Logs – 2023

HomeLogs – Logs 2023

Jan 2023

As stated in Dec 2022, we dropped anchor in Secret Harbor, St Thomas, USVI, and Lee started working for Aqua Action dive shop here. But the boat projects have not stopped. We’ve replaced the autopilot and the fresh water pump, so far. Also, Gabby passed away the latter part of Jan 2023. We think she had been sick for the last few months, as she had been slowly losing weight, but otherwise had no symptoms.

Feb 2023

Not much to report, Lee is working at Aqua Action Dive Center as an Instructor/ Divemaster and Beach Attendant while not diving. Every couple of weeks we take the boat out for a spin to dump the black water tank and work on boat projects – in this case the Autopilot. The autopilot is not behaving properly so we’ve been hand steering.

Mar 2023

Continuation of working at Aqua Action and some diving as we go. 3 notable events:

  1. Brownie completed dive #300

2. We finally got the autopilot commissioned. See the refit part of our webpage for the details

3. Lee received and started commissioning the replacement Olympus TG-6. First pictures (17 Mar 2023):

Arrowhead Crab
Feather Duster Worm
Smooth Trunk Fish

Apr 2023

More of the same – doing Try Scuba/ Basic Diver instruction for Aqua Action Dive Center

Brownie made a trip back to FL to spend some time with Lee’s sister and bring back a big duffle of items for the boat.

May 2023

Some notable events:

  1. Lee completed Free Diving Level 1. This is the next step towards becoming a freediving instructor. Right now Lee is looking for an SSI Free Diving Instructor Trainer. More to follow.
  2. Lee is working on studying for completing the USCG OUPV (6 PAX Charter Captain) license. This will allow us to operate small commercial vessels with passengers for hire. Unladen Swallow might become a real dive boat.

June 2023

Concluding our time in Saint Thomas.

Lee passed the OUPV exam and is submitting all of the paperwork to get the license.

Brownie is working on becoming a Divemaster as Lee can’t captain and lead dives at the same time.

We are headed to the island of Curacao for hurricane season. We should be working with the Bahia Dive Center for the season if all goes well.

All total while in St Thomas, Lee completed Dive # 700 – he wasn’t paying close attention and blew by it without taking the picture. Lee also lead 19 2-tank boat dives from Aqua Action’s dive boat, and lead 70 students through Try Scuba/ Basic Diver. Most students > 90% successfully completed the training. He also completed one student’s SSI Open Water Referral course.

Finally he got a chance to dust off his Advanced Point and Click Photography course.

He also brought his trade of being a beach bum to new heights while working on the beach hauling and fixing beach lounges around, umbrellas and water toys. Lots of fun making tourists smile and feel like they made the right choice on where to spend their 1 day on a beach on Saint Thomas.

We made lots of good friends and plan to come right back here in November.

Curacao Passage and start of a new adventure

It’s now hurricane season and we needed to beat feet (as we were leaving the first named storm from Africa made its presence know) on the 16th of Jun we set out with just the 3 of us (Brownie, Lee and Loki) for the 450nm trip from St Thomas to Curacao. This was the shakedown for the new autopilot. It worked pretty well, but we started having rudder calibration issues underway especially as the boat powered up. We were sailing on a beam to broad reach in mid/high teens most of the way and then low 20’s when we got down to Curacao.

We are all checked in – note if the gate to the road along the seawall is closed go have lunch and wait for it to open to go to the Harbor Master. The walk around is not worth the effort!!!! The check-in process is not bad, but we got really confusing directions so we did several things the hard way.

Jul 2023 Updates

After getting the boat settled, the dinghy motor to the shop, car lease arranged, and a bunch of stuff ordered, we jetted back to FL to visit family and gather parts and pieces to continue working on the boat.

Aug 2023 Updates

Dinghy motor is now working great – sometimes it’s just better to pay someone that knows what they are doing

Our main engine monitoring project has taken a significant step forward with the installation of an AlbaCombi unit. We think we now have a digitally instrumented diesel motor.

We had been seeing odd things going on within parts of the 12DC system to include our stereo. After lots of troubleshooting we discovered that bluegreen copper dust (corrosion) doesn’t conduct electricity very well. We also discovered that 3 out of our 4 speakers were toast. So that’s all been updated and corrected.

We took another swing at the 12VDC conversion of starlink – our 12-48 vdc power supply was toast. So we are awaiting a replacement.

We scored 2 gently loved big deep sea trolling reels while in FL. Looking forward to trying them out.

We’ve also been diving a few times. Next up trying to finally commission the scuba compressor – I have reached out for wiring instructions to install a soft-start so we have a chance of using it with out electrical system.

We also did several other minor projects that have been sitting there awaiting parts or motivation – lots more to go.

In the mean time, we have gotten involved in the local cruiser community. Very international flavor – Dutch, German, Brit, Swiss, Fin, French, Argentinian, Brazilian, and others. English seems to be the common language, but we are often embarrassed that everyone else speaks 2 or more languages, and here we are with English. Not enough French, Spanish or German between us to get our faces slapped.