We departed Fresh Creek Andros eastbound for Highborne Cay of course into a stiff easterly. Magnolia really showed her metal as we still continue to get to know her. As long as I kept my foot off the pedal she plugged right along just as happy as a boat could be, and we were too. It was a long 5o mile day passage but as good as we could have hoped for.
We have not been in the Bahamas for two years so it was nice to be back in the familiarity of Highborne and the Exumas.
Some fellow Krogenites, MV Unforgettable and Privateer were at Cambridge so we skipped Wardwick Wells and headed on down.
Getting into Cambridge Cay can be a little confusing and maybe a little daunting….once you see a 135ft mega yacht go through…you kind of loose your excuses….
Once in the mooring field this is what awaits….just beautiful.
From Cambridge we moved down to Black Point, Exumas
The fish cleaning dock always has a variety of guys coming by for a snack on the leftovers. We don’t dangle our toes in case they get confused!
My work colleague, Pat McWherter whom I knew by name is also aboard a boat making his first trip to the Bahamas. Our mutual friend Byran Metts connected which was really cool
Pat and his crew were heading north as we were heading south and crossed paths here in Black Point.
Orion does not currently have a water maker. Magnolia makes more and stores more than we can possibly need so we were able to give Orion a good fashion style UN-REP (underway replenishment). We enjoyed a couple of cigars and some shared gratitude for the circumstances we find ourselves.
About the time Orion was departing, our friends Scott and Melissa arrived aboard Unforgettable.
A beach walk in search of sea-glass was embarked on.
Magnolia has not been to the Bahamas in the last two winters so we were excited to get going. Our plan has been to depart Palm Beach and work our way to Miami area and cross the Gulf-stream when a weather window presented. Completely unexpected but a window presented just as we departed Palm Beach!
We departed Old Port Cove marina, made a drive-by of our friend Mims Condominium.
We anchored just inside the inlet at Lake Worth / Palm Beach. This was two fold in that we could get an early start out on the ocean but more importantly we really like to have a night on the anchor just to make sure Magnolias Systems are working correctly and it just give us, the crew a chance to get our “head in the game.”
First thing the next morning we headed for the ocean to depart the inlet…we had a momentary delay waiting for a arriving passenger ship…
Departing the inlet, directly into the sun. Just down the coast is the is the President’s Mara-Largo estate. I was surprised to find a crashed boat on the beach nearby. I assumed it would have been removed like yesterday. Of course there is always one, out of no-where a sailing catamaran crossed our bow, not overly dangerous at this range but certainly rude. As we were preparing to head east off of Fort Lauderdale we had what appeared to be a decommissioned Navy Ship being towed by a tug. We certainly did not want to cross the bow so we had to turn east earlier than we wanted.
The impact of that action can be easily seen..the force of the gulf stream current carried us north in spite of the fact we were headed due east. Just one more care where you simply cannot fight mother nature!
We ran along the coast and crossed the Gulf Stream during daylight hours arriving the Bahamas Banks approximately 10:00pm. The Gulf Stream is one experience but the “banks” are another. The Bahama Banks is a vast area of mostly sand covered bottom that is 15-23 feet deep. When the moon is full as it was almost the night of our passage there is enough light to actually see the bottom passing below you. It is a very unique experience for sure.
The lighted cruise ship “took our stern” just as we were arriving the banks. The other two photos show the moon setting as we crossed the banks over night. We arrived Fresh Creek Andros about 30 hours after our departure from Palm Beach, a passage of approximately 210 nm.
The first order of business was to get checked in with Bahamian Customs and Immigration. We accomplished that by taking a taxi out to the Fresh Creek Airport. A meer couple miles away. We wrapped the day up with a Head On Snapper Linner (Late Lunch/Early Dinner) and of course a Ice Cold Bahamian Beer!
The real reason we went to Andros in the first place so the Admiral could visit the Androsia Factory there. She provides a detailed report on our visit here: http://a2baker.com/seamlesssailorblog/
Next to the Exumas and meeting up with friends!!!!
I neglected one of the high points of our visit to Palm Beach. Monday nights at the Old Port Cove Marina Restaurant there is a HIGHLY competitive Game and in-spite of the fact that we did not have a Millennial Teammate, Team Magnolia overcame steep odds and won the $30 dollars in drink coupons! Thank you Mims and Ted & Sally (MV Amici) for jumping and bringing this victory home…
As out time ashore was winding down, we welcomed a mid week visit from the Tennars! We kept ourselves busy with a visit to the McCarthys Wildlife Preserve (http://www.mccarthyswildlife.com/). That toured turned out to be MUCH more fun than imagined.
While i wrapped up some pre-departure chores, Annette led the Jupiter Lighthouse tour.
With chores and tours complete it was tie for a stop at the Butcher House…another must stop place added to the list.
I am going to do a Varnish wrap up but two lessons learned…1) You do not complete a varnish job…it finishes you…2) Varnish application is an art…I am not yet a artist!!
Mims came for a send off toast! Hopefully we will be seeing her in the Abacos!!!
We had a wonderful full month in Palm Beach truly enjoying our stay catching up with many people and accomplishing many chores….nex stop, Bahamas!!!
Upon our arrival in Palm Beach I had three major tasks to accomplish. 1) Get the water-maker commissioned/operational. 2) Get cap-rail varnish finished. 3) Complete solar upgrade. I am happy to report everything was accomplished plus we had some surprise guests!!
Soon after arriving Palm Beach, Acadia stopped for a visit which to have a minor “Krogen Rendezvous!” It was great evening!
Getting right to though Tom “The Water-Maker Guy” came out to take a look. The HRO system installed was one of these one button how many ways could this go wrong systems?
Once we got started, it dawned on me this system was exactly the same as every other system on this boat. Top of the line components configured in excessively complicated systems were initially installed. We removed the water-maker, removed all the extra filters and antiquated electronic systems. This left us with a simple system of one switch for each of the two pumps, a pressure valve to control membrane pressure and a spigot. We ended up with a SUPER reliable, SUPER basic system that produces 25 g/hr @161 ppm! a real win for us!
We had a wonderful visit from fellow GenIV’s Jimmy & Katelyn. We love to host GenIVs so keep that in mind….but back to the visit… first stop from the airport was the local beach Tiki Bar so set the tone for the visit,
We were fighting a a dismal rain forecast but that did not dampen the spirits of our crew.
With crew shirts dispersed and appropriate pomp and circumstance Magnolia celebrated our newest crew members….a small and distinguished group.
In spite of the rainy nuisance we visited the Flager Museum ( https://www.flaglermuseum.us/) in Palm Beach. We were not aware of Mr Flagers before we began bringing “The Magnolias” to Florida. I think he single highhandedly developed Florida.
And then…there was the moment of sunshine…during an ice cream break…
It was a wonderful visit and great fun…so many GenIVs yet to visit!!!!
As I did on the sailboat I had installed flexible solar panels on MV Magnolia. I had to wire them different than the sailboat and that was causing the internal diodes to fail. I decide to replace those with some hard-frame 200w panels
I was very happy with the resulting installation and the performance has been terrific.
I did not wan the panels to be “noticeable” from off the vessel and it has worked terrific.
Still more visitors and more projects to be completed! Stay tuned.
Don’t even start!!! I am TRYING to catch up again….you know I write this blog specifically for my old crotchety self and someday I will be complaining to myself that here it is February and you are writing about Christmas??? What the hell Bake!
It is just a simple indication of how much fun we were or are having. We were able to grab out traditional rosemary bush Christmas Tree….you think it looks good there…just wait till I get in on the grill with some chicken and pork!!!
New Years Eve brought together Exuberant, Acadia and Amici who was traveling by car to Marathon this year. It was a great evening and we even stayed up till midnight (cruisers).
My friend Tim on Acadia, a fellow Krogonite and former Naval Officer suggested we visit the National SEAL Museum at Fort Pierce. Little did I know Fort Pierce was where the Demolition Teams originated back in WWII A really great stop, recommended.
We had much catching up to do. Jennifer (left) whose father re-fitted Magnolia last year gave me lots of coaching on the cap-rail project and lots of fun evenings conking and drinking wine. Mims (right) , Annette and I had a terrific Christmas Day Brunch gabbing and catching up1
Annette finished the weather curtains and did a terrific job!
Here Magnolia rests behind Jennifer’s house with her new weather curtains. Looking quite elegant I must say.
A trip to Stuart is not complete without a meet up with Ticonderoga shipmate Mike Camacho. Thanks for making time Mike, I know it was aa very busy time for you and Michelle!
Departing Stuart our friends from Acadia Tim & Diane caught a couple pictures of us departure. Unfortunately I was taking advantage of the moment to do a little sanding on the cap-rail and nearly missed the entire moment!
The Admiral and I anchored a few miles south on Peck Lake and celebrated my birthday with a fine dinner and one our favorite Barborsville!
Of course I was making final teak preps so I could go right to work when we arrived in Palm Beach.
Of course the Admiral went to work as well, putting a fresh coating of teak oil on the furniture.
Promise this is the last tech article for a while. I just need to get these caught up. We have been busy so I have lots to catch up from since Vero!
This all started with the purchase of a RaspberryPi and I installed Signal-K. I added Whilhelm SK (https://www.wilhelmsk.com/) to an available Apple Ipad and said “this is cool.” I do not have easy access to display data from my solar panel output so the next step was a no brainier. If I could get current and voltage data onto the Whilhelm SK display, now that would be REALLY COOL.
1) The collection electronics would be
contained in a weather “resistant” container located in the
2) Data collection system must have a
wireless connection to the Raspberry Pi (RPi) and the Signal K Server
(After last years overhaul, I am done pulling cable)
3) Must provide current collection for
each of the 6 solar “banks” we have installed.
4) Temperature and humidity data inside
the weather “resistant” container must be reported. (Make
sure we don’t have moisture intrusion)
5) Voltage of the power source powering
the data collection system must be reported. (This happens to be my
dinghy hoist battery which is charged by a separate solar panel.)
I quickly decided the collection system
would be centered around an Arduino Mega board. After some research
the following shopping list was made. All the following components
were ordered from Amazon.
A) 24V to 12V 5V DC Converter, DROK
LM2596 Buck Power Converter 5-32V to 0-30V Step Down Adjustable
Output Voltage Regulator Board Power Supply Module with LED Display
Voltmeter Screw & Heatsink — $15.83 –
B) SunFounder Mega 2560 R3
ATmega2560-16AU Board Compatible with Arduino – $14.99
C) 20A range Current Sensor ACS712
Module – $4.60 each (one for each monitored panel/bank is required)
D) WINGONEER 5PCS Max 25V Voltage
Detector Range 3 Terminal Sensor Module for Arduino – $6.99 for 5
(Only two are required in this implentation – 5 was just the number
in this offer)
E) Gowoops 2 PCS DHT22 Temperature
Humidity Sensor Module Digital Measurement for Arduino Raspberry Pi 2
3 — $9.99 (Only one is required in this implentation – 2 was just
the number in this offer)
F) Aideepen ESP8266 Serial Wi-Fi
Wireless ESP-01 Adapter Module 3.3V 5V Compatible for Arduino – $6.99
G) HiLetgo FT232RL FTDI Mini USB to TTL
Serial Converter Adapter Module 3.3V 5.5V FT232R Breakout FT232RL USB
to Serial Mini USB to TTL Adapter Board for Arduino — $5.99 –
H) SMAKNÂ DC 3.3V 1A Switching Power Supply Adapter 100-240 AC — $5.99
I) DIYmall ESP8266 ESP-01 with Breakout
Board breadboard Adapter PCB for Serial Wifi Transceiver Network –
J) Male Barrel Plug 6-Inch Wire 5.5mm x
2.1mm for LED Strip Light, CCTV Security Camera, DVR, and Other Low
Voltage Applications – Used to connect Buck-Converter to the Arduino
for power. – $3.49
K) Elegoo EL-CK-002 Electronic Fun Kit
Bundle with breadboard Cable Resistor, Capacitor, LED, Potentiometer
(235 Items) – $12.86
The first step was to get the WIFI
adapter working with the Arduino. I accomplished this task using the
YouTube tutorial: “Arduino Mega 2560 with ESP8266 (ESP-01) Wifi,
AT Commands and Blynk”
Assemble the circuit according to the
diagram below. Note the buck converter is set to output 10.8 volts.
See Buck Volt regulator is Handy Gadget for under $10, Step Down LED
Driver product review: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7DVyas-lkw).
The wire connection list is as follows:
1) Buck Converter Input – requires a
fused (10amp) 12volt input – DO NOT forget the fuse! The Buck
Converter provides a regulated voltage to the Arduino and sensors.
Output is set to 10.8 to ensure sufficient voltage is available for
2) Mega 2560 Input – Connect the
output from the Buck Converter to the appropriate connetions on the
Male Barrel Plug, and plug into the Mega 2560
3a) Mega 2560 Output – Connect the
negative pin (pin closest to Pin 52) to the negative bus of a
3b) Mega 2560 Output – Connect the
positive 5v pin (pin closest to Pin 22) to the positive bus of the
3c) Breadboard – DHT11 sensor into
the breadboard as shown.Connect the negative and positive pins to the
negative and positive bus. Connect the data pin to the Mega 2560 Pin
3d) Breadboard – Insert ESP8266
ESP-01 with Breakout Board Breadboard Adapter with the mounted
ESP8266 Serial Wi-Fi Wireless ESP-01 Adapter Module. Connect the
negative and positive pins to the negative and positive bus.
– Connect the Mega 2560 Serial Tx1 Pin
18 to the Rx Pin on the Breakout Board Breadboard Adapter
– Connect the Mega 2560 Serial Rx1 Pin
19 to the Tx Pin on the Breakout Board Breadboard Adapter
Note: The Transmit and Receive pins
need to be connected to their opposites (Tx-Rx and Rx-Tx) between the
Mega and ESP8266
3e) PCB Board – Insert a Red and
Green Led into the PCB along with a 220 ohm resistor in serial.
Connect the positive side of the Red LED to PWM Pin 12 and the Green
LED to PWM Pin 13.
3f) There are two voltage sensors. The
Solar Array (panel) voltage sensor us used to measure the voltage
output by the solar panels. To determine the actual energy
(power=watts) being produced by the array requires both the
voltage(V) x Current (I) = Watts (W).
The second voltage sensor measures the
supply voltage being provided to the Buck Converter input. I use a
battery and seperate small wattage solar panel to power the sensor
3g) Connecting the solar panels is
pretty straight forward. First thing all the solar panel negatives
are connected together and tied to the negative connection to the
charge controller. I used a standard block for this. The individual
solar panel positive connections are then connected to the input side
terminal blocks before installing the individual fuses. (Size fuse to
size of solar panel/bank)
I used the WhilhelmSK to build the
below display screen for the solar panel application. As you can see
right off the bat I uncovered a couple of issues with my system which
I will be going to investigate!
The setup is not perfect. I am still
working to improve the accuracy of the current sensors. I have not
decided exactly what I am going to do. There is an opprotunity to
solder an additional capacitor but not sure my skills are that could.
There is certainly more tweaking in software to do.
Speaking of software, the code and this
document will be available on GitHub.
I have had several inquires regarding the interior lighting we are using. I used the same set up on sailboat Magnolia as well so we have learned what does and does not work for us. In addition, our friends on Kindred Spirit have done similar and will include their detail as well.
I “might” be a bit eccentric but there are few things I despise as much as seeing a light bulb. I want my life lit up, I just don’t want to see how! I am a HUGE fan of in-direct lighting and we spent a lot of effort on different solutions on the SV Magnolia before settling on our current solution.
The installation ideas are really endless, limited by your imagination. Below are the items we used in our installation. These are all available from Amazon Prime so parts are easy!
Step-1:Installation is really straight forward. The lights come with a 3M adhesive backing that is pretty good. I have found times though where it has failed and in those cases use Scotch Outdoor doubled sided tape to augment where needed. I chose this tape because I had some on-board already. Just use an inch here and there where required. (Trim width to light width and not even noticed. I do not use this on finished wood, I do NOT know the outcome…be warned. The lights have a little mark every couple of inches where you can cut them with a pair of scissors. You can cut to any length, just do it on the marks! Apply the lights to the location you choose. Note: I DO NOT use these outside, only inside where dry.
Step-2: Electrical: These lights need a 12v supply and draw about 2amps for a full length, full brightness strand. We seldom use the full brightness so our consumption is some where closer 1.25 amps. I encourage you to fuse each strand at the supply with an inline fuse. My runs are not very long so I use the 18 gauge wire. Any run longer than 10 ft should should probably upsize to 16 or even 14 gauge.
Step-3: Connections: Using the CCTV connectors connect the wiring and insert the dimmer controls at the desired locations. When you connect the wire to the connectors, pay attention to the “+” and “-” on the CCTV connectors. The LED Lights are polarity sensitive and must be honored. If your installation requires you to go around a corner just cut the light strip where marked and and snap in one of the 90 degree connectors.
After the initial Pilothouse installation I came across a different kind of dimmer switch AND an unused outlet box. Poof the installation was complete. Very happy with this modification! The switch is also available from Amazon.
Whats next? Well I have not done an installation in the stateroom or in the berthing compartment. Those are on the horizon. A far as upping the control system…I am looking at potentially adding voice control through a Alexa type of device but that is still in the research stage.
Kindred Spirit is mothballed for the winter but Captain Al sent me some of interior pictures for some additional ideas.
With a little patience and a lot of luck we were rewarded with perhaps the most benign offshore passage we have ever had. We headed out of Beaufort, SC down the Beaufort River and the historic Port Royal Sound.
Beyond Parris Island we quickly entered the Port Royal Sound and headed for the Atlantic. We had a outgoing current and winds from the east which made for a choppy departure. We quickly found the autopilot was not holding course made the decision to press on in-spite of having to hand steer all night. Now you might laugh but its really tough to stay on course. Next time you are driving close your eyes and see how long you go straight…on second thought don’t do that. When there is no visual reference on the horizon all you can do is pick out star and steer towards that…yup we were reduced to steering by the stars! The below is out actual GPS track so you can see we did pretty good.
We were so grateful to have a benign passage having to hand steer. It still made for a long night but we arrived the inlet at St Augustine shortly after dawn. Some one commented on how rough the water looked in this picture, trust me this is as good as it gets!!!
The St Augustine Light has been light the inlet entrance for nearly 150 years and as you can see she was still lit..probably JUST for Magnolias arrival :-)!
We quickly retrieved a mooring ball just north of the Bridge of Lions which is central to the his historic district. I snapped the below during a middle of the night walk around (I usually wake up atleast once take a walk around to make sure all is it should be). You can see our dinghy Blossom moored off Magnolias stern
After a good nights sleep we went to visit my great uncle Wayne and Carmen. Wayne is my grandfathers youngest brother. He recently turned 100 and is very focused on the fact that his brother made it to 101 and 7 months. Them Laibe boys are very competitive! Sadly our gabbing resulted in no pictures except during our departure!
We picked the wettest day of our visit to me Wayne, Carmen and cousins Pam, Larry as well as Barbara & JY. Annette and I arrived ahead of a passing shower so we celebrated are dry victory waiting for the rest of the crew to arrive. Again, more gabbing than pictures!
From St Augustine we made an overnight stop in Daytona before arriving Titusville.
As luck would have it we passed through the cut from Mosquito Lagoon into the Indian River just as Space-X launched a resupply mission to the International Space Station.
You can say what you want about this area of Florida but they have the nicest lit bridges in any area we cruise. This was the bridge at Titusville.
We next made a 2 day stop in Cocoa Village FL to visit with our mentors and friends Greg & Marie from SV Second Sally. If you are long time readers you know these two are responsible for much of what we have learned. Greg and Marie are REAL sailors so we try and catch up whenever we find ourselves in the same longitude! Gabbing no pictures…I have to do better
Now hardly a day goes by that we don’t see several dolphin. These guys though swam in out bow wave for seemed like an hour. Not who was having more fun, us or them!
We anchored just above Vero Beach and had a quiet evening enjoying the locals taking are of business!
I will work harder on the pictures…I write this blog for the old “me.” Someday when we are old gray I am going to edit all thee bad grammar and organize this better. The more we do what we do, the more normal what we do feels. The one thing that continues to grow is our appreciation for the opportunity we have taken advantage of. So many people have helped us along the way and so many friends we have made is what makes this so special. I also need to make a special shout-out to friends and followers from Shennecossett Yacht Club. We thank you and and look forward to connecting again!
After departing Southport, NC we put an extra scoop of coal in the boiler. Temperatures had been dropping and it was time to really get moving! Its is about 250 miles from Southport, NC to Beaufort, SC. We did not set any records but only took one lay day to celebrate Thanksgiving but more on that in a minute.
We attended Hank Pomeranz Nightly ICW navigation and offshore weather briefs at Southport Marina…well actually we did twice, we are slow learners. When it come to good anchoring reviews we still fall back to an old favorite, Mark and Diana Doyles Book. I think this is out of print but if you find one, keep it and use it!
This is my favorite dock cabana…meant to simulate a Sport Fisher stern!
We had favorable current all day and made it down into the the Wacamaw River. We believe this area to be one of the most beautiful waterways anywhere we have been. Always a pleasure and if it was not so darn cool we would have spent more than one night in the region.
The is the ICW just above Osprey Marina in the Wacamaw, note where the water level was during the recent hurricane flooding. That is ATLEAST 6 feet above the current level. I suspect I am understating that. Amazing! Osprey is known for their hospitality and very competitive fuel prices. We topped up and that should carry us through the winter and probably back to South Carolina! Our girl only drinks about 2 gallons an hour!
We departed early from Osprey Marina because it was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the heaviest travel day of the year….well except on the ICW. I think the only other boat we saw was the Coast Guard Boat near Georgetown, SC who wanted to conduct a safety inspection. They were great though I am still battling the coast in regards to attempting to walk on my varnished sole with combat boots….its a work in progress (Byran Peters!!)
Our plan of anchoring and celebrating Thanksgiving in the Low Country of South Carolina came right together. We Anchored in the South Sanatee River and were rewarded with truly exceptional beauty.
This landscape is just to peaceful and beautiful. These lands protect the mainland from extreme hurricane flooding and you can just sense that quiet strength. Just beautiful.
In addition to an 8 pound turkey, the Admiral actually measured oven and bird before purchase, we had all the sides and a homemade pumpkin pie.
Thanksgiving sunset…life is good.
This is the week of the “King Tides” and as you can see it gave the channel marks a challenge to keep their heads above water.
The extra water sure helped us make it through some often challenging shoal locations. Being in the protected Low Lands can lead you to become a little??? when it comes to current weather conditions.
As soon as we entered Charleston Harbor we were reminded why we need to pay attention more. Magnolia is an extremely heavy vessel so not really an issue…but when its blowing 20-25 knts in an open harbor you are quickly reminded!
In spite of the weather Charleston never fails to disappoint in regards to its beauty and history.
I suspect this waterfront has changed little in the last 100 years!
Just beautiful and the view from the water sure adds a little to the bigger picture.
Evidently this boat had a bad day. As bad as it is that this boat sank…history tells us it will remain right there until it rocks, falls apart or enough anchors get hung up that it gets destroyed slowly….just terrible
We quickly passed through Charleston and few miles further south to Johns Island. We were rewarded with a fine oxbow anchorage protected and well off the main ICW.
Our departure timing (poor) resulted an a wet and cold Captain. In-spite of the weather, I sure prefer to dealing with this than rush-hour traffic!!!!
We are taking a break at Beaufort, SC to visit with friends Jerry & Winnie from the Pentagon Sailing Club. The currents are quite swift in the area so we anchored just north of town so that we could have an easy apprach to Lady’s Island Marina.
We had a great visit with Jerry & Winnie (i know, no pictures)! Ladys Island is an easy place to be, so easy its more like the hotel California. I was talking to a lady in the laundry room about getting their boat ready….that has been going on for 3 years!!! OMG. Me I am just going to enjoy a bottle of wine that appears to have been made just for ME!!!!
While I am budy drinking wine, the Admiral is off being productive…she finished sewing the weather curtains and for extra credit made a storage bag for the pilothouse sunscreens.
Tomorrow morning we set off for St Augustine, FL. We will depart in the morning and head out of Port Royal Sound and overnight along the GA coast arriving in St Augustine mid-day Friday. Weather conditions look exceptional so should be a good passage.