young cruisers, Indiantown

Young Blood

Sunday July 5, 2015

cookout at Indiantown Marina

 If there has been on saving grace so far this past month while we’ve been working on and living on Daze Off while we begin to tear everything apart in order to rebuild, it’s that we’ve had friends to not only cheer us up, but to also share in our misery.  Think we’re the only couple in the marina living in a stripped down boat or even the only ones without a galley at the moment?  Think again.  And the best part is, these other people that can split in un-finished boat blues with us or pass over a glass of Prosecco at the end of a long day are young bloods, just like us.

One couple I may have mentioned a few times but haven’t yet gone into much of an explanation on are Mark and Hanna.  They’ve been here with us at the marina since late April after having purchased a Morgan Out Island 33 in the yard that they’re working on to get seaworthy before sailing it to Guatemala for hurricane season and finishing renovations there. Both new to sailing, Mark just left the airline industry, and German born and raised Hanna has spent the past few years traveling solo around Europe and working at a little bed & breakfast in Costa Rica.

It’s been so nice not only having another young couple in the yard to have a few dinners and drinks with, but now that we’re on Daze Off and living, literally, in a state of chaos, we know we’re not the only ones.  We get to trade stories with Mark and Hanna about what it’s like to live in a space that has all the walls and sometimes the floor torn out.  Or what it’s like also living out of your vehicle and having to unpack and repack about 15 different bags just trying to find a clean pair of underwear.  Misery loves company, and having someone around on the exact same page as us has made this experience much more tolerable so far.

The other young bloods in the marina with us at the moment are a German couple, of course they are, Meike and Sebastian.  I swear this little spot of Florida is experiencing a German invasion, but so far we’ve been loving all of them.  There was even one more young German couple (Johannes and Cati) that we thought were going to be here at the marina to do some repairs, but they were able to get away with minor fix up at anchor in Lake Worth.  Maybe next time…

Anyway, back to Meike and Sebastian.  They live on a big 42 ft steel boat called Meise.  They’ve been here for about a week and a half now but are unfortunately leaving just as soon as they’ve come.  Putting Meise into storage for hurricane season, they’ll soon be on their way back to Germany via air to work for a few months and get a little money back in their kitty before returning in December to resume cruising again.

The funny thing with Meike and Sebastian is we were so close to meeting them last year.  They just left Germany in August and once they hit Maderia they were on the same path as us, always just a few weeks ahead. To think, all that time we were alone in the Canaries and I was desperately searching for some young cruisers to buddy with, and these two were there. This is what happens when you don’t have a blog, Meike!  Then we can’t connect because we don’t know about each other!

I’m not sure if we would have made it happen though anyway since these two were participating in the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, leaving out of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in late November, and we wanted to stay far away from that congestion until it was long gone.  I can’t even imagine what the anchorage and marina would have been like with 300 boats all getting ready to depart at the same time.  So we took our own time and hung back in the other islands until Thanksgiving.

Sigh, I’m getting off topic again.  The point is, we have all found each other here and now and it has been wonderful.  Even though we’re all hard at work on our three different boats, we all find time to connect and unwind.  Sometimes it’s just a passing hello in the kitchen as we’re on crazy schedules depending what work we’re doing that day, where one group might wander in to eat their dinner at 6:30 (most likely us) and another group doesn’t show up until 9:00 after trying to eek out as much work as they can for the day while there is still light in the sky.

On a few occasions we have managed to plan a dinner between all of us where we’ll each bring our own entree to cook and sides to pass.  Hanna will make one of her fantastic bread dips and Meike keeps me topped off with Prosecco.  A quickly growing favorite of mine. I like to think I also contribute something to these dinners, but it’s usually just corn on the cob or potatoes.  So hopefully these photos capturing our memories will ensure my spot of being useful in this group.

We’ve all had some great times together, and our nights out on the patio are sometimes what keeps me going through the brutally hot and arduous work days. With Meike and Sebastian flying out later this week and Mark and Hanna sailing off to Guatemala at the same time, we’ll soon be left alone here at the marina with only ourselves and Daze Off.  Slaving away and waiting for the next group of young bloods to come along and keep us company.

(This isn’t to say you have to be young for us to enjoy your company, it’s just surprisingly all that’s been coming through here lately.)

getting ready for dinner

grilling out

Hanna and Meike

Sebastian and Meike

young cruisers, Indiantown

P.S. Check out this amazing gift Mark and Hanna made us to remember Serendipity by.  It looks just like her!

etching of Serendipity

spray foam insulation to v-berth

Spray Foam Insulation – V-berth & Forward Salon

Wednesday June 24, 2015

spray foam insulation kit

Over the weekend we were able to knock out the project of insulating the v-berth and the forward salon on Daze Off (you can read The Top 8 Ultimate Benefits Of Spray Foam Insulation, which is what we’d preferred).  When we bought the boat this is a project we were not expecting to do, but as anyone knows, plans to rebuild anything is always full of surprises.

We thought the boat was fully insulated and found out that wasn’t true when we began to rip out the ceiling in the forward salon.  All of the insulation there had been removed for what we’re assuming was a place for previous owners to hide drugs.  I guess that’s just one of the things you have to deal with when you buy an ex drug running boat.  The v-berth did have insulation…but it was only sheet insulation which we don’t quite trust because we wanted to prevent condensation from forming behind the foam and causing eventual corrosion. The overhead has spray foam insulation and we’d like to continue that throughout the boat. To find a good salon that suits your personal style and caters to your needs, one can view more here.

Serendipity didn’t have insulation, but after a quick look at this site we wanted to make sure this new boat does.  Not only will it help keep us cool in the Caribbean while we have a blazing sun beating down on the shiny metal surface that is our boat, but once we get to the high latitudes we’ll need it to keep all heat possible inside the boat.  Even when we were traveling down the ICW on Serendipity, the ambient air and water temperatures would sometime bring the inside temperatures into the low 50’s overnight.  Getting ourselves into ice fields?  I don’t even want to think about what it would be like inside the boat without insulation. (Although we will have a heater to keep us warm as well) When it comes to insulation you can contact for crawl space encapsulation here.

Having had a little experience with doing spray foam insulation ourselves from adding a little extra thickness to the existing insulation of Serendipity’s fridge (which you can read about here), Matt felt confident that he could cover the easily accessible areas of Daze Off himself.

Getting down to the primed aluminum hull, all Matt had to do was keep the nozzle 6 inches away from the surface he was covering and squeeze the trigger.  We had purchased a two part kit that had everything else ready to go for us.  The hoses were already attached to the canisters which means all you have to do is point and shoot.

He made sure to go slowly and also went lightly the first time because we didn’t know how much it would expand. We made the mistake with the fridge on Serendipity of spraying too much at first and it expanded so far that we were left with days of chiseling extra out.  This foam kit dries in one minute so it was easy to tell right away how much he needed to spray in one area.

v-berth with sheet insulation
primer on the aluminum hull
spray foam insulation to forward salon
spray foam in forward salon

When the salon was finished and we liked the results we removed the sheet insulation from the v-berth to be able to cover that area as well.  Covering the ceiling first we saved the overhead for last and ended up running out of foam.  Everything was covered but it wasn’t as thick on the overhead as the other areas.  It didn’t quite come out as far as the frames hung down.  Even though we’d bought enough foam to cover 200 board feet we ran just short.  Since we know we’ll eventually have to purchase another kit to cover the head, galley, and probably pilot house, we’ll come back and touch up the overhead of the v-berth.

Once the foam had fully dried we had to go back and uncover the frames so we’d still have a place to attach the furring strips to.  At first we were dreading the part since we remembered how miserable it was to chip out the extra foam on Serendipity, and then Matt had an idea.  Grabbing his Dremmel out he put on a long blade and ran it along the frame.  It worked perfectly!  With barely any work we were able to cut the foam off cleanly down to the aluminum frame.

Switching out this project back and forth since it can get a little tiring on the arms after awhile, we were able to do all the frames in just over an hour.  Now we are all set to start putting up furring strips and then the new ceiling!  She’s going to look so different with walls in again, I can’t wait to see the progress!

*You can spare us the lectures on how Matt wasn’t wearing a mask in this process.  We already had a stern talking to after posting a few photos on Facebook.  I will say that the kit we ordered is non-toxic and we also had all hatches open and a fan blowing.  It didn’t smell the best, but I don’t think we took any years off our lives.

tearing out sheet insulation
spray foam insulation to v-berth
cutting insulation from frame

The 22nd was Matt’s 33rd birthday, and even though he does not like to celebrate them we kind of forced a small party on him anyway.  Mark and Hanna had just gotten back from visiting family and when they found out it was his birthday they said we should all gather at the patio that night for a few drinks.  Not that hard since we’re there every night anyway for our dinner.  Hanna promised us a new mango drink she’d just invented made using fresh mangoes and an energy drink, and Mark said he’d have all the ingredients handy to make a few mojitos as well.  Having a plan of making a big pot of white chicken chili anyway, I invited them to eat with us too.

Since Matt still made us put in a full work day, we got down to the patio to shower just after 6 and just in time to watch a very large yacht pulling in the marina. It turns out it was a sunset cruise boat on it’s way down from the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast and was pulling in for a spot to stay on their transit.  When they found out it was Matt’s birthday they invited him on board to snap a few photos behind the bar so we could pretend we had rented it out for his special night, but apparently that didn’t sound as fun to him as it did to me.  Finishing up the chili instead we gathered on the patio for dinner and drinks.

It was a fun and relaxing evening and I think Matt did get to enjoy some birthday antics when one of the yard guys, Alex, came and kidnapped him and Mark for a few hours where they went to a friends house and enjoyed some Coronas and billiards.  Hanna and I stayed back and mixed a few more mango/vodka/Monster drinks and enjoyed some girl time.

Our friends at the marina, Ellen and Scott, had also didn’t know about Matt’s birthday until the day of, so the next afternoon when we came down to the kitchen for lunch we found a bottle of Coca-Cola with a note that said ‘On your birthday you deserve to enjoy the real thing’.  A joke since we only buy the cheap $0.84 store brand soda at Walmart.  How sweet of them.  And funny.  I think overall it was a good birthday for Matt, considering we’re in a boat yard.  But when my birthday comes…I am getting out.

Princess of Naples
Matt, Hanna & Mark
Mango/Monster drink

Jessica, Ben & Hannes on Marianne

Everything is Changing

Tuesday June 2, 2015

The Sailing Conductors & Jessica

That seems to be my motto lately.  Serendipity is sold.  Big change.  We have at least moved her to a slip after sitting on the hard for the past 7 weeks.  Change.  Our boat yard buddies the Sailing Conductors are leaving us to begin their sail back to Germany and there’s a good chance we’ll never see them again.  Big change (for me….I love those guys!).  Our other friends Hanna and Mark will be out of here soon enough as well to begin their lives as cruisers and spend the season in Guatemala.  A change that I can thankfully at least put off for a few weeks.

And while all our friend’s lives are changing for the better and I am so happy for them, I have to look at our upcoming future, and honestly it makes me a little melancholy.  And a bit apprehensive.  Trust me, I am all for the renovation of Daze Off, I’m the one that pushed for it more when Matt was unsure.  I know it will be a great boat for us once it’s finished and we’re traveling again.  The only problem is, that is a long time from now and we have a very hard road ahead of us.

I want the new (to us) boat that we know every nut, bolt, and screw; and have also tailored it to exactly our taste, the only problem is I don’t want it 6-12 months from now….I want it tomorrow.  But as Scarlet O’Hare would say ‘I can’t think about that right now.  If I do, I’ll go crazy.  I’ll think about that tomorrow’..  Right now we do still have our good friends with us and I’d like to enjoy every moment of it possible.

Sunday we brought our whole group together at the marina for one more German night.  Now that we have one more addition from that country (Hanna), and we had been enforcing so many American things on them (with the exception of the cheap Costa Rican beer we’ve all been turned on to, thanks to Mark) I wanted to sample another treat from Deutschland.  The Königsberger Klopse Hannes made before was so good that I couldn’t wait for another delicious sample of something I had never tried before.

Gathering for the night and being told to bring nothing other than ourselves, I found out the meal of the night was to be stuffed peppers.  Something I never knew had German origins, but apparently they do.  (Or maybe Hungarian.  Close enough.)  Unlike last time, we had two new sets of hands which meant all I had to do was sit back and enjoy a few cold Becks.  Just after the sun had gone down, I think we tend to get distracted when all of us are together and meals take 2 hours to cook, we pushed two tables together and chowed down on appetizing German (Hungarian) stuffed peppers.

When the plates were cleaned away we brought out the wine and guitars.  Since Hannes now had 2 with him after having his grandfather’s refurbished in Nashville, one was handed over to me and I lamely tried to strum along even though I’ve now had almost three months to practice yet can not play the A chord Ben tried to teach me the first night we all hung out.  Eventually my duties turned into ‘flashlight holder’ and I sat perched at the end of my seat, making sure to illuminate the pages of whatever tune the guys were playing.

Mark, Hanna, & Ben

dinners on the patio

Matt & Jessica - MJ Sailing

stuffed pepper dinner

Captain Ben Bart

Jessica, Ben & Hannes

Tonight we said our final farewells to Ben & Hannes, which was incredibly hard to do.

This morning they left Indiantown bright and early with a newly decorated Marianne (thanks to Jack), with plans of anchoring in Stuart for the night before pushing on toward Fort Pierce where they’d do last minute provisions and wait for a weather window to head out into the Atlantic.  Plans were for Matt and I to head out and treat them to a nice dinner, a thank you for letting us take their place as sailing instructors to the Bahamas back in April when the original request had been for them.

Imagine my surprise when I received an email from Ben that afternoon that they were making it all the way out to Fort Pierce in one day and would in fit in our schedule to have dinner that night instead?  Well…we’re in the middle of packing up Serendipity to get everything that isn’t being sold with her onto Daze Off, which is still in storage at the moment.  Not to mention that I still wanted to turn this into a Fancy night out since I’d been promised one by Matt ever since we reached American soil again in March and so far had not happened.

A change in plans meant rushing a few more loads of goods to Daze Off as well as jumping into the shower and furiously towel drying my hair in time to still straighten it before we hopped in the van to head to Fort Pierce.  But….there was no way we could turn these guys down.  They’ve done so much for us in all our time together (and have given me so many free beers) that it was time for when they said “jump”, we said “how high?”.  Getting my hair and make-up done and throwing on a new dress, I was able to get in the Kia with just enough time to meet them at 7.

Getting lost in the vast rows of slips at the city’s marina, we eventually found the brightly painted Marianne and the guys.  True to his word, Hannes even wore his ‘sailor’s outfit’ for our last good-bye, something I’ve been asking him to put on ever since we were first placed next to each other in the work yard and I had been internet stalking them based on their website printed on the hull of their boat.

Walking up the short distance to Cobb’s Landing, a nice little restaurant on the waterfront, we sat down in time to hear not only live music coming from inside, but also that we came on a particular beer special night where all beers start at $0.50 at 7:00 and go up $0.50 on the half hour until they are full price.  With a huge selection in front of us we all ordered something different and followed it by a taste test where we’d pass our glasses around the table so we’d each get a sample of something new.

The food was heavenly and even though I had originally been weary of my choice of lobster & shrimp macaroni and cheese, it is now something I would drive all the way back up here just to enjoy. The four of us continued to sit outside and enjoy the music and cheap premium beer until the sun was going down and it was time for us to get on the road.  Luckily we didn’t have to say a teary goodbye at the restaurant since we were bringing the guys back to Indiantown with us so they could retrieve the magic bus. Of course the whole ride back was filled with jokes that Matt and I would chuck any plans of fixing up Daze Off and instead fly to the Netherlands where of course Matt has already found another ‘perfect boat’.  Placing us right next to Germany there’s no way we couldn’t be sailing buddies again in the future.

Dropping the guys off in front of the magic bus we gave them the biggest of hugs and wished them well on the rest of their journey as well as any future ventures.  I know we’ll still keep in close touch, but with them headed back to a land based life it’s much harder to say ‘Maybe we’ll bump into each other again on the water someday’.  Something I’ve been able to do with so many of my new friends and that I am so grateful for.  But in this case I don’t see it happening and that is incredibly saddening.  As I’ve told myself earlier.  “I can’t think about that right now. I’ll think about it tomorrow.”

Ben & Matt

Jessica, Ben & Hannes on Marianne

Ben, Hannes & Matt at Cobbs Landing

Cobb's Landing

Sailing Conductors & MJ Sailing

the Indiantown gang

Guess Who Just Got Back Today?

Tuesday May 26, 2015

Sailing Conductors - Marianne

The boys are back in town!  Maybe they didn’t just get back today, per se, it was more like Saturday, but I’ve got to start condensing my posts so this is what you’re left with. Anyway, The Sailing Conductors (and Jack Mantis) are back in Indiantown!

After touring the US and Canada in their magic bus for the last five weeks they have made their way back to Marianne who has been so patiently waiting for them in storage.  I think she was beginning to feel neglected next to the bus, but she has been receiving nothing but love and care from the guys this week and now has no reason to complain. After hitting up cities like New Orleans, Chicago, DC, and playing shows in Nashville, Toronto, and NYC, Ben and Hannes ended their tour and we finally got our work yard buddies back.

Their stay here will be incredibly short since they have a weather window to begin their trek back to Germany which is all ready to come and go on them, and are trying to get Marianne back in the water as close to June 1st as possible.  From there they will make a stop in Bermuda if the mood suits, otherwise head straight for the Azores as their first stop.

To say I will miss them will be a huge understatement as we did spend almost every day together for a month, and having them gone on their road trip while I had to look over at the empty space next to us in the yard has been hard enough.  But while they are here we’re going to enjoy as much time together as possible.  To celebrate their first night back we had a braii at the patio which turned into us smushing as many tables as we could fit together in the kitchen since the mosquitoes are still out in full force and none of us could stand to be outside. When they go after Matt alone, it’s normal.  When they begin going after everyone in the party?  Time to move inside.

A new couple in the work yard that we’ve made friends with, Mark and Hanna, were there to honor the occasion as well and Hanna’s German came in handy as I’m sure the guys missed having someone new to speak their native tongue with. When the dishes were all cleared away it didn’t it didn’t take us long to force the guys to bring their instruments out and once again we were delighted with a live performance of Jack’s guitar and Ben’s cello.  I have so much fun with these guys, even just working on boat projects, but I think listening to their music is going to be one of the things I’ll miss the most once they are gone for good. patio at Indiantown Marina

dinner with the Sailing Conductors

Jack playing guitar

Since Matt and I have a boat we’re in the middle of trying to sell and the guys have a boat with a million and one projects that need to be finished in about a weeks time, we haven’t been able to spend as much of our time together as we did before.  One event we could not miss out on though was the final painting of the magic bus. If you don’t remember me mentioning it before, Jack is a well known graffiti artist in South Africa and it turns out his good buddy Seemsoe that has joined in the last week of their journey is pretty well known for the same thing in Germany.

Although Jack had taken over one side of the bus while hanging out in Brooklyn, painting his signature on one side, a group of hippies had taken over the other and left a paint job with a lot to be desired.  Since the guys are hoping to sell the bus before they make their way out of the US, this needed to change.

Wandering over after the sun had gone down and all of the yard staff left for the day, we walked up to find a wet bar set up with scrap pieces of wood, spray paint bottles scattered between ones of gin and tonic. Jack and Seemsoe were already busy choosing colors and getting Seemsoe’s name ready to go on the other side of Jack’s.

Over the next few hours the rest of our gang sat back and watched as the one side of the bus was transformed from something that was incredibly tacky into something that was incredibly amazing.  Things that you wouldn’t think would go together suddenly worked, and Jack also had some bright ideas (literally) up his sleeve, transforming the turn signal into one of the most brilliant things I’ve ever seen.

It was a great night among friends and really one of the first opportunities I’ve had to really catch up with the guys since they’ve been back. We all had fun hanging out once more and in the process, revamping their ride into something that will sell.  Which at the end of the night gave them a sudden change of heart and they decided that after all this they couldn’t let her go and they’re going to try and get their production company to ship her over to Germany so they can bring her on tour when they get back this fall.  So if you’re on the roads in Berlin later this year and you see this hot ride passing by, make sure to give them a honk and a wave for me.

Seemsoe painting.

Jack Mantis painting

Jack & Seemsoe painting

lighthouse blinker

the Indiantown gang

Seemsoe, Jess, & Jack




Melody & Jessica 2

Jessie & Melody Went Down to the Beach (to play one day)

Sunday May 17, 2015

Melody at West Palm Beach

I love girl time.  It’s so rare that I’ve been able to have any lately.  Sure, the Virgin Islands was full of that for me where I was able to hang out with my cruising girls Genevieve, Kim, Jody, and Felica….but those days are long gone and while they’re all still out on the water having the time of their lives, I’ve been stuck in a boatyard in the middle of Florida.

Luckily for me, another cruising lady I became close friends with last year is currently on her boat in Fort Lauderdale.  Even better, we just purchased a set of wheels (in the form of a 2004 Kia Sedona) so now I actually travel by land to see her!  Since neither of us wanted to put the other one out by a full 90 minute drive up or down, we broke it up and decided to split the difference by having lunch in West Palm Beach.  Ever as much the frugal cruiser as I am, Melody found us a cheap authentic Mexican restaurant by the name of El Paso, and after getting lost only twice and parking in the wrong lot, where I was sure I was going to get towed but left the van there anyway, met my dear friend after just over a year apart.

Melody and I got to know each other last year when Matt and I spent a month in Fort Lauderdale.  It was kind of happenstance, where we met somewhat by chance and somewhat by Six Degrees of Other Cruisers, but the bond was instant and we’ve still been keeping in good touch even after we parted ways.  Sliding up to the bar we dove right into conversation as if we’d just seen each other last week.  After a really, really long hug of course.

I let her in on my woes of what to do in the situation of Serendipity vs Daze Off.  Having put her own boat on the market last fall without any serious bids, until they took it back off the market of course, she told me what a pain it is to go through the process of selling a boat, which still leaves me just as confused as ever.  The reasons for staying or going can be so random and odd as well.  ‘Leave on Serendipity…this may be the last time I ever see Melody again.  Sell Serendipity and work on Daze Off…weekend visits to Fort Lauderdale and more time with Melody’.  The puzzlement never ends.

When I wasn’t playing the ‘What do I do with my life?’ game we spent a great couple hours catching up, drinking ice cold beers, and enjoying some very good (and cheap!) Mexican food.  Always being the ones to give little gifts to each other, I surprised her with a shirt she had seen me wearing in a photo in Maderia that she loved and Matt coincidentally hated.  So much so that he almost ripped it so I couldn’t wear it anymore.  I think it will be better off in her hands than a trash bin…  And, Melody surprised me with one of my favorite things in the world: new nautical shackle bracelets which she designs and makes.  There was even a new one in there for me (and added to her line), based on the outfit I was wearing the very first time we met.  A white bracelet with light brown whipping, perfectly complimenting the white top and light brown llama skirt I had purchased in Peru.  Is that an amazing friend, or what?

For those of you who don’t know or haven’t clicked the affiliate link on my sidebar, Melody sells her bracelets through Maggie & Milly in an array of colors and sizes.  I love them SO MUCH.  They are the perfect accessory for me no matter what I am wearing, so to be stocked up with a few new colors completely made my day.  Well, aside from the fact that I was able to spend it with one of my best girlfriends. Plus since neither of us had any place we needed to be for a few hours, we decided to head down to the beach at West Palm so we could capture some photos of me wearing my new goods.  I’m not lying when I say I wear her bracelets everywhere, and I usually try and snap a few photos in my more beautiful locations for her to be able to advertise on her website.  Does anyone in that sidebar photo look familiar?

Melody & Jessica at El Paso

present of Maggie & Milly bracelet

Maggie & Milly multi colors

Arriving at the beach it was a beautiful afternoon and the area wasn’t too bad either.  A little more swanky that most beaches I’ve been to.  Strolling through the sand and the water we talked about what a crazy 12 months it’s been for the both of us and how much the cruising and boating lifestyle can change a person.  That we’ve only met three times in person previously but both consider each other one of our closest friends.  How things in our life can be completely crazy and most people will have no idea what we’re going through, but we can always count on and lean on each other.

There’s something about the water and a life on the ocean that has bonded our friendship forever. I guess Maggie and Milly’s namesake does have a point.  “For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.”

West Palm Beach

Jessica for Maggie & Milly

West Palm Beach

Melody & Jessica 2



maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach(to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea

~e.e. cummings

Simone, Dan & Bobby

Muy Caliente

Wednesday April 22, 2015

Simone, Dan & Bobby

For almost every day of the week, the local saloon up the road has some kind of dinner special which is usually too good to pass up and draws a lot of cruisers and locals alike.  Monday it’s $0.50 sliders, Tuesday is dollar tacos, and Wednesday is $0.60 wings.  Add that to their happy hour of $1 drafts and it’s no surprise that everyone from the marina makes their way up there within a few days of arriving.

Having already done hot wing night with the Sailing Conductors, I was extremely cautious in my choice of sauce and went mild instead of hot or even muy caliente.  In a location with so many Mexican and Guatemalan immigrants you don’t want to mess with spice because they know how to do it right.  My mild wings were perfect for me and honestly I could have probably handled something a little stronger.  When Ben offered me one of his muy caliente wings I got it down without a problem and we began to have sneaking suspicions that there was only one sauce being used in the kitchen and being labeled with whichever multitude of spiciness that was requested.

After our new Aussie friends had been here only a couple of days, they also made their way out for wing night and I mentioned that the muy caliente spice was laughable and if they had any desire for something spicy it might still not fill their needs.  I was wrong.  When we saw them the next day they ranted on about how hot the wings actually were and everyone at the table was pouring sweat the entire time they were eating. Maybe the ‘one sauce for all’ incident was a one time thing and Ben and Hannes had lucked out on their batch not turning them into fire breathers.

Well, as you know, payback is a bitch and there was no way that Dan, Simone and Bobby were going to let another Wing Wednesday pass by without dragging me to the bar to eat a batch dripping wet in muy caliente sauce since I had forced them to do the same the previous week.  Still wanting to go easy on myself, I split my order up between this spicy she-devil when we arrived and a much more mild orange tequila flavor.

When the wings came I timidly took a bite into my first one and thought ‘This isn’t so bad…I think Ben was right, this is the same sauce that was on my mild wings’.  Then a few bites later the heat kicked in and beads of sweat were beginning to trickle down my forehead as well.  Finishing off my Yuengling I picked up my second hot wing and couldn’t even get all the way through it before I was grabbing an ice cold Corona from the beer bucket the Aussies had ordered.

Putting the remaining hot wings on hold for a few minutes I moved on to the orange tequila ones to give myself a break, only to find out that any food that went into my mouth burned like hell.  I couldn’t eat anything at the moment.  Eventually my mouth cooled enough that I was able to regain the use of my taste buds and finished the orange tequila wings while being able to somewhat enjoy them.  Then having a fresh cold beer by my side I went after the last three hot wings only to find out that you mouth numbs itself after 1-2 of them, and the third one wasn’t so hard to get down.

After wings we moved over to the pool tables when a few guys that work at the marina showed up and had already bought a few buckets to share with us.  Who can turn that down?  My billiard skills were put to the test where I failed horribly playing against Simone.  Three games later I had to walk away before I could embarrass myself any further, and all of us realized that our quick dinner out was actually quickly turning into closing down the bar.  So it goes when you have friends around.  Especially when you have to prove to them that you can eat the same killer hot wings that you had told them ‘weren’t really that bad’.

walking out of the marina

Jessica, Simone, Dan, Bobby & Matt

cheers to hot wings!

tasting a muy caliente wing

Simone playing pool

Jessica & Simone

Jack paints the bus

Jack Attack

Monday April 6, 2015

Hannes & Jack at the patio

There’s a new crew member in Indiantown to s/v Marianne and  the Magic Bus Paula (I think that’s what they named her?).  Wednesday night before we made our first attempt at the Bahamas and now that we’ve been back at the marina a few more days, we’ve had a chance to get to know and enjoy the offbeat-ness that is Jack Mantis.  A South African graffiti artist and musician.

Ben and Hannes met Jack awhile back when they sailed into Trinidad and recorded him playing an original song of his, Radiate.  Since then Jack has had a lot of recognition with that song and it’s a top hit with his group, the Jack Mantis Band.  At the moment he’s taking a break from his band to tour with the Sailing Conductors as they hit the US and Canada in the next few weeks and will help them as they record new artist and also catches some shots of his own, including playing in Times Square, to make an official video for Radiate including Ben and Hannes.  From there he’ll be sailing with the guys all the way back to Germany where he’ll meet back up with his band this fall for a European tour.

On Wednesday, his first night in after traveling for over 48 hours from Cape Town, we only gave him about two hours rest before having him unwrap his guitar from all the transportation packaging and play a few songs for us.  This guy is beyond talented, with some of the best guitar playing I have ever seen.

Saturday however, we watched him tap into his artistic graffiti side and help the guys to a little decorating to their modes of transportation.  After having driven down to West Palm Beach on Friday to pick up a very specific brand of spray paint, he was all set to give Marianne a new facelift when we found out the yard’s regulations against it.  Slightly defeated, they turned to decorating the bus instead.  Marianne may not be able to easily move to an out of the way area where spraying is not an issue, but Paula can!

Tucking her into the deep woods of the marina, Jack went about giving the hood a set of racing flames that eventually moved all the way up the front of the boat and even the mirrors.  When I asked what he was going to do with the sides he told me that instead of painting it all now it would get completed along the journey where inspiration from their different spots hit.  They’re also toying with the idea of making one side a large mural where other artists can claim a small spot to make their own art work.  I’m not sure what it will look like when it’s 100% finished, but already I can tell that it’s going to get a lot of attention on the roads.  Awesome job Jack!

s/v Marianne

Jack painting the bus

Jack paints the bus

The Magic Bus

Tonight there was an event hosted at the marina to showcase all the guys’ talent.  Since I think the patrons here were ready for something a little different than their weekly blind taste test on boxed wine, a music night was put together instead.  In the patio area was a sign up sheet to have pizza delivered, and if the guys played their instruments for the group for a little bit they would earn themselves a couple of free pies.

This party couldn’t have come at a better time for us because Matt and I will be leaving tomorrow for our Bahamas/Sailing Instructors trip, and just a day or two after that the guys will be on the road in their magic bus for their US and Canada tour.  It would be the last chance for all of us to hang out for the next six weeks so it was only fitting that a big celebration be in order.

It was really fun to get a chance to chat with a few new people in the marina, and even though I had to keep my laughter to a minimum because it was extremely painful due to my fractured rib I still sneaked a few good ones in while enjoying the company of our good friends for the last time in a long time.  The music was fantastic as usual and I was even able to capture a bit of it to put on video for you.

I’m going to miss all three of these guys (even Jack although we just met him) like crazy while they’re gone, but at least I know that soon enough they’ll be back and we can resume our normal shenanigans. Besides, how else am I going to get free pizza unless they earn it for me?

Matt & Jack at the patio

Hannes playing the uke

Sailing Conductors & Jack Mantis

cheers with Warsteiner

We German….We Hope You Like German Too..

Sunday March 29, 2015

Ben opens a German beer

Since we had spent a good portion of last week introducing Hannes and Ben to a number of new American things they had never experienced before (Walmart..smores) they figured it was time to pay us back by bringing a little German into our lives.  Or, one good night Germanizing us.

This would include a German dinner cooked by our very own Smutje Hannes, master of the galley, and enjoyed with real German beer.  Whichever one we could find here in Southern Florida.  The meal our master chef ended on was Königsberger Klopse, roughly translated to King’s Meatballs.  Yesterday we scoured the local Walmart for all the ingredients where each of us had to memorize a list of 3-4 items as Ben’s phone lost battery power and we were left to remember on our own how much pork, veal and bay leaves went into the recipe.

(On a side note, this was the same day we had the Magic Bus break down on us in the parking lot of a Taco Bell when we went to leave and discovered the power steering lines busted and drained fluid all over the lot.  If you ever want lots of stares and random photos taken of you, try crawling under, in and above the hood of a short bus just off US-1.)

When our German night came up on us we found ourselves in the middle of a Polar Freeze with temperatures plunging from high’s in the mid 80’s to the mid 60’s.  Nights now in the low 50’s.  It was too much for our now tropical blood to handle and we all showed up to the patio in long pants, long shirts, and jackets. I may have even run back to the boat to grab a scarf because heaven forbid a cool breeze pass over my bare neck.

Getting ourselves set up outside we put Ben to work peeling potatoes as one of our sides, a job I quickly took over once he realized he was also on broccoli duty and our master chef saw that getting those cooked was of leading importance.  Before the sun could fully go down on us and we’d lose our nightly ritual of an evening drink, we made sure to stop and smell the German beer.  And taste it too.  What we had been able to find was Warsteiner which I guess is actually a pretty popular pilsener back home in Deutschland with some very entertaining commercials that we looked up on Youtube.

Matt, Hannes, & Ben

Matt, Hannes, Jessica & Ben

cheers with Warsteiner

I thought at this point that becoming Germanized meant I could just to sit back and enjoy my beer as I watched on. Smutche Hannes had other plans and continued to bark out orders for the rest of us to follow as he oversaw the operation.  Ok, maybe that’s not true, but we all withstood a little more time getting our hands dirty preparing this meal.

I may not have had the worst part of it as Hannes actually was the one getting his hands dirty, mushing up all the ground meat while I tossed in things like bread crumbs, spices, and anchovie paste.  Soon the blended flavors began to smell so good that I couldn’t keep myself from swiping the rim of the bowl with a piece of bread and eating just a bite of it raw. It.Was.Delicious.

It always cracks me up how we take up about three tables outside whenever we do a meal.  One table to sit at and eat and drink, one table to keep all our ingredients and supplies on, and one table to actually cook on since the kitchen doesn’t have a stove and the guys bring out their two burner that runs on denatured alcohol.

making dinner on patio

Before I could worry myself about eating too many pieces of raw meat though, Hannes had turned his bowl of ground veal into a plate of large meatballs and we were now working on the white wine sauce.  While taking a few swigs directly from the bottle after pouring a cup or two into the pan of course.  Then there was testing one of the meatballs after it had been cooking for about 15 minutes and still a bit pink inside.  Still delicious.

Even though Smutje Hannes and I had decided from our taste test that we were ready to dive into this meal we still let the meatballs sit another 15 minutes since there were others in the crowd that didn’t want any pink in their meat.  Cowards.  However, this did give us a little more time to thicken up the sauce and before we knew it we were ready to eat.  My mind was full of images of me stuffing 3-4 of these King’s Meatballs in my face although my stomach was only able to handle too.  I think it also knew that dessert was on it’s way from another boatyard friend of ours, Mack.  Strudel and ice cream.  A perfect complimentary German last course.

German meatballs

cherry strudel

To finish up this great night and because it was so ridiculously cold to all of us, we moved ourselves over to the fire pits to enjoy the remaining bottle of wine before we all burrowed under our covers for the night.

Overall I think our German night was a huge success and Matt and I did very well on our way to becoming Germanized.  Or as Bob Marley may have sung if he were with us:

Yeah, we’re – we’re German,
We’re German,
See, I wanna German wid you
We’re German (German, German, German)
I’m German: I hope you’re German, too.

fire pit at marinaSunday Funday with Sailing Conductors




Sailing Conductors - Hannes & Ben

Photo Caption Week: Life with the Sailing Conductors

Wednesday March 25, 2015

Hannes, Ben & Matt get Marianne's engine back in

What can I say?, there’s been nothing interesting to report on the progress of Serendipity because general cleaning work is pretty ho-hum.  Unless you’re interested in knowing things like Matt was all ready to polish the side when he realized we didn’t have pads for the polisher, so we had to wait three days to get a ride into Stuart to buy a few…only to realize they were the wrong size and had to wait another five days before we could get back into town to replace them.

The good news is our nights have been incredibly busy and incredibly fun as we get together with Ben and Hannes almost every single night.  From sushi making to smores, hot wings and pool at the local saloon to watching the sun set between our boats with a cold one in hand, these guys have been great company for us during our time here and I can only hope that we do the same for them.

Life may not be very productive when you have such new yet good friends just mere feet away from you…but it sure is a lot more fun!

Hannes records Ben making sushi

Hannes records Ben as he slices the fillings for sushi.  Think it will make it onto an episode of Soundwave2Berlin?

Matt and Alex at Indiantown

Matt hangs out with the local hooligans, Alex and Adam.

Hannes inspects wasabi sauce

Is it still considered wasabi sauce if it comes in a squeeze bottle that came from Walmart?

Sailing Conductors - Hannes & Ben

Are they saying they love Moosehead Lager or they love each other?  We’ll let these special friends* decide for themselves.

Ben making sushi

Ben adds some smoked salmon to drown out the flavor of imitation crab.

homemade sushi

Although it came out pretty pitiful looking, trust me, it tasted fantastic.  Look, it even had sliced ginger!

bringing up the engine

Marianne’s engine is finally rebuilt and being brought back on board.

cheers for Marianne's engine

Hannes & Ben cheer while Matt tries to forget  that one of them is in their underwear.

bonfire at Indiantown Marina

The guys prepare to enjoy their first smore ever.  The anticipation is killing them.

Sailing conductors first smores

They may have been all smiles for this photo, but they were choking those smores down.  Too.Much.Sugar.

hanging between Marianne and Serendipity

After going out for happy hour and hot wings we gather between our boats for a few more beers.

Matt & Hannes

O.M.G.  I don’t even know what to say…

Captain Ben Bart

Hannes captures a close up of Ben while playing with my camera lenses.

Hannes smutche

Hannes contemplates life…music….or perhaps what all of us are going to do tomorrow night.

Sailing Conductors - Marianne

Marianne….best boat yard buddy anyone could ask for.



*Inside joke.  They’re not actually a couple.

jam session at Indiantown Marina

Who Needs Work When You’re Having Fun?

Wednesday March 18, 2015

St. Patrick's Day with the Sailing Conductors

A little over a week now in the work yard and we have spent about…hmm two of them working.  Ok, ok, there have been some projects happening (and I’ll get to those in one of my next posts), but the truth is, we’ve just been having lots of fun instead. Those Germans we talked about, Ben and Hannes, have a way of distracting us from our work with fun.  Although they’re telling us the same thing, so I guess it works both ways.

Matt and I still have not gotten over our habit of sleeping in and by the time we get to ‘work’ after 10 am, we usually only get about a good 2 hours in before it’s time for lunch and a little socializing.  Which is extremely easy when you’re friends are less than 50 feet from you and you just wander over to say hi or “Whatcha working on?” and it turns into an hour conversation.  Then beer-thirty comes just a few hours after that and it’s relaxing in the space between our two boats with a cold Miller High Life in hand. Monday night we had another late night at the patio with these guys, but yesterday was even better when we introduced them to an American St. Patrick’s Day.

We’d heard through the marina grapevine that a group of people were headed up to the local watering hole, JR’s Saloon, for $1 tacos and $1 drafts, their Tuesday night special.  When we thought there might be green beer involved as well we jumped at the chance to join and found out the guys were doing the same. As a huge treat for us, Hannes and Ben agreed to drive us out their in the school bus they just purchased and are renovating into a type of RV for a road trip across the US in a few weeks.  As we stepped on it for the mile long journey, we could see that they’d taken out all but one row of seats and thrown their cockpit cushions on the floor as well as most of their other belongings.  I have no idea what it will be like to road trip in this vehicle for six weeks, but it will be interesting to see what they do with it.

Getting to JR’s and locking up the bus with a good ol’ fashioned chain and padlock, we entered to find we had come fashionably late and almost everyone was already done eating.  I guess that’s what happens when you show up 30 minutes before happy hour ends.  We spent a little time meeting new cruisers from the marina, but personally I was having much more fun with Ben and Hannes, noting the differences between our cultures and making light jabs at each other.  Like when I handed the guys a Shock Top and told them it was a delicious wheat beer, they about spit it out and said that it was extremely watered down and if we wanted a real wheat beer we needed to come to Germany.  (All in teasing though, I mean, they do drink nothing but Miller High Life at the marina).  Then it was my turn to make a few jabs at Ben as he told me a little bit about his family.

“My cousin just got a baby”

“Really?  Where did she get it, Amazon?”

“You don’t say ‘got’ here?  What do you say?”

“Have.  One has a baby.  Usually you would only say ‘got’ if it was something you were given or was purchased”.

“Oh, ok.  Well, she ‘got’ hers on clearance, very cheap.  It was a German model.”

Without skipping a beat.  I love it.  And it was like that with them all night long.

Jessica & Ben, St. Patrick's Day

 When we’d finished our meals and the crowds had thinned out, it turned out the four of us weren’t ready to go home yet.  Plus Matt and I wanted to make sure we forced some more terrible American beer down their throats so we purchased a pitcher of Shock Top and made our way over to the pool tables.  One pitcher turned into two, and two games turned into four.  Before we knew it the sky had grown dark and it was time to go home. Ben racking for pool. Hannes breaking for pool. Jessica & Ben playing pool Ben shooting pool Matt & Ben Hannes & Ben on the bus

We thought the night was going to be over once we got back to the marina but it turns out that all our fellow dinner patrons that left us at JR’s were just bringing the party back to the patio.  Music was already being played between acoustic guitars and even a fiddle.  We were already tired and knew we needed to at least try and get up early the next morning to get some work done, but when there was a bottle of rum placed on the table along with some fruity mixers that one of the cruisers was trying to get rid of, there was no way we could say no.

We ended up spending another couple of great hours sitting out at the patio, enjoying live music, and sipping on a few green cocktails.  The guy that had brought the green food coloring to the bar to give us a hand there with our beers since they apparently were not serving it, made sure to leave it in the kitchen at the marina so we could keep with the St. Patrick’s Day theme all night long.

Hannes and Ben grabbed their instruments to join in on the fun and I was even given a quick lesson on how to play the cello.  I think that for only having two strings at the moment, I did pretty well.  So, now you can see why we haven’t been getting much work done on Serendipity so far.  All these impromptu events keep coming up and we don’t want to turn them down.  Life is too short, and hey, the work can wait.

Jessica with a green cocktail

jam session at Indiantown Marina

Jessica playing cello