The entrance to Fort Jefferson. This is where Dr. Mudd spent four years (all he served) of his life sentence.
I'm way behind on posting because we ended up in the Twilight Zone that is otherwise known as the Dry Tortuga's where there is no wi-fi or telephone coverage.
Up to that point we anchored in Bahia Honda (where we dragged anchor. Again), and at Stock Island (where we didn't drag because we were literally sitting on the bottom). We finally got to Key West where I was able to walk Wilbur to a vet and where he then collapsed on the way back to the dinghy dock because he just can't take the heat. We were meeting friends in Key West that day and thank god Hans was with them because he and Bob and Rose were able to find me and Wilbur with their air conditioned vehicle and we all ended up going to lunch. They also took us on a quick provisioning run. You gotta love these friends from the 'burgh (Pittsburgh for those who don't know what I'm talking about)!
At anchor in Stock Island. Actually, no anchor necessary.
There was a tri-maran anchored next to us in the Dry Tortuga's and its owners response to our question as to where he was headed to next was, "I'm not sure yet, I just bought this boat and I'm on a shakedown cruise." I made the mistake of laughing and said that as far as I was concerned, every day on the water is a shakedown cruise.
The fort is surrounded by a moat even on the gulf. This was to keep enemy vessels at bay.
From inside the fort. Hans is in silhouette while you can just see our Knotty Cat at anchor in the distance.
Wilbur was able to romp about on the beach here (on his leash of course).
Aother view of the moat.
We departed the Tortuga's the next day hoping that the forecasted N-NE winds would give us a smooth ride back to the Marquesas. The first two hours were rolly beyond belief. At my seat in the cockpit I'd find myself nearly lying on my back one moment and the next second almost standing upright (and remember we're on a catamaran!). Poor Wilbur (who refuses to go below while we're underway) really put his sea legs to use and swayed like a little hula dancer everytime he tried to walk and I actually had to hold onto him while he ate his breakfast in order to keep him in one place. If I'd had my camera on hand, the video I could've taken of him using his potty patch would surely have gone viral. As he hunched up to do his business, his rear end dramatically sashayed from side to side while little turds spilled and rolled about. What a dog though! everything stayed on the patch and he even managed to quick-step over his output without stomping in it.
I gave him a 10 and a gold medal.
This is just a random pic of Wilbur doing his business with a very noisy generator blasting in his face. He's 'da bomb!"
We picked up this poor little castaway in the Marquesas. Can you see the fishing line emerging from his beak?
I swear he's asking us to help him.
The seas finally calmed down enough to throw out a fishing line (no success) and after eight hours of motor sailing we were anchored. Yaaay! Shower time! and right in the middle of rinsing my hair I lost water pressure. I thought my shower head was acting up again but then Hans suffered the same problem in his shower (not that he cares what his hair looks like) and we figured our water pump had crapped out on us. This very same issue happened in 2010 during our first attempt at living aboard and I remember nearly coming unglued and I may have even cried and said I couldn't live this way. This time around I simply asked Hans if he remembered where our spare water pump was and then we discovered we'd drained our water tank. We switched over to the other tank and everything was fine. I have to admit I was a bit surprised that we'd used up 70 gallons of water (I'm quite the miser when it comes to water consumption on the Knotty Cat), but at the end of the day; after a week of washing dishes, rinsing salt water off of us and a very sandy pit bull after every single dinghy ride, etc... took its toll on our reserves.
The next day we decided we would motor (no wind what-so-ever) two whole hours (snore) to Boca Grande Key (we passed it by on our trip to the Tortuga's) where we would do absolutely nothing but relax. Then we woke up to nearly dead batteries and figured out our badly damaged solar panel connections had bought the farm and were actually draining our batteries. We decided as soon as we got to Boca Grande, Hans would hard wire the solar panels until we could get new connectors.
In Boca Grande when we dropped the hook and shut down the engines a piercing alarm from the helm went off. This is something that has never happened to us and no matter how much Hans jiggled the ignition key that damn thing kept screaming at us. After restarting and then shutting down the port engine it finally stopped.
And then it started again.
We shut absolutely everything down and with the solar panels taking a back seat to the shrieking alarm, Hans ripped the helm apart while I defrosted the refrigerator, again (I'd defrosted it just 2 weeks prior while at sail). At one point I was upside down inside the refrigerator when I heard Hans say, "I always thought this wheel could come off." I didn't even bother to come up for air to look.
This is a first for me.
Hans finally decided to sever the wire that leads to the 'speaker' for the alarm. He explained why this was an okay thing to do and I said "fine" and would he "please hardwire those damn solar panel connectors so all the meat in the freezer doesn't melt!"
So this is what we did on what we'd thought was going to be a relaxing day. We're still not sure if our batteries are okay or not, whether the job he did on the solar panels worked, or if disabling the alarm was a smart thing to do. I will say that I'm very glad we bought that Honda 2000 generator as it's been a life (if not a sanity) saver.
Friends of ours who were in the Bahamas recently, posted on Facebook. The caption under their pictures read:
"Cruising means fixing your boat in exotic places."
Not a new saying by any means but for those of us living it, that says it all.
Update: the solar panels still don't work. We know the panels are sending juice to the controller but it seems to stop there. Maybe. It's all too confusing. And I've also noticed the refrigerator doesn't seem to ever cycle off. And the water pump? Hmmm, it's working but it doesn't seem to have the oomph it used to.
After a long sweaty day of digging around a hot engine room and tracing wires into the tiniest of places, we called it a day. I went down below after clearing up the cockpit and came to a dead stop. "Who the hell stinks?" I exclaimed in an accusing tone and suddenly realized Hans had just emerged from his head where he'd taken a shower. I then took my own personal sniff test and marched myself off for a shower. It may just drizzle but at least I can now stand myself.
So, yeah boy, we're livin' the dream alright.
Possibly the first sun'rise' picture I've ever taken.
In the Tortuga's.
I couldn't sleep.