We are having a holiday, vacation for our American friends. Yep we are going to go to Florida for a few days. It will be the first time in seven months that we will have had a night of Meltemia and over eight months since having time of the islands.
A big city, shopping, department stores, movies, disneyland, music stores, people wow. We plan on spending some time in Orlando with Santa and Gary from Caribbean Travel and Life magazine, they were guests on the boat a few months back and have developed into great friends and they have a schnauzer!
We are also going to spend a few nights in Fort Lauderdale, check out the huge boating scene over there and hopefully catch up with Adam Lambert for a beer or two. We are looking forward to shopping for some basic things that are difficult to get in the islands.
We are flying over Friday morning on a small, small puddle jumper which I am not looking forward to. As far as the weather, at this stage it has all been pretty tame in this area. We have had a few Tropical Storms pass over including Katrina and Rita generally turning into hurricanes within 24hrs of passing through this area. We enjoy the change in the weather when the TSs come over.
The blustery, raining conditions are actually a welcome change from the constant heat. You will be pleased to know that the water temperature is back down to around a pleasant 31 degrees Celsius. We are hoping that we don’t have to deal with any more than a TS. Last year in October this area was hammered twice by hurricanes including a cat 5 and they are still in the rebuilding process.
There is a weather window at the moment, in other words, hopefully nothing nasty developing that will pass this way in the next week or so. Which is why we are able to have a few days off the boat. Our hearts go out to all the people in New Orleans and to all the people who are now preparing for Rita. The best sites to get info are; <a href=”http://www.nhc.noaa.gov”>http://www.nhc.noaa.gov</a>/ <a href=”http://www.wunderground.com”>www.wunderground.com</a>
Well its almost a week since our last charter ended. We have had some pretty wet and blustery weather. Tropical depression 15 came through moving very slowly and being upgraded to Tropical storm Ophelia. It is forecast to reach hurricane strength sometime tomorrow.
It is moving very slowly in a north easterly direction. Some of the forecast model show it doing a loop and coming back at the Bahamas in the next 3 or 4 days. Consequently we have been assisting the base move boats up to the hurricane hole.
We are trying to delay shifting Meltemia up there as long as possible as we have had to remove our genset last Monday as a result of a terminal back end. We are hoping to have it repaired and back in before going into hurricane mode, although I don’t like our chances.
Our last 2 charters were like chalk and cheese. The first of the 2 being an absolute shocker. A bunch of alcoholics. How is this for consumption. 4 people 4 days 2.5 litres Mt Gay, I litre Vodka. 1 litre Scotch, 18 bottles of wine, 1 champagne, 1 slab of beer countless cocktails (long island iced teas, Mai Tais). They were as bad a charter as we have had. Last night they all got drunk and argued amongst themselves, smashed glasses and were basically belligerent.
David and I hid in the saloon. After smashing the glass they bitched because we cleaned up the glass before we got them another drink!
The last charter was three brothers, they were great guys and we had a ball with them. Our plan to stay safe should a hurricane come through is make the boat as safe as we can in the hurricane hole and then
a) get a flight to Florida, failing that
b) book into a resort called Regattas.
It is on Abacos only hill built of brick and hopefully we can get an upstairs room. If anyone is interested this is the main web site we use for hurricane info. <a href=”http://www.nhc.noaa.gov”>http://www.nhc.noaa.gov</a>/
We are currently off charter, sitting in our favourite anchorage on a island called Man-o-War Cay. There is a narrow strip of land (about a boat length) separating the Sea of Abaco from the Atlantic Ocean and it is very picturesque. It is a overcast and thunder-stormy morning, which is a pleasant change to the burning sun and searing temperatures.
David seems to spend a extraordinary amount of time off charter working on the westerbrake generator, I think it is just holding together. The boat is a bit of a maintenance nightmare. You think you have all the major jobs under control and then one of the hot water services blow at 2am.
Our last charter was on a bareboat power cat, which didn’t go so well as less then 2 mins out of Marsh Harbour one of the engines fried. Fortunately we had wonderful guests on board who were happy to move the charter over to the Meltemia.
The guy was a diesel mechanic an basically shrugged and said shit happens. We don’t have another charter until the 24th and are going stir crazy. As pretty as it is over here, its getting very quiet, many cruising boats have headed home for the storm season.
We can only assume that there is not many charters booked as this place got hammered last year by Hurricane Jeane and this year has been the most active storm season on record, with the ninth storm already been named (Irene). We are looking forward to Fastys family coming over in September and then also the company on the delivery back down to the BVI and Grenadines.
There is still one more empty bunk available for the delivery. At this stage we plan to leave in the last week in October and then the boat is blocked from charters till early in Dec!
It’s been great getting emails to everyone and thanks to everyone who has made an effort to get <a href=”http://www.skype.com”>www.skype.com</a>, because it means we can call them for free.
No loss not bringing our kiting gear, even though we have time, there is never enough wind!! Keep in touch
David: Since finishing our 28 day owner charter we have had 3 other charters. The cabin booking, Caribbean Travel and Life magazine doing a feature article on Moorings crewed charters as a family holiday and another group of 6. They all went ok with the magazine group being lots of fun.
We have been pretty busy with charters and maintenance on the boat and we are into a good routine and whilst we are working hard we are not getting to stressed about anything.
We don’t have a lot of charters booked over the next couple of months or though that can change fairly quickly. We have a gig on a bare boat 46 ft powerboat starting Sunday as skipper and cook that will be a novel change. It is a bit more low key than our normal job.
The food is pretty basic and we don’t have to do any of the boat prep or cleaning before or after the charter. We don’t have to entertain just basic cooking and drive them where they want to go. Currently we are experiencing our first named tropical storm T.S. Franklin.
It developed from a tropical wave really quickly yesterday, however it is not very big. Yesterday we went off dock for a couple of days and we were at the Full Moon party at Cracker P’s on Lubbers Quarters when we saw the Weather Channel and decided it would be better to be on dock than on anchor so we had a midnight dash back to Marsh Harbour and were safely tied up by about 2-00 am.
This proved to be a good decision as about 5-30am the front hit. It was fairly intense for about 2 hours, with lots of rain now and the occasional wind squall. We are experiencing a record start to the hurricane season with more activity and more named storms than any other year since records were kept. It seams just a matter of time before we get nailed by one.
Oops, not for general reading, must have been pretty tired, after all it was 28 days without a day or or a meal of the boat. Contact us if you are interested. Exumas we some of the most stunning beaches and scenery we have even seen though!!!!