After a few awesome days at Conception Island. We made the overnight cruise to the Exuma Islands. Our first stop was Warderick Wells Cay. Warderick wells is home of the headquarters of the Exuma Land a Sea national park. We decided to try and squeeze Wabird into the Hog Channel mooring field. It took a bit of planning and maneuvering, but the final result was worth it. We ended up with our own secluded mooring surrounded by pure beauty.


When Warbird crossed the bank to enter the mooring field we had inches of water under the keel at high tide. Here is our underwater camera footage showing the proof!

Warbird is anchored in West Bay of Conception Island. The entire island is part of the Exuma Land and Sea Park.


We decided to move in closer to the beach. Here we are anchored in 11 ft of water. The anchorage is so beautiful we all agreed to stay a second night.


Haggy leading the exploration around Conception Island!

Mermaids are real!!


Our first dive took place off the east side of San Salvador. While prepping out gear we were greeted by two playful dolphins off of the back of the boat. Little did we know they would become our guides for a dive of a lifetime! They followed us and were playing the entire dive!!! Here is Kate with a front row seat!

Mission accomplished! We were able to take the Sealegs up the interior creek on Conception Island. The water got a little skinny, but we came out unscathed!

Casey led Logan and Lise on an introductory scuba diving lesson. This was Lise’s first dive ever!

It looks like she enjoyed herself!

Thanks for the training Casey!!

Warbird and out Fleet!

Good thing Warbird is a full displacement vessel because we are loaded with gear for this trip!

Captain John and Lise celebrating her first dive!!

It has been awhile since our last post! Sorry about that!!! After completing our haul-out at Lauderdale Marine Center. Warbird headed south to Virgin Gorda for the New years.

Virgin Gorda Arrival

One of the upgrades we made in the yard was installing two underwater cameras that face aft at the props under the boat. This video shows the cameras together on the same screen. What you are seeing is actually two separate cameras. Combined it provides a full underwater view!

Here is a look anchored off Highbourne Cay in the Bahamas. We had about 2 feet of weather under the keel!

Taylor and Logan prepping the boat in Virgin Gorda!

The crew with some down time on Christmas.

Taylor and Lise enjoying the Sunset!

View From the Baths

Savannah Bay / Virgin Gorda

Guest Arrival!

Warbird is under new command!

A day relaxing in North Sound.

Sunset From Colison Point!

Rainbows on out way to Normans Island

On our way trip down to Virgin Gorda we noticed a problem with the starboard stabilizer.

This is no good!!!!

You can see that slight movement in the pin that connects the stabilizer shaft to the cylinder. This is an indication the bearing has failed. This can be a major problem and will only get worse over time. We decided the problem should be fixed down island before the trip back to Fort lauderdale. We put together a parts package and flew in reinforcements to make the repair.

The repair went into the night but was completed successfully. Our mechanic Bill was a rock star and showed us how to “beat” the parts into submission!!

Well done Bill! Thanks again for your help!

The crew threw some fishing lines out on the trip back to Fort lauderdale.

Taylor is the official Warbird Fisherwoman. Here she caught us some dinner for the evening!

After a few days of calm seas the forecast was going to make a change for the worse. We decided to alter our course and take the Old Bahama Channel heading north to Florida. The winds we forecasted to pick up over 35 kts out of the north east. W hugged the great Bahamas bank for as long as we could, but finally had to make a turn to cross the Gulf Stream.

The Arrival of the “Gandy Dancer”

For our upcoming Bahamas trip we decided to bring along the 32′ Everglades center console “Gandy Dancer.” Warbird will tow this boat astern throughout the Bahamas. In order to safely accomplish this we had to install a proper tow eye into the bow of the Everglades.

We decided to head out of Port Everglades for a test tow of the Gandy Dancer to see how she would ride. It is a heavy boat with a great hull. The test went well.

The sealegs is undergoing engine service. It is nice to be able to lower it to the dock on its wheels to complete the service.

The upcoming Bahamas trip will include diving. This is our DYI dive gear rack we made to hold the gear.

With one week until Warbird is floating again, things are getting a bit hectic! Most jobs are nearing completion and the boat is being reassembled. Here are a few more pics showing the progress.

This grate covers the intake for our Lazz. AC. You can see it became a home for a poor crab! We modified the intake with a different type of strainer so a diver can slide out and service it under the water.

The “Spurs” were reconditioned and reinstalled. They act as line cutters and will slice through any lines that wrap around the props. They need to be serviced each time the boat is hauled.

The following pic shows our new horn compressor and tank. The old system had many hours and the compressor was operating louder than normal. The old tank was also rusting from the inside out. In order to prevent the new tank from suffering the same fate, we will install an auto drain and line heater to keep the inside of the tank dry from condensation.

The first of two coats of antifouling paint is applied.

This hole is to accommodate a new vent in the lower master shower. It was hard to find a contractor willing to cut this hole into the marble so the honor went to Captian John!

Little did we know the hole would go through two thick walls of wood and fiberglass. One hour and two hole saws later we have a vent hole!

New AB dive Tender arrives!!!

We upgraded one of the tenders that lives on the bow to a 15ft Aluminum RIB tender. This boat will be outfitted to be used as a dive platform and work boat.

Fitting the new tender on the bow. Luckily, it looks like we measured correctly!!

The following is the final install of plumbing and new strainer for the Lazz A/C. We upgraded the size of the through hull and strainer basket to help with air locks that occurred when underway. The white sump box to the right takes condensation from the AC unit and pumps it overboard. All plumbing and electrical was completed by Captian John!

This is a new style pump installed for the LAZZ AC. It pumps ocean water to the chiller unit. The old one didn’t produce enough flow!

Even a well maintained boat cannot escape corrosion from sea water. While the crew was replacing the stabilizer cooling pump we noticed a few leaking fittings coming off of the sea chest in a hard to reach area. These fittings will be cleaned and replaced as needed. The corrosion never stops!

The main engine work is almost complete.

Blue Hose Replacement

We installed two new screens above the main helm to act as MTU Engine displays. The final helm layout is nothing short of amazing.

This is one of the two new displays to show engine data. You will see that the voltage is showing green (27v). All parameters will change colors from blue – green – yellow – red, depending on operation conditions.

Next update when we are floating again!

We are at about the half way point of our annual yard period. We are scheduled to launch back in the water in two weeks! Once launched we will have two weeks for sea trials before heading to the Caribbean. There are hundreds of tasks and checks that will need to happen between now and then. The crew is doing a good job of keeping things moving at a proper pace. Here are some update photos showing some of the different jobs happening.

A new dash install above the chart table. This was needed to make way for new engine displays and replacement of faulty ICOM VHF radios.

Once of the biggest jobs this years was the upgrade of the audio/ visual system. This required a few thousand feet of new cable runs that all terminate in the Salon!

The black and grey water discharged pump were tired and on their last legs. They were both replaced with new Headhunter diaphragm pumps.

This is one of the sea water strainers dedicated to the main engines. They were both pulled out of the boat for service and rebuild.

We are upgrading the stabilizer system to run in “Zero Speed” mode while at anchor. Normally the main engines produce the pressure needed to run the stabilizers when underway. Since the engines are not running at anchor a secondary motor and pump are needed to provide the necessary pressure. As you can see this is no small pump!

Sun coming up on another day in the yard!

Organization in any yard period is a major factor. The engine room becomes unusable for tools, workbenches, and storage. The crew set up multiple pods containers to house parts, tools, and other items that will be used in the yard. Here is a glimpse of our set up!

As we complete the various tasks we inevitably come across additional issues that need to be added to the list. Here are a few from this week.

We had to replace a bad connector in out main engine displays.

We found a cracked pressure valve in the steering system that will be replaced.

A leak was found in the top of the Lazz. AC sea water strainer. The basket will be rebuilt and the pump replaced.

More to Come!

After covering over 12,000 nautical miles in the last 13 months, it’s time for Warbird to undergo some repairs and maintenance. Warbird went into Lauderdale Marine Center in Fort Lauderdale for its annual service period. During this time we perform scheduled maintenance, make repairs, upgrade systems, and reset the boat for another year of great cruising. In addition to hundreds of smaller tasks that will be completed, the following is a list of some of the larger items we are planning to complete.

  1. Main Engine 5000 hour service.
  2. Generator 3000 hour service.
  3. Replacement of old waste treatment system with new Headhunter System.
  4. Upgrade of A/V system to include a Kaleidescape movie server.
  5. Install of two underwater cameras/ lights that will show the props.
  6. Upgrade of Stabilizer system to run in zero speed (at anchor mode.)
  7. Upgrade of engine room Ventilation system to am automated “Delta T”

Warbird weights in at over 240 tons. We are required to use LMC’s largest lift nicknamed “The Beast” due to this weight!

Warbird coming up out of the water

Here is a great look at the bottom configuration of Warbird. Notice the skegs under each prop that protects from impact.

A cooling tower is used to run the air conditioning when the boat is on the hard.

The engine room is a busy place with engine and generator service happening at the same time!

The crew installed a lifting system to lift the work benches to gain access to the top of each generator.

The brains behind the new Delta T ventilation system.

This is one of the new underwater lights that will illuminate the areas around the props. Each propeller will be fitted with an underwater camera that will give us a view of the prop and surrounding area. These cameras will be able to be viewed from the wheelhouses and main salon!

The hull was cut for the install of the new light. This section was 3 inches of solid fiberglass.

This is the main engine after-cooler. It was send out for cleaning and pressure testing. This is all part of the major engine service we are performing.

The bow strike plate has taken its share of hits over the years. This will be removed and refinished.

Once the plate was removed, we found it wasn’t adhered correctly in the first place. We with fix that!

This is part of the new Headhunter MSD system that will be installed. This system treats sewage to be discharged while at sea.

More to Come!

September 11, 2019. It has been 18 years to the hour since the attack on the World Trade Center. We were airborne with beautiful visibility similar to the morning of 9/11/01. We all took a moment to reflect on the moment. To appreciate the efforts of the men and women on the ground that day and the days that followed. To understand how our world had changed since the moment the first plane hit. Never Forget!!

Here is half of “Team Warbird” aboard N1MG on our way back to Treasure Cay.

Mission #3 objectives:

1) Delivery another round of supplies from the US.

2) Fill and deliver over 200 gallons of gasoline in forty 5 gallon containers.

3) Verify the best location of our SATCOM equipment.

4) Evacuate any locals on the ground.

5) Be back in the air heading home by 1100.

On the ground at Treasure Cay Airport

We are happy to see that the line of locals waiting to evacuate from the island was gone in Treasure Cay.

Taylor and “T” were friends long before Dorian devastated the Bahamas. It was their friendship that brought our team together to facilitate the missions that followed. “T” was instrumental in connecting our team on the ground with the locals in the Abacos. His hard work is prove that one person can make a difference. Today was the first time Taylor was able to join on a mission. I would like to thank both of them for bringing “Team Warbird” together to help so many in need.

Just a few of the many additional supplies we were able to bring over on our third trip.

Rob and I arrived at the clinic in Coopers Town. Coppers Town is situated to the Northwest of Marsh Harbor and was not hit with the full force of the storm. There was still a great deal of damage, but most structures remained in place. The clinic had many first responders on the ground trying to get the medial facility up and running. We were told their biggest issue was lack of communications! This was where our SATCOM would be most useful.

Once we decided it was best to move the SATCOM equipment to the Coopers Town Clinic. The next step was to drive back to Treasure Cay, breakdown the equipment, bring it north to the clinic, and reestablish communications. Local resident “Fonz” was our driver and described his experiences to us during our transit.

Thanks for the lift Fonz!

Nick helping with the set up of the SATCOM at the Clinic. The first location for set up was on the ground behind the clinic. We didn’t feel good about leaving the Sat dish exposed and inline for potential blockage. Even with the 1100 deadline for extraction approaching we decided to move the dish to the roof of the clinic.

Here Rob Abbot is establishing the SATCOM communications.

Ground location, no good!

SATCOM final location!

Mission 3 was another success!

We accomplished all of our goals. Surprisingly, we didn’t have any evacuees to remove from Treasure Cay . Hopefully this was a good sign that most people were able to get out of the Abacos. It was amazing to see how much clean up had taken place even in the short time span since our first mission. Roads were being cleared, tarps were placed on roofs, homes were being repaired. It is estimated it could take up to a full year until power was completely restored. The road ahead to rebuilding will no doubt be long and difficult. I look forward to the day we can all return to the Abacos for relaxation after the restoration!

Marsh Harbor Bahamas (Pre storm)

Team “Warbird” for Mission 3!

Team Haggy did not wait long to get back over to the Abaco’s. Our team was at it again early Monday morning at the Stuart Jet Center, loading two planes and preparing for a return trip. We planned on arriving into North Eleuthera to clear customs then on to Treasure Cay. The hope was that by avoiding Nassau we would avoid major delays.

Customs in North Eleuthera couldn’t have been easier!

We landed on the ground at North Eleuthera airport with no other planes in front of us. We were able to clear customs and get back in the air in less than 20 minutes.

We landed at North Eleuthera Airport, which is on the North end of the long Island of Eleuthera.

Haggy with the Customs officer.

On to Treasure Cay!

Next we departed Eleuthera for Treasure Cay. We had a beautiful morning with great visibility. The short flight North provided some clear views of the Abacos. It was surreal to look down on the absolute beauty of the Islands but see the complete destruction of the storm.

Hope Town on Elbow Cay

Bakers Bay Marina and Resort

Northern Abacos

All vegetation was completely bare.

We were back on the ground in Treasure Cay by 0940. This was even earlier than we had planned for. Our goals remained the same: set up our communication satellite, deliver supplies, evacuate locals off the Island. On the ground we didn’t see much improvement since we departed less than 48 hours before. Locals were still gathered on the tarmac waiting for evacuation. A few more tarps and tents were set up, but still no real structures or plans on the ground.

One of the mission’s goals was to set up a communications Satcom on the island. We brought over a KVH mini VSAT that is capable of providing a contestant internet and phone line to connect with the outside world. The difficult part is finding a secure place to set this up, that has a constant power supply and is under supervision. In order to accomplish this we needed to find a local on the ground that would be able to utilize the VSAT and keep it in a secure place. Errol was able to hook us up with a long time friend Fire Chief Albury. This proved to be the connection we needed to make things happen. Chief Albury’s department lost everything in the storm and have zero fire fighting equipment to fight fires moving forward.

Chief Albury putting out a plea to the Fire Fighters across America.

This is what is left of the local First Station

Here the Chief is describing his first hand account of the storm.

Rob Abbott and myself were tasked with the set up of the VSAT equipment. Chief Albury was sheltering in the home of a friend who’s home remained completely intact. The decision was made to set up the equipment at this location. We first had to make the 7 mile journey from the Airport to the home. This is when the full destruction of the storm came to full realization.

We finally arrived the Home the Chief was staying at. After witnessing the complete destruction of the town, here we were looking at a completely intact home. It looked as if the storm never happened. Everything else around it was decimated. This home had power, water, and all the normal conveniences. It really shows that a well constructed structure can survive one of the worst storms ever. Well done to the building contractor!!

It was now time for us to set up the Mini VSAT.

Installation Complete!

Shawn and Tim are standing by after unloading in Treasure Cay. These guys have down an amazing job getting all people and supplies safely in and out. Well done gentlemen!

Here Dimiter is trying to get in touch with the rest of the team via Satellite phone. This is not always easy when standing on an active runway.

It was cool to see a Marines MV-22 Osprey landing in Treasure Cay. We were able to get both planes out before the US military shut down the airport for two hours. It seems like today the breaks were finally going our way!

We are now half way through our day. We have managed to set up communications and deliver our supplies. We now turned our focus to trying to get evacuees out of the Islands. Next stop Freeport!

Freeport Bahamas

Once on the ground in Freeport we we able to find two families that needed to get back to the USA. We had to make sure they had all of the proper paperwork to legally enter the US. This took time on the ground getting all info passed along for the clearance to depart. We were able to feed the families and keep them under shade until we were finally able to depart for Stuart, Florida.

We finally got off of the ground in Freeport with 11 evacuees. Next Stop is Stuart Florida to clear in Customs.

Cockpit Selfie after a long day

Flying over the Grand Bahama Bank on the Edge of the Gulf Stream

Now back on the ground in Florida, how were US Customs going to receive us with 11 Bahamians?

We finally completed the days mission and cleared everybody in. US Customs was very accommodating a did an amazing job! Nothing like fresh McDonald’s cheeseburgers as a USA welcome.

Our team for Mission 2.

We were able to accomplish all of the days goals. Delays were minimal and the team performed outstanding in every way. Even though we are a small part of the overall relief, there is no doubt we are making a huge contribution. We have a communications center set up with the Fire Chief in Treasure Cay. We now have direct instant communication with them in order to prioritize and organize specific supplies needed on the ground. This is just the beginning of our efforts!!!

Hurricane Dorian’s eyewall approaches Marsh Harbor Bahamas.

What started out as a text message from myself to Jim Hagedorn, quickly turned into a full blown mission. My text expressed my interest in trying to take Warbird over to the Bahamas to bring relief supplies. When I sent this text, Warbird was off the coast of Nova Scotia, over 1500 miles away from the devastated northern Bahamas. Haggy immediately agreed and asked where I thought our team could focus our efforts. Knowing hurricane Dorian smashed into Marsh Harbor as a Category 5, that area came to mind. I spent a great deal of time over the years cruising in the Abacos and felt a connection when I saw the raw footage on the news. We both agreed that Warbird was too far away to make any immediate contribution and any help would have to be by air. Little did I know that less than 72 hours later I would be landing early morning in Stuart, Florida for day one of our relief mission.

Early morning wheels down in Stuart.

We landed before 0600 in Stuart and it was clear a plan was already in motion. There were mountains of various supplies including; a dozen satellite phones, generators, bottled water, diapers, tarps, just too mention a few. On the ground there was a team fueling and loading three Scotts Miracle-Gro jets to full capacity. We even had our own KVH mini VSAT for communications with the help of Oceanwide Marine Electronics to ensure we had phone and internet as needed.

Loading supplies in Stuart.

FYI, Don’t store baby formula in the back of the Jet!

The next step after we were loaded was to brief our goals of the day and make sure everybody understood their roll. We all introduced ourselves and finalized details. The goal was simple: Get into Marsh Harbor, establish a command post, deliver our supplies, and then begin the process of getting survivors out of harm’s way.

Morning brief in Stuart prior to our departure for the Bahamas.

Passing Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island when landing in Nassau.

We departed Stuart for Nassau, Bahamas. We were told we had to clear into the Bahamas in Nassau before going to the Abacos. This should have been a pretty simple process, little did we know this would be the start of the many bureaucratic problems that laid ahead. We landed and cleared customs, ready to get airborne to Marsh Harbor. This is when we encountered our first delay of the day. We were unable to get authorization to fly into the Abacos. All of the paperwork was filed, but lack of communication in the Bahamian government stopped us cold. There we were, full with supplies and ready to assist and the Bahamian government was completely unprepared to make this happen. Haggy was unwilling to let this stop us. (No surprise to those who know him!) He taxied into town and went directly to the office of Civil Aviation and was able to get a verbal clearance for us to proceed on our mission. Next stop, the Abacos!

We were fortunate enough to hook up with a local from the Abacos, Errol “T” Thruston. T’s family was in Marsh Harbor during the storm. He was still waiting to confirm they were safe when we left Nassau. We also gave a lift to a reporter from the London Times. Here you can see her interviewing T on the flight over.

Marsh Harbor and the Abacos were completely devastated. Here were our first views on the way in. We first flew over Marsh Harbor but ended up landing in Treasure Cay to the North. As we approached, the extent of the devastation became apparent to all.

As we approached Marsh Harbor, we all got our first live look at the destruction.

Jim’s plane finally landed in Treasure Cay. We first performed a flyby of the airstrip to get a feel for what we could expect. We had heard of relief planes that had landed less than 24 hours before us that had been held up and robbed at gun point. We were ready for the worst! Once we landed we were happy to see that local law enforcement was there including heavily armed members of the Bahamian Defense Force.

Once on the ground in Treasure Cay we began unloading our supplies to begin relief efforts. Only one of the three jets was able to get clearance to leave Nassau. Jim’s plane was on the ground in the Abacos, the other two were stuck in Nassau unable to proceed.

One of the vital members of our team was Captain William Busch. A doctor and 30 year Navy Veteran that would be in charge of the ground portion of the rescue team.

Hundreds of locals were standing by trying to get on a plane off the island. There was no shelter from the sun and no real leadership in place. It was as if nobody had anywhere else to go. They were just waiting for something or someone to help.

As soon as we unloaded the first plane we were asked to transport survivors to Nassau. There was a team on the ground from the Cleveland Clinic that was performing triage and asked us to assist. Within minutes Jim’s plane was loaded with patients and back in the air to Nassau.

Local survivors finally able to get off the island.

Haggy on the return flight.

After a few hours the second two planes finally made it to Treasure Cay.

There was a US Coast Guard presence. Coast Guard helicopters were landing through out the day transporting patients off the Island.

The remains of this building was one of the only structures standing at the airport. This is where the locals began to stockpile the supplies that were coming in. Even though the structure didn’t have a roof, it provided security so the items would not be stolen.

This was the first load of supplies that we were able to get on the ground to the locals.

Stopped in our tracks!

Jim’s plan landed in Nassau, but after hours on the ground was unable to gain clearance back to Treasure Cay. Our team was able to load the second plane with more patients but that is where the mission came to an end. We received word that once the second two planes departed we were not going to be able to get back into the Abacos that day. The call was made to pull the team off the Island with the third plane. We didn’t want to run the risk of leaving anybody overnight. By 1600 we were all on our way back to Nassau. Once on the ground it was a few more hours until we were able to gain clearance out of Nassau and back to Stuart. We then sat on the Taxiway of a “not so busy” airport for two additional hours waiting to take off. It became clear that the government of the Bahamas was not able to coordinate the vast amount of assets and resources it had at it’s disposal. We were not the only rescue team that was hindered by this lack of leadership. Hopefully this will change in the days ahead.

Crew members on the return flight after a long day.

Back on the ground in Stuart. Logan, Jeff, and Haggy reflect on the day’s events.

We started out the day with the goal of helping out in any way possible. We had high expectations but due to issues out of our control, were unable to contribute the team’s full potential. What we did accomplish will in no doubt help make life easier for many Bahamians in need. Babies will have formula and diapers. Generators will provide evening light and power. Satellite phones will allow loved ones to reconnect after waiting in silence. These families will always be grateful that somebody cared. Restoration in kindness, caring, and humanity. We could, so we did! I am very proud of the team. This mission will be complete when there are no more people screaming help. Standby, there will be more to come……..