Saturday, June 27, 2009


This is an interesting blog... Bagan- a 57 Nordhavn - sistership to Istaboa - is preparing to cross through the infamous, almost mythical, Northwest Passage.

Bagan Getting Ready from Hole in the Wall Productions on Vimeo.

Filmmaker SPRAGUE THEOBALD has always had an affinity for the sea. From his 3 year stint on the America's Cup yacht Intrepid to his private voyages from Alaska through the Panama Canal and into the Caribbean, Sprague has over 40,000 deep water miles under his belt. His look at The America's Cup in "The 25th Defense" won him an Emmy Award and his most recent work, "Welcome to Nordhavn" was pivotal in boosting the company's sales in 2007.

In this blog, Sprague and his Crew, (made up of professional mariners along with a successful film director), provide almost daily narrative to the details as well as setbacks experienced during preparation and execution of creating a world class documentary.

In Sprague's words:

The Scope of the Documentary

The aim of the trip is to not only travel to and through The Passage and document it, but to meet the denizens of the area, find out about their lives above the Arctic Circle, try and learn how the recent climatic changes have effected their lives, what they noticed, if anything. I want to learn what their feelings are about what may become of their home, their pristine ecology, their livelihoods if and when shipping and exploration make themselves known. I’d also like to follow the route The Franklin Expedition took and try to convey through the moving image how it is that such a large expedition can simply vanish. When Franklin and his mean set out for The Passage it was that century’s equivalent to one of the first moon shots for us. To this day those waters are for the most part uncharted and transiting them will present very obvious and present dangers, yet we have electronics that can guide us from the heavens and see what awaits beneath. With Forward Looking Sonar we can see 200’ ahead of us and make a navigational decision before calamity. Franklin and his men and those who followed, had none of this. They were true heroes… and they had backing. Our route is to leave Newport, RI, for Halifax, Upernuvik Greenland, enter Lancaster Sound, go down Peel Sound to King William Island, head out through the Bering Sea, cut through the Aleutians, Alaska and get into Seattle the end of October.

Interesting read... click here>>> Bagan

Ironic... The crew of Bagan have dealt with and overcame so much adversity.
  • The loss of funding and sponsors
  • A world economic crisis
  • major mechanical modifications
  • medical problems
But now it seems they are scuttled in Hallifax because Windows Vista has brought them to a grinding halt. We feel their pain.

Good luck Bagan



Friday, June 26, 2009

Been dark for a while

We apologize to our habitual followers and friends for not posting anything for a week or so... living in civilization has it's entrapment's. Though not at all bad; we have been kinda busy.
Life at Marina Bay is nice... We have been hitting their gym almost everyday. Kind of a self-imposed rehab after living the island life for the last few months. (We feel the need to sweat off all that Conch and Kalik.)
Less fun but necessary would be the negotiations with insurance companies and our education of Florida sales and use tax laws. We think we have all that where we want it... We shall see.

Photographic evidence

More fun and exciting would be the truck trips up and down the coast of SE Florida in search of proper fishing boat. (those who know me understand that it must be a steal of a deal) We found one!
In Jensen Beach, which is about a 100 miles north, was a beautifully used 23' Albury Brothers Center Console. If you have spent any time in the out islands of the Bahamas, you know of this boat and the heritage of the Albury name. It's a classic. (and yes I got my deal)

She's a beauty

The plan is to rig her with the appropriate gear--electronics, T-Top, and such-- make her look like new again, then put her on the market and find another one. Melonie is not the mercenary that I am so she hopes we're the buyers.

We took her out for a spin last night... down the New River to Briny RIverfront Pub. It's fun to park your boat right out front of the restaurant. They seem to be very dog friendly so next time Radar can go.

So that's it... we're still enjoying life; just a bit differently... but it's all good.

Will post pics of the Albury as she progresses.



Monday, June 15, 2009

Just when the roots were starting to sprout...

Our insurance dude called to say the underwriters don't like the combination of Istaboa and Fort Lauderdale during the hurricane season. Not sure what the problem is but we think maybe Fort Myers is a good idea. We really like it there anyway so other than the trip around the tip of Florida, we are looking forward to Legacy Harbor. Lots of friends there, so it's all good.
Next up will be a trip to the Keys and a run up north.



Friday, June 12, 2009

M/V Istaboa — The refit — Again

As I've been indicating in recent posts, Istaboa 3.0 is better than ever.
But we'll start with...

In the beginning:

Istaboa was built in 2002 by Nordhavn in their Taiwanese yard. One of the last few Nordhavns built there before moving operations to China. She was the 26th of the 40 that were built. Shipped to Dana Point, California to be commissioned, then handed over to her previous owner, Roger Mumford. She was originally christened "Teralani".
Roger took her down the west coast and through the Panama Canal, across the Gulf of Mexico to Florida, then up to New Jersey. After that she cruised back down to FL and over to the Bahamas several times.
As Teralani she became a true long range passagemaker; as Istaboa she has a led a somewhat different life.

Becoming Istaboa:

We happened on her for sale in Palm Beach Gardens, Fl and quickly realized, we found our boat. A 57 Nordhavn was always at the top of my list of great boats and it didn't take much poking around to see she was loaded with the right stuff as well as in good shape. We worked out our deal, took her out into 10' seas for a sea trial, took a night to think about it, and the rest is history. We now own a 57 Nordhavn.
The previous owner kept a captain and mate busy on board and she was already in turn key mechanical condition. So without much fuss we loaded her up with fuel and made a run for the Abacos; then the Berrys, Eleuthera, and Cat. She ran flawlessly. After a few months of island cruising, we ran her around the Keys, across the Gulf of Mexico, and up the Tenn-Tom Waterway to Tennessee.

In the fresh clean waters of the Tennessee River we started the process of returning her to almost new condition. Lots of polish brought her back to a new boat shine. We removed the very beefy stainless steel rub rails and had the scratches removed and polished. New Canvas. The small teak stern cap rail was refinished then topped with 10 coats of Awlbrite; giving the wood a near mirror finish that will last for years.

A little gelcoat work and the new Istaboa —externally— was looking almost new, yet with nicely weathered patina. While in Tennessee she was always berthed under a covered slip in fresh water which kept her looking good while we went to work on the interior.
The next year or so, business kept us close to home and unable to make the run back to the islands, but cruising the Tennessee River is a great consolation prize. The Tennessee is, no doubt—hands down—one of the most beautiful cruising rivers in the world; especially in the Fall. So this time was also enjoyed, not to mention the boat loves fresh water. We did get a few comments like, "Nordhavn's a bit of an overkill on the river isn't it?"
Actually it's a great river boat. She clips along at an average of 9.5 knots upstream, and even faster down, and uses less than 7GPH of fuel. Wind doesn't bother her much and docking in the smaller marinas is easy with bow and stern thrusters with wing stations on both sides of the Portuguese bridge and the cockpit. Per Nordhavn's design, the bulbous bow keeps our wake to a minimum while maintaining cruising speed.
I remember when we were still on the river and approaching small fishing boats; the fishermen would wave their arms hoping to slow us down (most big boats don't) so we wouldn't wake them. Then they would flip us off as we passed by without pulling back, but glancing back we would see a look of bewilderment on their faces as our small wake hit and they weren't swamped. At 9.5 knots it makes the wake of a bass boat.

The inside story/The Redux
Next we went about changing the interior and electronics on Istaboa. Yes, 57 Nordhavns are very strong and seaworthy boats, but there is more to life than just function. We also enjoy our creature comforts and Istaboa is a very comfortable boat.

Starting with entertainment, the first thing to go was the TV. Out with the old and in with a new HD Panasonic. We also upgraded our KVH Sat dish to receive HD and we did enjoy that for a year or so until Directv decided to kill off the old birds and use new satellites that we can't receive... unless we do a $13,000.00 USD upgrade. So... no more HD, unless we can pic it up locally off air. All receivers were replaced with the newer DVRs. Our latest addition for entertainment is a Mac Mini that we use to download Netflix, Amazon, Comcast Xfinity, and anything else that the available internet will allow. Of course, there are times that there is no internet and I just use it as an extra chartplotter that's hooked up on Istaboa's network.
She already had a nice Bose surround system, so we've maxed out the inputs and let that be.

Version 2.0 that's still in service: Wine Cooler, Commercial Grade Propane Thermador cook top, SubZero fridge, and Subzero freezer were all serviced and declared in fine shape. (Version 3.0: they've been serviced again and still working well.)
We like to cook and the galley is a cook's galley. Gas cook top and plenty of room on the bar for prepping makes it easy; everything is conveniently within reach, plus lots of places for pots, pans utensils, and spices. The double sink with a heavy duty garbage disposal is nice for chopping and cleanup also. Next to the Asko, separate, washer and dryer is a large pantry with room for booze and drinking glasses.

So then we moved up to the Pilot House.

I have been in the Marine Electronics business for years and I still believe, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."  So we left the old Raymarine RL80's with 12kw 6' array alone, but added redundant computer systems with Nobeltec's V9 and the new Max Pro loaded. I liked the old Samsung portrait style computer display, so we left that but added a Raymarine daybrite display on the Fly Bridge.
Well, It broke and we replaced all that with new Raymarine E120s and a Raymarine G series 17" display.

2 new redundant laptops attached to the G series display and all new software. I've found that, after many different computer configurations, laptops are the most reliable computer systems. They are small, don't get hot, good ones are very reliable, and no need for an elaborate redundancy hookup. If one goes down, just grab the other and plug it in. This has worked for me several times.

Out with the old Raymarine VHF and in with a new ICOM 604. Topped off with new antennas also.
Later we added Furuno's FA-150 AIS and interfaced that into Nobeltec's charting software. (It works wonders in the rivers, though it did puzzle the tow boat Captains as they are not used to seeing a pleasure boat on AIS.)
Also XM weatherworx and an Airmar weather transducer were added. That's a lot of info for a windows based system to sort out, so we added an Actisense NMEA Multiplexer to narrow down the connections.
We utilize two completely separated and independent navigation systems that in no way share anything other than electricity. Each has 2 GPS tranducers, each has it's own weather system, each has it's independent depth tranducers and displays.
Another nice addition we made was the communication/internet gear.
This not only gave us faster wireless internet, but voice communication also from Skype—at 2 cents a minute—in the Bahamas. As time went on and high speed internet bandwidth became more available, (especially in the Exumas where our company has installed it.) we've added VOIP phones that act as an extension of my office system. Yep, you can call me at the office and I can answer in the islands. Pretty cool.
Version 3.0 communication/internet gear:
Keeping up with technology, we've change out pretty much all the old gear and brought on new and faster equipment. We now employee a Rogue Wave Pro
to reach out and find an available internet hotspot. We attach that to a new Cradlepoint MBR-1400 router that's better and more stable than the old Cradlepoint router. Same methodology, just newer technology that gives us 4G-LTE capability from Verizon when we can't find a hotspot signal using the Rogue Wave Pro.

With all that done it was time for the softer things in life that Melonie was more interested in.
Version 3.0 that's recently been changed or added:
We've never really cared for the colors used on the settee and stools so we changed all that to a combination of beige and sage.

Some of you who've read this blog before will remember our run-in with Florida Yacht Interiors and the really-really bad job they did on our settee cushions. If not, read here in case you're thinking about using their services. Florida Yacht Interiors.

Finally we found a company that does what they say and we have new cushions for the settees, both in the salon and pilothouse. C2Shore in Palm Beach did an excellent job. The large fixed table in the salon has been replaced by a custom teak hi-lo table that was done by Scott Boyle in Stuart, FL. This gave us a lot more space and was more practical than the fixed table. The stools have sage seats with beige backrests. Mel thought this brought out the green granite counter tops nicely so we added barrel chairs with the same color scheme. The barrel chairs also gave us space under the seats for storage... and, they're very comfortable.

With all this done, our 57, was reborn. She's still Istaboa, but she has a new look.
The picture below are from the Teralani days. When we return, we'll take and post new pics of the interior. It looks really good.

As you can see, Istaboa at the time she was built, the previous owner opted for the high gloss finish on the interior teak. While this is beautiful and a $15,000 upgrade... it does require a bit more maintenance, but Mel has become an artist at keeping it very shiny.

 Notice the mirror image of our little stowaway

After cruising for a while in the islands we realized a new and longer dingy would be a nice addition. So we traded the old 11' for a 14'. The difference in the ride was amazing. We looked at other options, such as Boston Whalers and other hard sided boats, but decided the softer ride of an inflatable best suited our lifestyle... not to mention bashing a hard boat into the side of Istaboa while lifting with a davit could be a problem.

Down below in the engine room, pretty much everything was in very good condition. The previous owner always kept a captain on board and maintenance was done on a regular schedule.
The John Deere 6125 and a John Deere wing are a nice combination. The big 6125 chugs along quietly and almost vibration free. Keel cooled and dry stacked exhaust makes for a nice and simple main engine. The wing engine provides power for the bow and stern hydraulic thrusters, the hydraluic winch, that lifts the 175 pound stainless steel CQR anchor, and acts as a get home engine in case all else fails. It will actually push the boat at about 5 knots.

The engine room is quite large, giving a 6' person the ability to stand up and easily do maintenance.
With plenty of storage and a workbench with running water and a sink this all makes for a convenient workspace and being white gives it an always clean appearance.

 Notice that little pod in the upper left hand corner of the above pic? That's a pan/tilt/zoom camera with a monitor in the pilothouse. It works great for zooming in and checking on fuel filter pressure gauges. It will actually zoom in close enough to read the gauges. Not to mention quick engine room checks. Not as good as eyeballing it personally, but good for a quick scan.

Storage... there is so much storage aboard this boat that we maintain an inventory program on the ships computer just to keep up with what spare part is where.We keep a lot of spares.

Version 3.0:
We've spent the winter of 12/13 in the Palm Beach area in order to take advantage of James Knight and Yacht Tech. Revamping everything from the electronics to the hydraulics.
  • Davit serviced and certified in good shape  (James took this one on himself)
  • Stainless steel cable removed and replaced with Amsteel Blue Graphite Line
  • New Dishwasher
  • All fluids changed. Hydraulics, engine oil, transmission fluid, Keel Cooler cleaned and coolant refreshed. 
  • New hydraulic inspection shunts installed and gauges removed making the system more reliable.
  • Complete hydraulic inspection done. (I have a fear of losing hydraulically operated components)
  • New alternator on wing engine.
  • Engine room detailed, rust removed and repainted.
  • New GPS tranducers and new Raymarine G Series Daylight Bright Monitor installed. New laptops with all new Nav software... Nobletec and Coastal Explorer by Rose Point.
  • Fixed aft brow cover fabricated over the cockpit.
  • Teak caprail refinished with 8 coats of Awlbrite
  • Exterior buffed and polished.
We were about to re-carpet the whole interior, but decided to do another cruise with the new puppy before that (wish we would have had it done... Muddy's done well with training). We'll save that for next winter.

I could go on and on about the systems, storage, and spare parts we carry.
If you ever see us around the many marinas we visit, stop by, we will give a real tour. We are very proud of Istaboa and like to show her off.

Till then,



Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Walkabout Bahia Mar

Bahia Mar is always entertaining... There are so many huge Megayachts that boats like Istaboa just disappear. But if you look closely... sometimes you can find a few very interesting vessels.

Like this Mochi. Built in Italy and, though not our kinda boat, it is a floating work of art.

This one is for Hope. Notice how the mirror image of the name has been bleached into the teak decks. A very cool little detail.

This is the tender to a much larger boat; it looks to be a one off custom built little runabout. The picture doesn't do it justice, it's a beautiful boat.

But somehow it doesn't seem very practical here in sunny south Florida. All that black could get a bit hot. Still very cool... maybe at night.

They were having a go fast boat race last weekend and the crews were using the north parking lot of Bahia Mar as a pit.

Wild looking boats were everywhere. Kinda like NASCAR on the water.

Oh Yeah... What would a go fast boat race be without a few of these.

So today Craig and I are doing some upgrades and maintenance on Istaboa. Later we are leaving Bahia Mar and running up New River to Marina Bay.

Till next time...



Saturday, June 6, 2009

Interesting videos and more about Compass

We haven't been out taking pics much lately, although last night's sky would have made a beautiful sunset shot.
We are really enjoying Ft Lauderdale... Had dinner with our old friend Ole and his girlfriend Vanessa. Last night we had Karen and Trish over for more Memphis style ribs. (Thanks Ralph for the real recipe) So we are settling in.

Craig from Boatronix is bringing us the old Land Cruiser from Panama City and will do a little work on Istaboa while he's here. It will be nice to see him again. He's always there to help when we need him. (Like when he saved our butts in Nassau with the inverter problem.)

I saw these very cool videos on youtube this morning so I thought I would share.
I love dolphins.

The second one is from Compass Cay, taken around the fish cleaning station. At certain tide levels the fish would come out and play. Sharks, Bonefish, Grey Angels, Triggers, and others we can't name would cavort in the gin clear water like in a natural aquarium. Then they would leave only to return again a hour later the next day. Something about the tide.

We know, we know... We won't shut up about Compass and the Pipe Creek area of the Exumas. But we're not the only ones blown away by it's beauty and tranquility.
Read what Johhny Depp had to say about his island in the Exumas. (which is only a stones throw from Compass Cay)

"I don't think I'd ever seen any place so pure and beautiful," Depp says of the island. "You can feel your pulse rate drop about 20 beats. It's instant freedom. And that rare beast--simplicity--can be had. And a little morsel of anonymity.... Whenever I was getting frustrated about being 'novelty boy' and making movies, I told myself, Calm down. I can come down here and disappear. I spent the Christmas season here with Vanessa and the kids. You can feed hot dogs to the nurse sharks in the Exumas--but it's best to not swim when doing it."
Depp says: "Nobody is going to ever ruin the Land and Sea Park. It's like a rare gem, a diamond. I look forward to my kids growing up on the island, spending months out of the year here ... learning about sea life and how to protect sea life ... and their kids growing up here, and so on.... Theoretically, this place can add years to your life." Then he quotes the old adage: "Money doesn't buy you happiness. But it buys you a big enough yacht to sail right up to it."

Hope you enjoy the youtube clips.



Thursday, June 4, 2009

Home away from home

Well, our insurance guy came back with an acceptable number so it looks like Ft Lauderdale will be home for a while. We are honestly relieved with not having to make the long slog back up the Tenn-Tom Waterway to get home. We will miss the Tennessee River area but we're also sure we will one day cruise the fresh clean waters of the Tennessee again. But for now it's Boatville!

More later.



Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Not much to post

Friends of Tucker

Not much going on right now. So we've been dark for a few days.
Fort Lauderdale is always a trip and we really like it here. We are waiting on our Insurance dude to give us an acceptable quote. Meaning... we may stay in Lauderdale during hurricane season if the numbers add up. We have always talked about having a place down here so this will be a good experiment.

The Girls of Compass Cay
Look closely and you will notice the ankle bracelets provided by Capt. Weemo.
Mother's day gifts.

Friends from Compass sent us some pics of one of the little soir'ees at the Green Flash Club. (the overhang next to the marina office.)

Of course, Radar had his picture taken. He loves the camera and the attention that goes with it.

It's been raining everyday since we have been here. Not bad though. Sunny in the morning followed by rain and a thunderstorm in the afternoon.

We have looked at Marina Bay which is up the New River in Ft Lauderdale. It looks like it would be fairly protected from the more serious blows that happen on occasions down here.

So.... We will keep you posted as to our new plans. More pics when the weather breaks.
There are a lot of beautiful boats everywhere you look.