Throwback Thursday: Sundays at Playa Canteras

Now that we’re sitting in Indiantown Marina and it’s obvious that we’re going to be here for quite a long time while we fix up Daze Off to sail, I don’t want to bore you with stories that are only related to boat work (but don’t worry, they’re still coming).   I know that’s what some of you crave, but if you’re like me, you also need a little fun in there.  A little travel and a little adventure.

So for the foreseeable future while we are doing nothing much more than boat work I will be adding a Throwback Thursday post in every week as well.  Cataloging our trip so far, giving you that needed sense of travel and adventure, and for those of you that haven’t started with us from the beginning, catch you up on some of the most important or memorable parts of our travels.

Oh wow, I had forgotten how much I’d completely fallen in love with the island of Gran Canaria.  Part of me wishes we had gotten there much sooner than we did, but our blissful days on Lanzarote were nothing to complain about either. I guess this means the two of us will have to find a year or so in our lives to fully dedicate to this set of islands.

After our arrival to Las Palmas, the capital of the island chain, we had to wait out that nasty weather which hit us just after Thanksgiving.  As soon as the sun came out on our fourth day though, we were out to hit the streets as well as the beach.  Playa Canteras, at the NE tip of the islands, is a great place for strolling, full of shops and bistros, all situated in front of the crashing waves of the beach.  While wandering our first day, we found a chain restaurant called Montanditos, which we fell head over heels for.  Tiny sandwiches served with a chilled wine drink called tinto verano.  We had a new love.

Exploring as much of this large metropolis as we could by foot, we found the opposite direction from the beach held a very nice pedestrian walkway with the chains of clothing and home good stores we could find back in the states, but their Old Town section I had been so looking forward to exploring was completely abandoned and actually kind of boring.  We didn’t  have to find streets and shops to entertain us for long though, because a few days after that we had the change to meet up with an online blogging friend of mine, Kit and her boyfriend Alex.  We picked a Friday night to hit the town, and found ourselves mostly wandering from pub to pub, ordering beer buckets as we all got to know each other and talked of our travels thus far.

So when Sunday rolled around and we knew our new favorite restaurant by the beach was having their weekly specials of sandwiches and drinks, we invited Kit and Alex to spend the day at Playa Canteras with us.

You can find the original post here.

Sunday December 7, 2014

Sand Sculptures, Playa Canteras

Since our friendship with Kit and Alex was cemented right away and all of us not only wanted, but needed some time out of the marina and off our boats to wander around today, we thought we’d bring them out to Playa Canteras.  The trip was of course, for us, an excuse to get back to Montanditos and enjoy their little sandwiches and cheap drinks, but you know, the beach has it’s draw too.

Even though the daily highs have been hovering at or just above 70 degrees, and I don’t think the water temperatures are much better, Alex decided it would be the perfect occasion to take a dip in the Atlantic.  While that crazy Brit dove in and out of waves and surfed them back to shore, us three sane people stayed in the sand and alternated between putting layers on and taking them off and the sun slid in and out of cloud coverings.

Kit did tell me that, compared to summer weather and water temperatures you’ll receive in Great Britain, this was actually quite a treat and why you’ll find so many Brits in the area walking around in thongs while the rest of us are slowly pulling on layer after layer.  I’m glad my blood has become accustomed to a Caribbean feel where anything below 80, in the water or the air, feels a bit on the nippy side now.

Kit & Matt at Playa Canteras

Alex surfing waves at Playa Canteras

Playa Canteras, Las Palmas Gran Canaria

sand sculpture at Playa Canteras

sand sculptures at Playa Canteras

After a little surf and sand, the four of us made our way down the boardwalk where we introduced them to the magic that is Montanditos.  Instead of ordering off the pre-set menu this time Matt and I went crazy and looked through their 100 sandwiches, deciphering ingredients here and there, to put together our own little mix of foods that did not disappoint.  They even have dessert ones which I made sure to try out this time.  Holy crap.  Chocolate bread with a cream and strawberry filling?  Absolutely to die for.  As was the cream cheese, basil, prosciutto, and tomato slider.  Gahhhh…we need to open one of these in the States!!

view in front of 100 Montanditos

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Matt & Alex at Playa Canteras

More random roaming followed our late lunch, and after getting lost on the streets of Las Palmas we eventually found our way back to the marina and to an open table at Sailor’s Bar.  Enjoying a couple of cañas we all dreamed of the Caribbean with it’s warm sunny skies and clear temperate waters.  Anchorages as far as the eye can see and afternoons filled with snorkeling and sunsets in the cockpit.  While we have absolutely loved being in Europe with all of it’s cities and conveniences, we are definitely ready to get back to some tropical island living.

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Behind the Scenes at Our Vineyard Vines Photo Shoot

Vineyard Vines initial photo

With so much going on with the boat and trying to keep up just with boat work post, I’d been putting this one on the back burner for months now, but I figured it was finally time to get it up.

For those of you who remember, back in February Matt and I went down to Miami for two days to participate in a photo shoot for the clothing company Vineyard Vines, with their summer theme of ‘Ever Sailor Has Their Story’.  Even though the shoot was in February, the catalog photos were not released to their site until May, so I had a few months to wait anyway before I had anything  to show.

Well, now that I’m only 4 weeks behind on keeping the blog  fully up to date, I think it’s time to get this post out for those of you who actually remembered we participated in this but never had the chance to see any of  the photos through either their catalog or Facebook promotions.

* * *

After our very relaxing and luxurious afternoon and evening in the Mandarin Oriental Miami, I made sure to slide between the sheets of our very nice king size bed before 11 pm in order to keep myself well rested for the next day.  With a 7:30 call time, it didn’t even matter that I would not be in charge of hair and make up before I arrived in the morning, I still didn’t want to show up looking like I just stepped off a three day passage from one of our boats. Getting up just after 6 am we packed up all our belongings, did a quick rinse in the showers, and made sure Georgie hadn’t lost herself in the couch again before heading down to the main floor for breakfast.

Basically breaking down the doors to the restaurant as they opened at 7, we opted to skip the $38/person buffet (even though the tab was being picked up) for omeletts and Belgium waffles. Big mistake.  Although we told our server we were in a huge rush, our food didn’t come for 20 minutes, leaving us only five minutes to scarf it down and throw our room number on the tab before running off to the conference room where we were meeting the Vineyard Vines team.  A sprint through the lobby and up a set of stairs, we found we were the first ones there. Waiting for a few minutes until one team member walked in, they said everyone was running a little late and so we decided to use those 10-15 minutes to run up to our room to grab our luggage, as well as Georgie, since it sounded like we’d be checking out of the hotel just after hair and makeup.

Getting back down with all of our bags, and a few strange looks from hotel patrons that just rode the elevator with a cat on a leash, we walked back into the conference room to find it bustling with stylist and production managers.  Making our rounds of introductions (“Hi Cat, meet Georgie the cat”), we were placed in chairs as the team got to work on us.  Matt had been instructed a few weeks before to let his hair and beard grow out a little to give him more of a salty sailor  look, so uneven ends were trimmed; while I settled in for the whole hair and makeup treatment. One woman went to work on my hair with a curling  iron to give me soft windswept curls, while another woman started on my makeup to give me a fresh, dewy, natural look.  Less than 30 minutes later we were being shuttled down to the lobby to check out of our room and get ready to leave for our first location.

It wasn’t until the valet was bringing our wreck of a van around that the team quickly mentioned it was time to get into our first outfits of the day.  Matt was handed a pair of floral chappies (swim trunks) with a gingham shirt, and I was given a striped string bikini with a pink gingham quick dry dress to slip over it.  Running back out from the restrooms into the lobby with our new uber preppy clothing on, we packed all our belongings in the van and followed the team in their Chevy Suburbans out to Key Biscayne where a chartered yacht was waiting to take us on the water for the first part of our shoot.

Getting to the marina (of which we’d actually been to before with our friend Ana Bianca, so we were able to recommend it to the production staff), we walked out to the docks to find a 57 ft yacht waiting for us, our pretend home. I should let it be known they originally contacted us wanting to shoot on our own boat….but there was no way that was possible.  So this pretend home of ours for the day?  HUGE upgrade.  Georgie felt right at ease in the marina and jumped on the yacht without a second thought, settling herself in the cushy cockpit with no regard to the 15 team members moving around alongside her.  For a few minutes, a set stylist gathered a few of the personal belongings we had brought with us to photograph, while another stylist pulled me aside to figure out jewelry.  While this was going on, other team members loaded up the cabin with clothing, cameras, and other equipment that would be necessary for time out on the water.

Before we knew it the lines were being tossed off, and Matt and I were told to relax while a hired captain brought us out of the marina channel and into Biscayne Bay.  The sky was a little overcast, and hopes were that it would not begin pouring rain down on us.  Getting to know the very friendly crew as we moved further out into the bay, it was fun chatting with them, and finding out more about what their jobs entailed and how the previous shoots of the week had gone.  With us being the very last shoot of this session, we got the scoop on the other sailing subjects, including our friend Johannes, whom we had dragged back from the Bahamas just a little early so he could participate.

When we did begin shooting it was all very casual and laid back.  A far cry from the very posed shots I was expecting, we were mostly told to go to a certain area of the boat and just kind of ‘do our thing’.  In my first outfit I stood near the aft deck where it went into the cockpit, and just kind of twirled around a backstay as I looked out on the water.  Matt was seated on the pushpit and was given a piece of rope to tie knots, and also look out on the water and smile and laugh like he was having the time of his life.  Each ‘session’ lasted less than five minutes, and then it was time for an outfit change.  I was told to keep my bikini on while I switched out my dress for a beach coverup, and Matt was sent below deck to change out of his chappies and into proper shorts.  Poor guy forgot to bring his boxers with him onto the yacht after our initial outfit change, and I think the girl styling him was in for a bit of a surprise when she went to properly tuck in his button down shirt.  After that point it was all verbal instructions instead of hands on assistance, at least from the waist down.

Vineyard Vines closeup page 1

Vineyard Vines on Facebook

Jessica VV coverup

The clothes kept changing and locations were moved around the deck and cockpit of the boat.  Some of the shots were individual, and others had both of us together.  We even managed to get Georgie in a few of the shots, as she was loving this luxe life on the water. After every session with the DSLR, a video camera was also brought out to capture the scene, all to be put together for an interview to be shown on the website with the clothing release.  One of the best parts for me is they paid close attention to our travels and tried to integrate as many things from our real life as possible into the shoot.  For me they incorporated my World Beer Tour, pulling out some Spanish beers for me to sip on the deck as I let the wind whip through my hair.  As far as Matt, they tried to recreate his big mahi catch during our Atlantic crossing, pulling out a 50 lb fish for him to pose with up on the bow.  I would have LOVED to capture these behind the scene moments with my own camera, but they were not allowed on set since the shoot was happening 3 months before the release of the clothing line.

fish comparison

Matt & Jess VV

We were having so much fun during the shoot and it did not feel like work at all.  Not one of those ‘You think modeling is glamorous, but it’s so hard’ things. Mostly it was just us on a boat, with the added bonus of having someone steer and handle the sails while we enjoyed the ride and looked pretty.  Apparently we did run into an issue though where the camera man told me I smile too much, but I honestly couldn’t find the right mix of facial expressions to look happy or content without a wide toothy grin showing.  Any time I *think* I’m pulling this look off, I’m told by Matt that I just look pissed off.  I guess I have to work on that more in the future.

There were certain times we did take control of the boat for specific photos or parts of the video.  I even steered us back for a few minutes, while being told by the videographer that ‘there’s no such thing as a bad point’.  So there we both stood, pointing at the chart plotter, pointing at buoys, and pointing at the Miami skyline.  If there’s no such thing as a bad point, I’m going to ride that pony until it’s dead.  I really had no idea what else to do in front of the camera other than, well, smile.  If anyone else has this mid-range look down, seriously, email me with instructions.  Taru?…..Elay?…

We ended the shoot that day with a location change to Monty’s Raw Bar next to Miami Marina.  This was to be our fancy shoot where we were gussied up in a few of the fanciest looks the line has to offer.  Hair and makeup went to work on us once more, combing out the knots in my hair and slathering Matt in sunscreen to give him that nice dewy look.  Customers of the bar sat and looked on as we were pampered, and multiple outfits were pulled off the rack and held up to us to figure out the best look for the shot.  I was handed a GORGEOUS linen dress with a beaded detail, along with a pair of Tory Birch heels (the first pair I’d worn in nearly 3 years), and Matt was given a sport coat and bow tie.

Escorting us to a section of the bar which overlooked the water, we were posed for this section of the photo shoot; elbow on the bar, sip your painkiller, give each other loving looks, ect.  I think part of the reason for the posing here though was the unbelievable amount of clips keeping us tight inside our clothing.  My dress was only slightly loose, so there were about two binder clips pinning the mid section tighter in the back, but Matt had clips running all the way up and down the back and arms of his sport jacket.  I’m surprised there were actually angles possible where you didn’t see them.

When this part of the shoot ended, before I could even slam the rest of my Painkiller (and Matt’s too for that matter), we were ushered once again to the restrooms to change back into a more relaxed outfit, and brought out on the boardwalk for the question and answer part of our interview.  Something I kind of knew was a possibility after paying attention to the release of their Spring line, but something Matt had no idea was coming.  I made sure to keep it this way so he wouldn’t think about it too much beforehand and get flustered.  At the end of the interview I think we were both happy with how it turned out. I think we did a good job of answering questions, and hopefully didn’t do too much mumbling or unprepared answers of “I personally believe that US Americans….”.

All in all, we had SO much fun participating in this shoot for Vineyard Vines.  The entire staff and crew were incredibly friendly and we had a wonderful time talking and joking with them between photos while just hanging out.  The clothes were fantastic, and except for the large yacht we could only wish was ours, they captured us perfectly as we spend our time on the boat and with each other.  Only in much better clothes than we normally wear.  Although don’t be surprised if you catch us in a lot more of their gear from here on out.

Make sure to check out any of their multiple stores nationwide, and tell them we sent you!  We don’t get anything from this, but after working with such an amazing company, we can only hope that you’ll give them a little of your support while staying stylish on the water.

Vineyard Vines closeup page 2

Vineyard Vines page 3

Vineyard Vines page 4

Vineyard Vines page  5

Also, check out the 90 second interview they put together on us from shots taken from the day!

 

*Just because I know you’re all wondering this, no, we did not get to keep the clothing when we were finished.  Not only did they probably put us in a few thousand dollars worth of outfits, but there is again the conundrum of releasing clothing to a person before the line is released through the company.  We were however paid in a hefty gift card, of which has now gone toward a lot of great clothing that you’ll be seeing me in once we start travelling again.

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Throwback Thursday: The ARC is Gone, Time to Invade Las Palmas

Now that we’re sitting in Indiantown Marina and it’s obvious that we’re going to be here for quite a long time while we fix up Daze Off to sail, I don’t want to bore you with stories that are only related to boat work (but don’t worry, they’re still coming).   I know that’s what some of you crave, but if you’re like me, you also need a little fun in there.  A little travel and a little adventure.

So for the foreseeable future while we are doing nothing much more than boat work I will be adding a Throwback Thursday post in every week as well.  Cataloging our trip so far, giving you that needed sense of travel and adventure, and for those of you that haven’t started with us from the beginning, catch you up on some of the most important or memorable parts of our travels.

It was a shame that as soon as the sun came out to show us exactly what a nice place Marina Rubicon could be, it was time for us to check out and move on.  We would have loved to spend a few more days at our favorite spot in Playa Papagayo, but the weather had not settled down enough from the storm passing through to give us a comfortable spot there.

Moving over to the south side of the island, we found a little known anchorage tucked next to a small resort and a few restaurants.  Here we sat and waited out rain for a few days, while venturing to shore just once, only to find the nearest internet was three miles away.  Not what we wanted to hear while trying to forecast weather for our upcoming 100 mile journey to Gran Canaria.  Through texting with my dad on our satellite phone, we were given the go ahead for good weather to get us to our last destination in the Canary Islands.

You can find the original post here.

 

Friday November 28, 2014

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We made it to Gran Canaria. It’s crazy to think this will be our last stop before our Atlantic crossing. I still have mixed emotions about going back across since it seems like we just got to this side of the ocean. Part of me wants us to get delayed to no end so that I can enjoy land based time for as long as possible. The other part of me wants to get it over with as soon as possible, not only putting our long crossings behind us, but also getting to spend more time in the Caribbean with friends and tropical climates before throwing ourselves into major boat overhaul mode for the rest of 2015.

When we left Playa Quemachia on Tuesday I was still a little apprehensive of the 25 kt winds and 3 meter seas as the last time we had those conditions was going from Sao Miguel to Maderia, a passage I’d still like to block from my mind for so many reasons. But as we raised the main and glided out from the anchorage and into deep waters it was actually a pleasant sail. The wind was coming on our back quarter and the waves were gently lifting us up and pushing us forward. I laughed to myself and though, if this is what our crossing back to the Caribbean is going to be like then sign me up, I can totally handle this!

As usual Matt was down in bed basically as soon as the sails were raised and we were on course, preparing himself to stay up late for the first night shift. I spent the afternoon alone in the cockpit, snacking on Maria cookies and watching the volcanic peaks of Fuerteventura disappear into the horizon. All of the shifts passed incredibly quickly, neither of us had any issue falling asleep right when we were supposed to, and before we knew it we could see the lights of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in the dark. Not even one of those situations where you can see a glow in the dark, but we could actually make out lights even when we were 30 miles offshore. The sail had actually gone so well that we had to slow ourselves down in order not to arrive in the dark.

Based on the insane number of ships showing on our AIS we did not want to get anywhere near shore without full daylight on our side. Matt even had to wake me up early to try and figure out all the lights in the water that were surrounding us in the dark. Trying to figure out what tankers were anchored outside the harbor and what ones were still moving, if the tri color light in the distance belonged to a sailboat, and if so how far it was from us, and if that ferry running up directly behind us knew we were there. The only way to describe this harbor is controlled chaos. I don’t think we’ve ever been to such a busy port. It seemed like all the vessels knew what they were doing for the most part, but the number of them was completely astounding.

When the sky eventually grew light and we could make sense of everything we were seeing, it was a mad rush to the harbor to beat out all the other sailboats that had obviously been waiting on the same weather window we had to make the crossing here. Assuming that the marina would have limited space even now that the ARC had left, we did not want to get turned away and literally have to travel all the way to the other side of the island to find another marina. Punching down the throttle we literally raced in another boat that was trying to pass us and caught the right side to be on of a departing tanker, while the other boat had to slow down and wait for it to pass.

Alligning ourselves with the hundred masts in front of us we pulled up to the marina and saw the numerous boats anchored out front. Confused on why they were all out there, we thought that the only available anchoring here was directly in front of a set of breakers and that these boats must be out here because the marina was overfilled and there was no other place for them to go. We figured that as long as there were numerous boats at anchor versus the marina, we would join them until a staff member came out to let us know we couldn’t be there. May as well steal a few days at anchor if possible.

Somehow even though this was an incredibly short passage, both of us were completely drained of energy for the rest of the day. We slept away most of it and barley woke up in time to make dinner before going right back to bed for the night. Yesterday we did get off the boat long enough to wander a few blocks and find a grocery store to stock us up for the weekend. We also tried to make a stop in the marina office to check ourselves in, but after taking a number and sitting in a set of plastic chairs for 45 minutes while not a single new person was called up to the desk and we were fifth in line, we decided to put it off for another day. Completely forgetting that it was Thanksgiving back home we did nothing special and enjoyed our normal nightly routine of a movie from our hard drive while eating dinner.

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Today we had wanted to get off the ‘Dip and do a bit more exploring except a terrible front was moving through the area and making conditions unbearable. During the afternoon it was just cloudy skies and winds around 30 knots, nothing to cause worry but enough to keep us on the boat. Through the evening and into the night though, things only got worse. Much, much worse. Even though we were inside a very protected harbor, the winds blowing through were so intense that I shudder to think of what conditions offshore were.

While I tried to settle into the settee with a bowl of popcorn and a chick flick on my Android. Even with earbuds nestled tightly in my ear I had to pause the movie a few times to check the howling winds outside since they were becoming deafening. Turning on the instruments we watched the wind gust up into the 40s….and then stay there. Through the next few hours it kept raising and raising until we were getting sustained winds in the 50s. At that point panic started to set in as we just waited for our anchor to drag or for one of the boats ahead to drag back into us. The winds were so powerful that if our bow even started to fall a few degrees off of direct wind, it would catch our hull and start to push us beam in. Back and forth we twisted from one direction to the other, all the time thinking of the strain on our anchor and chain.

There was one boat next to us that dragged further and further out of the anchorage and into the shipping channel, but unlike the storm we experienced in Play Francesca, it would be suicide to send Matt out in the dinghy to alert or try to help them. Luckily they became aware of this problem very quickly and began to move themselves back into the anchorage. For a period though they were fighting winds so strong that even though I’m sure they were motoring at full power, they weren’t even able to move forward, only keep themselves from getting pushed backward.

Chatting online with my blog friend Kit that’s in Tenerife and experiencing even stronger winds according to Passage Weather, she relayed that what they were receiving was sustained winds and gusts into the upper 60s. Jealous of the fact that they were in a marina instead of at anchor like we were, I quickly was comforted with our location as she told me that on the way to the showers, sheet metal was peeling off buildings and flying into the anchorage. Her and a visiting friend had to literally drop to the ground to keep from being hit by one. Not anything I would like to experience.

Both Matt and I were kept up by this storm until 4 am when we were no longer able to keep our eyes open and the winds were just beginning to subside. So…suddenly that Atlantic crossing isn’t sounding so appealing anymore. I think a plane ticket and hired crew to sail Serendipity to the Caribbean sounds much better. Now if only I could find a trustworthy crew to do this for free…..

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Rebuilding the Quarter Berth: Part I

The last room.  We’re actually starting work on the last room.  I honestly wasn’t sure this day would ever come. Ok, so work still needs to be done to to the starboard walls of the pilot house, but our aft quarter berth was the last untouched area….and now we have our hands all over it!

Our first step was clearing it out which was no easy feat in itself.  Ever since we moved aboard this boat the quarter berth has been our main ‘storage’ area (other than our 10′x10′ storage unit up the road), so if there was anything on the boat we didn’t know where to stick it…in the quarter berth it went.  About half of it we were able to keep chaos free, but the front half, the part we used to store all our tools, rarely to ever had a sense of order.  For more than 48 hours anyway.

To clear space in this area in order to tear it apart and rebuild it, we needed to find new homes for all the items that had been sitting there.  Most of the smaller tools we use nearly everyday were placed in what will eventually become an extra pantry for me; the bottom area of our nav station.  Our drawers from the old nav station; your run of the mill junk drawer; small tools; computer electronics; and then boat electronics; have been moved to sit on top of the port settee on the pilot house.  Over there also went the two boxes of canned food that we had brought over from Serendipity and never visited again.  They really should have been in an easier to access spot.

What resulted was a new chaos in the pilot house that even spilled out a little bit to our forward salon.  Imagine if you (as a homeowner) took everything you stored in your garage and attic, and moved it into your living room.  It is complete craziness.  I actually have video of it that I’ll put online as soon as I have a following video once we’ve cleaned it all up so we don’t look like we belong on an episode of hoarders, haha.

Anyway, back to the project. After the area had been cleared out we started the process of removing all the old walls and plywood, bringing  them below the boat to keep as templates for when we’re ready to trace and install the new wood. The existing pieces still didn’t fit exactly as we wanted though, so before they went down we went through and measured areas we’d like to extend them out just a little bit, and marked those areas with a Sharpie so we’d know later the adjustments that needed to be made.

cleaned out quarter berth

Matt taking measurements

taking apart quarter berth

Once all the old wood was out, there was the task of making sure the aluminum in that part of the hull was still ok and wasn’t pitting enough to the point it would need replacing.  Since our welder is still scheduled to come out and fix one or two more problem areas, we need to know of all issues to the hull, inside and out, before we send our welder packing for good.  This meant taking out the existing insulation against the hull below the waterline, which we wanted to anyway because it’s easier for moisture to get trapped there.

Getting to work with an oscillating tool, I worked through two rows of insulation until I was down to metal, and then scrubbed the area with a metal brush to make sure any remaining debris came loose and was vacuumed up.  Keeping a clean surface down here will help prevent any future pitting, and we definitely don’t want that.  But I have to say, after sticking my tiny little fingers from my itty bitty hand between a few of these metal frames because no other tools would easily fit in there to clean out all the dirt build up, I was tempted just to let it sit and rot.  But sigh…future Jessica would hate me for that.

The next few days on this project were easy sailing.  We used 2x4s as the cleats that would hold the new plywood flooring (seating?) and also put up the new battons which the Eurolite will adhere to.  On a rain free morning I epoxied all of them so they could be installed permanently, and we were ready to trace our old templates onto fresh wood.  In a few areas we made over cuts ‘just in case’ because we knew it would be much easier to shave a little off than be too short and screwed.  The plywood fit in perfectly, although the Eurolite needed just a little trimming.  All in all it was an easy process and the initial install came together very nicely.

Next step will be to route the v-groves in the Eurolite, and epoxy the backs before we can install them for good.  Then it’s onto my favorite task of filling and sanding the corners, and eventually I’ll be unleashed to prime and paint.

Jessica removing foam insulation

Matt adding new beams

initial walls of quarter berth

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Advice Is Not Absolute

shipwreck Bahamas

Don’t worry, we won’t end up like this if we don’t take every piece of advice given.

If you’re a member of Facebook, chances are, you’re probably part of one of the million and one subgroups about sailing. I know I’m in at least six of them. I love these groups, they can be a wealth of information.  Any question you have about sailing or cruising, just post it in one of these groups and you will most likely have 10 responses within an hour. I’ve used them to ask questions in areas I’m not particularly knowledgeable about, or even go the opposite direction and dispense the knowledge I do have to others asking questions.

Any time I post a question in one of these groups I am extremely grateful to anyone who replies. I take into consideration any information given to me, even if my broad question provides answers that don’t apply to my situation personally. So if you have seen me in these groups and helped me out with a problem, or hell, even just liked the comment; thank you very much for taking the time from your schedule to lend me a hand or acknowledge that I need a little help.

With that being said though, there is one thing that sometimes happens while I’m reading the responses that will immediately raise my blood pressure and leave me wishing for a squishy ball to squeeze the hell out of.  It’s when people give advice as if it’s an absolute. As if it is either the only solution to my problem, or they know me so well that of course their answer is going to apply to me and my life.  Well guess what?  Advice is just that. Advice. And because it may work well for one person or even large groups, it does not mean it will apply to everyone.

I’ve never been one that likes being told what to do, so when I’ve gotten out of my 9-5 world and into something a little more freeing and without the same conformity, I DON’T like someone telling me ‘This is how it’s going to be’. I guess this makes me an outlier among outliers. I will fully admit that Matt and I are not your typical cruisers.  On average we’re 30 years younger, live on quite a different budget, and view different things as necessities.

Let me enlighten you with a few ‘helpful’ statements I’ve been given…and why they just don’t work for me. Plus, they’re all things I’ve heard multiple times.  The first one or even two times, yeah, I can let it go.  Although somewhere around the third or fourth time my eye will start twitching. And keep in mind, in the manner they were given, these were not suggestions.

  • People eat everywhere in the world.  Don’t waste your time and storage fully stocking up with provisions in the US.  Instead, buy your food in the Bahamas and support the local economy.

While I won’t argue with this statement itself, I will only say that it unfortunately doesn’t always fit into our lifestyle.  Provisions in the Bahamas are usually at least 50% more expensive than in the US.  We’re 34.  We don’t have a full retirement fund, social security, or pension.  While the idea is great, we have to be realistic.  And while we love to support the community when we can (like the fish fry we went to in Long Island), we can’t just shell out money like that.  Truth is, most cruisers out there don’t.  But the pretentious attitude of those that try to push it on others just irritates me.

  • Don’t even bother bringing dresses or anything fancy with you.  I can promise you will NEVER use them.

I may have left the city behind when we stepped foot on our boat to sail away in 2012, but I still like my fair share of glitz.  Are fancy dresses necessary in this lifestyle?  Absolutely not.  But I still like putting them on every once in awhile, even if it’s just to wander through the dirt roads of Belize.  I’ve actually recently come to the realization that I spent too much time in our first round of cruising in jean shorts and t-shirts because I thought I had to.  I miss dresses.  And you’ll be seeing me in them a lot more our second time out.  (Heels though?  No.  You’ll still always find me in sandals or flats).

  • You have to listen to Chris Parker before you plan on making any passages in the Caribbean.

Sorry, nothing against you Chris Parker, but I have never listened to a broadcast. It’s on waaaay to early in the morning for me, and I’ve had zero issues with other forecasting routes.  Passage Weather has always been our go-to when we have internet, showing me what’s going on in any particular area of the world. And those combined 11 weeks we spent out in the Atlantic were handled just fine using Weather Fax through our SSB.

  • You have to have cabinets in your salon to maximize storage.

Ok, maybe I haven’t heard this one yet, but I know it’s coming.  Because it suits us and our style better, we’ve decided to forego wall cabinets in our salon, and we’ll be fully relying on storage under the settee.  But because of the pilot house aspect of our new boat, we now have more storage than we know what do do with, and we like the clean lines of keeping our salon walls bare instead of putting up cabinets to gain a little extra storage.  It may not be typical or even sensible as far as maximizing boat space, but we like it.  Besides, this is our boat, and we’ll arrange it to how it suits us best.

 

Now I don’t want everyone to freak out and never give me advice or tips again.  As I’ve said, I LOVE the help and ideas I get from these Facebook groups.  And if you’re thinking to yourself “I hope it wasn’t when I told her she should do XX or YY that pissed her off”.  No, chances are extremely slim that any of these comments came from anyone who even follows this blog.  You’ve all been so valuable and I’m so happy to hear your thoughts and advice.

But I have to know…am I alone here?  Has anyone else had cases of where they were given a piece of advice as if they had no choice in the matter but to accept it?  I’d love to hear the ‘absolute’ advice that didn’t fit into your lifestyle.

 

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Throwback Thursday: Stuck in Marina Rubicon

Now that we’re sitting in Indiantown Marina and it’s obvious that we’re going to be here for quite a long time while we fix up Daze Off to sail, I don’t want to bore you with stories that are only related to boat work (but don’t worry, they’re still coming).   I know that’s what some of you crave, but if you’re like me, you also need a little fun in there.  A little travel and a little adventure.

So for the foreseeable future while we are doing nothing much more than boat work I will be adding a Throwback Thursday post in every week as well.  Cataloging our trip so far, giving you that needed sense of travel and adventure, and for those of you that haven’t started with us from the beginning, catch you up on some of the most important or memorable parts of our travels.

It turns out there is a reason people don’t stay anchored in Isla de Lobos long, and the swell we kept hearing about decided to rear it’s nasty little head after 2 nights of staying there.  Only 3 miles away was our now favorite spot of Playa de Papagayo, and we were not sad at all to have to spend just a few hours getting back there.

It wasn’t hard spending our days laying out at the beach, and our evenings in the cockpit with a glass of wine, watching the volcanic rocks turn red around us.  We were still a few days away from being able to move ourselves to Gran Canaria when the ARC left, we didn’t want to be around there with that mass of boats, but it turns out we did have to move ourselves regardless of if we wanted to.

With a heavy storm on it’s way and our boat about to be pinned against a lee shore, we had no other option but to move ourselves to the fancy Marina Rubicon.  It’s kind of funny.  I remember not liking it a ton when we were originally there, maybe it was just being forced back into a marina when all we wanted to do was be at anchor; but now that I look back on it, it was a beautiful place to be!

You can find the original post here.

Friday November 21, 2014

Besteaver 18 in Marina Rubicon

Although we could have stayed in the Papagayo Peninsula forever, or at least until the madness that is the ARC leaves Las Palmas and we can move ourselves there, mother nature seemed to have other plans in mind. On Wednesday morning we were commenting how the wind was coming out of the south and kicking up a bit of swell, making things on Serendipity just a bit more uncomfortable than they had been even the few previous days. It became a bit of a game through the morning, to see how much we could tolerate. The only other option other than to put up with it would be to move ourselves to a marina and we were on a kick to see if we could go our whole time in the Canaries without having to enter one.

We were enjoying our second cup of coffee out in the cockpit, watching the waves coming our way starting to form cresting white tops, and both of us knew the game would be coming to an end as this was not only becoming unbearable, but possibly dangerous to stay. Calling Marina Rubicon on the VHF we asked if there were open slips and told them we were on our way and to expect us shortly. As Matt made his way up to the bow to raise the anchor it was diving in and out of the waves and splashing water all over him as I had to rev up the rpms just to get us moving far enough forward to bring it up. When I finally got the hand signal that I could start making my way to the marina I looked at the instruments in time to see the wind gusting over 40. Fully exposed to this as we were, we were grateful that we didn’t wait any longer than we had to try and get out of there.

Navigating the narrow entrance to the marina with waves now rolling on every side of us, we tucked into a slip just in time to watch the sky grow completely black and the winds really take off. Rains bucketed down and I had the satisfaction of enjoying this tremendous storm from somewhere safe now. When conditions settled down a little later we found our way up to the grocery store, something we were going to have to come to this side of town for in the next few days anyway, and stocked Serendipity back up with breads, meats, and even some cheap wine and sangria. For the rest of the night we let the rain rocket outside while the pressure dropped significantly, as we sat calmly at the dock enjoying a nice dinner and the use of internet. Hot showers followed which was almost, almost, worth the trip into the marina itself.

Conditions were not expected to improve the following day, in fact there were signs posted everywhere about the low pressure system moving through the area and mariners should take caution and put extra lines and fenders out to protect from possible damage. One night at the marina turned into two, and although we tried to enjoy our easy access to land again, nothing but dark skies and rain followed for another day, forcing us to sit on the boat, computers on lap, glasses full of sangria. Well, for me anyway.

Marina Rubicon, Lanzarote

storm over Marina Rubicon

Today the clouds finally broke lose and let the sun out again. Being the guests who stay just until the moment of check-out, we used our morning for a nice leisurely walk back to the grocery store to stuff our bags with everything we couldn’t the day before, and take one last hot shower. It is a little sad that bad weather had to force us in here as the grounds actually look very nice for when you can get out and enjoy them. There’s a nice pool surrounded by lounge chairs, an outside market set up two days a week, and a lovely path that runs from the marina almost all the way to where we had been previously anchored. The marina is in fact set in a community, full of white washed condos and apartments, which is probably why the cost to stay here is twice as high as any marina we found in Portugal (or that you can find in the rest of the Canaries, so we hear).

We tried to get as much out of our sunny morning as we could, wandering all the paths and looking at the much more expensive and better kept yachts on the far side of the marina. Matt even found a Besteaver sitting in one of the slips. A certain type of aluminum boat that he’s been drooling over for a few years now. And not only that, but it happened to be the same exact one that he has multiple photos of downloaded to his computer, of this particular boat floating through icebergs in the Arctic. I think these photos are meant to show me what our aluminum boat might be capable of, although I still have little to no desire to see ice floating by me from the deck of my own boat. Stick me on ’18′ as crew or charter for a few weeks on a trip to the Arctic  though and that’s something I might be able to get into.

Marina Rubicon, Lanzarote

Besteaver 18

paths around Marina Rubicon

paths around Marina Rubicon

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Prepping for Paint

It never fails that as soon as we get a few walls new up, and I get excited and gung-ho to get a  nice white coat of paint on them, only to find that project is going to be pushed back about a week for other things first.  Not only that, it’s usually for one of my least favorite projects on earth.  Using filler, and then sanding that filler down.

For all of our areas that are not overhead panels, basically meaning the ceiling, we would like them permanently fixed in the corners instead of solely using trim, and so we’v been stuffing them with an epoxy filler which then gets sanded down smooth.  And who gets to sand down these areas with peaks so hard and sharp they’ll slice open your finger if your hand skips off the sandpaper?  Ding ding ding, this girl here!

Ok, so this round in the pilot house wasn’t so bad because I was able to use  the palm sander for a good portion of it, and there were only a few corners that needed to be done by hand.  A Sharpie wrapped in sandpaper helped to do the trick in those areas, and for once I was left asking, “That was it?”.

Remember last fall when I had the horrible task of sanding all the seams inside the head?  At least these areas, for the most part, are a little easier to reach.

Taking the palm sander to the remaining boards to smooth down the surface for the initial priming, the job actually went by pretty quickly.  Sure there was another day added so we could go through and add a second filler that had better sanding qualities, covering the screw holes and any seams that may have had indents from the first round.  After about three days, I was let loose with my paint brush.

7.30.16 (1)

7.30.16 (2)

7.30.16 (3)

7.30.16 (4)

It was a long day, but I was able to get two coats of primer on all these boards in one work day.  Notice I say ‘work day’ because I will still throw in the towel at 5 pm even there is plenty of daylight left for working later.  I would say the next day where I did a hand sanding, as to not take of everything I’d just done with the palm sander, as well as put a coat of paint on a good day too, but I was suffering a massive wine hangover.  A side story that will be saved for a later post, but Will and Cat from Monday Never met up with us at the patio while they got ready to sell their boat Paradox, and after the few glasses of wine that Cat and I had, combined with the insufferable heat, and we both had headaches until 5 pm the next day.

In any sense, I kept pushing past the fact that I thought my skull was going to rip out of my head, because I was determined to get an actual coat of paint on that day.  The hand sanding took me from breakfast until a late lunch, and the painting was much easier.  Our semi-gloss Valspar just glides right on, although I do have to be careful about my brush strokes.

All this work did take me about an hour past my quitting time, but it was completely worth it.  Look at the difference it’s made in this space.  Pretty soon we’ll have the walls up on the port side as well, and once I’m forced to go through the hassle of filler and sanding once more, those too will be painted.

Gahhhh, I’m so excited to see how all this is coming together!

7.30.16 (6)

7.30.16 (7)

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Improvements on Our Cruising Necessities

Every cruiser has them.  The certain necessities they can not get by without while boating.  Items ranging from logically needing to function, or simply making our everyday lives easier.  Of course there is a wide range of articles that one find themselves requiring for their life on the water, but we were lucky enough to make some major improvements on a few items we use All.The.Time.

Here are a few categories of items that we find indispensable to have aboard or while traveling, and the new products we have which are vast improvements on how they used to work for us.

Backpacks

Friendly Swede 60L water-resistant combined duffel and backpack

As any cruiser knows, things on a boat get wet.  Easily.  Add in any trips to and from shore in a dinghy, and your chances of getting splashed go up exponentially. That is why we’ve spent the past few years carrying a dry bag/backpack with us, to get certain items to and from shore while keeping them dry.

Just as we were on the hunt for another bag to do the same thing for us as our old one is deteriorating, we were contacted by The Friendly Swede to try their new 60L duffel/backpack.  And wow, this thing is heavy duty. As soon as we saw it, we knew it would get the job done. It has so many features that will work out great for us in acting as a backpack that will keep all of it’s contents safe and dry.  The entire bag is made of industrial grade 500D PVC tarp and has waterproof zippers, covered by an extra flap to make it extremely hard for water to get in.  Just remember though, this bag is water-resistant, not water proof.

The Friendly Swede duffel has both both backpack and hand strap carrying capabilities, meaning we can either wear it on our back for long hikes, or use the shorter handles to carry it as a duffel when it suits us better.  The 60 liters of space gives us the option to tote tons of groceries and other items once we’re cruising again, and even has mesh zippered compartments in the top and sides to store items you need quick access to.

My only wish for this product is that it had a little more back support for when wearing as a backpack, but overall we’ve been very happy with it so far, and I see it getting us through a lot of wet conditions!

Friendly Swede duffel

Friendly Swede dufel zippers

Friendly Swede duffel and backpack

Friendly Swede 25L Ultralight Packable Backpack

Just as important as the ‘keep everything dry’ bag, we also need a good ‘go anywhere with us bag’.  So when we saw the Friendly Swede offered a packable backpack, we jumped right on it.  This little guy can hold up to 25 liters of goods, but folds down to 6″ in size and only 8.5 oz.  This means when it’s not in use we can stick it basically anywhere in the boat, but when we do want make a day trip to shore or carry some essential items with us on a hike, it is more than up to the task of toting around everything we need.

Made of a rip-stop nylon, it’s tough against wear and tear, which is especially great for us because it will probably be a secondary grocery hauling bag, now with the added bonus of easily clipping on to our primary bag.  On walks around town or hikes up hillsides, it will make a great bag to carry a few bottles of water, snacks, and my camera (safely tucked inside their 5L dry bag, of course).  Plus, its bright blue color makes me smile.  :)

Friendly Swede Ultralight Backpack 1

Friendly Swede Ultralight Backpack 2

Clothespins

FIXCLIP Storm-proof & Lockable Clip

Even if you are the kind of cruiser that will schelp all their clothing and towels to a laundry mat every few weeks (and we’re those people too), chances are that at some point, you still have items hanging on your lifelines to dry.  Towels from your day at the beach, your foul weather gear after the storm has passed and the sun comes out again, or those sink loads of underwear we all do because you can never seem to store enough clean pairs.

Whatever the reason, whatever you are hanging, there is a new clip in town that will knock your socks off.  Unless they’re secured to your lifelines, because these knew clips will keep them there in any kind of condition. Introducing, the FIXCLIP.  Winner of the Plastic Innovation Award of 2015, this clip is lockable, storm-proof, and can withstand winds up to 70 knots.  Versatile between your lifelines or pulpit, it securely locks onto surfaces from 0.5-32 mm, and won’t release its grasp until you unlock it.  If that were not enough of a selling point right there, the clips are made of plastic and are UV resistant, so you won’t have to worry about them rusting or becoming damaged from the sun.

We haven’t had the chance to put ours to the full test yet, but based on the conditions they’ve withstood shown in a video made by the company, I’ll be setting damp items out to dry no matter the weather.  Without the fear of losing clips, or worse, our clothing, overboard to strong or unexpected gusts, I see a lot more bucket laundry in our future…and I’m completely ok with that!

FIXCLIP 1

FIXCLIP 2

Turkish Towels

From what I’ve been reading on a few of my friend’s pages, Turkish towels have become all the rage lately.  It seems as if everyone I know has said goodbye to their regular terry towels in exchange for these smaller and more stylish versions.  After a little research into them, I’m beginning to see why.

Hammamas

Hammamas tout themselves as ‘The clever cotton towel’, that can double as a sarong, beach dress, beach blanket, picnic topper, you name it.  We also have it on good authority from friends that these towels make great cushion toppers on your boat to prevent sweat from leaking through in hot Caribbean climates.

We love them because of their super absorbent qualities, and the small amount of space they take up when folded down. During our vacation in Siesta Key, I was stunned to find how little room these towels used in my bag.  The last time I had tried to prepare us for a trip to the beach with my North37 bag, I was lucky to get a single beach towel and a bottle of sunscreen in there. On this trip however, I had four Hammamas towels in there with plenty of room to spare. Even with sunscreen, two one liter bottles of water, my camera, and our tablet…I was only at 2/3rds full.

These are going to turn into great beach towels for us, with their absorbent qualities, and quick drying time. The bright colors they’re offered in just scream seaside, and will make great a swimsuit cover when the wind picks up enough to give me a chill.  Something that seems to happen a lot. Another great feature is, the more you wash them, the softer they become.  And nothing beats nuzzling up in a super soft towel after a day of playing at the beach.

VV, Hammamas, North37

Hammamas 1

Hammamas beach

Doga Towels

I have just found the very last towel I ever want to own.  Mostly used for shower and bath purposes, but just as at home at the gym or on the beach, Doga towels have literally been engineered to be the best towel in the world.  On its way to perfection, this towel went through eight iterations before arriving at the current version sold by the company today.  After consulting with textile engineers to make sure they were using the best materials possible, they also studied the history of towels and different weaving patterns to learn what worked best, and areas that could use improvement.

What they came up with is a towel that is fast drying, extremely absorbent, and super soft and cozy.  I’m not joking, these are is the softest towels I have ever laid my hands on.  Forget ever trying to make myself feel like I’m lying on a bed of clouds, I want to lie in a bed of Doga towels.  Any time there is the slightest chill in the air, I can guarantee you will find me wrapped up in one of these.

I haven’t even gotten to two of the best features for cruisers though.  They are incredibly thin, which means they fold down to 1/3rd the size of regular towels; and they are antimicrobial, meaning they won’t grow mold or mildew, or give you that gross towel smell.  Those are HUGE benefits for us, as storage space on a boat is always at a premium, and we can get away without washing them for much longer.  The list doesn’t end there though.  Here are other elements you can expect from this luxury towel.

Doga Towel Features:

  • Natural + Organic made of Aegean cotton and bamboo
  • Machine washable
  • Antimicrobial! Naturally won’t host infection causing bacteria, mold or mildew
  • WON’T EVER GET THAT GROSS TOWEL SMELL
  • Repels sand!
  • Engineered weave allows air to pass through, allowing towel to dry three times faster than traditional towels
  • Super Soft
  • Nice and big measuring in at 31” x 69” BUT folds down to ⅓ the size, perfecting for saving space and travel!!

Doga brand antimicrobial turkish towels

Doga at beach

 

Now that you’ve seen our list, what do you think?  Do these items fit into your necessities as well?  What other items do you have on board that you can’t live without?

*Although the products mentioned above had been given to us in exchange for reviews, all opinions are our own; we only work with companies whose product we believe in.

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Throwback Thursday: Isla Los Lobos, Fuerteventura

Now that we’re sitting in Indiantown Marina and it’s obvious that we’re going to be here for quite a long time while we fix up Daze Off to sail, I don’t want to bore you with stories that are only related to boat work (but don’t worry, they’re still coming).   I know that’s what some of you crave, but if you’re like me, you also need a little fun in there.  A little travel and a little adventure.

So for the foreseeable future while we are doing nothing much more than boat work I will be adding a Throwback Thursday post in every week as well.  Cataloging our trip so far, giving you that needed sense of travel and adventure, and for those of you that haven’t started with us from the beginning, catch you up on some of the most important or memorable parts of our travels.

After our mostly uneventful week in Puerto Rosario, we were ready to get out of the industrial harbor and find a peaceful and picturesque anchorage once more.  Even though both of us were itching to get back to our previous spot by Playa Papagayo, I wanted to make another stop along the way.

Sitting just between the main islands of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote are a little group of islands called Los Lobos, and they were touted to be a gorgeous spot to anchor, if you could handle the swell that sometimes passed through. Ready to take in one new anchorage before we eventually made our way to Gran Canaria to prep for our Atlantic crossing, we spent two beautiful nights in this relatively undiscovered anchorage.

You can find the original post here.

Saturday November 15, 2014

Isla Los Lobos, Fuerteventura

It was nice to have the conveniences of Puerto Rosario, but we were more than ready to get out of the industrial port and trade it for something a little nicer on the eyes. Our next destination was Isla Los Lobos at the northern tip of Fuerteventura. It was a placed we had originally passed on our way down and tossed back and forth in our minds if we should stay there. Our 20 year old guide book listed it as a nice day anchorage, but with too much swell running between the island and the mainland, not a place you’d like to stay overnight. But with the idyllic posters the guy at the information center showed me, accounts of a friend that had just been there, and the fact that we saw about a dozen masts there when we passed it the first time, we knew we couldn’t give it up.

Waiting for winds that would allow us north again, we figured a clam would be the next best thing and turned on our engine at the early hour of 5:30 to give ourselves plenty of time for the 20 some mile hop. We had currents pushing us all the way down Lanzarote and feared they may work against us on our way back up the island. No need to fear though as we traveled at a swift five and a half knots at 2,000 rpm and made it in just over three hours. I guess my math was wrong as well and the trip was only 15 miles. Oops! sunrise over Fuerteventura

sunrise over Fuerteventura, Canary Islands Coming in we had to be very careful of reefs and shallows on each side of us, breaking waves showing the danger we could be in if we drifted too far off course. All the guide books had listed this area as extremely popular for all kinds of extreme water sports and we were starting to see why. High winds wrapping around, strong currents, breaking waves. No wonder a world famous kite boarding championship had just been held in this stretch the previous week. Inching our way into the anchorage we dropped near the back in 40 feet of crystal clear water and took the rest of the day to relax, nap, and watch the charter/party catamarans that would bring tourists over from the mainland for a few hours to swim, drink, and play incredibly loud music. At least it was good though, none of that 80′s stuff that we can’t seem to outrun here.

Isla Los Lobos, Fuerteventura

Our second day I was ready to get out and do something. There’s been lots of lying around beaches or touring city streets in our docket lately, but not much exploring. I had been very excited to get on to the island itself to see what it had to offer. After drifting precariously close over reefs and darting in and out of what we thought were coves in the dinghy, we finally found a spot to land and found out that all the island of Los Lobos had to offer were rocks. Lots and lots of rocks. Not even the pretty kind either. As we walked down the dirt paths it felt as if we had been deposited in a landfill of rubble.

bay at Isla Los Lobos, Fuerteventura

trails at Isla Los Lobos

Back at the boat we took in a quick lunch and were right back in the dink for some snorkeling. During our hunt for an entrance to the bay at Los Lobos we had gone over tons of coral as well as seen multiple dive boats anchored outside of the area. A pretty good indication that there must be something of worth in the water. Donning our wet suits and masks we slipped below the surface of the water and into quite a shock at it’s temperature. A chilly 72°! I remember the days when I wouldn’t even get into Lake Michigan until it was pushing 75°. Sucking it up, I skimmed along under the water and just gave myself more motivation to cross the Atlantic once more and get back to those balmy 82° seas of the Caribbean.

Although there was no color to the coral surrounding us, there were definitely fish abound. On one of Matt first dives down to check out a rock he even found an octopus hanging out under there, something that’s been on his bucket list of things to see in the water. By the time I went down to catch a glimpse of it as well it had already hidden itself out of sight. Instead of searching for it even further as Matt was, taking dive after dive under the water and holding on to the rocks to keep him submerged while he looked in every nook and crevice, I was happy to float at the top and watch the parrot fish which swam below me.

For water that was so cool we stayed in a lot longer than I expected for only having ¾ suits, about 45 minutes in total. We also found the local drinking hole, hundreds of glass beer and wine bottles nestled into the sand just below a set of flat rocks that hung out at the surface. I’m pretty sure Matt could have gone a few more rounds through the bay, but he must have noticed that I was beginning to shiver and keeping my arms wrapped around myself the whole time, so he led us back to the dinghy where I took in a fresh water rinse and some sunbathing up on deck to warm myself back up.

anchorage at Los Lobos

beach at Los Lobos, Fuerteventura

In the evening just before sunset I ushered us both out into the cockpit where I had a nice little spread set up for us that I had been waiting for the perfect surroundings to appriciate. Having made up some bruschetta and toasted french bread earlier in the day, I went to pair it with the bottle of Maderian wine we bought in, where else, Maderia. Opening the top with it’s thick resealable cork, I poured us each a full glass and we went to toast in the glow of the setting sun. Then taking big sips of our revered wine, we simultaniously went back and forth between spitting it out and gulping down what was left while our throats burned like fire. No one had told us that Madeiran wine was actually more like a port. Thick and strong with a heavy liquor taste. We had both been prepared to enjoy it as if it were a chilled Rosé.

Matt poured his glass over the side of the boat while I continued on with mine, taking very light sips as if I were drinking straight rum. It wasn’t bad once you knew what you were in for, but I’m beginning to think this one bottle could very well last six months. Not to bad considering we paid about 6€ for it. Other than the initial surprise and fire in our throats, the evening was soon remedied when Matt had a Pepsi in his hand and I was chasing my wine with water. Good thing we never had the chance to bring that bottle to one of the parks in Maderia to drink like we had originally planned. I think we would have put on quite the show for any unsuspecting tourist that might have had their blanket spread next to ours.

sunset over Fuerteventura, Canary Islands

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Continuing Work on the Pilot House

There has been a lot of work going on inside the pilot house lately! I am just a little more excited that progress is happening here, because as soon as these walls and overheads are built, we move on to the aft berth (which will hopefully be quick and easy), and that’s it for major woodwork!  When these areas are complete we can finally move on to trim, electrical, and plumbing, and BAM, we’ll be in the water.  Ok, so getting that far is still a few months down the road….but at least it finally seems within sight.

There are two main projects we’ve been putting all our efforts into for the past few weeks, and they are getting the upper walls of Eurolite on the port side of the pilot house, and beginning the desk/nav station on the starboard side.

For the walls in the pilot house, it was extremely beneficial to us that we had saved the previous templates from the old walls in our storage unit for the past nine months until we could use them again.  Placing the old boards up against our new 1/2″ plywood that will act as our seat back, we made necessary adjustments to cut the board down until it properly fit in it’s new space.  Once we were happy with how the old template was sitting, we brought the template down to a new 4′x8′ 1/4″ thick sheet of Eurolite, and traced the pattern onto the virgin wood.  The newly cut sheet was brought up and screwed into place.  Basically no tweaking needed!

We decided to leave the sheet that faces midship a smooth surface, but continued with our routing v-grooves into the pieces that face fore and aft.  Wow, I don’t even know how long it has been since we’ve taken on that project.  Maybe sometime last fall when we were throwing up walls in the galley? Everything is coming out great so far though, and I can’t wait to get a few coats of primer and paint in there to finish it off and brighten up the area.

woodwork in the pilot house

Matt cutting wood

 It was fun to begin the tongue and groove projects of the nav desk again.  After having to make odd shaped templates and squeezing boards into place for the walls, doing something square was a nice adjustment.  Not to say this project doesn’t come with it’s difficulties, but at least there are new and fresh ones to offer us a change from what we’re normally dealing with.

The front of the desk was a quick and easy day of cutting and gluing, once we had tailored the table saw to make the correct cuts in the hardwood.  Our frame that will support the doors for our drawers and storage space gave us a few problems of wanting to slide or move just a little bit when we’d go to glue and screw them together.  There’s nothing like having three 90 degree angles and one that’s off to leave you running through your list of expletives in a relatively short time frame.  After lots of tweaking in this area, we eventually did get all the squares to snugly fit our carpenter’s square, and we moved on to making the doors and fronts for these areas.

building nav station

Plus, I was able to paint the walls behind the desk and what will be our electronics area.  I love getting fresh paint in a new space!

painting the pilot house

 Next came the desk top, which is a variation of 2 1/2″ & 3 1/2″ pieces of cherry hardwood for the frame, and a piece of 1/4″ cherry plywood glued to 1/4″ Eurolite, with both pieces sliding into grooves in the hardwood. The tops of the hardwood were rounded over with our router to give them a smooth edge, and we did a light sanding on the bottom edge to take away the sharp corner which would no doubt end up in my forehead on passage.

We also built the frame and panels which will serve as the face for all our electronics.  Things like our switchboard, VHF, stereo, and bilge pump switches.  Once everything was built and properly fitted into place, we disassembled it all to give at least one coat of protective varnishing.  We are so happy with the way everything is coming together in here, and I can’t wait to keep you up to date on the rest of the progress as we get closer and closer to completion. Until then, I’ll just keep daydreaming about our evening at anchor, sitting in here and watching the sunset while comfortable eating dinner inside, or afternoons of reading books and sipping on sparkling water while bathed in natural light.

nav station pilot house

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