Monthly Archives: October 2016

Anticipation growing for great “Dawg Days” ahead.

The Salty Dawg rally is going to get underway in a few days and everyone is pretty excited about heading out to points south.  At last count, there are over 80 boats that will be making the run south and anticipation is high that there will be terrific weather in store for everyone’s departure.

In about an hour Chris Parker will be doing a webcast for the group and I will be the moderator online with him serving up questions from the audience.   I did this last year and enjoyed the process.

To be honest, I am a bit bummed that I won’t be leaving with them and have to take Pandora to Beaufort where she will sit for a few months prior to my run to the Caribbean in mid January.  Seeing a good forecast “go to waste” is killing me.  Oh well…  Besides, there are still chores and a few leaks to deal with aboard Pandora that would be annoying if I left now.

As I mentioned, I spoke to a group of “Dawgs” yesterday at the Hampton YC about Brenda’s and my trip to Cuba and it seems that one of the participants Peter did a summary of that and other activities that made for a great “Dawg day” for everyone.  I understand that Peter does videos regularly so it might be worth signing up to see what he puts up next. Anyway, I have to get ready for Chris Parker so I’d better sign off for now.

Audios Amigos! (the limit of my Spanish, BTW)   Well, that’s in addition to “no comprende” a phrase that came in handy in Cuba.  I am not sure even how to spell that.  Never mind for now.

Let the migration begin!

It’s Friday afternoon and Pandora is all snug in her slip here in Hampton VA at the run up to the Salty Dawg Rally that will depart from here for points south, primarily the British Virgin Islands on or after November 1st.
At last count, there are some 85 boats participating in the rally with nearly a week of seminars and social events leading up to the “big event”.
I arrived here in Hampton on Thursday after a two day 350 nm run from Essex CT with my good friend/crew Jim.  Jim has the distinction of having crewed with me for more miles, some 4,000 miles, than just about anyone else in spite of having sailed with crew for over 30 years.  Of course, Brenda has more miles with me but that’s another story and one that you’ve likely heard, ad/nauseam, if you have read more than a few posts.

So, here I am in Hampton enjoying time with others who love to sail and am having a great time.

The run here from Essex was, shall we say “sporty”, with Pandora plowing along on a close reach (wind forward of the beam) in 25kts with gusts over 30, conditions that are anything but fun.  The good news is that we were romping along at 9+kts for much of the first 24 hours and ultimately made the full run in a little less than 48 hours.  That’s very good time indeed.

Good run or not, I was exhausted when we left as Pandora had “splashed” only day before so I only had a single day to get her prepped, sails back on and ready to go.  Way too fast for me.   She looks positively “ginormous” on the hard next to our little VW wagon. 10-28-16b-003While I know Pandora pretty well by now, having put perhaps 5,000 miles on her in my first year, there are still needling problems that I have not been able to correct so far.   In particular, some pesky leaks that have been hard to track down.  Perhaps the worst are with the long lexan ports on the main cabin that tend to leak when it gets cold and they shrink more than the surrounding fiberglass.   I am hoping to get them replaced in Beaufort NC where Pandora will sit for a few months prior to running to the BVI in January.

Anyway, I won’t bore you with more discussion with “drips” but salt water and cushions don’t mix.  Frustrating to say the least.

While Pandora is fast and can outrun most any other boat of her size and plenty that are larger, that speed and long waterline comes with a negative as she is also a very wet boat and as she plows through the seas, there is plenty of water flying everywhere and deck is constantly wet with a river running down the deck and off the stern.  It’s an impressive sight from under the hard dodger.  Fortunately, the cockpit is roomy and secure. 10-28-16a-018In case you have missed it somehow, Pandora has an impressive and nicely designed hard dodger to keep us out of the weather.  This is a shot of her at the dock today here in Hampton.  I think that she looks like she means business.10-28-16a-017Today I presented a talk about our trip to Cuba at the Hampton Yacht Club to a group of nearly 60 “Salty Dawgs” and was thrilled with how well received what I had to say was.  They asked lots of good questions and laughed at all my jokes. Well, there was one joke that didn’t get much of a rise out of them.   I’ll live.

Our story of Cuba is one that I never tire of giving and to present to such a nice group of sailors that will very likely go there themselves was particularly rewarding.

Just for fun, this is a link to an article that I wrote in the current issue of Blue Water Sailing about our trip.  I hope you like it as much as I enjoyed writing it.  Actually, writing it was a blast and I doubt that you will rank it quite that high.  If so, great.  Let me know what you think.

Well, Pandora made it here safely with a minimum of fuss and I am eager to enjoy the next few days of fun and then off to Beaufort NC.  BTW, that’s pronounced “Beaufort” as opposed to “Beeufort”, pronounced as it’s spelled, in South Carolina.

I should note that it was plenty chilly when we left Deep River on Tuesday morning with frost on the deck when we arrived to shove off.   I can’t say that I like cold even a little and the first 24 hours of our trip was particularly unpleasant.  Happily, I have a diesel heater aboard so at least we were warm down below.

By the second day of our run the temperatures had moderated a bit so it wasn’t quite as cold on deck.  It was also a lot calmer with winds that all but went away for a bit so things calmed down a bit and I could catch up on my sleep.

As we passed the Chesapeake Bay bridge on our way toward Hampton and Norfolk we were treated to a beautiful sunrise and you know how much I love sunrises.  Beautiful view from the stern. 10-28-16a-010And, in case you are inclined to forget that the biggest employer in these parts is none other than “Uncle Sam”, one of the advanced “stealth” cruisers passed us on her way into Norfolk.  Stealthy or not, she showed up just fine on radar.  Stealth?  Hmm…  Perhaps someone forgot to flip the ‘stealth switch”.   Never the less, I was impressed.10-28-16a-012Ok, enough for now.  I had better sign off for now as there is a session to go to now.  Besides, it’s happy hour after that and that’s not something I want to miss.

Fun time am I am so excited about my own “migration” south for the winter.  Me and the birds, on our way.

So far, so good. Stay tuned for more…

It’s always darkest before the dawn…

When I was young and feeling totally overwhelmed my mother would often say “it’s always darkest before the dawn”, her way of telling us that things were going to be better soon.  And those words are as prophetic now as they were then and never ring more true than when I am trying to get Pandora ready for a new season aboard.

The boat yard where Pandora was hauled a few weeks ago has been buzzing with activity with boats being hauled constantly and everyone frantically fitting winter covers, winterizing engines and water systems in anticipation of the freezing weather that is just around the corner.    Yes, winter will soon be upon us as the green of summer gives way to the fiery colors of autumn along the CT River.

Unlike most others, fall marks the beginning of a new season afloat.  While Pandora is “commissioned” year round, we don’t spend much time aboard during the summer.  This summer our time afloat was limited to a few nights for me and Brenda and a quick two week trip to Maine for me with some friends and a club cruise with a few day-sails rounding out the season.   For us, the commissioned season really begins as the leaves drop and I head south in preparation for the winter aboard.

This season we again head south, this time to the eastern Caribbean, beginning in the BVI.  For now, I’ll be heading to Hampton VA, next Tuesday, to hang out with the participants in the Salty Dawg Rally to the Caribbean.   After that, off to Beaufort NC where Pandora will sit in a slip until mid-January when I will rejoin her for a run to the BVI and the Bitter End Yacht Club.

The last few months have been a blur with a frantic rush to finish the bathroom that I began working on early this summer, clear in the knowledge that all that stood between me and “the gallows” was a finished bathroom that Brenda could use , hopefully sooner than later.  I think it looks terrific.  More importantly, Brenda feels the same way.

That project took a few months longer than anticipated was a our master bathroom but it’s done now.   There were delays along the way, but we won’t talk about my two weeks in Maine that brought progress to a standstill.  No, I prefer to say that it was a much more complex job than I had anticipated and I needed a few weeks in Maine to “reflect” on next steps.  Brenda, however, might not see things exactly the same way.  I kept telling her that, as the highway department always says, “thank you for your patience, the inconvenience is temporary but the repairs are permanent”.   Not sure she was totally convinced.

Never the less, I did end up paying quite a price for the delays as once the bath was done I only had a few weeks to get Pandora ready for the water.   And, along the way, we had to fit in two trips to Brenda’s publisher in PA,  trips to the subject of her book, Archie near Albany.  As I write this we are heading from Albany to Baltimore for our second trip to Baltimore to visit our son Rob and his pregnant wife Kandice in just a few weeks, for a baby shower too. Did I mention that we will soon be grandparents?   Yes, so exciting.  Crazy busy too…

Yesterday’s trip to Albany was to photograph some of Archie’s work for the book, a total of 165 pieces that he has in his personal collection.   Some of the larger pieces had to be held up to shoot.  “Just hold that position for a few moments.   Wait…one more shot.  Can you raise the right side ¼”?”10-21-16a-023What a marathon day…

Today, off to Brenda’s publisher to return the photo equipment.   Here is Archie and Brenda celebrating the end of a long day and job well done. 10-21-16a-024Aren’t they cute together?

So, along with everything I somehow found time to get Pandora ready and this coming Monday, first thing, she goes back in the water.  Weather permitting I’ll head out with my friend Jim for Hampton late Monday or Tuesday.  Fingers crossed that everything falls into place as planned.

The GRIBS suggest a “brisk” run south.  Lots of “flags” forecasting strong NW winds.10-21-16-gribThe biggest project of this season was to take the higher capacity water maker from our old boat and combine it with the smaller unit that came with “new” Pandora.

Both units are Spectra but the one from “old” Pandora is manual and the one on “new” Pandora is highly automated.    This is a shot of the two membranes next to each other in my shop.  The “new” one is a lot larger.10-14-16a-012Spectra has an automated system they call “MPC”, basically a computer that controls it’s functions including startup as well as deciding when to divert “product water” to the tanks.  It even flushes the salt water out of the system and shuts it down when the tanks are full.  It’s a terrific system.  Expensive, but terrific.

Years ago I did some research on which system to put on “old” Pandora and settled quickly on Spectra as it uses a unique pump that is far more efficient than any other on the market with electricity consumption about a half to a third of what other systems use.  This means that a good solar array, such as is aboard Pandora, can power the system along with nearly everything else aboard.  This is important to us as we don’t have a house generator and still need a good supply of water.    Remember, a clean Brenda is a happy Brenda.

I described why I decided on Spectra in this post a few years ago.

The switch over from “old to new” units was more of a process of creating a “hybrid” system utilizing the automation of the Ventura system that came with “new” Pandora and the extra output and larger membrane of the Cape Horn Extreme system from “old” Pandora.

The basic difference the two units was first, capacity, with the Ventura system putting out 6 gallons per hour, on it’s best day, and the Cape Horn Extreme 7-14 GPH depending on the use of one or two pressure pumps.  The problem is that Spectra doesn’t want to get involved with someone trying to configure what is in essence a hybrid semi-automatic unit.   So, after thinking about the problem for about a year, I think I came up with a pretty elegant solution.

My solution was to use a single pump, which the MPC computer was designed for, as the primary driver for the unit. Along with a second pump, when I needed higher output, on it’s own power supply and switch, so I could switch it on manually when I need more output.   This is a shot of the old pump layout.10-14-16a-013The new system, with two pumps is set up with the one on the right serving as a ‘booster” when more capacity is needed.   10-21-16a-004I ran this idea by the manufacturer as well as their rep here in New England and both thought my idea was sound.

I have had problems with sound from the pumps resonating through the bulkhead and decided to add some vibration dampers.  Note that the black square dampers in the corners isolate the pump unit from the bulkhead along with the damper “feet” that isolate the booster pump from the board itself.  I purchased the mounts from McMaster Carr.  They have just about everything you can imagine. 10-21-16a-006I hope that this cuts down the noise.

I wouldn’t have been able to identify a workable solution, or had the guts to put it in place, if it weren’t for the support of Bryan Cooney from Headsync, the rep for Spectra.  Brian was very patient with me and even visited Pandora to review the system.  He endured many phone calls over the last year to listen to my ideas on how to configure things.   This is particularly noteworthy as I was doing the work myself which mean that there wasn’t much in it for him beyond my purchase of a few parts.   Thanks Bryan.

At the risk of sounding like a “Spectra groupie” I really feel that their units are the only way to go.   I have asked Brian to speak at the SSCA event that I am organizing in Essex next June.  I hope he can make it.

Anyway, the syste is in place and all set now and Pandora is ready for action, or at least showers for Brenda.  The new system!10-21-16a-005She’s also all shined up.   You can see your reflection in her hull.10-21-16a-011With the sometimes overwhelming list of “to-do’s” and finding myself potentially facing grave “marital strife” if I didn’t get that bathroom done, it felt pretty dark there for a while.  Mom, your words rang true once again as the sun did finally did come up.

Things got pretty nasty aboard in the middle of it all. 10-21-16a-003Crap just about everywhere.  10-21-16a-001Some spilled out into the cockpit. 10-21-16a-002However, sun the sun came up after all and everything is back in place.4-26-15a-012 So now, let’s hope that the weather window is there for a departure for warmer climes as planned next week.

Stay tuned for updates, as always.

Listen to your surveyor! Duh!

It’s less than a week until Brenda and I leave to head to our son Rob and his wife Kandice’s home in MD for a baby shower.  Yes, we are going to be grandparents , finally.   Yahoo!   And, after we return from that jaunt, Pandora goes back in the water and I’ll head to Hampton VA, two days later, to participate in the run-up festivities for the Salty Dawg Rally.   And, it’s pretty important that I get there in time as I am on the schedule to talk about our trip to Cuba.

No pressure but I had better keep this post short…

The last few weeks have been really busy with travel to various spots including the Annapolis Sailboat Show and a bunch of other destinations to numerous to mention.  But I think it’s safe to say that we are uber-busy these days and the pace is wearing us both a bit thin.

One of the many projects on Pandora has been to replace the water heater and that brings me to the title of this post, “Listen to your surveyor”.  When I was considering purchasing Pandora we had a surveyor to go over everything and as he went through the boat over the course of a day, he pointed out things that were both good and bad.

By the end of a very long day everyone was tired, nerves were more than a bit frayed and one of the last areas he inspected was the compartment where the water heater was located.  He noticed that there was some water under the heater and it looked to him like the heater had been leaking for quite some time.  The owner was quick to say that “oh, it’s just condensation from the AC”.  That was a plausible explanation except that the AC unit was UNDER the water heater and it was doubtful that the water would travel UP HILL to the heater.  Alas, the moisture never went away and a year later I decided to check it out.

I was hopeful that it would be nothing more than a weeping pipe fitting that could be rebedded, so I decided to remove the heater and take a look.    Of course, like all boats, it was shoehorned into an impossibly small space with tons of other stuff around it.  Here’s what I faced as I thought “where do I begin?”.

First I had to remove all of the AC and heater duct work.  Not so easy.10-14-16a-001Now, wasn’t that easy?   Heater exposed.  Doesn’t look bad at all.
10-14-16a-003However, as is so often the case, the “beauty was only skin deep”.   I removed the stainless outer case and all of the insulation to see what I was up against.  Oops, major “up against”, in store for me.  Here’s what lurked beneath. This shot is a bit fuzzy (no make that a lot fuzzy) but you can still see major corrosion on the hot water outlet fitting.  It’s the dark spot on the lower left fitting in the picture.  That hole was eaten right through the aluminium fitting. 10-14-16a-007But wait, there’s more….  On various other spots on the tank I could see that corrosion had worked it’s way through the heater casing.   This spot is on the back of the unit, far from any fittings.  The water had eaten through the shell itself.   See the grey weeping spot?10-14-16a-008Water eating through aluminum?  I learned recently that product water from a reverse osmosis unit is very corrosive on aluminum, something that was news to me.  It seems that RO water is very low in PH and eats most any non-noble metal.   Think aluminum.  This turned out to be a problem for me as I use the RO unit for most of my water production as did the last owner.   Here’s what I found on a water engineer magazine site about the problem.   It said…

“The problem associated with reverse osmosis produced water is not in the processing, nor in the ability to provide needed quantities of water to supplement current supplies, nor is it in supplying finished water free from toxic contaminants, but it is in supplying finished water which is very corrosive to metal distribution piping. For anyone who does not know, reverse osmosis finished water has a relatively low pH (in the range of 5-6) and little to no alkalinity or hardness to act as a buffer. Thereby, this finished water is quite aggressive on metal distribution piping existing prior to the installation and operation of the RO system.”

Oops.  Aluminum and RO water don’t play well together.  So, what’s the solution?  Simple, just reintroduce minerals into the water as it comes out of the RO system, before it enters the tanks and other fittings that may be at risk.   I will do some research on that and report what I learn.   For now, a brand new water heater with a stainless steel holding tank.

Yesterday I installed the new heater.   It’s a lot smaller too and much better insulated.  We had this exact same unit on our last boat and loved it.  It keeps water hot for two days.  It’s made by Isotherm, in Italy and costs about twice as much as the Force Ten unit that I replaced.  I also opted for a 6.5 gallon tank, again about half the capacity of the last one and yet have found that it’s plenty of hot water.  Doesn’t it look cozy in it’s new home?10-14-16a-038Well, plenty of room around it until the heating and AC ducting goes back in.  After that, “what heater?  I don’t see no heater…”10-14-16a-039For now, everything is in place and it works.  That’s good too.

Next step, I have to modify and install the larger Spectra reverse osmosis water maker that I have from my last boat as it has twice the capacity of the one that “new” Pandora came with.  Of course, I’ll also have to come up with a way to re-mineralize the water that comes out of the system so corrosion will be less of a problem.     Having said that, I will have to review what else might be aluminum aboard that needs to be replaced.    Fortunately, the water tanks are not aluminum.  Whew!

So, there you have it.  Mystery solved.  Don’t use anything aluminum in the water system if you have an RO water maker.  Don’t tell anyone but my last boat had aluminum water tanks.  I wonder how long it would have been until they failed?   Now, that would have been a really fun project.

So, back to the title of this post and the moral of the story.  When you are deep into a survey of a boat that you are thinking of purchasing and the surveyor says “this may be a problem”, listen to him and don’t let the owner say “it’s only condensation” as it might come back to bite you.

However, there is a bit of sun under this little rain cloud as I now know about the corrosive properties of RO water and besides, we have a terrific new water heater. And, that will make Brenda happy.  Warm water, happy crew.  Or, as some have said, “happy wife, happy life”.

Next, find a way to put on a “re-mineralizeer thingy” and all will be right in the world.  Well nearly right as there are still lots of chores and time is really, really short.

As was once said, “time to make the donuts”.  Yes, indeed and be sure and listen to your surveyor!

Getting ready to head south. Just a few more things to do…

It’s been a while since my last poste but, in my defense, I  have been VERY busy. Good news!  The bathroom is nearly done (a PRIORITY for Brenda, but you knew that already) so now all that’s left is for the counter and shower door guys are do their thing.

Whew!!!  Now I can turn my attention to getting Pandora in shape for the run south.  And I had better get moving as I have to be underway for Hampton VA as of October 25th, about three weeks from today, or not to put too find a point on it, in 22 days.  No rush.  Ha!

The reason that I have to be underway by then is that I am participating in the run-up events for the Salty Dawg Rally to the BVI and while I am not actually doing the rally, I am speaking about our trip to Cuba last winter at a luncheon on Friday of that week.   And, to make matters worse, I will only be home, between now and when I leave for Hampton, for about half of that time, 12 days.  But, who’s counting.

And, on top of that, I am also the luncheon speaker, again about Cuba, at the annual meeting of The Corinthians on November 6th, when I have to be back home.

And, somehow, between the Salty Dawg Rally events and the Corinthians luncheon I have to run Pandora to Beaufort NC, which is about a 4 day run from Hampton.

Other than that, I can just sit around, write blog posts and eat bon-bons.  Such a life of leisure.  Not a care in the world.

“So, what is so pressing with Pandora Bob?”   Well, I have to put in a bigger watermaker and somehow deal with a leaky water heater which I am not sure is on it’s last legs or is just leaking from a fitting.  And, as with just about everything on a boat, it’s shoehorned into an impossibly small space.  I am not sure I can even get it out at all.  And to put in the new watermaker, well somehow I have to find a way to relocate other equipment to make room for the larger membrane and extra pump.

Of course, there are myriad other details to tend to as well.  However, it’s nothing like the list that I had to deal with the first year as I prepared to head to the Eastern Caribbean.  Remember that trip that didn’t happen?

Dear reader, you may recall that I tried to get to the BVI but had to abort a day or so out of Hampton because of what I’ll describe as “technical issues”.  I won’t belabor repeating the list of things that went wrong but bagging the trip seemed like a good idea at the time. Besides, if I hadn’t changed my plans I wouldn’t have ended up making the run to Cuba.  Oh yeah, Cuba. remember that?

Well, you may recall that I left Hampton with crew bound for the BVI with about 57 other boats and as we crossed the Gulf Stream, things began to go wrong.   I wrote about the details of this fun filled experience in a post on Noember 7th.   And then later in Moreheak City NC, I chronicled the issues in more detail.  At that point I still thought that I was going to resume my trip to the BVI after Thanksgiving.  Oops, change of plan, again.

If you can stand yet one more link to ancient history, I was reading back through my posts from last November and recalled a post, where I wrote in all seriousness and for the first time, “hey, I wonder if we can get permission to travel to Cuba“?   Hmm… There’s a thought.  And we went.  But then you already knew that.   And one thing lead to another and I ended up taking Pandora to Florida and then began in earnest to do my best to “make lemonade out of lemons” and head to Cuba.

On the off chance that you missed it, all the posts from March and April are about Cuba and our travels.  And, not to put too fine a point on it, but there are 19 posts in those two months that I somehow managed to put up in spite of the HORRIBLE Internet access in Cuba.

So, here we are, full circle and I am planning on heading to the Caribbean once again.  Perhaps this time I’ll actually make it and, as I so often say, “details to come”.

About those plans.  The broad strokes are this.  I plan leave to head to Hampton VA later this month, spend a few days there and then head to Beaufort NC where Pandora will sit in a slip until mid January when I will join crew for a run to the BVI and a good deal of the winter aboard.  I say “good deal of the winter” as Brenda and I are going to be grandparents in mid December and unless you are one, a grandparent, you can only imagine how big a draw that will be for us.

And, add to that, Brenda’s bout with melanoma last spring and you can see that there is a big ??? regarding our time afloat going forward.   So, how long will we be in the Caribbean?  Who knows but I am going to give it a shot and we’ll see what happens.  Me determined?  As Brenda will tell you “YOU HAVE NO IDEA!”

Yes, I admit it…

But, before I break to head off and work on Pandora, I thought that it would be neat to talk about our visit to RI to Life Raft and Survival equipment, where we had our four man Viking Raft serviced.  Of course, anyone that heads offshore and doesn’t have a raft on board is, in my opinion, nuts.

We have a Viking life raft and it was due to be repacked.  Actually, it was more than a year overdue for it’s three year repack.  Oops!  I thought that it would be fun to be there when they inflated it and checked out the raft contents.

Life Raft Survival Equipment (LRSE) is a pretty scary name for a business but it would be a LOT more scary to be on a sinking boat without a well maintained raft or worse, no raft at all.  This is one piece of equipment that I sure hope will never be used.  As you can imagine, Brenda’s feelings on this topic are a bit stronger.

Anyway, our raft is a Viking four man offshore raft.  We chose it because it was not too expensive, if you can call $3,000+ not too expensive, and it was a good brand used by many cruise ships and commercial boats.    It’s in a valise pack which means it’s in a fabric pack and must be stored in an area where it won’t get wet.  It’s vacuum packed which suggests that it’s waterproof but we were shown a raft just like ours and the same age that had gotten wet.   It was a mess and probably had to be junked.

The tech put it on the floor, out of it’s soft bag.   The shrink wrap is silver and pretty tough. 7-26-16a-018Normally it would inflate with CO2 in a rush of compressed gas.    However, in this case he attached a compressor and inflated it in a more controlled way.
7-26-16a-009It still inflated fairly quickly, in just a few minutes. 7-26-16a-001The arch and canopy started to take shape. 7-26-16a-003Then it was fully inflated and the pressure release valve was hissing happily. 7-26-16a-016It was like opening a VERY EXPENSIVE present.   What’s inside?7-26-16a-004We unpacked all the “perishables”.  They didn’t look very perishable to me but everything had to be replaced.  I asked them to save the stuff for my ditch bag.   Spares or not, I sure hope that they never get used.   And, if they do and Brenda’s on board, well, let’s just say that I wouldn’t put a big bet on future cruising. 7-26-16a-015Good news, the waterproof compartment in the cockpit that houses the raft kept it completely dry so repacked it’s as good as new and back on board.

LRSE has presented at my June SSCA event in Essex for the last few years, complete with a live life raft inflation.  I hope to have them back again in June 2017 but want to be sure that we keep the demonstration fresh so perhaps we will go though the contents of a raft and ditch bag and review each item.    For me, seeing our raft inflated was the first time I had ever seen the contents in any detail.

With a newly serviced raft I can be confident that when I head south that there’s a well maintained raft available, if needed.

I also have to begin boning up on the cruising guides and charts that I have for the Caribbean and I have a lot of them.  10-2-16a-038Yes indeed, lots to do and time is short.  I had better get to work on Pandora or I’ll find myself sitting in an armchair in front of a fire reading about cruising instead of doing it.

Gotta go…