We’ve settled into our slip at Old Port Cove Marina in North Palm Beach. Like last year we are using this time to catch up on boat maintenance chores and upgrades. The Bahamas issues cruising permits for 90 days so one should choose which 90 days would be best. December and January can be cold and blustery with strong north winds blowing for days. So, we are tentatively planning a departure in March to spend March through May in the Berrys, Exumas, and perhaps down to the Turks and Caicos. We will use the next two months to focus on what will be required for that trip. Last year we spent a month in the Abacos which is pretty much like Florida, plenty of services, groceries, anything one might need. In contrast, the Exumas are sparsely populated and thus have fewer services and resources; a higher level of independence is needed, additional spares, supplies, food, etc. Thankfully, the boat’s upgrade list is short. We are installing a spare hydraulic steering pump so that if the primary fails we can change to the backup by flipping a switch rather than installing a spare and bleeding lines; not something you want to do in heavy seas. We are having some routine maintenance done on the main engine and generator. I am installing Balmar smart regulators on both 12 and 24 VDC alternators and am putting LED lights in the engine room. Otherwise, it’s the usual cleaning, waxing, and piddly projects like software updates, chart updates, etc. We are happy to be back at North Palm Beach; we are catching up with old friends and new and revisiting our favorite haunts, watching the Christmas boat parade, etc. It’s a nice spot to stage for the crossing.
Regular readers will notice a change in the blog’s appearance. The website hosting company Talkspot is changing all their sites to be responsive; that is to respond to the size of the screen on the device displaying the site. So, for better or worse you can now view the site on your phone or iPad in a format better suited to those small screen sizes. I’ve had to make many changes to improve the outcome and there is more to do. Not sure I like the end result but technology marches on. I’ll get used to it.