Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Ingram Bayou to Fort Walton City Dock

Today’s blog is titled: “I’ve got some good news and bad news”

So....the good news is.....we are still on course for the Bahamas, we survived an artic blast and are still speaking to each other!!!

The bad news:  Now here you have to understand that this is coming from a “newby” cruiser....a so called ‘wanna be’ sailor.  I am in a serious learning curve about all things ‘nautical and live aboard’.   But my captain, God bless his little heart is saying, “Sheree, you are doing so great, I am so proud of you” when I am (in my mind) constantly messing things up.  OK, I get a lot of things right mind you, but this first mate thing is a real challenge if you’ve never done it.  Let me explain......there are 2 very important concerns about living aboard a boat:
 Power conservation (and shouldn’t we all be concerned about that?)
 Water conservation (ditto)

I feel that I am doing pretty well with #1...I only use my blow dryer or curling iron while underway when the engines are charging the batteries (maybe at some point I won’t worry about Boat Hair) and I use solar powered lights or the “flash light” feature on my phone after dark.  I cook on the propane stove when we are at anchor and am constantly asking Ken what I should do differently to conserve power.

Now to #2..... 
There is nothing so precious to a girl as is liquid gold.....texas tea....oops sorry that was oil....Beverly Hillibillies.  Sometimes I get a bit crazy.  But really, wash and rinse dishes, counter tops, clothes, body parts, hair.....the possibilities are endless and yet when we are at home with a faucet we have no thought of it ever running out.  But on a boat with a limited supply, every ounce of water is precious and must be used very expeditiously.  I have come up with a few ways to conserve our water supply (which we just ‘topped off’ at the Fort Walton City Dock).  I will get better as time goes by and my learning curve lessens but for now I am very motivated and determined to do my best and live within our means on this very incredible journey.

So, I guess that wasn’t really “bad news”, just what I’ve been learning.

We stayed last night at Spectre Island, which is a training area for the Air Force Commandos and we could hear the National Anthem being played from the base as we ate dinner.  Very cool, made me very proud to be so near our brave troops training to keep us safe.  It was bitter cold as I know it was for most of you but we stayed warm running the generator and central heat.  

Today we made a short run to the Fort Walton City Dock to get water and wait for the weather to get a bit calmer for our trip across Choctawatchee Bay, through Panama City, and on to Carabelle where we will be until weather permits a crossing to Tarpon Springs.  I am happy to say that I managed to snag the piling at the dock with the boat hook and a line while Ken kept Microship in position to dock fighting the wind and a strong following current.  We did it!  He encourages me and praises me which gives me more confidence for the next time.  

Well, time to go for now, we are going to get some restaurant food near the dock and then try to stay warm for the night.  Tomorrow, the adventure continues!  We will probably stay tomorrow night in the Panama City area.

Over....but not Out.

Captains Corner

Sheree and I decided to separate the boat and personal blogs.  I will be updating the Microship blog with boat and trip related items. Sheree will be updating her personal blog with her observations as a first time cruiser. You can read her blog at

Monday, January 15, 2018

Bay St. Louis, MS to Orange Beach, AL

Well, we are finally underway after a few delays waiting for the best weather window to cross Mobile Bay.  Ken (he’s the captain) and I (Sheree, first mate) are bound for the Bahamas aboard Microship.  We will spend the winter months cruising through the beautiful waters of the Caribbean.  This is Ken’s second trip and my first and I’m having to pinch myself often because...I must be dreaming, right?....I have a lot to learn about being a first mate (However, I do make a pretty good breakfast burrito) and am thankful that the captain is so knowledgable and ......dare I say, Patient???  
We pulled away from the marina in Bay St. Louis, Ms. yesterday evening and just did make it without hitting bottom in the very low tide.  Our main goal was to get away after the winds subsided and coordinate that time with the tidal range.  We did a short 3 hour run to Cat Island and anchored for the night so that we could get a good night’s sleep and make an early start.  We did make that early start today, underway at 6:30am, but the good night’s sleep was not to be.  I think it was just a matter of being “too tired to rest”.  
Today we will head across Mobile Bay and hopefully, anchor near Orange Beach.  So far the day is going well, with me cooking and cleaning (galley wench extrordinaire) and Ken taking care of little hiccups with the moving parts and gauges on Microship (did I say how knowledgable he is?).  I am learning about the navigation system: charts, radar, ASI, PCA, targets, etc. and do have to take over the helm every 2 hours so he can do engine room checks and transfer fuel.  At first that was a bit unnerving for me but I am gaining confidence each time  (I always have the burritos to fall back on...)

Speaking of which, it’s about that time again so I must head up to the Pilot House and do some piloting....Over but not Out