Tuesday, November 21, 2017

GPX Routes and Survey of Inlets Deleted

Brown's Inlet is getting worse, so are Shallotte and Lockwoods Folly and New River
There are major changes happening in all the inlets with many of the directions given in the fall no longer working for the best path. I've deleted GPX Routes and ACOE Survey of Inlets until I get the chance to update them. The inlets most affected are Browns Inlet, Shallotte Inlet, and Lockwoods Folly. Do not pass through these inlets without first checking the latest survey which can be found in Links: Weather, Surveys, Buoys, Tides.

The spring season looks to be very interesting at the inlets but first I'm headed to Key West on January 4 at a slip I've reserved for two months starting February. I'll worry about the inlets when I start north again at the end of March.

The non-inlet GPX routes still appear to be okay such as Fernandina, Jekyll, Dawho River, St Andrews, and Hell Gate. I've taken all GPX routes off-line until I double check their accuracy.

Complicating the use of the GPX route downloads is Garmin's decision to pull their app off the market. It was replaced by Garmin Active Captain which they bought over the summer. Unfortunately, the charts are no longer inexpensive unless you have a Garmin chartplotter. If you bought a Garmin chart in the past, you can download it to the app. Otherwise, you have to buy a new Garmin chart at the same price as the one for the chartplotter, typically over $100.

I'll do more research on this over the winter but it looks like the days of cheap Garmin charts are over. I've been in communication with a company in Italy that's modifying an app to my recommendations. It's called AquaMap.  The charts are based on NOAA ENC charts and it accepts downloads of GPX Routes just like the Garmin app used to. I'll do a full update on AquaMap's capabilities when all the changes have been made to my satisfaction. By the way, do not erase your old Garmin app, it will still work. You just can't load it onto new devices since it's been deleted from the Apple store by Garmin.

I'll be updating the blog periodically as I learn more about the inlet shoaling and the AquaMap revisions.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Titusville - Last post until 1/4/2018 - Mark your calendars

Turkey Time!
Today marks the end of our fall migration south to Titusville. It's been a colder and windier trip than normal with Jose blocking our start for two weeks! We had a short period of calm winds between Beaufort, NC and Titusville before the winds once again piped up in the 20 to 30 kt range.

Still, we met many wonderful people along the way and I gave a talk at the Snowbird Rendezvous in Hamptoin, VA. It wasn't intentional, I was just delayed by the weather but then the opportunity arose so I filled in.  I had the opportunity to experience all the shallows along the way which shouldn't be missed in order to get the full appreciation for the ICW. Going outside may be faster and safer but, gee, you miss all the fun!

Note the small, square mirror at the bottom
We have our boat secured and our car rental is parked outside for our 7:00 am departure on Thursday morning. I've made the two must mods to a Florida car rental:  1) a side mirror attachment to cover the blind spot on the left side of the car 2) replaced the Florida windshield wiper fluid with stuff good for 0F. I found out the hard way that Florida rental agencies do have soapy water in the wash fluid but it's usually not good for below freezing. Going at 70 on an expressway with snow coming down is not a good time to discover that the windshield fluid you have freezes over when used (and covers the windshield with a glaze of ice you can't see through!)
Tom, who runs Titusville, will look after Fleetwing in my absence. He's done great things for the marina. You can depend upon Tom.

So, goodbye for now. There will be sporadic posts depending on cruising news or other things I find of interest but not the daily blog. However, do mark your calendar for the return of the daily blog on 1/4/2018 when we will continue our trip to Key West.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Titusville - Boat clearing and Kidde recall

I guess the message is, "Be Flexible!"
It amazes me how tall and slender some palm trees are and they still survive hurricanes.  I suppose they get by with being flexible and not having a lot of leaves - and the leaves (fronds) they do have stream with the wind, offering not much resistance. The wind is still blowing like stink, 25 to 30 kts, continuously. There's no letup. One of these days it will get to wherever it's going and stop.

Here's the crane on a barge - picking up boats out of the water
We saw how Florida is addressing all the boat wrecks in the area. They have a crane on a barge that picks the boats up out of the water and then deposits them on a following barge for later disposal.They were working in front of Titusville today removing several abandoned boats. I'm sure it was challenging in these winds!

They are then transferred to a following barge for disposal.
Now everyone must have Kidde fire extinguishers. Well, there's been a total recall of all Kidde extinguishers with plastic handles. It seems that sometimes the plastic handle doesn't work and the user is left with nothing to put a fire out with. You can read the details on the Consumer Reports site.  Kidde will replace your affected fire extinguishers at no charge. Go to their site for a form to fill out for the free replacements. I filled my form out today and I qualified for three new extinguishers to replace the ones I have. I would supposed you would fail a Coast Guard inspection if you had the defective extinguishers on board. The new ones will arrive in 10 to 15 days according to Kidde.

If you have one of these, get it replaced
Meanwhile, the wind continues! I will pick up the car on Wednesday and then we get serious about packing. We may finally get out of the wind but then we run into colder temperatures, oh well.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Titusville - Diver and Happy Hour with friends

Our diver, Don Brown
We have a list of divers we use all up and down the coast but our favorite one is Don Brown in Titusville. He has a couple of helpers but he always goes out with the divers himself. Just give him a call in advance to arrange a time at (386) 307-4880. We've used his services for the last eight years. I always get the bottom polished before continuing on to Key West and on the way back along with replacing the zinc.

Friends along the way
The high winds just have never let up this year. As I write this blog, the winds are still averaging 17 to 20 kts out of the northeast. We're positioned fairly well with protection from a breakwater from that direction. There are other docks not so well protected but the docks are very sturdy and you just have to get fenders in the right position and ensure they stay there.

This is what a 20 kt windy sky looks like
We were invited over for Happy Hour with Laura and Gail who also have a Beneteau 423. Their 423 is much neater than ours on the inside and a lot less hairy - since they don't have Hoolie to decorate around the downstairs. It was a very pleasant evening and one of the joys of cruising is meeting friends along the way.

We have one more day to get ready before I pick the car up on Wednesday. I even heard we had snow at home! It's going to be a change going north!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Titusville - We visit Reddingers

The area is huge but there's lots of parking
First item on the agenda today was a visit to Donuts 4U, one of the best donut shops we've ever been to and it's right here in Titusville (it has a 4.8 star rating). What sets them apart is the quality of the donuts. The jelly filled ones have 2 to 3 times as much filling as the ones you get from Dunkin' Donuts. The others are bigger and fresher and taste better.

The inside is typical flea-market but it's the size that's different
So after our feasting on three donuts (we try to limit ourselves) we were ready to face the day. We had read about a super-large Flea Market down by Melbourne called Reddingers. It has 2.4 miles of covered shopping walkways and 100's of vendors. It's the biggest flea market I've ever seen. As a bonus, we got our walking in for the afternoon. They were selling DVDs at 3 for $10 so we bought a few for when the kids were aboard.

And they have a few things you don't normally see at a flea market
I'll take the car back on Monday and will get our long distance car on Wednesday for the trip north. It's been a short stay here at Titusville compared to previous years due to our late start. Nevertheless, we're looking forward to the holidays with our son and daughter with their families. Just a short time up north with maybe a few snow showers is fine, nothing extended - we like the warm weather too much.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Titusville - Happy Hour with friends

After hurricane Irma, this guy was taking no more chances
 Florida is full. There are no slips south of Titusville. All the marinas have every dock spoken for. We had a couple come in today and took the end face dock, not the most favorable dock with the wind and waves coming into the marina but that was all that was available. There was no other choice unless you wanted to take a mooring in 25 kt winds.

We walked the dock and discussed the various procedures each boat took to avoid damage during hurricane Irma. No layout of dock lines was really effective due to the high water. It didn't quite reach the tops of the pilings but came very close. What it did do was slacken the line since they were attached near the top of the pilings  on the cleat at the top. As the water rose, the lines became slack which allowed the boat to lunge at the pilings, thereby damaging the boat.

Your can see how high the water rose by looking at the damage to the piling
There were many examples in the marina but only a few were enough to prove the point. The lines need to be tight as the  boat rises with the water. The slips are not all that big, the pilings are too close. One cannot consider Titusville Marina to be a hurricane hole. It's too open to the southeast. It's protected from other directions but not from the southeast.

We had 25 kt winds today so we took the wind as an experiment in positioning lines and fenders. We will be leaving the boat for 1.5 months and we want to come back to the same boat we left. Hopefully, everything is okay. It seemed to be okay today.

We will leave to go north on Thursday and return early in January. We'll see how successful we are upon our return.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Titusville - Propane recertification

Titusville is full!
We go through a propane tank every three months or so. We're still using tanks from our previous Fleetwing, a 38 ft Ericson sailboat. We found out the hard way that a tank can expire after 12 years. That is, the station will refuse to refill the tank if it is more than 12 years old. Sometimes that date may be overlooked but when you need the propane to be refilled the most, you can count on the filler seeing that date and refuse to refill it.

The original date was 10/2003, the new date is 11/2017 and pressed right into the aluminum. Some machine they must have. 
Our tanks are of good quality and made of aluminum so they should  be okay. I found a welding supply house that did recertifications and I took both tanks over for that. One was empty and one was almost full. They charged $20 each for the testing and now both are good for another five years. I thought I would get a sticker for each tank but this is a welding supply house, they impressed the date right into the aluminum! I don't have to worry about a sticker falling off.

All docks have security gates but you better remember to bring the pass card!
The winds have returned, 15 to 20 kts for the next couple of days. We have a huge powerboat upwind of us that's providing good protection from both the wind and the waves that manage to reach the harbor. "A" dock is better protected than most but they are all much better than being on a mooring which has no protection! Titusville Marina is full even on "C" and "D" dock which in the past seven years have never been full. In fact, they have been mostly empty. Not so this year.

Titusville does have one dock, "E", that's has floating docks but it's for smaller boats. All the docks have badge lock gates for security but I've never heard of anyone having a problem even before they installed the gates. We have a car for the weekend but Saturday does not appear to be an exploring day with rain and high winds in the forecast. We'll get out Sunday.