Facebook

23 October 2017

Cruising In The Bahamas | 2017 Season Recap, Pt 3 - Random Bits & Bobs

This is the third in our >>Cruising in the Bahamas 2017 Season Recap<< series. In our first installment, we talked about the route we took, the anchorages we stayed at and shared some fascinating and not-so-fascinating tidbits, like our average cost per night and what TV shows we binge watched. In our second installment, it was all about food, provisioning, grocery shopping and cooking on boats.

In this final installment, we share various random bits and bobs - like our favorite experiences and our not-so-favorite experiences, the issues we had with equipment on our boat, and doing laundry.

But before we get into that, let's start off with some tidbits. I'll be curious to know which of these you find fascinating and which you find not-so-fascinating. Personally, I'm fascinated by how much it costs to do laundry in different parts of the world. I guess that means I'm a bit strange, which probably isn't a surprise for you long-term blog readers out there.


So what did you think about the cost of booze in the Bahamas? More or less than you'd pay at home? While we did stock up on beer, wine and gin, we did supplement our supplies with a few bottles of rum along the way. The cheapest we found was in Marsh Harbour, the most expensive was at the rather strange combination liquor store / laundromat on Staniel Cay. Because nothing makes doing laundry better than a bottle of rum.

In the spirit of random bits and bobs, let's talk about laundry for a minute.


We don't have a watermaker* on board our boat which means that the water we carry in our tanks has to be devoted to important things like drinking, cooking, bathing and washing the dishes. Clean clothes are important, but rather than waste our precious water supply doing laundry in a bucket on our boat, we use laundromats in the Bahamas. You can find them pretty much everywhere and a load of laundry won't break the bank.

We are frugal sailors though, so rather than partake of the dryers at the laundromat (which are actually super expensive), we schlep our wet clothes back to the boat and hang them on the lifelines to dry. Wind is free after all.

{*For those of you not in the know, a watermaker is a gadget which transforms salt water into fresh drinking water. I'm not sure how it works, but I imagine some sort of magic is involved and possibly tiny elves.}


Okay, what should we talk about next? How about all of the stuff that broke or caused us issues? Sure, why not, let's go for it.

If you're a boat owner, while you're reading this, I imagine you'll be nodding your head and commiserating with us, because if there's one thing all boat owners know, it's that stuff constantly breaks. If you don't own a boat, well you might just be scratching your head thinking to yourself, "What kind of idiot would ever want to own a boat? Stuff seems to always break."

There were relatively minor issues that cropped up like the fact one of our >>water tanks was leaking<< when we were heeled over. (Easily fixed with some sealant.)

Or our >>temperature, oil and fuel gauges<< being on the fritz. (We use a heat gun on the engine, check the oil manually and listen for the telltale "gurgle" when we're filling the diesel tanks.)

Then there's >>our stove<< which decided it was tired of heating up our food. (Temporarily replaced with a butane camping stove.)

And >>our dinghy<< doesn't like to hold air. (We've tried patching it, gooping it and slapping gorilla tape everywhere. We're now resigned to constantly pumping it up and looking for a better solution.)



There are some annoying things that you just learn to live with for the time-being - like the fact that >>our anchor shackle sometimes likes to get stuck<< in the bow roller when you're trying to drop the anchor. (Screwdriver to the rescue to wedge it out.)

Then there were more serious issues, like our >>never ending saga with our windlass<<. It crapped out on us right away causing Scott to become our human windlass. Not a great solution and probably one of the things that contributed to his back problems in Rock Sound.

Then there are issues that are more of a pain-in-the-you-know-what like the fact that our >>autohelm and chart plotter cut out<< occasionally. When this happens, we just turn off and on the breaker and they reset themselves. Usually not a huge problem, except for this one time we were coming out of the Elizabeth Harbour (George Town) and the chart plotter cut in and out constantly. Trust me, this is not a great place to have an uncooperative chartplotter. Trying to blindly avoid reefs, rocks, sea monsters and shallow water - eek!

Then there was stuff that was almost fun to fix, like >>repairing our bimini and dodger<<. Okay, it wasn't really fun, but it was neat to use the monster wheel on our Sailrite sewing machine which meant we didn't need electricity to operate it.



Some things can really tick you off when you're out sailing and >>our furling line lead<< is one of them. It often gets tangled up on the drum causing a lot of frustration and taking in and out the headsail. We've tried a number of things to address without any luck.



>>Thorny, our Thornycroft T80 diesel engine,<< is a bit of a grumpy old man. But he's gotten even grumpier this past season. He struggles with early morning starts, which I can relate to. No one likes to get up and get cracking in the morning without a nice cup of coffee and possibly solving a crossword puzzle or two. Partway through the season, Thorny decided he wouldn't start in the morning without the help of the generator. If the solar panels have had a chance to charge the batteries for a while, then he's okay, but otherwise he grumbles and grouses. We do need to replace our battery bank this year, as well as deal with some potential ongoing glow plug issues.




Then there are the things that break that make you question the whole boat-ownership thing. Like the time one of >>our dinghy davits broke<<. This was probably the lowlight of our cruising season. Not only because of having to immediately deal with our dinghy and solar panel dangling precariously above the water, but also because of the time we spent trying to get it repaired in the Bahamas only to have to go back to the States to get a replacement davit and install it.


Fortunately, our other major repair - >> replacing our engine's water pump << - took place when we were back in the States and not in the Bahamas. We needed to source a spare part through a tractor supply outfit. Like I say, inside the heart of every good sailboat lurks a tractor. Thankfully, once we sourced the part, it didn't take long for us to fix it and head back to the Bahamas.

How many of you found that recap of all of the stuff that broke boring? Don't be shy, raise your hands. You're not alone, I've raised mine too. Boat maintenance and repair is really dull. Necessary, but dull.

How about some more fascinating and not-so-fascinating tidbits to liven the place up?


People who cruise in the Bahamas on bigger boats might be a bit jealous when they see how much our cruising permit cost us - $150. If your boat is 35' or bigger it costs $300. If your boat is smaller, like Tickety Boo, then it's only $150. There times when I wish we had a bigger boat. Clearing into the Bahamas is not one of them.

Okay, let's finish off this rambling post by sharing our favorite and not-so-favorite experiences in the Bahamas this year.

When it comes to >>not-so-favorite experiences<<, they group themselves into two categories for me - weather-related and gross bug-related.

Want to know about the bugs? I wouldn't blame you if you didn't. It was disgusting. There I was getting something out of the v-berth when I noticed maggots. Yes, maggots. Ick. Ick. Ick. Keep in mind that we're anchored near Little Farmer's Cay which meant there was no where to run away from them. So, I got out our trusty shop-vac, sucked them all up and chucked them overboard. Of course, I had nightmares that night thinking that there were bugs crawling all over me. Definitely a not-so-favorite experience.

If it's not bugs, it's the weather. Mother Nature rules your life when you're a cruiser and we're pretty used to her moodiness by now. But there are still days when she likes to shake things up and remind you who is in charge - her, not you. Like the time I thought >>we might very well lose our boat<< during a storm cell off of Cat Island. Another not-so-favorite experience.

Fortunately, >>our favorite experiences<< outnumber the not-so-favorite ones. Or at least our selective memories helps us forget the unpleasant times we have. The things we loved about the Bahamas are similar to the first time we cruised there - the people, the water and the mix of towns and solitude.

Probably our best land-based experience was visiting the Hermitage on Cat Island. Seriously amazing.


Our best water-based experiences were all about snorkeling. Surprisingly, some of the best snorkeling we had was in the Abacos at Sandy Cay. Everyone raves about the snorkeling in the Exumas - and we had some great times there - but Sandy Cay was truly special. Sadly we don't have an underwater camera so we don't have any pictures of the cool fish, coral and even submerged airplanes we saw, but here's a picture of a seaplane taking off in the Exumas next to our boat to make up for that.


And that's probably enough about the Bahamas for now. It's time to stop reminiscing about last year's cruising adventures and get back to boat projects so that we can get Tickety Boo all tickety boo for this coming season's adventures.

If you want to know more about the Bahamas, you can find links to all of our blog posts here.

****

What are the things that have broken in your home, RV or boat that really annoy you? Do you dry your clothes in a dryer or hang them up to dry? Do you drink rum? If so, what's your favorite rum-based drink?

Thanks for stopping by our blog - we love it when people come visit! We're also on Facebook - we'd love for you to pop by and say hi!

20 October 2017

Computers On Board Our Sailboat | Cherished Blogfest


We lead a pretty minimalist lifestyle. Which isn't all too surprising given that we live on a 34' sailboat, named Tickety Boo, which has >>less than 300 square feet of living space<<.

If you don't live on a sailboat or RV, then the thought of living in something that small might freak you out just a little bit. Maybe because it sounds horribly claustrophobic, or perhaps because the thought of sharing such a tiny space with your partner sounds like a recipe for disaster, or even because you can't imagine where you would put all of your stuff.

Fortunately, we don't have a lot of stuff. We got rid of most of it when we moved onto our first sailboat in New Zealand (she was even tinier - just 26'). Then we got rid of even more when we came back to the States and moved into our ridiculously small 13' travel trailer.

In comparison to our first boat and our camper, living on a 34' sailboat seems almost palatial. But it's still small and we still don't have room for a lot of stuff. And the stuff we do have is downright boring. Things to keep you safe, things to maintain and operate your boat, food to eat, clothes to wear etc. You know, stuff that's practical, but not stuff that you'd necessarily cherish.

I remember last year, when I first participated in the Cherished Blogfest, looking around our boat trying to find an object that I cherished. It took a while, but I finally settled on some toy polar bears my nieces gave me years ago. 

This year, I thought, well there's no way I can participate, there's nothing else on my boat that I truly cherish. Then I had a brainwave - >>our computers<<. I can't imagine life without computers on board.

After a few minutes, I had second thoughts. The things that people were sharing during the blogfest were lovely things, things truly worthy of being cherished. Things like a daily devotional gifted by a friend who passed away, adorable guinea pigs, and Mother Earth herself.

A computer seemed so dull and insignificant in comparison. A hunk of metal, plastic and electronic bits. Blah. Totally unworthy.

Then I thought about it some more and realized that I'd always make room on our boat for our computers. And when space is as rare a commodity as it is on our boat, that's saying something.

After all, our computers allow us to connect with others through email, Facebook, forums and blogging. It's the tool I use to express my creativity through writing. It stores photographic memories of our families and our travels. It helps us with planning and record keeping. All in all, I think our computers have earned their place on board Tickety Boo as truly cherished items.

What items do you cherish in your life and why?

Thanks for stopping by our blog - we love it when people come visit! We're also on Facebook - pop by and say hi!

Check out what other things people cherish at the Cherished Blogfest.



18 October 2017

Wordless Wednesday | Singapore Alleyway



Wordless Wednesday is supposed to be about posting a photo(s) without any words. But, I'm a rule breaker, so here are a few words:

1 - We like poking down alleyways. Sure, it might not be as pretty as the front side of the buildings, but it's often quite interesting in a weird and dodgy sort of way.

2 - Look at all of those air conditioning units. At least that's what I think they are. 

3 - It's hot in Singapore. I'd want air conditioning if I lived there. 


What words does this picture(s) bring to your mind when you look at it?

For more Wordless Wednesday fun, click here

Thanks for stopping by our blog - we love it when people come visit! We're also on Facebook - pop by and say hi!

16 October 2017

Morning Coffee | Random Thoughts & Oddities


Paul at Lat43 does these hysterical Morning Tea blog posts which are a brain dump of whatever pops into his head while he's writing them. I decided to steal his idea. Except, I'm drinking coffee while I write this and he drinks tea, so it isn't really stealing, is it?

So, here we go - all of the random nonsense floating through my head while I sip on my morning coffee.

  • I've been thinking a lot about lizards lately. Does that seem weird to you?
  • Every time I walk from my boat to the marina office, I encounter at least 37 lizards. Sure, I know I'm a tiny bit prone to exaggeration, but not in this case. They're really are a lot of lizards here. Go on, try it yourself. Next time you're at Indiantown Marina, walk around and see how many lizards you count. But make sure you look up from time to time or else you might walk into a boat in the parking lot and that would hurt.
  • I guess it's a bit strange to find boats in a parking lot next to cars. I'm used to it now and hadn't really thought about it in a while. You know because I've got lizards on my mind lately.
  • Lizards are cute in their own reptilian sort of way. Sure, they're not going to win any sort of cuteness contest against kittens, but they might win the Miss Congeniality award.
  • The lizards here are tiny. You could probably stuff at least five of them in your handbag and still have room for your wallet and keys.
  • Not that you'd want to stuff lizards in your handbag. Although there are people who stuff dogs in their handbags.
  • What would you rather have in your handbag - lizards or a dog?
  • I know what I'd rather have. Lots and lots of money to buy ridiculously expensive stuff for our boat. And chocolate. I'd buy a lot of chocolate too.
  • I wonder if lizards like chocolate? Personally, I'm never going to find out because I don't like sharing my chocolate.
  • You know what else has been on my mind lately? Lint. I always clean the lint out of the dryer after I'm finished with it so that the next person can chuck their clothes in and not worry about it. Some people think it's perfectly okay to leave their lint in for the next person. When I find out who's been doing that, I might stick a couple of lizards in their handbag. 
  • The Canadians are back. Busy season at Indiantown Marina is upon us. 
  • They've been doing the usual touch-ups around the marina in anticipation of the busy season. They painted the women's bathroom yellow. It was yellow before. I was hoping for a different color this year. Or polka dots. Polka dots would have been good.
  • Maybe they should have a suggestion box. You know what I'd suggest? Polka dots in the women's bathroom.
  • They also put in a new faucet on the sink. Same sink. Different faucet. At least, I think it's a different one.
  • When I went to wash my hands I got a little freaked out. I didn't remember the faucet looking like that. Everything else was the same. Yellow walls. Garbage can. Mosquitoes hovering in the corner waiting to bite you. But the faucet was different.
  • I started to worry that I had been transported to a parallel universe. Everything seems pretty much the same except for a few small details in parallel universes. And, of course, who won WW II. It's possible I've been watching too many episodes of Man in a High Castle.
  • I decided to ignore the whole parallel universe thing for a while and wash my hands. I'm sure they have hygiene standards even in parallel universes.
  • Then, as I walked back towards my boat, counting lizards along the way, I noticed the trash dumpster wasn't in the same place as before. Freaky. 
  • What's even freakier is that there used to be two trash dumpsters. Now there was just one. Maybe this parallel universe isn't too bad after all. They've managed to do a better job at recycling and not having wasteful packaging and need fewer trash dumpsters.
  • That's probably enough randomness for this morning. Have a look around you - notice anything that's not quite right? Something not quite as you remember it? Maybe you're in a parallel universe too. The good news is that they have coffee over here.


What did you think about over your morning cup of coffee, tea or other favorite beverage? What did you have for breakfast?

Thanks for stopping by our blog - we love it when people come visit! We're also on Facebook - pop by and say hi! 

13 October 2017

Cruising In The Bahamas | 2017 Season Recap, Pt 2 - Provisioning, Cooking & Eating Out

This is the second in our >>Cruising in the Bahamas 2017 Season Recap<< series. In our first installment, we talked about the route we took, the anchorages we stayed at and shared some fascinating and not-so-fascinating tidbits, like our average cost per night and what TV shows we binge watched.

In this installment, we talk about something far more interesting - food! I'm one of those people who needs regular feedings, so when my next meal is going to happen and what it's going to be is always top of mind for me.

Grab yourself a snack, sit back and read on and we'll tell you all about the provisioning we did before we left for the Bahamas, grocery shopping in the Bahamas, what we cooked on board, and eating out in the Bahamas.

****


I was looking back at a blog post I did about provisioning aboard our boat in New Zealand and not that much has changed since then. I make a list of what we need and stock up, I buy a few things we don't need and will never use (hello can of three bean salad), and squirrel stuff around in the various cubby holes in our boat.

We've cruised in the Bahamas before, so we had a good idea of what to stock up on before we left and what we could buy there at relatively reasonable prices (like chicken, ground beef, hamburger buns, butter and government cheese, which is surprisingly tasty).

Everyone's provisioning list will be different, but here's an idea of the types of things we took. It's probably worth noting that we have a fridge, but we don't have a freezer.

Canned / Jarred Veggies & Fruit

Tomatoes, corn, beans (black, kidney, baked, white, chickpea, refried), potatoes, chipolte peppers, green chilies, jalapenos, sun dried tomatoes, olives, roasted red peppers, sauerkraut, peaches and pineapple.
Note: Scott is not a fan of sauerkraut. That doesn't stop me from trying to feed it to him periodically.
Meat
Canned chicken, canned ham, smoked oysters, shelf stable chorizo, kielbasa (goes great with sauerkraut!), brats, ham steak, deli meat, pork loin and Aldi's pulled pork.
Note: Overly processed meat products, like brats, last a long time in the fridge. Sure, they're not great for you, but they're tasty in their own over-processed, sodium enriched way.
Fresh Produce
Apples, cabbage, carrots, butternut squash, onions, garlic, potatoes, lemons and limes.
Note: Wrap lemons and limes in tin foil and they last a really long time. Your gin & tonics will thank you.
Beverages
Beer, wine, gin, tonic water, cola, root beer, lemonade, tea bags and milk (UHT and powdered). Oh, and a ton of coffee. You can never have enough coffee.
Note: Beer costs a fortune in the Bahamas, like $40 a case. Stock up before you leave.
Spices, Oils, Condiments & The Like
Your normal jars of spices, curry paste, stock cubes, hot sauce, sriacha sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, olive oil, canola oil, sesame oil, cooking spray, syrup, tahini, ranch dressing mix, onion soup mix, gravy packets and taco seasoning packets.
Note: The ranch dressing mix is for the spicy pretzels that we like to have with sundowners. Also, a popular addition to cruiser get-togethers.
Grains & Legumes
Lentils, rice (basmati, brown minute rice, jasmine, long-grain, ready-to-cook Mexican and yellow rice packets), pasta (spaghetti, rotini, elbows and tortellini), barley, couscous, quinoa and dried beans (black, pinto & chickpea), udon noodles and oatmeal.
Note: I prefer to used canned beans rather than dry. They're ready to use and you don't have to use up your precious water supply to soak them.
Baking Stuff
Flour, yeast, baking powder, baking soda, chocolate chips, brownie mix, pancake mix pecans, walnuts and raisins.
Note: Yes, I use pre-made pancake mix. Don't judge.
Other Stuff
Granola bars, coconut milk, crackers, pretzels, Aldi's dark chocolate bars, instant mashed potatoes,  peanut butter, jam, dehydrated vegies, pesto and tortillas.
Note: Tortillas last forever and take up very little storage space. Love them. 



Are you confused by the picture above? Are you thinking - "Hey, that's not a grocery store!" That's true it isn't. It's the kitchen next to Vernon's grocery store in Hope Town where they bake bread, pies and make other treats. But, it does give you an idea of what grocery shopping can be like in the Bahamas. You'll usually find small mom n' pop / corner type stores (like Vernon's), but you can also find large, modern type grocery stores like you might find in the States in larger settlements.

While we brought a ton of food with us, we still needed to hit the grocery stores for things like fresh meat, milk, cheese, butter, fresh veggies (usually onions, cabbage and carrots), fresh fruit (usually apples) and the occasional ice cream sandwich bar.

We also ended up buying cans of cola a few times. We seriously underestimated how much soda pop we would be drinking. But when it's really hot outside, a cold can of pop tastes amazing. Soda pop can be really expensive in the Bahamas. We steered away from the name brand and got the cheaper, generic stuff.



We do a lot of cooking from cans and jars on board. I remember when we were getting ready to move onto our first boat in New Zealand, I did a lot of experimenting with recipes made from canned goods. I was amazed what you could make without using a single fresh ingredient (with the exception of onion and garlic).

The picture above is from one of the times I made lentil curry. Saute some onion and garlic with jarred curry paste, chuck in some dried lentils, add in cans of coconut milk, tomatoes and potatoes, pop in a stock cube and bam, you've got a vegetarian meal that you can easily make from what you have on hand when you're miles away from a grocery store.

This season in the Bahamas, I stocked up on canned meat (chicken and ham) for the first time. While we had relied on shelf-stable sausages before, we had never really cooked with canned meat before. It actually worked out better than I thought it would. I brought Walmart's Great Value canned chicken, cans of chicken salad (add curry powder, dried onion and dried garlic and you've got a delicious topping for crackers) and a couple of Dak Premium canned hams.

I used the chicken in soups and stir fry dishes and didn't notice a real difference from fresh. I used the ham in bean soup, as well as pan fried some for breakfast. The ham was really salty, so it probably worked better in soup (skip adding any salt that the recipe calls for) and not so well on it's own.

The other thing I experimented with this season was dehydrated veggies from Harmony House. I got a sampler pack from them, along with two larger jars of bell peppers and onions. I loved the bell peppers and chucked them in everything (pasta sauce, soups, curries etc.). I'd definitely buy them again. I used the onions a few times when I ran out of fresh. They worked well too. My favorite from the sampler pack was the broccoli (good in stir fry dishes). I'll probably by a larger packet of that for next season.



See that picture above? That's our grill. See what it's dangling over? That's water. Grilling is a heart-stopping operation on our boat. Will a power boater speed through the anchorage, creating a huge wake and causing your hamburgers to slide off of the grill into the water? Will the chef drop the pizza when he's flipping the crust over and end up feeding the fish instead of the crew?

Surprisingly, everything that we've cooked on the grill has ended up on our plates and in our bellies. I attribute that to Scott's superior grilling skills and ability to balance on a boat. Scott does all of the grilling on board. I think we all know that if I was in charge, then we'd lose a lot of food overboard.

We grill the usual suspects - hamburgers, brats, chicken - as well as things like pizza, twice-baked potatoes (or in this case, twice-grilled potatoes) and pita bread.

Grilled pizza is one of our favorite things to eat on board, but it does require a bit of preparation (making the dough and sauce from scratch and getting the toppings ready) and then you have to work like clockwork while you're grilling the pizza so that it all gets done in time without burning (grill one side, flip, add sauce, cheese and toppings and grill some more).



Scott and I played a game recently where we listed our top ten favorite foods. You can probably guess what was at the top of my list - yep, that's right chocolate chip cookies. I made them a few times on board, except they weren't so much cookies as bars. One of the issues with marine ovens is that they don't heat evenly, making baking challenging.

I've done all of the things people recommend - baking stone on the bottom of the oven, rotating the cookie sheet and lighting candles at Cookie Monster's shrine, but it never works. So I just plop the dough in two small pyrex dishes and make monster bars. Then, in a surprisingly display of self-control, I put the rest of the dough in the fridge for the next day.

This is what baking on board is all about - adapting to the conditions. Actually, that's what life in general is like living aboard a boat - you adapt constantly. You quickly learn who's in control and generally it's not you. (If you want to see a funny and very accurate account of how you have to adapt bread recipes on board, check out Sailing Totem's post.)

In addition to baking sweet treats like sour cream coffee cake, apple cake and baked oatmeal, I also made a lot of bread. Seriously, a lot of bread. You can buy freshly baked bread in the Bahamas and it's delicious (coconut French toast, anyone?) but at $4-5 a loaf, it adds up. Plus, we're often anchored in places far, far away from any stores. So, if you want bread on board, you have to make it yourself. Or you could go on one of those low-carb diets and not have bread. Yeah, not gonna happen on Tickety Boo.

One of my go-to books for bread recipes is The Boat Galley cookbook. Not only does it have great recipes (onion bead, yum!), but it also has helpful tips for folks new to making bread on boats and in general. My mom taught me how to make bread when I was young. It's always something I've enjoyed, but I never do a lot of unless we're out cruising.



Who doesn't love snacks? Snacks make people happy. I think if they served more snacks at the United Nations, we might actually have a chance at world peace. It's hard to find diplomatic solutions that make everyone happy when stomachs are grumbling.

Okay, here's the thing - when we provisioned for the Bahamas, we didn't stock up on a lot of sugary, salty, bad-for-you-but-delicious snack food. The theory was that if we didn't have snacks on board, then we couldn't eat them which would result in a healthier lifestyle, smaller waistlines and glossy, shiny, thick hair. (Yeah, that hair thing probably wouldn't have happened, but a girl can dream about her fine, stringy hair being transformed into thick, lustrous locks, can't she?)

Sure, we got around the lack of sugary treats due to my baking efforts, but eventually the pretzels and crackers we brought with us ran out. Those were dark days. Fortunately, we discovered these things called Stax. They're like Pringles, except they come in a plastic can which is totally wasteful. But they're coated with awesome sodium flavor particles (yum!) and they're relatively cheap at Maxwell's grocery store in Marsh Harbour (yay!). 

The only problem with Stax is that the lid on the can doesn't work. Seriously, you eat a few chips and put the lid back on the can in order to save the rest for the following day and then the lid pops off of the can all by itself flying into mid-air allowing the sodium flavor particles to waft about making any self-control you might have had disappear and forcing you to finish off the rest of the chips. Stupid lid. They really need to look into that design flaw. 

The cracker shortage was pretty traumatic too. What were we supposed to eat our government cheese with? We lived without crackers for quite a while and then managed to find some Jacob's cream crackers at the grocery stores in George Town and at Rock Sound. Order was restored in our universe. Crackers and cheese, together again.



Those of you who follow our cost of cruising posts, where we document every penny we spend and what we spend it on, will know that one of the ways that we try to keep costs down is by minimizing how often we eat out. We actually find that what we make ourselves is almost as good as what we can get in a restaurant. That's not always the case, but there have been a number of times where we've said, "Hey, we could have made this ourselves for half the price and it would have been as good." Of course, the downside is having to do your own dishes.

So, given our cheap and cheerful approach to eating out, how many times do you think we ate out while we were in the Bahamas?

While you're thinking about that, here are some fascinating and not-so-fascinating tidbits related to food. Once you've read these, scroll down to find out the answer.

[Note: RO = reverse osmosis, making fresh water from sea water. We have to buy water to cook with and drink.]

The answer is three. Did you guess right?

The first time was at the coolest laundromat ever - Miss Ida's in Black Point. She serves snack type food in the shop next to the laundromat which you can eat out on the verandah overlooking the anchorage while the wash cycle is in progress. The first time we were there, I had a chicken pattie (kind of like a curry pastie), Scott had conch fritters and we both had a can of soda pop. We liked it so much that we went back the next day for more of the same. Total cost for both visits - $13.50.

I expect for some of you, snack food at a laundromat wouldn't qualify as eating out. But, that took care of our lunch both days, so it totally counts in my book. Plus, it was a definite cultural experience hanging out with the locals and learning from Miss Ida how she makes her patties. And as a bonus, we had clean clothes along with our full bellies.

The other time we ate out was at a church fair in Rock Sound. We split a chicken dinner, Scott had some conch fritters and we each had a can of soda pop. Total cost - $13.00. Another great experience dining with the locals and enjoying some delicious food.

Going out for drinks can be expensive in the Bahamas, so we had our sundowners on board, rather than go out. We did make a couple of exceptions when we were buddy boating with our pals in the Abacos having a beer at the Jib Room (which we think is one of the prettiest spots in Marsh Harbour) and having beers outside of the liquor store in Hope Town (they have some benches out front where you can sit and watch the world go by while you're sipping on a cold Kalik).


****

I'll leave you with some more fascinating and not-so-fascinating tidbits. Next up in our season recap series is about daily life living and cruising on a sailboat - the mundane (like how we did our laundry), moments when naughty words were uttered (like that time we found maggots in the v-berth), repairs on the hook (such as sewing without electricity) and the like. Should be fun. See you then


If, for some strange reason, you want to know more about what we ate in the Bahamas, check out this blog post about a week eating on board Tickety Boo.

If you want to know more about our time cruising in the Bahamas, you can find links to all of our blog posts here

What's your favorite meal? Do you prefer cooking or eating out? How often do you grill and who does the grilling in your household?

Thanks for stopping by our blog - we love it when people come visit! We're also on Facebook - we'd love for you to pop by and say hi!

11 October 2017

Wordless Wednesday | Sailboats & A Ferris Wheel, Scarborough, England


Wordless Wednesday is supposed to be about posting a photo(s) without any words. But, I'm a rule breaker, so here are a few words:

1 - Scott took this photo when he was working outside of York. He took a drive to Scarborough on one of his days off. 

2 - I'm pretty sure he took the photo because of all the sailboats.

3 - I would have taken it because of the Ferris wheel. 

4 - Ferris wheels are fun. Especially when you can see sailboats from them.

What words does this picture(s) bring to your mind when you look at it?

For more Wordless Wednesday fun, click here

Thanks for stopping by our blog - we love it when people come visit! We're also on Facebook - pop by and say hi!



09 October 2017

Cost Of Boat Projects & Liveaboard Life | August & September 2017


We track and report every penny we spend living aboard and cruising on Tickety Boo, our Moody 346 sailboat for a couple of reasons.

1 - It helps us see where our money is going, helps us make informed choices about where to spend our money, which in turn helps us stretch our money further so that we can keep adventuring longer.

2 - We found it really useful to check out other people's cost of cruising when we were starting out, so we figure we can return favor by sharing ours.

We're currently at Indiantown Marina in Florida waiting out hurricane season and working on boat projects/upgrades to get Tickety Boo ready to head to the Western Caribbean this coming season. You can find details of how much we spent during August and September 2017 below.

You can find links to other cost updates from ourselves (on Tickety Boo, camping across the States and our previous boat in New Zealand) and others on this page, as well as on The Monkey's Fist.

****

Cost of Boat Projects & Liveaboard Life  | August & September 2017

Okay, so here's the headline for our spending over the last two months - we spent a fortune! Maybe not a fortune compared to what other folks spend each month, but it was kind of shocking to add things up and realize that we spent >> $4,805 during August and September <<.

But, if I'm looking at things glass half full, then I guess it's good we spent that much because it will have mentally prepared us for what are likely to be some really high expenses over the next several months as we tackle a number of boat projects and buy a bunch of expensive stuff for the boat.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty details of the details of what we spent, here are a few things to note:

1 - All costs are in US dollars.

2 - Not all expenses are included - here's what we've left out:

(a) We don't report how much we spend on alcohol. I remember reading some horrible, judgy comments in a blog post a few years back about how much someone spent on booze, so I left it out when we first started tracking our cruising costs back in New Zealand. For consistency's sake, I've continued to leave it out when tracking our cruising costs.
(b) We've also left out our costs for medical insurance. We didn't think it made sense to include insurance costs as they can vary so widely depending upon your nationality, where you cruise, what level of coverage you want and can afford etc. In case you are curious, while we're back in the States, we do have insurance through the health insurance marketplace (aka ACA/Obamacare), primarily to protect our assets and cover us in case of a catastrophic medical condition.
3 - I've included any shipping and taxes we've paid in what we report. Florida has a 6% sales tax.


GROCERIES | Total = $749

This category includes everything we put in our bodies in terms of food and drink (excluding booze) that we prepare ourselves. It doesn't include things like paper towels and ziploc bags, which I know some people would classify as groceries. Sure, you could probably eat them, but they wouldn't taste very good.

I'm actually okay with what we spent in this category. It averages out to less than $400 a month, which is kind of what I like to aim for.


PERSONAL & HOUSEHOLD | Total = $20

This is the category where we include household things (like paper towels and ziploc bags) and personal hygiene items (like soap and shampoo). We also capture items for the "home" here - like bug spray.


ENTERTAINMENT | Total = $516

In terms of drinks and eating out, this includes everything we don't prepare ourselves, even if we get something to go and eat it back on the boat. We also track how much we spend on books, magazines, DVD rentals and going to the movies in this category, as well as the occasional lottery ticket.

We spent far more than we normally do in this category in September. But we have a good reason - fun. Yep, we had tons of fun when we were in Atlanta staying with friends during our Hurricane Irma evacuation. Lots of that fun involved going out to eat and having drinks out. So, although it's more than we would of liked to have spent, it was totally worth it.


COMMUNICATIONS | Total = $160

Our cell phone is actually one of our biggest non-boat related expenses. We have a $60 monthly prepaid plan with AT&T which includes 8GB of data and unlimited calls and texts. During August, we ended up having to buy extra cellular data to satiate our internet needs. Fortunately, our friends came back to Indiantown Marina because of Hurricane Irma and they've been letting us piggy-back off of their Wirie Wi-Fi extender which means we can get marina Wi-Fi on our boat now and not have to rely on ultra-expensive cellular data.


BOAT FUEL | Total = $34

As part of our Hurricane Irma prep, we got extra gas for our jerry cans. We took them with us on our evacuation to Atlanta, thinking we might need it for the car or generator given the fuel shortages. Fortunately, we were able to find gas on the road, so we'll end up using the gas in the generator for our outboard motor and generator when we're out cruising next season.


PROPANE  | Total =Nil

We have a propane/LPG cooker on our boat, which we need to replace as the stove no longer works and replacement parts aren't available. While we're at Indiantown Marina, we use an electric hotplate and a crockpot for cooking, so we haven't had to spend any money on filling our propane tanks.


MARINA COSTS | Total = $1,166

Keeping Tickety Boo in a slip is one of our biggest expenses. The monthly cost of a slip with electricity at Indiantown Marina for a 34' boat is $572.40. The guys at the marina will also come pump out our holding tank on demand - $5.30 for each visit - which we tend to do two or three times a month.


BOAT STUFF | Total = $505

This category is for all the stuff we buy for the boat, as well as repairs and maintenance costs. One of our big purchases over the past two months was a stack pack kit for a 16' boom from Sailrite. Normally, they go for $264, but we bought it during a sale and got $20 off. Sometimes, it pays to wait and keep an eye out for sales. We also bought some other miscellaneous sewing supplies for repairs to our bimini, dodger and sun shade from Sailrite.

The other big expenses in this category are related to some of our boat projects - materials to build a folding table in the galley (more counter space - yeah!) and replace and rebed the portlights in our saloon.


TRANSPORT | Total = $190

This category is for costs related to our vehicle, mostly for gas to keep it going and drive into the nearby "big city" of Stuart for errands. We also track other transport costs, like the Uber we took in Atlanta.

We ended up spending a lot on gas during September due to evacuating to Atlanta as a result of Hurricane Irma, far more than we normally spend each month. We also bought new windshield wipers ($14).


MEDICAL EXPENSES | Total = Nil

This category includes medical expenses outside of our monthly insurance premium (which aren't included here - see section on exclusions above), like over the counter medications, prescriptions and things for our medical kit. It also includes the costs of doctors visits and medical tests which aren't covered by our insurance.

It's always nice to report nil spending in this category.


OTHER | Total = $1,461

In this category, we break out how much we spend on clothes and travel expenses. We also include a catch-all miscellaneous group for stuff that doesn't fit neatly anywhere else - things like laundry.

Yep, this was the budget breaking category over the past couple of months. Scott's laptop once and for all stopped working (he nursed it for a long time), so we got him a new one. Cha-ching. The other electronic gadget we bought was another Kindle. No more having to share.

One of the other big ticket items was Scott's ticket back to Scotland. He'll be heading back there this month to tend to work and other matters.

We also bought Scott some new clothes. Those of you who know Scott will be amazed that he agreed to buy new clothes. He got some new Keen sandals (his old ones literally fell apart) and some new t-shirts from places we visited in Atlanta (most of his other t-shirts are "official boat project t-shirts" because they have holes or stains on them).

We also spent a whopping 79 cents on a can of dog food for a dog we found wandering the streets of Indiantown all on his own. Fortunately, his owner came and rescued him. The dog was so cute so the 79 cents was a totally justifiable expenditure.



Did we spend more or less than you would have expected? Do you track your expenses? Any frugal living tips to share?

Thanks for stopping by our blog - we love it when people come visit! We're also on Facebook - pop by and say hi!