Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Back to Palau

Finally, we are going back to Palau.    Jim's surgery has been put off til the end of the year so we decided to make some more eastward progress in Kelaerin.    Remains to be seen exactly where we go next, but the plan is the Hermits in Papua New Guinea, then on to the Solomons and Vanuatu.  
Going to be a difficult passage in that there is little wind in that area of the world so it will be a challenge to get there.

Here's Kelaerin sitting pretty in Malakal Cove in Palau.


After a 13 day passage, we spotted the tip of the volcano on Pico about 22 miles out.   Just before heading into Horta harbor on Faial we snagged a fishing net on our prop and Jim had to dive overboard to free it.   Faial is a beautiful island in this group, well, they all are beautiful.   The harbor marina had been expanded so we got a slip for a few weeks and enjoyed the annual festival and the beauty of this place.  

We toured the island by car one day and drove to the top of the main volcano and stood on the edge of the caldera.

You can stand on the edge of this caldeira and look down toward the ocean and see one volcano after the other in descending order.   The island was constructed from one volcanic eruption after another.

This lighthouse was covered in ash and you can see behind it the newest portion of the island.

The island is very fertile.   Hydrangeas line the roads.   During the festival the town mayor came down to our boat and gave us a gift of hydrangeas and a bottle of wine.

Old windmills everywhere, some have been turned into homes and B&Bs.    Lovely stone cottages from another time....

The view to Pico.

The festival and parade.

The islands belong to Portugal and are predominantly Catholic.

 Its traditional to paint your boat name on the docks in Horta.   We had to tear ourselves away, but we weren't done yet.   We anchored off Graciosa and hired a driver for the day to take us around the island.    We went down a staircase to the center of a volcano.

The water at this beach was warmed up by the vents from the volcano we were just exploring.

Old communal laundry area.   From here we went to Terceira, an island known for its bullfights and then on to the capitol of Sao Miguel.

Typical buildings in the Azores are Portuguese in origin, with black trim.

Saturday, February 1, 2014


We left Florida in June of 2002.   I left behind a teaching position in one of the Ft. Lauderdale schools and I was never so glad to get that year behind me.  Jim left behind a management position at a mom and pop tugboat company that failed to deliver on its promises.   So when we left we were severing ties and happy to do so.     We had a false start as we hit a frontal system a couple days out and bashed into seas doing only 2 or 3 knots.   That's when Jim started checking into Herb's daily net and weather reporting for the Atlantic service.    We turned back to Cape Canaveral and dropped our crew, our daughter Kelly, off at the airport as she had run out of time to go to Bermuda with us.

Old church on Bermuda

Some days, the sailing was just so fine....
and other days it was not.
A beautiful Bermuda beach
Flowers lines the pathways

Sunsets were beautiful

Our very excellent boat dog, Matey

Check out the narrow entrance the cruise ship is coming through into the harbor.
We stayed in Bermuda about a week before heading across the Atlantic for the Azores.  The passage to Bermuda was 6 and l/2 days and the passage from Bermuda to the Azores was 13 days.
Hi there,

Its been a crazy year.    We had hoped to be in New Zealand by last Christmas (2013) but that didn't work out.   In a previous post I told you about Jim and his cancer ordeal.   Once Jim was finished with radiation we had expected that the next thing was a simple surgery to correct a bottom eyelid droop left over from the first surgery.   Then Jim got a massive infection in his eye which led to doctors discovering that the titanium mesh implants place to shore up his lower eye socket had moved out of place.   So the next surgery is an 8 to 10 hour ordeal to build up muscle, tissue and bone around his eye.    So we waited and waited for the surgery to get scheduled, which it didn't and then found out on New Years Eve that the reconstruction would not be scheduled until after the 1 year mark since radiation, just to be sure nothing else malicious was growing in there.   Made sense, however, it would have been nice to have known that 7 months earlier as we would have gone back to the boat then.

Oh well.   Since then we have bought a house in Tucson.   The idea was to cash in on the lower house values, just coming back from the big catastrophe, and the low interest rates.   Nice house and we are comfortable in it, however, we still have lots of cruising to do so the house will serve as home base for us.    Our daughter, Kelly, has moved to Tucson and is going to caretake the house for us while we are gone.

So Jim is currently back in Palau and getting the boat ready for our next passages which will hopefully cover PNG, Solomons, Vanuatu, and perhaps either New Caledonia or Fiji and get to New Zealand by November.

I thought that I'd give you a tour of our boat at this time.    Poor Kelaerin has taken a lot of knocks over the years.   Once we think we have her perfect, off she goes into the blue and kisses coral reefs, bumps into docks, endures typhoons, etc.   It seemed like we had just painted the boat a mirror finish but now already needs another paint job.    It has already been 9 years since that mirror finish was applied.   Time really does fly when you're having FUN! 

This is Kelaerin at the dock in Thailand just after a major refit.  Lots of new canvas, teak deck, and a lot of interior work done.

This is Joy's major work area, the galley.    She was shined up better than ever, however, I can tell you that doesn't last long.  It's constant work.   Still, it's a pretty galley.

The main salon 

Looking down on Kelaerin from the top of the mast.

The navigation cent

The navigation equipment