Getting Ready to move on

Beth’s Note: WiFi has been giving me grief about getting these posts in – sorry, there are two combined here and a terrible lack of photos.
Well, the laundry is done and hanging on the safety rails to dry, the boat is washed, the “garage” cleaned as well, time for another Moorahme update.This next week should prove to be very busy.  The canvas folks are hopefully going to complete the full enclosure, the repair guy is going to install the Racor fuel filters and update the 50 amp service wiring, Beth is going to pre cook some food for our upcoming trip…trip you ask, what trip?Well, it’s time to move on.  Really.  We have been here in the Panhandle long enough.  There was frost on the building roofs again this morning, ice in the bottom of the dinghy.  That means…..time to MOVE ON!  It’s cold here, and there is warmer weather south.  So, let’s head south!  As soon as the work is completed on Moorahme, and my little projects are completed, we’ll begin our move.  But not on a Friday..oh no, bad luck to leave on a Friday, King Neptune doesn’t like that.  So, it’s either Thursday or Saturday.We hope to gain a weather window which will allow us to sail straight through to Burnt Store Marina in Charlotte Harbour.  We are looking at just over 2 full days non stop.  This would be our first overnight sailing, which in itself is quite exciting.  A friend that we met in Daphne, Stanley Posey, has offered to make the run with is.  Stanley is a U.S. Coast Guard licensed captain, and has a ton of experience on power boats.  Great of him to make the offer!

So, where are we on refrigeration?

Randy and Mark Working on the Refrigeration

Randy and Mark Working on the Refrigeration

It is working fine, we run it for about two hours or less per day, half in the morning, and then in the evening.  If we have a beautiful sunny day such as we are having today, the two 110 watt Shell solar panels provide us with sufficient power to run the refrigeration, and the fresh water pump for the washing machine without draining the house batteries.  In fact, we were running at 5 amps just before noon today.  Love the “free” power!  Our issues with the oven not staying lit are passed us now, Google is my best friend..well, second to Keith!

I inspected the “jack lines” today. What are jack lines you ask?  They are straps that run from the bow of the boat to the stern, and they provide a safety tie in to the boat.  You hook your tether, which is a short safety line, usually about six feet long, from your life jacket harness to the tether when you have to leave the cockpit and go up on deck.  This “tie off” will help to prevent a person from going overboard at an inopportune time, such as at night.  I inspected the straps stitching and general integrity to ensure that they look good to use, and they are.  We have also purchased two PLB’s, or Personal Locator Beacons, which we will wear on our lifejackets.  In the event of a disaster, or falling overboard, these PLB’s can be activated and they notify the search and rescue authorities that you are in trouble.  Most boats have one, but Beth and I decided that we would like to each have our own PLB in the event that something would happen and we get separated.

So, back to my favourite topic…food!  Beth is planning on prepping ahead her home made macaroni and cheese, home made soup, pre bake some potatoes and a steak so that we can have refried potatoes, steak, bacon and onions for a meal as well.  Supplement that with sandwiches, fruits and desserts…and of course some energy drinks for me….and we’ll be good to go!  I’m getting hungry just thinking of all that good food!

Mark the refrigeration technician showed me how to recharge a Freon system, and I found some MP-66 refrigerant in Orlando on e-bay.  I was lucky enough to win the auction, and I purchased a 26.5 lb. bottle of Freon for $100.  It doesn’t get any better than that.  When we repaired the refrigeration, we used 4 lbs. of Freon to get things back in working order, after sealing up the leak….just a loose fitting that you had to be a contortionist to tighten up.  Bleeding knuckles?  LOL….I could write a book.

Our Canadian registration has been completed, and hopefully Beth’s daughter Courtney will be scanning and sending us a copy any day now.  Then, it’s time for a “re-naming ceremony” which involves copious amounts of liquor for Neptune, Poseidon, and any other water God who wants some.  And of course, there will be some for us to consume as well, with as many of our friends attending as well!  I’ll let you know how that goes<grin>.

Max, Donna and Max’s daughter Melissa paid us a visit last week, and we had a GREAT visit.  It was really nice to sit down, force feed them with beer, fresh boiled shrimp, crab salad and chips, peppers stuffed and pickled with prosciutto and provolone, and a few other items.  Makes a person just a tad home sick..maybe.  Then, when you look at the weather back home….and the feeling goes away pretty quick.

Taquilla !

Taquilla !

Henry the Heron still comes around, but I think it’s time he and I have a little chat.  Henry really likes our boat, and enjoys sitting on it…and shitting on it….and maybe not in that order.  I have no issue whatsoever with him performing that act on the dock, I don’t mind hosing the docks…but not on our boat!  We will be having that conversation very soon! LOL!

Beth is once again not feeling well, appears to be a trip down memory lane from this past winter.  The old sinus infection issue has returned, and it’s not nice.  If she isn’t feeling better soon, it will be time to visit an emergency care office and get some drugs…woohoo!  Drugs!  Ooops, got a little carried away there.  Thank goodness Windsor Salt has the retirement package that it has, and we have healthcare coverage here in the U.S.

So, that’s a “quick” update for now.  I’ll tell you about our Thanksgiving meals on the next update…..deep fried turkey….flaming oysters…..and the list goes on!

Keep your stick on the ice!

Today is the Floor eeee dah weather one expects…, 77 degrees F or so, sunny, no clouds!  I am sitting here in the  cockpit of the boat writing this blog, wishing all of our updating was complete, the next few days are showing a perfect weather window.  The winds are from the north east, 10 to 15 knots…remember, a knot is 1.2 miles per hour.  The wave height out in the Gulf of Mexico from here down to the Ft. Myers area is about 2 feet…..Moorahme would be sailing right along in those conditions, we would easily be busting 6 knots or better speed over ground…..or SOG.  This would make it ideal for a straight through trip lasting about 53 or so hours to get to Burnt Store Marina….you really should look up their site, over 500 boat slips!  And a 7′ channel at high tide to get in there….key words being at high tide….so we will be waiting for a rising or high tide to both arrive and depart this particular marina.  Here is a link for you night we were fortunate enough to visit a couple of sailors from Mississippi.  They own the Tayana 52 located 4 slips down from us.  She is a 1983 model, so younger than Moorahme, and the hull is a beautiful dark blue with gold and white striping at the waterline.  She has a 15’8″ beam according to the owners, and a 6’8″ draft.  The mast height is 70 feet, a true blue water cruiser.  She is an aft cockpit version, so you control the boat from the very back end, unlike ours where you are more centered in the boat.  All lines are led aft to the cockpit so that you can control everything without leaving the cockpit.  Very, very nice set up.Looking across the fairway here at the marina, Dana, the fellow who traded in his Cobia 52 valued at  1.3 million dollars u.s. for a Hatteras GT 70……the new Sportfisher, brand new, has twin 1900 hp Cat engines, a pretty blue hull and the tuna tower is over 3 stories off the water…approximate value about 4 million u.s. dollars.  It has a top end of 45 knots SOG….so multiply 45 x 1.2 to get the mph top end, and while doing so burns 200 gallons per hour of fuel.  It is fast, very, very fast and very, very good looking.  If my memory serves me correctly, I already have alluded to the Grand Banks 59 that we toured in Orange Beach….a 2007 model, with more electronics and gadgets than we paid for Moorahme.  It carries enough fuel to travel 2000 miles according to it’s owner named Neil.   I really do think that the boating industry is NOT hurting at all here in the Florida Panhandle.Here’s a link to the Hatteras GT70          

Here’s a link to the Grand Banks 59        

Joe Patti’s….I have spoken about this awesome fresh seafood palace…or as I like to refer to it…a large, black hole that sucks you in, takes your money, and spits you out, only to have the same thing happen again, totally, in a few days time, and you are just so happy to have been there.  Another “quick” visit there today, Beth and I will be enjoying fresh royal red shrimp, the largest they have, and a nice tuna steak.  At least, if Beth is feeling better she will….I’m hoping that the fresh seafood will help her to het over the sinus attack she is suffering through….funny how a man thinks is it not?

Speaking of black holes…..I also visited West Marine today, and ordered the Maptech Chartkit for Western Florida and the Keys.  Paper charts are invaluable when navigating, and these charts, which are a brand new release last week, also come with a disc to install in your computer…I’ll let you know how that works out.  We all know how technically challenged……………
I had tried to go online and order the same during their Black Friday sale, but was unable to get through on the site…but they are going to honor the Black Friday sale price for the old guy…that’s me……how nice of them to do so.  The charts are 129.99 u.s., or almost a half million Canadian these days with our dollar sinking as it is.  I googled “lead balloon” and guess what came up?  Yup….it sure did.

Aaron and Caroline and Harley put out an absolutely fantastic meal on Thanksgiving.  Deep fried turkeys, oyster dressing, flaming oysters, and a variety of side dishes fit for a king.  What a great bunch of people!  Aaron and his son in law were to go out wild boar hunting the next morning, so we didn’t stay too late.  It was a bit of a ride home with our overstuffed bellies and fond memories.

So, enough pontificating for today, time to hang out the last load of laundry for the day.

Keep your stick on the ice!


Lets Talk A Wee Bit About Last Night…


Yesterday was a blustery type day, winds 20+ knots…for our non nautical friends, a knot is e,qual to 1.2 miles per hour, pretty much out of the south.  We have backed into our dock, so our aft end is facing the breakwall, which usually pretty much blocks all wind and water views as well.  Sitting this way in our slip, this pretty much creates a parachute effect with the bimini and dodger.

Just before darkness fell, I went out to check our lines to ensure that all was good.  Mission accomplished, no issues.  We could snuggle in for the night, or so we thought.  As soon as darkness fell, the winds really picked up, not sure of the wind speed, but no doubt that they were running an easy 30+knots, and things were a tad uncomfortable.  About 9 p.m. or so, I went out and put on more lines, adding another single stern line, and doubling up on the bow and one other stern line.  Beth helped me get these set up.  The docks, which are floating docks here at Palafox, were bucking and bouncing about big time, walking the docks was a task as I went to shower in the complex.  Beth and I settled in, Beth reading her e-reader, and I was trying to get internet on the laptop.  Things really picked up about midnite, and the bimini was pounding away.  Beth suggested we take the bimini down and roll it up on the aft most piping, which we went out and did.  Good thing, because one of the fittings had let go, the set screw loosened up, and the whole structure was compromised.  We got the bimini down and secured, and when we  went to re-enter the boat, a wave sprayed right over the breakwall and down into our companionway.  Damn, salt water in the boat!  Not what anyone wants!  And one of my tool totes was open, and was splashed with salt water, which meant all the tools had to be pulled out and washed, rinsed and dried.  Great fun!

The breakwall behind our

The breakwall behind our

Our boat(with swim platform and yellow life ring) stern in

Our boat(with swim platform and yellow life ring) stern in

Suddenly, there was pounding on the boat, someone frantically knocking.  I opened the companionway hatch, and a lady pleaded that we help them with their boat, it had broken it’s mooring lines and they needed help and any spare lines we had to re-secure their huge Cheoy Lee trawler.  We quickly exited Moorahme, once again getting deluged with water cascading over the breakwall and into the hatch opening.

We staggered down the docks to the trawler, and another sailor was already there securing lines, Joe, from New York state, who had purchased a pdq 36 catamaran and he and his wife Deb, and their golden lab were now living aboard after sailing the cat over to Florida from Texas.  We finally secured the Cheoy Lee, it is one huge trawler, must be a 54 footer, extremely heavy with our extra lines, and some lines that I appropriated from the fuel dock.  Jack and Terry had just received their new to them trawler two days before, and the previous owner had stripped all of the good docking lines when he left the boat, leaving them with what I would call “poo lines”, not lines of poo, just poo lines.

So, trawler secured, off we staggered down the docks back to Moorahme.  Once again, the spray from the breakwall deluged our companionway, time for some clean up.  Around midnight, or around 12:30 a.m., suddenly, all was quiet.  Absolutely no wind, no monsoon rains, the docks settled down…..the calm before the storm?  Nope, we already had been through part of the storm…they eye of the storm perhaps…yup, exactly!  No more than fifteen minutes passed, we scrubbed Moorahme down, I washed and rinsed the tools….and then the storm started all over again.  Only this time, even more intense.  Suddenly, we were heeled over at the dock at least 10 degrees, maybe more.  Even tied down as heavily as we were, and with a rather large Sea Ray power boat between us and winds, we heeled over rather uncomfortably too far.  I reassured Beth that we were on a good, solid boat that would fare well no matter the conditions, and it did.  Leaks?  Oh yeah, we had leaks!  We have had rains since we started living on Moorahme, but not like this!  The wind was driving the rain in over the top of the companionway hatch cover, and into the top of the hull.  Then, this water travelled across the ceiling and dripped out  under the ceiling cover near one of the portlights.  Enough so that we had to set up a container underneath it to catch all the water.

The winds finally eased somewhat, and Beth decided to retire to the aft cabin around 2 a.m. I stayed up until about 4 a.m. to ensure that we would be good.  At 7 a.m. I went topsides, and all was good.  Not a mark on the hull, the rain had washed the boat nice and clean.  The dinghy was over half full with cold rain water, which I bailed and pumped out.  All the other boats seem to have faired well, and in talking with dockmaster Ron, he pulled out quite a few boat parts from the water which owners will claim later.  What a night!  Thunder, lightning, huge, huge winds and rain…….aaaah, the joys of living on a boat!<grin>

The Cheoy Lee did not suffer any further indignations, and Jack was off to West Marine today to spend the big bucks and get some good dock lines. They were sailors in a previous life, and enjoyed sailing the south pacific and seas beyond, so Beth and I are really looking forward to spending some time with them and listening to their travel stories!  And they have a really nice dog….Moo….lol….a mutt they rescued from a shelter and has some fantastic colors and markings.  Mooooooo!

We haven’t tried our on board washing machine out yet…there is a Laundromat here that washes, dries and folds your clothes for $1.25 per lb.  So…we have yet to do laundry since we left home.  Nice!

We had a great sail on Saturday with our friends from Alabama, but I will save that story for the next update, this one has already developed into an epic!

Keep your stick on the ice!

An couple of nice afternoon Sails -Little Sabine and Pensacola Bay

It is very warm here once again, I had to close up Moorahme and turn on the air conditioning last night, it was just too warm to sleep, at least for me.

What have we been up to the last few days you might wonder…well, another trip to Joe Pattis for more royal red shrimp, and some fresh grouper…done up nicely on the grill.  Visited a very nice wine shop in a fruitless quest for Turley wine, or Ridge…perhaps they can order it, they said they would get back to us… far, no call.  Island time mon.

We visited the local Publix grocery store, nice, clean, somewhat pricey.  A nice selection of beer and wine….the way it should be in Ontario!  Beth found a large bottle of Kraken rum in the high end liquor store that Publix has next to the grocery store, and there were actually some very nice wines in there as well.  I picked up a nice white and a new to us Cabernet Sauvignon to try at a later date.

We sailed the day before yesterday around the bay, and over to a totally protected harbour called Little Sabine.  The channel is very well marked, and shallow.  It is a dredged channel, and will be a great place for us to anchor out next month.  We are paid up here until the end of the month, and next month we plan on anchoring out and exploring a lot more.  On the way back out of LIttle Sabine, we bumped across a shallow spot….a first time ever event for us.  Quite gut wrenching I might add….but…sand bottom=not big deal.  Local knowledge can so very useful at times like this!

Skinny channel into Little Sabine Bay

Skinny channel into Little Sabine Bay

We were sailing slowly along, not much wind, and Beth quite excitedly says….SHARK! Over there!  SHARK!  I look over and sure enough, a shark fin about a hundred yards from us…..doo doo……dooo dooo…remember the music from Jaws????  Yup, that’s the tune….it was screaming in my ears<grin>.  It swam away, or we sailed away, or maybe a little bit of both.  I suggested to Beth if she wanted a close up that she should splash her legs in the water off the swim platform….after very little consideration her reply was that I might as well do that, especially since I am the one with a bum ankle…LOL!  Some time later we came across at least 10 dolphins swimming in the warm waters of the bay, not close enough for great pictures, but we could easily see them surfacing and generally having what appeared to be a good time.  One of these days, we will great some great close up shots I am sure.

Dophins out in the bay

Dophins out in the bay

As those of you who have been following the blog, we are having issues with our refrigeration.  Our broker, who is a very knowledgeable fellow, told us that some systems run better off of the engine than they do on shore power.  So, today we’ll head out and try that, see if it works for us.  We have our fingers crossed, as getting a refrigeration tech down to the boat has become somewhat of a farce, that “island time” thing I guess……a call back would be nice.

Coastal Canvas, a local canvas company was by to give us an estimate on a new full enclosure…this spring we forked out 4200 Canadian bucks for a screened in full enclosure on Kewalo..not a full plastic set up.  The estimate from Tony is more than double that for Moorahme……she has such expensive tastes!  We’ll go and visit him tomorrow and iron out some details.  Pics of other work they have done has shown us that they do very nice work.

So, tumble check time down below, and off we go for a motor sail to see how the refrigeration reacts.  It is supposed to hit almost 80F here today…..partly cloudy, some cumulo nimbus clouds around, but we should be ok for today at least as far as t’storms go.

Well, we had a great sail today.  The foresail finally came through the gap between it and the staysail all on it’s own, it looks like the Grunnert refrigeration likes to run off of the engine much better than the shore power, I quite nicely was able to back into our dock today, we were running at 5.7 knots in 13knots apparent wind with just the foresail up…the sun was shining, the thunderstorms stayed away from us….how could it be any better?

After sailing for about six hours today, all was good.  As mentioned above, we have discovered more on how Moorahme likes to run, and it really was a nice day.  I successfully calibrated the st60 wind instrument so that the wind direction is almost 100% dead on, the refrigeration appears to be much better on  12 volt power…a whole list of plus factors.

When we returned to the dock, I backed in first try, woohoooo, and we set Moorahme back up on the dock, shore power, close the hatches, fire up the air conditioning, heck, it’s only 85 degrees below…..

toward Little Sabine

A very nice dinner of pork chops…by the way, Ontario’s pork has the pork we purchased here beat all to hell, much sweeter, better texture…all round better tasting. Coupled with some potato salad and a spinach salad side, one heck of a tasty dinner.  Some internet time, wash the stern of Moorahme to wash off the salt, life is good.

Then….oh oh…the air conditioner is making a funny noise…and the air isn’t so cool any longer.  Hmmm, no water coming out of the thru hull on the exit side….time to shut it down.  I started tearing apart the water line feeding the cooling side of the air conditioner.  No water at the pump…hmmmm, no water at the valve I had just replaced last week…hmmmmmmmm, interesting.  No water going to the electric head forward…this is not good.

So, I decided it was time to tear apart all of the plumbing on this thru hull, which feeds the air conditioner, the forward head, and the wash down pump forward.  This is not good……1982 vintage plumbing….oh boy.  I closed the thru hull, and disassembled all of the plumbing at the thru hull so that I could remove the fittings to have a good look at the thru hull.  The header appeared quite clean…..a few barnacles, some other miscellaneous big deal.  Now, to open the thru hull.  Nothing…nada…now water, which should have been gushing thru like old faithful.  I took a closer look…and lo and behold, the valve is plugged solid with jelly, gelatin, guck, yuck and tentacles…..a dang jellyfish was blocking the thru hull!  It must have got sucked into the thru hull by the air conditioning pump.  Wonderful!

2 Jellyfish - one's headed for the bottom

2 Jellyfish – one’s headed for the bottom

We use a piece of wood dowelling to check the fuel tank levels on Moorahme.  So, Beth brought that over to me, and I began to rod out the dead jellyfish.  No easy task….you would have had to see it to believe it.  I am still shaking my head.  I finally clear the goopy mess of dead critter… all of the piping, and re-open the thru hull.  Beth started the air unit back up…still no cooling water going through the system.  So, I slowly remove the cap on the suction pump to re-prime the system, and away it went!  Ordeal over…now to clean up the goopy mess without getting stung.  Wads of paper towel, thank you Kimberly Clark wood products division, some latex this isn’t where the story goes south, we have a pg audience here<grin>  A full grocery bag of sopping wet, gelatined paper towels later, and it’s time to cork up the update, have a shot of Kraken rum and pepsi, and cool off.

So….we all know that there are going to be a world, a ton of “firsts” while we adapt to this lifestyle….but a jellyfish blocking a thru hull???

Continuing with the food theme….

2 Jellyfish - one's headed for the bottom

2 Jellyfish – one’s headed for the bottom

Saturday, October 4, 2014, Pensacola Florida.  Very strong winds from the NORTH….temperature has dropped like the Times Square New Year’s Eve ball… is kind of cool here.  As we walk north on Palafox Street to the farmer’s market, we notice that the natives….Floridians that is, are dressed in sweaters, long sleeved clothing, pants, no shorts, some are even wearing jackets.  It isn’t too bad for us, we are still in shorts, Beth wearing a long sleeved tee shirt, I’m in a short sleeved one.

We were slightly delayed in getting to the farmer’s market, as we were walking by the parking lot where we leave the car, we both noticed that it looked strange.  Our immediate thoughts were crap, someone broke into the car, but as we got closer, we knew that we could be not further from the truth…at least so far.  I had parked the car under one of the many parking lot light standards, and apparently the local birds just love it when people do so.  Our grayish-blueish whatever color the car is, was now pretty much white….as in bird poo white.  Totally covered.  Eeeew!  So, off to find a car wash to remove the fecal bombs left behind by our feathered friends.  $5 later, the car looked much better, and while we were out, we filled up the gas tank. $65 for premium at $3.75 a gallon at the local Shell station.  Back home, this was at least a $95 fill up, as we were pretty much running on fumes.  So, for those of you wondering, there you go, about a $30 savings in fuel.

Jellyfish and Mullets

Jellyfish and Mullets

So, off to the farmer’s market.  It was very busy, all kinds of street vendors and entertainment.  Bands with vocals, duos with just a banjo and guitar, solo guitar players, solo banjo players…..Mugger, if you ever retire you can come down here and make some money<grin>  The vendors consisted mainly of food type folks, we purchased a “tomato pie”, which is just like a regular pie but contained tomatoes, bacon, cheese and some kind of special sauce.  It actually tasted ok, but not $15 ok, maybe $10 ok.  We also purchased some “Dixie Smoke” homemade mustard, and fresh organic pork Louisiana sausage.  The usual jewelry and art vendors were there as well, but we managed to get by them unscathed.

Our plan had been to sail yesterday, but the winds were very high, there was a small craft warning, and I did not want to try to re-dock Moorahme in those conditions.  Sailing would have been great fun, docking not so much.  So, we fiddle farted around on the boat, I had a wee bit of retirement style afternoon nap after the walk to the farmer’s market, and we both enjoyed the people’s comments on Moorahme as they walked by on the causeway above us, which, by the way, is a very popular walkway for the locals here.

Aaron and Caroline successfully completed day two of their sailing classes, and we invited them for dinner.  We had visited Joe Pattis on Friday and purchased some “Royal Red” shrimp, and a very nice swordfish steak.  The barbeque was about to be well abused by my culinary skills, as we planned on thinly slicing up some previously cooked rib eye steak, baked potatoes with garlic cloves and of course bacon, and these famous “red” shrimp.  There are a large variety of shrimp in the waters out there, and apparently the Reds are the most prized of the lot.  The Reds reside in the deepest part of the waters here, and this is why they are the color red when caught, much the same color as other shrimp after they have been cooked.  Beth put together one of her delicious salads, and we were in business.

The prep and cooking of the dinner went well, down here the barbeque is called a “grill”, hence, you are “grilling” dinner…so, I grilled dinner last night on the grill, y’all!  Last night was the first time I had ever had Swordfish, it is awesome!  The steak was about an inch and three quarters thick, and with the grill cranking, three minutes per side, give or take a nano second or two, and it was done!  The shrimp was divided into two methods…I put some butter in tin foil, threw in some blackened old bay spices, and threw the shrimp in on top.  The steam from the butter melting and the water from the shrimp quickly cooked the tin foil contents, and the remainder I placed on the grill and cooked them straight up.  Oh My Goodness!  The reds are sweeter, and the meat has a slightly different texture than any other shrimp, hard to describe the different texture, make sure you get some FRESH reds and try them out!  Your best bet….come on down and join us, we’ll take you to Joe Patti’s, then back to Moorahme for an awesome dinner, great wine, funny stories, especially if Aaron is here…

I learned a new saying last night….it’s one of those that will stick…lol.  We were talking about steak, and how we like it cooked.  Aaron piped up and said…I tell the waiter to “lop off the horns, wipe it’s ass, and run it by the grill”……I just find that one hard to forget, especially with the way Aaron talks.  Not saying he has an accent….but.

So, today, it looks like we can get out sailing, which we will.  More practice on the big girl here.  It is 65 degrees here in Moorahme this morning.  I closed all the hatches last night, we had shut the air conditioning off early yesterday morning… that should give you some idea what the overnight temperature was like.  Not sure what the temperature actually dropped to, but it was supposed to go down to 50 degrees over in Daphne, Alabama, about an hour away where Aaron and Caroline reside.  The locals will be COLD this morning!

a few dolphins off in the distance

a few dolphins off in the distance

Till next time, keep your stick on the ice.

First sail on our own – woo hoo

image image


Beth suggested to me that it was time to take Moorahme for a ride……so… up the dishes, complete the spill check, check the engine to ensure it was ready to go…

Cast off those lines my dear….and off we go! Out of Palafox marina, and out into the harbour. Beauty of a day, light winds, very little traffic and a 47 foot sailboat chomping at the bit ready for some sail time.

With Beth at the wheel, I began to hoist the mainsail…..and realized far too late that I had neglected to ensure that it was in the mast track. Crap! What a mess we were in now…..the mainsail had to come all the way back down…and of course it did not furl in very nicely on the in boom furler. I managed to start the sail properly on to the track, and then had to manually unfurl the entire sail and ensure that it was going to track properly up the mast. Believe me, that was a lot of winching, tugging, sweating, and cursing myself for being so neglectful.


Randy taking a break after all that sweating, George (our Autopilot) is at the helm.

Randy taking a break after all that sweating, George (our Autopilot) is at the helm.


I finally got the mainsail fully raised, properly, and away we went, heading for the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico. Our hull speed slowly crept up…..and between Beth and I we were able to figure out the new to us electronics, and headed out into the Gulf of Mexico…and our speed increased to over 7 knots speed over ground with about 13 knots of apparent wind…oh yeah! Oh yeah!

Lovin' this!!

Lovin’ this!!

Suddenly off to the starboard side, a pod of about nine dolphins easily kept up with us….only to disappear when Beth went forward to take their pictures!

Missed the shot of the dolphins

Missed the shot of the dolphins

We sailed out to the end of the channel to Pensacola, and turned around because we were running out of time, and I wanted to return to the marina before darkness set in. And we did! The foresail, or genoa, is huge, and really adds to the hull speed. Compared to Kewalo…well, everything is bigger, heavier, faster…you know the old saying….bigger, badder, meaner, faster! She handles the gulf swells like a dream come true.

So, to backtrack a wee bit, we spent yesterday shopping…trying to determine how to best have a hotspot, or cell coverage so that we could have a hotspot…and we are still looking at that. A trip to Wal Mart for some cheap supplies for cleaning and such, and back to the boat. Oh, by the way, we have received official notification that Moorahme is officially ours….and the name will remain ours. Yes! Progress!

Palafox dock is located at the very end of Palafox street, in the old part of downtown Pensacola. That being said, there are a ton of GREAT restaurants within easy walking distance. The fish tacos at Jacos Restaurant, which is located right at the marina, are absolutely awesome..and they have a very nice wine list to compliment the rest of the menu. There is also a refit yard for the oil field ships a block or so away, so we are treated to viewing some of the huge ships that work in the oilfields when they come in for maintenance. The American Navy has their base at the entrance to Pensacola from the Gulf, so we are treated to navy ships, and a ton of navy jets on patrol and training sessions. Pensacola is the home of the Blue Angels, and they usually practice on Tuesdays, but we have yet to see them over the bay practicing. We are really looking forward to seeing them!

Tomorrow we are heading to a crab boil over in Alabama. We have met some folks who are taking sailing lessons here at the marina, and they invited us over for a crab boil. Caroline and Aaron are getting into sailing, and are very interesting to talk to, both engineers by trade. Gulf Shores is less than an hour away by car…and Aaron is catching the crab fresh tomorrow morning! Oh man, cannot wait to taste them that fresh.

As with any boat of this vintage, we are having some small issues to deal with. Our refrigeration is not quite up to par, I am suspecting it needs a Freon charge..and we are hoping to get that done asap. Keith, the former owner, has hooked us up with a local repair guy, I will let you know how we make out. And tomorrow, a local canvas company is coming down to give us an estimate on a new dodger, bimini and full enclosure installation. The dodger isinglass is hard to see through, the bimini leaks when it rains, and we want a full enclosure for when we sail in areas with bugs.

So, we docked pretty well again today, no major issues or problems, and I expect that each time docking will become easier and more efficient. Beth did a great job handling the lines and getting Moorahme settled into her dockspace! Yes!

So, enough for today! Carry on as if you are normal!

Launch Time…..finally


We spent the night in Montgomery, Alabama, and enjoyed a restful night at the Hampton Inn.  After enjoying a nice breakfast, off we headed for Pensacola.  We arrived at Bahia Mar marina about 11:00 local time, and the final coat of bottom paint had just been applied to Moorahme where a small repair had been done.  The travel lift had ripped off a small area of barrier coating and bottom paint, and the marina had done the repairs.
Keith arrived a short time later, and we checked out the bottom repair, and hopped on to have a look at the repairs Keith and a friend of his had completed as per the survey.  Great job, we’re happy with the results.  Now, to wait for “high tide” at the marina, and get her splashed.  There is only about a foot of tide, but it does make a difference at the launch.


In the sling

In the sling

on the way down

on the way down

And she's in

And she’s in

Once she was in the water, we did a quick check of the thru hulls, all was good.  Time to put the backstay back together, the travel lift was not large enough to accommodate having the backstay in place to lift her in and out.

Attaching the back stay

Attaching the back stay

Once that was completed, Keith showed us through some of the systems, and then Beth and I began to load our belongings on.  Beth took out 7 marina wagon loads of worldly goods out of our car…..there sure wasn’t room for anymore than we had in her.

Full car - backseat

Full car – backseat

The trunk - not an inch to spare

The trunk – not an inch to spare

The next day, Friday, Keith and Linda came back to the boat, and we prepared to head to the marina where we’ll be staying for the next while.  Palafox pier and docks is a very nice marina, and our 47 foot sailboat looks small compared to the other yachts in this marina.
I successfully docked her at the fuel dock, nice and gentle, we filled the fuel tanks, and Lance, the dock attendant, assigned us a dock position.  I then backed her into the dock nice and gentle, and to be quite honest, I was very pleased with the way she steered and handled, and let out a big sigh of relief once she was tied up.

Captain Randy at the helm for the first time

Captain Randy at the helm for the first time

The Captain Morgan stance ??

The Captain Morgan stance ??

One small issue, the engine would not shut down with the kill button. I shut the fuel off manually at the engine, and  then we all went to work, Beth organizing our things, and Keith and I troubleshot the air conditioning issue, which ended up being a partially, well, almost totally blocked exit thru hull, installed the foresail and halyards, got the dink down and prepped to go and off we went to West Marine.  Time for new life jackets with built in harnesses, some various parts, I had discovered a bad valve in the air conditioning cooling water line, and ordered a new 3000 watt invertor and magma nesting pots for the galley.  Man, what a busy day.  Keith and Linda are just absolutely the best, without their help and guidance, things would have taken me a whole lot longer to figure out.  We just can’t thank them enough.
Saturday, we visited the Seafood festival in downtown Pensacola, and then returned to Moorahme.  Beth continued putting away clothes, organizing the galley etc., and I troubleshot the kill button issue which turned out to be a power supply issue, and then washed the boat, a quick wash I might add, because my ankle is complaining quite loudly that enough is enough for today.

So, it’s shower time, and then off to dinner with Keith and Linda at one of their favorite restaurants….and of course it’s seafood!

Tomorrow, time to stock up the galley, the wine Bunkie, and try to carry on as if we’re normal!