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ADDITIONS TO THE BLOG as of September 2016 (USET): Shamal is in Stuart, FL in the US getting a few repair and maintenance jobs done while waiting out the hurricane season with her Crew. * Should you want to contact us, you can do so by clicking on the Contact Us tab below. * We recommend that you subscribe to the Blog, so that new posts are emailed to your inbox.

05 December 2016

U.S.A. To The Bahamas - The Abacos

Hello Again and Seasons Greetings.

Christmas Festival - Bahamas
Entrance To Manatee Pocket

Our last week in Stuart, Florida was spent checking and re-checking everything to make sure we were ready for the next cruising season.  We picked up our new sun shades for the back deck – which were not quite the correct fitting, but we had waited so long for them and I could make the necessary adjustments. On our last day we moved SHAMAL over to the fuel dock at Sailfish Marina for a final pump out, to fill up the diesel tanks plus the ten jerry cans, fill the four petrol cans for the outboard motor, and fill up the water tank as we have not been making water in Manatee Pocket as the water is filthy.  Then it was off to the markets for the fresh fruit and vegetables.  As for the tins and dry stores, once again I have stocked up with enough to go around the world again!!!  We have been told that we will find it more expensive out in the Bahamas, and, in Cuba most items will be impossible to find, so stocked up we are. Alec is now a little concerned how low we are sitting in the water!! 

18 October 2016

Life in Manatee Pocket, Stuart, Florida/Hurricane Matthew


Our Local Café and Bar

Yes we are STILL in the “Pocket”.  Three months have passed since we first dropped anchor here to start the next round of maintenance and repairs after leaving St. Augustine.

We have settled in and are now nearly one of the “locals”. To some we are somewhat of a novelty still, coming from that far away corner of the South Pacific – many have no idea actually where NZ is, and others surprise us saying they have travelled there. We met a lovely gentleman in his eighties in the supermarket and we are now the best of friends.  He and his wife have taken us out on a sightseeing drive around the area, then out for a meal.  They too were keen boaties up until about five years ago and have given us lots of tips about the Bahamas.  After some considerable consideration we decided as our jobs were taking longer than we first planned, that we would stay here for the Hurricane Season, well most of it,  and as it turn out that was a good decision.
A meal with new friends

Thunderstorms are still a very regular occurrence, but I can’t get use to them. About six weeks ago we had a phone call from friends whom we met in the St Augustine Marina, and who were then out in Freetown in the Bahamas.  They were devastated as their 52ft catamaran has been hit by lightning.  They have lost ALL their electrics. After a couple of weeks they managed to motor back into Fort Lauderdale, and have been hauled out of the water to start the job of major repairs.  Since then we have brought a lightning rod which Alec has fixed to the top of the mast.  Now no one can say for sure that they work, but we are prepared to give it a go.

03 August 2016

The Intracoastal Waterways - I.C.W. Part Three

Hello Once Again

St Augustine Marine Centre
I suppose many of you will have given up on ever hearing from us again thinking we may have merged into the American society taking down roots here – NO WAY  - this adventure has a way to go yet.

Five months on, with SHAMAL on the hard in the St Augustine Marine Centre in northern Florida, seemed like a life time, even though we were not living on board all that time.  Once out of the water we started on that GREAT list of boat jobs.  It was February and still very cold.  It took us the first ten days to get our power sorted out.  As you know the USA system runs on 110 volts while our system is 220 volts.  With our first step-up step-down transformer blowing every five minutes, we had some cold nights.  Alec managed to sort that by buying a larger transformer which also meant he could run all his power tools from it as well.  The first main job was to have the seals in the sail drive replaced.  That involved moving the engines forward to fit them in, but that job was completed before Alec had to leave for Vietnam to do a yacht delivery with an American couple.