Saturday, 21 December 2013

BVI's Virgin Isles we are here

Sat 21st December
Well I expect most of you have been looking at our little blog and will have following our progress from Fort Lauderdale. Lets say it was something we would never attempt again, the crossing from Spain was a doddle compared with this one. We were so concerned we would have to make landfall elsewhere not to the Virgin Isles which would have wrecked our new cruising season plans. At the moment we are in Sopers Hole in Tortola and have a cruising licence for the BVI's for a month. So these islands we will explore as best we can as we didn't do them justice last time we were here. Not taken any photo's yet but when I do I will post some. 
We would like to say a big thank you for the encouragement given by other yachts on the SSB radio who checked our progress twice a day. The only other contact was via the sat phone to our friend John who did his best to help with weather info, albeit at times not good. Oh well thats all for now we need to chill, buy lots of rum and get someone else to cook!
Don and Glenys 
Agua Therapy

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Bye Bye Fort Lauderdale

Wednesday December 4th 2013 Position 27:07N 80:07W

At last after almost 7 months we are going back out into that wobbly stuff to our first destination. 
We can't believe how much time we have been here, a lot of time was spent buying and fitting more equipment to make our life at sea easier. The new dinghy is (upside down) on our aft deck takes up quite a lot of room and it was quite a struggle to manoeuvre it into place. However it's much more stable with a fibreglass hull when we are making our way to an island somewhere.

Ok, first of all we have to cross the Gulf Stream current which is going North at around 3 knots, we are heading North East ish  so we do expect a few lumps but the weather forecast is good so fingers crossed we should do that in the first day / night.

As we leave our dock in Fort Lauderdale it is high tide and we have 2 bridges to go under the only problem is they don't open until after the traffic rush hour so we can't set out too early. 

The route will be to go North East around the top of the Bahamas, we then need to go a little more North but mainly East, roughly 600 / 700 miles to take advantage of the prevailing winds which is the opposite of when we first came here. Then it should be a nice sail South South East to our destination the Virgin Islands. 
So we think our trip should take around 10 days non stop weather permitting.

Hopefully we should be in contact by SSB radio with other boats heading the same way, maybe even folks we know from last year.

Sorry folks no photos until we have the internet again.

Don and Glenys
Agua Therapy

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Its a long time being ashore so to speak

Well we are still here in Fort Lauderdale, both of us raring to go to sea, is it fate or what? more delays for various reasons.

Don can't quite get in this hole

Agua Therapy with a skirt on
Still trying to work through the endless list of jobs too, however lots have been ticked off now, would you believe over 115 when we started.

The new mainsail is installed and rolls up inside the boom correctly thanks to Supersail and Don refitting the boom higher up the mast.

A new AB rib is waiting for delivery and we managed to exchange our 6HP Mercury engine for a 9.9 to give us a little more stability and power when we go ashore.

The new shiny Ultra anchor which should hold us in place in the anchorages so both of us may not have to lie awake thinking "are we dragging" "watch this space"

Yet again we had another trip to the UK to visit family, Don in Scotland to see his Mum and sister.

Me to sunny Stoke - on - Trent to see Mum and friends.
Julie an old school friend and me at the Indian restaurant, we had such a great night. 
Vicky and I went for lunch at Weston Hall, it was yummy.

This is at Weston Hall in Staffordshire.
We met up after a week and dove to Plymouth to see Vivien, Andy and the boys.
During that week we paid a visit with Viv to Port Isaac which is home to the TV series "Doc Martin" (Port Wen).
St Isaac, the famous Port Wen
Us outside "Doc Martins house and surgery"
From a distance
While in Plymouth we took advantage and drove across Dartmoor to the prison museum and saw lots of ponies along the way, quite erie when we came out as the mist / fog had dropped, I hate to think what it would have been like for all those prisoners on the run when they escaped, seeing how desolate it is. Such a pity no photographs are allowed to be taken. Apparently some pretty bad people were there at one time, serial killers and murderers.

The view from Doc Martins house

Afterwards we stayed with Steve and Lizzie on "Seraph" their yacht in Chichester marina, it was great to see them. Unfortunately while I was there I managed to pick up an ear infection which was quite scary thinking about flying and the thought of going deaf permanently. Thanks to Steve sorting out an emergency appointment with a doctor I returned with antibiotics and lots of painkillers.

We returned on the 30th via Philadelphia which made the trip quite tedious we were shattered when we arrived, the body clocks were still very confused.

My 2 favourite fellas, we went to see Michael Bublé
 in concert, what a show! Another tick in the box in my "bucket list"
After a few days here we moved to a boatyard and have been lifted out the water in a yard not too far from Geoff and Stroma's house where we are staying in their Winnebago until we complete the anti fouling and through hulls. The soda blasting to remove 7 years of paint has been done and Don has almost finished the primer and the top coats of antifoul painting.

This painting is so cute, its in a gallery window on Las Olas high street
The sign on the table at Bubba Gumps the place on Fort Lauderdale beach front
Don with some of the famous shrimp
All being well weather permitting we will be crossing the gulf stream to go east until we are north of the Virgin Isles where we hope to continue our next season in the Caribbean. Must admit the thought of 10 - 12 or more days non stop is quite daunting.

So this may be the last post from the USA until we have the internet somewhere in the Virgin Isles.

For those of you that follow the little blog you have to go to look for "agua" click on that link which then should take you to a page with a map and a map pin, if you look below that where the dates are and a title of some sort you can read our progress.

However please do not try to contact us via this link as we can't accept normal e-mails, only plain text messages or you will stop us from receiving important weather information.

BFN until next time
Don and Glenys
Agua Therapy about to start the next seasons adventure

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Part 2 some of August and a little September

Still here, watching the weather goings on in the Atlantic, we have everything crossed that nothing bothers us here.

I decided some of the blogs are just too big and I'm always taking photo's
so here are a few more and some news snippets.

It was Peters birthday
Peters birthday cake

This duck was hiding her chicks under a car, well it was raining

Yuk, raw oysters, Don loves them
Our friends Stroma and Geoff
I went shopping with Stroma and found these "Smurf pants" are people really that big?
Stroma is holding them up
Horace the Hawk - failure
Hmm, he failed miserably only 10 minutes or so before the birds returned so we did give him another week before I sent him back to his box.
I decided we were not going to be bombed by birds all the time so plan B was to send Don up the mast and wave and shout at them but he declined. 
So plan C, we had a small drybag, bright green, I cut out 4 eyes from some shiny silver duck tape then drew around the eyes in black to look like eyes. Then I drew a beak on each side in black, silly me they are upside down, the bags was stuffed with plastic bags then fastened to the topping lift and hoisted to the top of the mast.
Hey presto it seems to be working, as its light enough to be blown about in very little wind I guess either the eyes or the upside down beaks are scaring them, all I can say is "watch this space" When we take it down I will take a picture so you can see it, someone said I should make them and sell them on E-Bay.

Back soon

Don and Glenys
Agua Therapy

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

More from Fort Lauderdale part 1

August 2013
Still here, boat in bits, the boom is still off and we still have a long list to do yet.
Pleased to have "wheels" again my UK driving licence is here, its taken ages to have it exchanged from the Spanish one so I can now drive.

A carved tree on the beach road in Fort Lauderdale 
Another dockside pet
However we did take a trip to St Petersburg, no not the one in Russia the one in Florida, it was so good to relax. We stayed in St Pete beach and drove downtown to see the sights and collect the snuffer and bag for the parasailor.

Now which way?

We visited the museums and took a trolley ride.
Here comes the trolley bus a 50 cents ride

And there is goes, whoops 
This is in the museum, the poor thing lived for 6 weeks, 2 heads 6 legs
The area is very quiet and Don remarked that its very "Stepford wives" everything neat and tidy.

While we were there the afternoons were pretty wet, there were tremendous thunderstorms lightening everywhere and the hotel room shook, scary at times.

The first hotel had a rooftop restaurant which spins around, it took 75 minutes to complete the turn.

A full size replica which flew of the first flying boat here 

Electric razor, hmm bet Don could cut himself with this
The view from the hotel in St Pete beach, we watched the dolphins, oh and the thunderstorms

Don, look we have 2 folding bikes this one is too big!
Our friends recommended we take a trip to Tarpon Springs which is roughly an hour north. The area has a huge Greek community and famous for the Sponge docks. Enjoyed a meal in a greek taverna, Don had a huge plate of fried calamari, octopus and anchovies, I had the lamb souvlaki it was yummy. We drove around some of the estates and its a lovely place.

Statue of a sponge diver with the boats behind

This area was where they auction off the best sponges
From St Petersburg we drove south to Naples, a place we had been to before, the hotel was very nice, a huge room with an enormous bed. The hotel is in a great place and about 5 minutes walk to the main street with shops and lots restaurants.
St Petersburg downtown

Reminiscent of Ghostbusters

Why the legs hung over the balcony we don't know
I shopped in the Boutique Wind in The Willows, Don was in the hotel lying down on the bed when I returned it was a good time to show him the clothes, he needed a little while to recover.

So lots of photos for you this time part 2 soon

Don and Glenys
Agua Therapy

Friday, 30 August 2013

Busy couple of months

Still in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, yes we know we are in the hurricane belt but we were tucked up inland on the canal, exactly 1.2 miles from the sea. We have spoken to so many people now about the chance of us being "hit" and what do do incase something does come our way, someone said a bad plan is better than none.

In June we travelled to the UK to see family and friends in Glasgow Scotland, The Midlands, Stoke on Trent, Lichfield, Plymouth Devon, Chichester and Farnham so we certainly clocked up the miles.

Unfortunately the trip was spoiled somewhat by me when we arrived in Plymouth, I managed to twist my foot badly into a hole at the side of a speed ramp. The car park is unlit and the footpath has broken paving slabs everywhere. So Don called an ambulance and the paramedics did a great job with an inflatable splint and lots of entonox gas and air a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen, commonly known as laughing gas, I must add I was not laughing one bit. They took us to A&E  my foot was x-rayed and examined by a doctor who said nothing was broken but there was a lot of soft tissue damage. The bad news is it will take roughly 8 weeks to heal, so we left A&E at 03:45 in the morning, me armed with dyslexic crutches and boxes of strong painkillers.

I was confined to the hotel room for 4 days. So that put paid to spending much time with the Vivien, Andy and grandkids although we did go out a couple of times.

We did get to Chichester to see our friends Steve and Lizzie, it was Lizzies birthday so that was great she put on a marvellous "spread " some of you know Lizzie and know what I mean.

Steve Kathy and Lizzie

Steve Kathy and Don
 Afterwards we travelled to Farnham and stayed with John (our weatherman) and Anita in their fabulous home for 2 days they made us feel very comfortable.
The weather during trip to the UK was very kind to us and it was warm and not too wet for a change.

So here we are back in Fort Lauderdale, I can hear you all saying do you like it there? yes but we haven't seen too much yet, our time is being spent going from one place to another looking for "bits" which we have to have for the boat.

We are tied up to a dock and somedays we have a visit from a strange looking bird sometimes it looks normal but others it reminds us of that cartoon road runner. It sits on the barnacles and catches bugs then either eats them or drops them in the water so when the fish come to eat the bug he stretches out his neck then grabs a fish, incredibly fast cunning little fella. Its a young green heron, he has a yellow mask and when he struts about his neck is out and has a blue crest on his head.

The fridge wasn't keeping up with the ambient temperature so we decided to change ours for a more efficient model. Ok we found a nice big stainless steel one, great it was delivered to the boat and we removed the old one and stood it on the sofa next to the new one which was on test. The new one failed miserably after a whole week of trying lots of tests, so that one was sent back and we managed to find another, more or less the same size with a freezer at the side like the old one. 3 weeks later the new one is in thankfully and the big freezer is now up and running again.

The old fridge next to the new one, well the faulty one we sent back 
Don making a hole to help take away the heat, he must have been a mole in a former life, he is always in a hole somewhere
The list goes on, we had the rigging checked, thats fine.
The anchor is lifted by a windlass which decided it was going to not only leak but fail too. Don has now repaired that with new parts and its now almost ready to go back.

Old sail coming off
The new mainsail is on order, the headsail has been re stitched. Unfortunately the snuffer for the Parasailor is beyond repair so we have to order a new one. There is a dealer in St Petersburg so we may just go and buy one during a little break from the boat.

When we took off the mainsail and looked in the boom we found a dead stowaway, very stiff, it must have hit the mainsail and slid down into the boom so we suspect its been there since January.

This little fella hitched a ride
The new sail needs the boom height to be lifted so theres another project on the go.

We sold the dinghy and have to buy a more sturdy model but have to come up with plan B to raise and lower it and get an engine lift which should make life easier not to say safer than our past efforts.

Don fixed the foreword air con unit, Webasto in Spain wanted 450 euros to do it, Don did it for $20 including delivery and a spare bit.

The old butane gas finally ran out we can't buy them here so the new propane gas system and 2 propane bottles are installed,  we had to chase about trying to find gas bottles to fit in our locker and then replace fittings. At last it doesn't take 10 mins to boil a kettle!

I won't say more just now about the jobs but they are in hand,  its a good job we hired a car as Fort Lauderdale is such a big place, lots to see when we can find the time.
The weather is hot and sometimes very wet so the only place to stay cool and dry is either on the boat, in the car or in a shopping mall, thank goodness for air con.
This is one of the little fellas roaming around in the dock
Ok the list of jobs is getting shorter now so BFN

Agua Therapy
Don and Glenys Graham