Friday, June 27, 2008


OK, I know I just threw you all a curve ball.
Yes, we changed our plans. We decided that we were starting out just too late too make it to New York this year and still be back in the Keys in time for Bev to return to her job at the hospital. Our friends Julie and Tim in New Port Richie offered us their dock for the summer so we are sailing there and flying home to NY and MA. We'll have to wait until next year to complete the loop.
This gives us the opportunity to work on Tim's boat and maybe get Julie and Tim to sail south with us in the fall. Tim has no time to do the work himself and I could use the cash so it should work to everyone's advantage.
Besides, as Frank Bamma once said "The best navigators aren't sure where they're going till the get there...and even then they're not sure."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

On the move again

Well, it's been an eventful few days. We left Marathon last Friday and sailed to Long Key Bight for an overnight anchorage. The next morning we headed up the "Yacht Channel" across Florida Bay to Flamingo. We should have not bothered. The marina at Flamingo (just about the only thing in the whole "town") was virtually shut down. Sure, they had plenty of slips available and would be happy to charge us to rent one for the night, but there was no electricity, no water, no fuel. So we left and anchored just outside the harbor to get an early start the next morning.
When the sun came up, we had a perfectly delightful sail (beam reach) all the way around East Cape Sable. We anchored off the beach between East Cape and Middle Cape. We had miles and miles of beach all to ourselves. Well, we did have to share it with the mosquitoes.
The next morning we sailed as far as the Little Shark River, chased by thunderstorms the whole way. We made it in safely, tried a couple of spots before we settled in to one we really liked. Just as we started to relax a huge thunderstorm hit. There were lightning strikes all around us, loud thunder, torrential rain and high winds. But our anchors held, and we had a good night once the storm abated.
BTW - we found out how the Little Shark River got its name - SHARKS! Yep, the river is teeming with sharks.
The next day T-Storms were in the forecast again, so we planned a short day. We sailed a few more miles up the coast to a spot called Turkey Key and set three anchors between two of the little Keys that dot this area of the coast, known as "Ten Thousand Islands." Not long after we settled in, a huge storm hit just north of us. The weather service issued a severe weather warning. All we got was some wind and waves. The wind was something over 35 knots (the wind generator shuts down at 35, so we could tell.) Again, the anchors held and we had a good night's sleep. The next morning the mosquitoes were so thick around the boat we could not go on deck for a moment without spraying ourselves.
We planned a fairly long crossing for yesterday and the winds were light so we motorsailed the whole way. It was a nice crossing to Gallivan Bay, but as we came into the marina, the control cables on the engine failed. I could not shift out of forward gear! We rammed the dock pretty hard, knocking Bev off her feet.
Now we are settled in for a few days' rest at Calusa Island Yacht Club. We have to stay here until the new cables arrive. Fortunately, the Yamaha dealer is only a 5 minute dinghy ride from here.
Since we have to stay anyway, we are planning to attend "Spammy-Jammy" on Saturday night. It's an annual party they have here to commemorate Hurricane Andrew. Everybody along this coast has a "ditch bag" or hurricane evacuation kit ready at all times during the season. One of the key components is a can or two of Spam. Since the kits hardly ever get used, it is necessary to replace the older cans once in a while. So...after Andrew passed by, a few of the locals went - in their PJ's - to the "Little Bar Restaurant" to compare their recipes for Spam. Now it's become a huge party with live music, cooking contests, poster contests and "mass quantities" of libations. Of course, I will be cooking up a batch of my world famous "Spambalaya."
From here, it's up the ICW to Marco Island and Naples.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Movin' on

In a few days we'll be saying goodbye to Marathon and Boot Key Harbor. Bev's last day of work (for this season) was Friday. That leaves us free to head out as soon as we get the boat ready. We're not sure if we can make it all the way to NY by our target of late July, so we may have to get as far as we can, then rent a car a drive the rest of the way. It's not what we would like to do, but with 1500 miles to go and six weeks to do it, we may simply run out of time. Don't forget, we have to sail south again and get back to Boot Key by November 1.
One evening last week, a boat broke free of it's mooring and started drifting through the harbor. Alex and Dave from "Argo" headed out to intercept the runaway boat, and I got in the dingy and motored out to help. We tied up the boat to a mooring ball and notified the marina staff. Fortunately there was no damage and no injuries. Just one more reason to never trust just one line. Always use more than one line to tie up.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

They say...

if you hang out in any harbor long enough, you'll bump into someone you know. And sure enough, this morning Bev and I were having breakfast at the "Stuffed Pig" and there at the next table was Phil and his lady Wanda. Phil was our next-boat neighbor at South Pasadena. Small world.
Also, on a recent trip to West Marine via dingy, we passed our old anchorage neighbor from Key West "Aurora." Capt Jeff wasn't aboard, but his boat was tied up at the dock.
Also, we recently learned of the passing of another old neighbor, Tom from Pasadena Marina. Tom was the owner of "Spooky," the "marina cat." He was quite a character. He had sailed his boat all over the Caribbean and had written an extensive collection of short stories. He will be missed. Fair Winds, Tom.
On a happier note - we now have a refrigerator! Yep, thanks to Aunt Kay (who passed away a few months ago and left me a small trust fund) we have the means to install a compact fridge and a wind-generator to power it. Finally, no more trips to shore just to buy ice to feed the ice box. And no more paying $2 and up for a bag of ice. Wow! What luxury!
Today's picture is quest for information from all you smart folks out there. What is it? We found this critter climbing all over our hull. It looks like a really big shell-less snail, complete with small eye stalks. It looked like it was searching our hull for something to eat. Apparently he doesn't like barnacles because he could have had his fill on our hull! If you know what it is, please let us know.