling my house in Leesburg, updating all my shoreside paperwork and finding a crew (and first mate!).

Gail will be joining me for the first part of the voyage down to the Virgin Islands. The current float plan is to cruise the Bahamas in January, arrive in the Dominican Republic by late February, Puerto Rico by late March and then spend April in the Virgin Islands. After Gail heads back to the real world, I need to continue on to reach Grenada before hurricane season starts July 1.

I will be heading back to Florida and Starshine this weekend and I have a long list of boat chores. First on the list is painting the bottom, checking all through hulls and getting back into the water. Then I will install my new electronics (SSB and wind generator) and tackle a long list of repairs and upgrades. Gail will join me in Florida right after Christmas and we will head for New Year's in Key West.

I hope everyone has a great Holiday Season and an awesome 2010! Come visit us in Key West for New Year's or in the Virgin Islands in April!

Monday, November 23, 2009

New Adventure

Well, Dave finally found a crew member (at least for a few months). We plan on setting sail no later than the first of January and there is so much to do! He is leaving for Florida next weekend where I will join him in a few weeks. He has a long "list" of chores to get the boat ready which I am sure he will post soon! As for me, Dave has warned me that I am primarily in charge of the cooking so I am assuming he will catch a lot of fish for me to cook! I am spending the majority of my time reading basic "Sailing 101" books as there is so much to learn. Thankfully, I know that I am in the hands of a very experienced sailor and no worries (except if the engine dies)! On the contrary, I am very much looking forward to this trip and know it will be the adventure of a lifetime. More to come.....

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fall is in the air

Getting ready to head south! Went to the Annapolis Boat Show yesterday and spent a bunch of money - on necessary equipment and fun!

I now have a liferaft, EPIRB and all the safety stuff needed to go voyaging. I also bought a Walker Bay inflatable kayak for fun! On top of all that, I have sold my house in Leesburg and that has been keeping me busy; cleaning out the house and figuring out what to do with "stuff".

The "Current Plan" is to head south in December to get Starshine ready and then sail further south ahead of winter. We need to get below about 10 degrees N before Hurricane Season kicks up again in July. After this El Nino year it may be more active and interesting. Then it might be gunkholing through Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela and the ABC islands before the change of season and transiting the Panama canal to explore the the West Coast of N America. Or something along those lines...

I still have about 250 things left on my getaway list but I am making progress. Almost done spending (and making) money and nearly complete with the myriad of arrangements required to leave the real world behind. This being the second time, I should have almost everything taken care of this time. All loose ends closed and freedom almost achieved.

Good luck to Bristol Rose, departing soon for half way around the world. I'm still a little behind you, but hope to catch up some day!

Stay tuned, Dave and Starshine

Monday, August 3, 2009

Summer in VA

It is now definitely summer in Northern VA - but it is probably worse down in Florida where Starshine waits. No hurricanes yet, in fact El Nino is heating up and it may be a very slow year for storms - that's good!

I am still working and saving for the fall, and trying to decide exactly what the next adventure will be. I am in the process of collecting all the big ticket items I wish I had last year. I am researching computers, SSB radios, EPIRBS and life rafts. At lest I already have my wind generator so I will have enough power to run all the new gadgets!

I am still looking for crew! Anyone who wants to spend a week or a month or more sailing down through the Caribbean please let me know! Once I have plans firmed up a little more, I plan to put a calendar on this website with a rough float plan and people can sign up for a leg or two. I plan to leave from Florida in November (after I get all my new stuff hooked up and working) and sail down through the Carib to Panama. After that, who knows? Stay tuned and keep cool!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Back in the USA

After 6 months and 2700 miles, Starshine is back on the hard in Florida. She is resting quietly in Indiantown. Florida, all set to weather the hurricane season. Indiantown is about 30 miles inland and is about as safe a place as there is in Florida.

Brett and I left Green Turtle Cay, Abacos on May 5 and went straight through to Ft. Pierce, Florida. We had great weather and a great crossing, a total of 166 miles in 33 hours. We sailed about half way and motor-sailed the rest in fairly light winds from the East. We anchored in Ft. Pierce and then took the Okeechobee Waterway up to Indiantown the next day. Finally, we cleaned up the boat, hauled her out and rented a car to drive back North.

I am now working as a consultant for a while until the next adventure.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Visitors in Marsh Harbour

Well, I'm still hanging out in Marsh Harbour, but have had some visitors. Matt was here for a week and we met up with Steve, Ruth, Ian and Rees who rented a house in Hope town for a while. Next week Brett is coming to visit and will help me sail back to Florida. Here's a few pictures of some of my visitors as well as a shot of Marsh Harbour from space taken by the Ikonos satellite. This was taken last Friday and Starshine is anchored somewhere in the Harbour!

Sunday, February 8, 2009


I'm sitting in a convenience mart in Nassau that has free WiFi and waiting for the weather to improve. It looks like later this week the wind will die down a bit (from 25+ knots) and it should warm up. When it does, we will head south for the Exumas, maybe Wednesday.

We had some wild sailing to get here from Bimini. The first day out we anchored on the 'flats' in 25+ knots and rough seas. During the night the anchor chain broke from the surge and we drifted for a while; but no damage to the boat. The next day we sailed into Chubb Cay and picked up a mooring for the night. Finally, we left our flotilla ("Oblivion", "No Keys" and "Con y Viento") and had a great sail over to Nassua in 20+ knots of wind and 4-6 foot seas - the wind was behind us and we had a great crossing of the "Tongue of the Ocean". There were spots where the depth was nearly 2 miles! what a change from the 10 foot depth of the flats.

Found a replacement anchor here in Nassau, a 40 pound Danforth that was less expensive than I expected! Terry and I have been playing tourist here for the last few days while we do boat chores and prepare for the next leg. We are staying at the Nassau Yacht Haven.

We met up with Nour, Inna, Josh and Kristen who are down here from VA on vacation for a few days. They go back tomorrow to the real world to leave us here in paradise! Well, somebody has to fly the satellite. Unfortunately, they haven't had the best weather on their visit but they are making the best of it.

Friday, January 30, 2009

We're in the Bahamas !

Made it into Bimini yesterday. Had a great sail from our anchorage near Key Largo. Left at 5 AM and arrived in Bimini around 3 PM, about 55 miles across the Gulf Stream. Currently in a slip at Bluewater Marina and will need to hang here for a while as we await passage of the next 'Norther' this weekend. Then it is across the 'flats' to Nassau where we hope to meet up with my friend Nour for a few days.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Florida Keys

Just a quick update here from Boot Key Harbor - After a week in Punta Gorda I headed south to Fort Myers Beach and met several boaters from upstate NY. I have been travelling with "Oblivion" since. We sailed down the SW Florida coast anchoring at Indian Key and Little Shark River. We set off in the evening about 10 days ago from Cape Sable and had a nice overnight sail to Key West. We spent a week in KW, first in an anchorage and then at a mooring ball in Garrison Bight as they were kicking out all the boats at anchor near the Navy base. KW is a neat place, but a little crazy.

Last Monday we had a nice sail from KW to Marathon. Scott Ludwig jumped off Oblivion and sailed with me for a while but he returned to Sanibel today. There are several other boats here in Marathon planning to make the trip about the same time so we will have lots of company. There is a small "cruisers" community here at the Marathon City Marina, with hundreds of boats in the mooring field. Some are here for a few days, some for months. There is a "cruisers net" on VHF channel 68 every morning with weather, announcements and all kinds of info. There are lots of friendly people here and the pace of life is very relaxing. I can see how people stay here for months!