Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Okay... enough ranting.
Carol just sent over the latest pics of our new little mate and his sibs... Very cute little puppies.
Of course, We've never seen ugly puppies.
Carol always gives them names until they are adopted and then she uses whatever the owners come up with. Our little Muddy was Phil. Carol and her family enjoy the TV Sitcom, Modern Family, as you will see.

Very clever...

a few more weeks till we bring him home to terrorize poor old Radar. Still crossin our fingers about that.



PS: Decided to start the reviews off on a positive note. Sunset Bay Marina, Tom Sawyer, and River Forrest who we have already sung the praises of. Check out Marine Services Review. I'm serious about this.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Accountability... time to speak up

This will be a somewhat different post than you'll normally find on this blog... A bit of a rant and for that I apologize.
After this post, I promise, I'll go back to the normal pics and narratives.


Boats break... that's a well known fact. Boats need constant maintenance, another certainty. Sometimes we boaters need to hire expertise to perform repairs or maintenance that we don't have the skills or tools for, or just don't want to do. (Which for me, the latter is usually the case) So we rely on the plethora of highly skilled (or so they say) individuals or marine service organizations for these chores.

I'll get to the point in a moment...

I was talking with a friend last week who had just recently sold his boat and he was lamenting his dream of life on a boat. When I asked him if there was anything he didn't miss about the cruising life he didn't hesitate for a second with his response, he said, and I paraphrase because my memory is for shit, "I really don't miss having to deal with the boatyards who most times overcharge and under deliver, I don't miss the high dollar servicers who tout their expertise then contract the job out to someone else while I'm not aboard, the marinas that offer a special deal until the bill arrives that's loaded with hidden charges. All of this became the rule rather than the exception... I don't miss any of that stuff. I loved the boat, I miss the boaters, and I miss the lifestyle, but I don't miss those in the business of servicing my boat."

I totally understood, I've argued my way out of more than a few boatyards, and no, not all of the marine servicers are that way. Some are dishonest and trying to take advantage of the cruisers when who are out of their area and in a bind. Others misrepresent themselves and just aren't very good at what they do, but quite a few are genuinely trying to help out in the most efficient and least expensive way possible, trying to do the right thing —but— unfortunately they are few and becoming fewer.

Okay... so what's the point of this very lengthy diatribe?

Like my friend who just sold his boat, I too am tired of these types of business practices. I wanna out the ne'er-do-wells and tout the honest professionals. I'm gonna to post my experiences with these companies and individual contractors in a section of this blog I'm calling "Marine Services Review". My intent is to express my opinions and recount my experiences in short concise narratives; relating the work, attitude, and overall experience while dealing with these marine services companies as we travel and find their services necessary.
The objective is to show this post to any boat fixer before he works on Istaboa and explain: there are usually between 100 to 150 people a day who look at this little blog, most of these people are boaters and majority of those are boaters on the east coast.

Mr. Boat Fixer, this is your clientele. If you do a good job at the agreed upon price I will sing your praises and probably render a generous tip. View this as an good opportunity, as a free organic little advertisement.
If you deliver less than desirable service... I will write a detailed account of my dissatisfaction and make my opinions perfectly clear to quite a few folks that care.

Now, do you still want this job?

Some will walk away... I will let you know who does.

In this section, (which you will find in the column on the right side of this blog) anyone, including the subjects of praise or the opposite of, can make comments that are in agreement with me or not. Fellow boaters who have had good or bad experiences can share them here. Every boater that keeps a blog should do the same thing. Speak up! Word of mouth is cool, but our words will carry further online. Maybe we will find more positives than negatives and share those experiences and contacts for our common good.

  • Will this make a difference? Maybe, probably not, but you gotta try.
  • Why am I doing this? Accountability... There's certainly a lack of that in the marine biz.
  • Am I crazy? Can be. Ask some of the boat fixers.
  • Is this unconventional? Not really. 
If this works it will be just another form of crowd sourcing... Kinda like Active Captain, which is a great source of information. (Istaboa has built up over 800 points with them) They have a section called Captain Rated that hasn't been totally put into effect yet. I look forward to the completion of Captain Rated and wish the Active Captain folks success on it's implementation. (Then I can go back to just posting pictures and writing short narratives about our happy experiences while cruising.)
My motive is not to profit from this...
  • I just want decent service at a fair price. 
  • I just want accountability in this little niche industry. 
  • I really just want a better boating experience.
We'll see what happens.



Saturday, January 28, 2012

And now we are 4....

Yup, a new member of Crew Istaboa will be coming aboard soon.
For Mel's birthday, she dug her heels in and insisted we have another critter. Radar and I resisted for as long a we could, but she was relentless and as usual... she won.

 Muddy Waters of Istaboa
He'll be known as Muddy

Mel flew up to Winston-Salem, North Carolina on Wednesday to check him out and of course she immediately fell in love. Another Havanese... and by the same breeder who gave us Radar. 

 Mel, Muddy, and Abby his mom, keeping an eye on the situation.

Premier Havanese is owned and operated by Carol Croop. She's a caring and knowledgeable breeder who takes Havanese very seriously. Only about 2 litters a year come out of Premier which means she does it for the love of the breed. Her passion is showing and improving the Havenese bloodline. She's doing an excellent job. 
Her daughter has Radar's father.... Radar Sr. 
Yes, Carol's daughter named our Radar because he looked like his father. To us, it seemed a fitting name for a boat dog whose owners were in the Marine Electronics biz. And, as a tiny pup he acknowledged the name... so Radar he is. And—he's probably gonna be really pissed when Muddy arrives. He's not used to competition on his boat, but we're sure in a short time he'll love the companionship. Who can resist a puppy, not even Radar. (we hope)

We can pick him up in three weeks... Carol likes to keep the pups for 8 weeks in order to start the training and socialization process. That's 2 weeks longer than most breeders, but we don't argue because of the wonderful job she did with Radar.

So here we go.... this should be interesting.



A video of Muddy, Carol, his mom Abby, and his siblings. Very short.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Flying low to Lauderdale

Yesterday was interesting... Bob, one of our dock buddies, was taking this boat back to Ft Lauderdale and asked if I wanted to ride along.
The Van Dutch is so totally different than Istaboa that I figured a run out in a fairly rough sea in such a boat would be an unique experience. It was.

Bob also asked another dock buddy, Rob, to go as well. Boy, is this sounding redundant? What a crew, Bob, Rob, and Bob? Sounds like an old song.

Anyway, we motored out the St Lucie inlet and hammered down. This boat will fly!

Normally in Istaboa a run to Ft Lauderdale is an all day cruise... the Van Dutch did it in 2 hours.

We had lunch at Southport Raw Bar in mind, but once there we saw everyone else had the same idea. No place to park. So we headed back out to the ICW to head north to Pompano and end the day. On the way out of the canal we passed Contigo... We stopped and talked with Dwight and the rest of the Contigo crew for a moment. Nice guys.

Passing by the Lauderdale Yacht Club we got a pic of the club's sailing school regatta. Looked like the kids were having fun.

Some pics of the Van Dutch... Slick and Sexy... all along the way folks would stare. It's that kinda boat. These shots are from the Van Dutch Website

As you can see from the photos... She is made with for a specific purpose. Not a liveaboard... Not even a weekender.

No, she didn't come with the boat, but I think she is an option.

A fun day and a beautiful boat... Not necessarily our type of vessel, but undeniably very cool.

Another great day amongst many.



Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Turning the lights back on

Been dark for a few days because of technical difficulties and having too much fun.
Had to send my laptop back to Apple... Seems I wore out the keyboard.
Amazing depot service from Apple; I call one day, they send me a box the next day, I ship it back to the repair facility in Memphis via FedEx, and a day later... I'm typing on it. Looks like new too! Three days all together!

Oh yeah... the fun part.
Our old Chesapeake Bay buddy, Peter, flew down for a few days. We had lots of fun.

Peter's boat...The former Morewater at Onancock

Lots of fun, food, good wine, and catching up. A terrific time. What started out as a brunch of Pete's excellent French Toast with a couple of Mimosas turned into a day long party with friends from the dock. Ending up at Santa Fe Cantina and Tex-Mex for dinner. What a day!
Think we are making loose plans to head back up north this summer and we'll stop off in Baltimore to visit Pete and Suzy.
So now we're caught up.... Back to just Crew Istaboa again. Gym and the reclamation of brain cells.



PS: If you have time... A neat little video of Morewater that some may remember.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Friday, January 6, 2012

Never ending...

It seems the care and maintenance of a boat is never ending...
Yesterday, I kept hearing the bilge pump kicking on and would say to Mel that I need go down into the engine room and tighten the shaft log to stop the drip. My thinking was the cold might have loosened the packing a bit, but other things kept me busy so I don't go until late.
We have a little ceramic heater that we use for cold mornings when we aren't using the main AC system, we had looked everywhere for it except the engine room.
I go down and hear a rapid dripping of water... so let's take a look at that shaft now... Nope, not that. So I continue to search for that sound... Ah! one of the watermaker water lines has a small leak. Oh! the bilge under the engine is full of water.... Oh Shit! I touch the elbow that has the leak and the whole things explodes and starts spraying water everywhere. Holy Shit!! I can't stop it from spraying.
I bleed the pressure water system and still water is spraying, slower, but still steady.
Finally I find the cutoff valve for the watermaker and... Ahhh.... now it stops.
So that's the project du jour.
Boats are kinda like children... you gotta love em.

Anyway while waiting for some folks to return some calls this morning I found this video.



Thursday, January 5, 2012