Sunday, August 17, 2008


You just have to keep smiling.......We have effectively created two "CHAOS" sites. One at the house and now a satellite site on board. Everytime you want to fix something you generally end up tearing everything apart. Today we decided to replace all of the pressurised water lines. We are fortunate to have hot and cold water lines to the galley, the head and the cockpit where we take our showers. We have an instant gas-hot water system on board that works like a dream. Real fun replacing the rigid CPVC lines for more flexible ones with quick-couple fittings. On the plus side, the forward cabin, the Captain's cabin, the head, the galley and the hanging closet are all clean and ready to go. Even a holding tank has been installed for use in very sensitive areas. This only leaves the saloon with all of its storage spaces, the cockpit and its lockers and the lazarette to go. after that there are still a list of repairs to be done and the final haul-out to repaint the bottom with anti-fouling paint.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


We adopted the wonderful philosophy of "We will only cruise until it stops being fun". Needless to say, our cruise should be over before it even begins. Getting ready is anything but fun. It is hard work bordering on chaos and after three times reducing what we want to take with us, we still have enough to fill a floating "U-HAUL".On the other hand if it stops being "fun" in the middle of the ocean, walking away from it all is kind of difficult. Perseverance has the word "severe" in it somewhere............, I think.

So here is our cruise plan:

Circle the Caribbean very, very slowly, taking time to smell the tropical flowers, taking time to see the magic of Classic Race Week in Antigua, visit the Tobago Cays and the French islands, get front row seats for Trinidad's Mardi-gras and visit the historic Spanish city of Cartagena, mix it with the Kuna Indians at San Blas Islands in Panama, and see the Rio Dulce Gorge in Guatamala and visit the Aztec ruins in Mexico on our way back to Florida. A quick two year cruise..... and if that works we'll throw a quick u-turn in Florida and head for Australia.... slowly of course.

Departure is scheduled for early November, heading down Florida's Intracoastal waterway to West Palm Beach before heading across the Gulf Stream to West End, Grand Bahama, all of which is familiar territory for ARITA.

Slowly sail through the Abacos, then to Nassau, then the Exumas and Eluethera, on to San Salvador, Columbus's first landing spot, and back to explore the Jumentos in the Ragged Island chain for the first time.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Giant tupperware is now stacked three deep in rows in the lounge and family rooms. We watch snippets of the Olympics between the plastic bin highrises. One fifth of humanity is Chinese. The Olympic opening ceremony was awesome. Our own "Pack up the house Olympics" needs more corporate sponsors.

Next week is 'vaccinations' time. Because of the area and length of time we expect to be cruising, the Health Department suggests vaccines for: hepatitus A, typhoid, yellow fever and tetanus. A prophylaxis for mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever can be taken.

For those not too familiar with nautical terms, here are a few brief descriptions that may help later on.....when we actually move on board:

BOW : (sharp end of the boat) not to be confused with curtsying before the "Queen of Florida" or that thingymebob in Archery.
STERN : (back of the boat) The flat piece for writing the name on, hard to get the letters on straight if it is rounded
MAST : That's for mounting the anchor light. Keeps the nautical types happy
SAILS : Essentially to provide shade on one side of the boat or the other. Occasionally used for forward motion
DECK : To stop the boat from filling up with rain water. Generally covered in teak which will cost you an arm and a leg and ends up burning your feet
COCKPIT : Place to put your burnt feet, empty beer cans, trash and wine bottles. Has a wheel and a compass in it.
COMPASS : Early Chinese invention for steering manufactured products all round the world.
WHEEL : Found in cockpit and used to hang towels
RUDDER : Very important for steering. You cannot see it and you have to believe it is somewhere under the boat. Rudder Club is where old rudders end up and if they stay too long they end up rudderless.
CABIN : A place for doing wonderful things. FWD CABIN has built-in love nest
BOWLINE : A knot that anyone can undo and few can do
ANCHOR CHAIN : Made of steel and very heavy. Used for hauling black stinky mud out of rivers
HEAD: Tiny compartment with mirror to perform incredible ablutionistic contortions
DINGHY : Form of escape device to shore to email someone to send more money
LINES: Ropes made for tying things up. Called SHEETS if connected to sails, called HALYARDS if used to pull those sails up. On deck they all look exactly the same. Its a trial and error thing
LIFE LINES : Wires for keeping you on board but used mostly for drying bikinis
SIGNAL FLAGS : Different color bikinis strung in a line
BOOM : The noise it makes when it hits you in the head during a tack
TACK : That's going up a side street on the Ocean
STAY : Used to hold up mast. Take firmly in hand and just as with your dog say " STAY"
WINDLASS : Derived from "wind-her-up-lassie", a younger female version of "anchor wench"
HATCH : An opening in the deck for sticking your head up to see if you need to put clothes on
HEELING : Soul searching and making adjustment to the body
DOWNWIND : A place not to be when someone is going to be sick
YACHT : A poorly designed dwelling insecurely fastened to someone else's real estate
MOTORYACHT : Same as above only smells worse and makes noise
RADIO : A device for attempting communication with others by using words like "Over", "Charlie Bravo" and "Foxtrot" and generally used for long distance screaming
BILGE : A collection place for everything you can't find and won't recognise when you do
KEEL : Huge piece of lead used to generally keep the boat upright
HULL : Huge piece of wood generally used to keep the ocean out
ENGINE : Used for moving forwards or backwards and for parking
DECKCLEAT : Toe killer

I think that kind of covers it for now. More in-depth things later.

Monday, August 4, 2008


Today there is chaos in the house. We are surrounded by plastic bins, like Tupperware on steroids, trying to organize all our things into categories of "sell", "give-away", "store at Anne's", and "to boat". Deciding to liquidate all your belongings is easy. Acutally doing it is the difficult part. The date has been set for the estate sale. We have to be out the first weekend of September to give Gale (ironic) time to organize, price and tag everything.

I look out at my beautiful garden with a healthy blooming frangipani and several bougainvillea in red clay pots that are covered with the green moss and mildew of a Florida landscape. The pond needs to be cleaned before leaving! I take a deep breath and think...."I CAN do this. I CAN overcome the chaos of the day. We are going on a wonderful adventure!"