Saturday, September 26, 2015

Prepping to depart our summer marina...

Brunswick has no shortage of spectacular sunrises & sunsets

I didn't envision spending the summer at a marina in Georgia!  We left without a firm plan, except "heading south" (it was too cold to head north in April.  We would have loved to revisit Maine).  We knew our insurance wanted us above N30.5 (FL/GA line) by July 15th.  Each time we stopped at a marina, it was "Hmmm.  We could come back here."  Brunswick was on the list of "hurricane holes" the Captain had in mind.  He would have preferred a marina where he could haul out, live on the boat and paint the bottom ourselves, but that didn't happen.

We are starting to count down to our departure from our summer/hurricane hole marina at the end of the month.   We will explore the area including St. Simon's island, Jekyll Island and Cumberland Island before working our way down to Fernandina Beach after our insurance Nov 1st date.  We hope to spend most of our time before the Bahama's anchored out or at mooring balls.

The high is forecast to be 80F this week, so with the low's in the 60's, so I finally shut off the air conditioning and opened the ports and hatches.  It's a little warm in the boat in the afternoon, which is solved by moving out into the cockpit or sitting out on the dock.

I found a problem I was having before we arrived.  One, now two, or the ports didn't want to stay open.  When My Captain, Oh Captain was reminded, he said, "perhaps you can do that.  You'll need an allen wrench."  Tools obtained.  Instructions given from the couch--"Give it another turn.  Try tightening the other side also."  Add that to the First Mate duties!

I dug out the Iridium GO satellite communicator we purchased for communicating with family members when we are underway and out of cell phone coverage.  It will also allow us to use PredictWind to get updated weather info.  The Iridium is not user-friendly but texting our float-plan-family-member is working.  There is supposed to be a software update that helps, but I can't make that work either.  I did manage to get Twitter (@PDQ36Odin) working.  Facebook access is not available anymore.

See the paper mill in the background?

They move the paper over to the dock by train.  Whoo, Whoo!

The boat got a good scrub down.  We had some mildew on deck, either from the morning dew or possibly from being down river from the paper mill.  The usual cleaners from West Marine weren't working.  Neither was the First Mates first choice of vinegar.  A quick google search turned the Captain onto Scrubbing Bubbles (generic is Foaming Bleach).  Worked like a charm.

Brunswick scum, I think...

Most of our Amazon deliveries have arrived, including a 48-pack pack of toilet paper.  (Paper products are expensive in the Caribbean.)  You can't have too much TP!  I've also started slowly stock up the pantry again.  Instead of going every other day, I go every day.  The cashier's laugh & ask "how many more days?"  Canned soup, canned veggies, gluten-free pasta, rice, beans, our favorite coffee, juice and beer are being stockpiled.  We decided to move the bicycles to the guest berth, so I reorganized the pantry.

Grocery run with an ice coffee in one hand.  Learned some bicycles handling skills here!

Storage area is officially a pantry :-)  First Mate idea, Captain approved.

Some friends departed the marina for Florida today (  It's a small relief there is somebody "blazing the trail" ahead of us.  We've learned a lot of cruiser's leave their boat somewhere during July-August.  Some fly home to their houses, some visit family and others RV.  ("Maybe we can do that next year" from the guy that said he would NEVER RV.)  They've been trickling back into the marina.  The dock master says their biggest event is Thanksgiving.

Putting lipstick on a pig.  Sorry dinghy.  I love you!

The Captain decided to give the dinghy a little love.  It's mostly lived on the davits for 3 months, so it also got a scrub down and a top coat.  We've also ordered some canvas for possible dinghy chaps and a deck shade.

The Captain takes over the portable SSB & weather fax after I got frustrated (Wha pa!)

Portable SSB and weather fax with HP Fax app:  Thanks to our friends over at, we discovered a portable SSB might be another great source of weather info when out of reach of cellular data.  I ordered the Tecsun PL-660 and downloaded the HF Fax app for our iPads.  The Captain was able to use the FM antenna that came with the radio to run out to our insulated backstay (our boat was set up up for SSB with an insulated back stay antenna & copper but did not have an SSB radio installed).  I've got the photo connector for the iPad & the USB to 3.5 cord on order.  Even at the dock with a lot of interference, we were able to get some fuzzy maps and were picking up Chris Parker weather broadcasts (we were previously paying for the email updates, which we may still do since they come in the night before).

We'll skip all discussion of our head (toilet)

One of the cabinets in the head had a slight odor, so The Captain changed the hose from the macerator to the holding tank.  He doesn't really have anything else to say about that (except "going to take a long, hot shower").


Traveling out of the country with a pet is tricky.  It requires a lot of paperwork and vet visits.  To make things more interesting, each country is different.  On Sept 3rd, I mailed our Bahamian purr-mit paperwork for  "importing" for Amelia the Cat.  (This will waive quarantine on arrival.)  An international money order for $10 + $5 fax service and the Priority Mail was $26 ($6 extra for out of the country and 6-10 days instead of 3-4 days.  They recommend Fed Ex.)  I received a phone call from a Doctor (Vet) on 14th.  She wanted to verify the age of 18 years.  "Well, that's the oldest cat I've ever cleared into the Bahamas!"  She was signing it and said I should see the fax in a few days.  It was a Wed so I gave it a week to arrive.  Then last week, I called daily.  "When did you mail it?"  "The Doctor isn't in."  "Tell me your fax number and I'll see what I can do."  After some panicked begging on Friday, it arrived at the end of day (The fax is in the marina office, so they are tired of me also.)  Now we just need a vet visit for health certificate (basically, a list of immunizations with a USDA stamp.  Hoping to find a marina where we can get an appointment and a courtesy car).
The last step is a vet visit when we get to the island.   We've read that if the cat isn't leaving the boat, these rules are a little more lax.

We're going to Ba?where?
The high temps have held at 80F, so the air conditioner was finally unhooked and stowed below.

The last piece of equipment before we leave is a wifi range extender.  Hopefully, this will help keep us connected without relying on our tethered cellular data.  It didn't get shipped out last week, but I've been assured it will arrive before our scheduled departure on Tuesday.

Bahamas cat permit info:
Bahamas government, Dept of Ag, cat permit

1 comment:

  1. We have taken our cat to the Bahamas several times, always with a permit and proper health certificate and record of immunizations. HOWEVER, we know lots of people who have done this and NO ONE has ever made a vet appointment after arrival in the Bahamas. Their rules are very confusing in some cases, but there is practically no enforcement. Email me if you want more details.