Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Family reunion

Fort Lauderdale 014
Originally uploaded by brisegalets
What a week-end !
On Friday, my brothers (Brothers of the Coast) from the Chesapeake Bay flew in from Norfolk and I went to the airport to meet them. They had rented a van there for the President's Day Week-End and after an emotional welcome, they drove me back to Papy Jovial where we could take some pictures to link to the pictures taken in Portsmouth on May 16, 2009 when I left from there for Sydney, Australia. After that, we had lunch together at Briney's and then they drove to Miami where they were staying.
I took a shuttle the next morning to join them and spend the day at the Miami Boat Show. First, we sent to Miami Beach for breakfast and Stew and Diana joined us there before we went to the Convention Center for the show.
From that 34,000 nautical miles and two years voyage, there were a few ideas I had been thinking of towards improving further a boat that I love dearly and the boat show was the right place to start to implement those ideas.
After spending the whole day there, they drove me back to Fort Lauderdale where I spent the night on Papy Jovial.
Next morning, which was Sunday, Scott and Preston drove up to Fort Lauderdale to pick me up and we drove back to Fort Lauderdale and then to Miami Beach for another great breakfast, before driving to Marathon but not without another pit stop, this time at the "Alabama Jack" for a nice lunch in a "bikers" ambiance. In Marathon, the local brothers there were waiting for us for another great impromptu boucan. There I met not only the brothers of Marathon present in town, but also some of the brothers from the Solomons Island table.
Monday started with breakfast at IHOP, then I was driven home by Gary who was staying on my boat Monday night. Of course, this was not without another get together on the way at Harbor Whate in Islamorada.
We got back to Fort Lauderdale, just in time for another super evening at the house of John Dotto, where the Gold Coast table had organized a boucan, This time, we met the local brothers from Miami and Fort Lauderdale, including David, just back from the Bahamas and who had sailed on Papy Jovial from Jamaica to Manta in Ecuador.
This was the conclusion of a great brotherhood week-end, making me feel that at last, I was back home, even if I won't be back in Norfolk before May 1st.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Strip Tease

Fort Lauderdale 005
Originally uploaded by brisegalets
Papy Jovial is naked. After an uneventful crossing from Lucaya to Fort Lauderdale, spending the night anchored on the east side of North Bimini, and being boarded by the US Coast Guards 2 hours beforer arriving, I am now tied up in Cooley's Landing up the New River. I had left Lucaya on Sunday at 7, anchored in Bimini at 6 in the afternoon, left at 6:30 next morning and got to the bridge of the 17th street at 3 in the afternoon.
Going up the river, Henri and Cliff were waiting for me underneath the bridge of the 3rd avenue, to help me sail up the river. If you have the tide and the wind behind you, and if the bridges are a little slow in opening, it could be a little dicy. But everything went well and I got to Cooley's Landing around 4:30.
It is time to take care of some of the wear and tear that Papy Jovial suffered during those last 34,000 miles. First priority obviously goes to the sails, which were taken off yesterday and sent to the loft of North Sails in Fort Lauderdale. The main seems OK but the genoa definitely needs some TLC. Many of the seams have gone, and when the halyard broke twice, sending the genoa underneath the boat, it rubbed some of the black antifouling paint on it.
I also had my share of problems with the head, particularly the forward one, which was not treated with white vinegar often enough. I took it apart and found heavy calcium deposit. A good cleanup and it is now operating normally again.
I also have to take care of a minor leak on the bowl of the racor diesel/water separator, and I have to replace the axis assembly on the Edson pedestal, one of which had broken in March 2009 in the Bahamas and the other in Luanda in Angola lately.
Number of lines have to be replaced, others just rinsed in fresh water.
And of course, a general cleanup to make the boat look civilized again. The new coats of varnish will have to wait until I return to Grand Bahamas for the month of March.
And then, as I work my way through that list, I will probably find another gazillions things which require my attention.
But this time, I do feel that I am back and that I can return, temporarily, to a more "normal" lifestyle.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Preparing to cast off . . ..

Today, it's been raining almost all day, and it's cold, at least for me (64 degrees outside!). I know that some up north are exeriencing temperatures in the 20's, sometimes less and mountains of snow, but I just sent 2 years in the tropics and anything below 72 feels like freezing.
Yesterday I did my second ride. Not as shameful as the first one (I did 10.3 miles at 13.2 mph) but still, nothing to brag about, with 13 miles and 14.8 mph. Lots of miles to do before I can regain some kind of shape and get rid of those unwanted pounds, courtesy of two years in the sun and no exercise except pulling on a few lines.
To morrow I am going to play it safe. I keep worrying about falling asleep at the wrong time, and the Gulf Stream is not the right place to fall asleep. So, I will go in two stages, first from Lucaya to Bimini, get there in the evening with the wind behind and no current to speak of. I don't expect the sea to be anything else than fair. I will spend the night anchored north of Bimini on the bank and leave next morning at crack of dawn to go to Fort Lauderdale, crossing the Gulf Stream with North or North NorthWest winds of less than 15 knotsl. It is wind against the current, but not strong enough to create a very uncomfortable chop.
I expect to get to Fort Lauderdale before sunset.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Back home

After a "rabbit call" on the continental US to renew my driver's license, pick up my mail which contains the updated vessel documentation for Papy Jovial, and make a personal trip up north, I am back aboard Papy Jovial with one week to prepare her to cross to Fort Lauderdale. Yesterday was Super Bowl day, and since the whole morning was devoted to travelling, nothing really happened. Today, I started by trying to reorganize stuff inside. Somehow, I am kind of deflated, without much energy, and I did not accomplish much. Tomorrow I intend to work on the winches which need service, on the racor filter/water separator which is leaking, sort out the lines, and get her read for a short 12 hours crossing.
I tried to download a selection of pictures on Facebook, but I soon realized that any album can only contain 200 pictures at most, and that there is no option to sort the pictures by date. I will have to try and do the same on Flickr. It is time consuming and requires an excellent fast connection, so that will wait for Fort Lauderdale.
I see that Shanty is crossing over to Green Turtle cay soon with Dave on board. Maybe he could sail back with me. I will have to try and contact him.