Friday, January 19, 2018

Finally, summer has arrived with temps in the 70's during the day and 60's at night!!
Today was fun. We went on the ocean for the first time. It was a rough ride until we got to the inlet. Then we saw some big ships. They were huge. You could fit our house on there. When we anchored I went swimming only to find a dingy headed straight for me. Then they came to the stern and started talking to us about our Blog. What surprised me was that one was from CANADA. That was long haul. The other one was from Michigan. Then they left. Tonight’s menu is CHICKEN RICE AND BEANS. That’s all I got for you today.         

I don't quite know why Finn capitalizes our dinner menu. I asked him and he said, "Because it's CHICKEN RICE AND BEANS!". He sure didn't leave any on his plate so I guess it's okay. It was a surprise to be visited today by a sailor who's been reading my blog for the last five years and just this year set out for his own adventure. Yesterday I heard from another sailor with the same story. I guess you never know how many people you influence over the years through the internet.

The lights of Miami are always a sight at night
We have Finn with us so we're trying to take it easy on the passages to keep them short and with as little wave action as the weather permits. Today's trip from Ft Lauderdale was much more bouncy than we would have liked but Finn persevered without getting sick.

We found the Marine Stadium anchorage off limits due to the boat show so we went around the corner, under the bridge and anchored on the south side of the stadium. It's protected from a north or east wind which is fine for now since that's the direction of the winds for the next few days. On Sunday, we will sailed to Caesar's Creek for an overnight anchorage, then Blue Waters Marina followed by Marathon. The winds are still a little high for our 11 year old but doable. Once we're inside Marathon, it's totally protected (except from a Cat 4 hurricane!)

We are due in Key West 1/28 and we still intend to hold to that schedule.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Let's see, at home this morning it was 1F with snow. I think I'll take the weather down here!
Today is our last day in Lauderdale. Tomorrow we will be on the open ocean. I will be equipped with my Sea Bans and my old pal (start humming heroic music) the slayer of motion sickness the vanquisher of mal de mer DRAMAMINE (you can stop humming now) so you know the rental car. Well I left my phone in there and the company got it out and had it at the front desk we picked it up and at that moment grandpa remembered to pick up some artisan bread. So we went to the bread store and bought some. I got some myself. It was delicious. That’s all I got for you today.   

The new mooring field was put in yesterday, seven moorings in all and one is still unoccupied
I got a call from Enterprise saying they found a phone in the car we had rented. I replied that I had my phone so it couldn't be ours. About that time we both looked at Finn and asked him if he had his phone. After a little looking around it turned out that he didn't! So Enterprise described the phone and sure enough, it was Finn's. So for the second time today we hoofed the mile or so down to the Enterprise office, this time to get Finn's phone. In the end, all is well.

The winds have calmed down enough for a ride in the ocean with an eleven year old. There will be a few waves but nothing serious and the wind will be at our backs. We plan on two days in Miami anchored out south of Marine Stadium and then sail to Caesar's Creek for an overnight before taking a dock at Bluewater Marina in Tavernier.  After that, it's on to Marathon. I called them this afternoon and learned that they even have a mooring available. This time last year they had a 55 boat waiting list! It looks like the sailing in the Keys has thinned out. Even if we can't get a mooring, the anchorage can't be as full as last year. We are staged well. Key West is an easy ride from Marathon. On top of everything else, we are finally getting into warm weather once we reach Miami. All the forecasts are from highs in the 70's and lows in the 60's which is normal weather for down here, I'll take it.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Ft Lauderdale - Provisioning (again - he's a growning boy)

Finn saw this guy hanging on, Ann and I walked right by
Today was fun. We started it of with a good morning walk. Then did are normal morning stuff. Schoolwork was easy. After math, we went out to get provisions. It took a little while to get it all but we pulled through. We are having chicken rice and beans for tonight’s dinner. (Editor's Note: We did not! Nana bought a rotisserie chicken).  We also took a drive to go see downtown Lauderdale. It’s just the place I want to live when I grow up. Full of people and cars and traffic. It’s perfect. Tonight’s Nana's night off so we got already cooked chicken bon appetit. That’s all for tonight.     

If you intend docking at Las Olas, then this dock map might be useful when you're assigned a slip number
Finn is doing well on his homework. His school at home had the day off due to snow but not Finn here! Nana and Finn spend the mornings doing his schoolwork. They keep records of his tests and work for reentry into school upon his return In February.

We saw some good color in the sunset tonight.
The marina had divers out all day putting in the new moorings. We counted seven and there were still two unused at 7:00 pm today. There are almost a dozen boats in the anchorage just north of the bridge so there's a demand for space without having to dock.

High winds are predicted for Thursday so we'll stay put  but they are supposed to subside on Friday. If the winds obey the forecasts, then we'll move down to Miami and await a weather window to going down the Keys. With the Marine Stadium anchorage being unavailable due to the Miami Boat Show, we'll try the anchorage on the south side of Virginia Key given the predicted north winds.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Ft Lauderdale - Mundane stuff, laundry and boat cleaning

No snow down here! A view of Ft Lauderdale  beach today
Today was another day. We started it off with a walk. We saw lots of birds on our walk. Then we had breakfast. I had bagels with peanut butter. After that came math then spelling, writing and finally we read 2 years before the mast, a journal about a man with measles that embarks on a journey with a crew to get to San Francisco. After that we went to the laundromat to clean our clothes (thank god my cabin was starting to smell). That’s all I got for you today.      


The marina is right next to a bridge but you get used to it
People say, isn't it so nice to be on vacation 9 months of the year! Well, it's your home and it requires upkeep. There are no maids to do the work, it's all you and your wife - with an occasional helping hand from a kid on board. With the genset, it's two engines to keep running and all the subsystems you would find in a house but you try to fix everything you can. If you start counting all the systems aboard a boat and then multiply the probabilities together of each one working - the result is not a high number. For example, let's estimate that each systems works 95% of the time (genset, main diesel, house water pump, 2 heads, sump pump, headsail, jib furling, charging system off engine, charging system off land, inverter, and so on. The probability of everything working at the same time is the probability of each one working multiplied times each other. In the above example of only 11 items, that's 0.95 raised to the 11th power which equals 57%. That means if you have 11 systems and they all work 95% of the time, then only 57% of the time will they all work at the same time! In other words, there's always something to fix - after all, 95% chance of a system working is pretty good. The 11 systems I listed are far from a complete list. You can be very busy on a boat!

They lover to wrap palm trees with LED lights down here, they are all over
The clubhouse and office are in temporary quarters but they are fine, especially with 6 washers and 6 dryers. On Wednesday, we will rent a car to provision for the rest of the trip. Friday tentatively looks okay for getting to Miami where we'll hang out until we get another weather window to Marathon.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Ft Lauderdale - at Las Olas Marina at a dock

Ft Lauderdale in winter
Today was another day of happiness. At Ft Lauderdale beach, I saw the funniest thing in the whole world. One guy dressed up as Donald Trump and another as Kim Jong-um and gave PICTURES OF MISSILES OUT TO THE PUBLIC. I do not know if they were being silly or just want to offend North Korea. I thought it was very funny. On the way there I mostly read. I know right. But I got today off because it was Martin Luther King day. That’s all I got for you today. 


Our favorite laundromat is still here
It was the last day of bridges. Like yesterday, they were spaced so we hardly had to slow down to wait for them to lift except for the last one which we missed that added 1/2 hour to our arrival time. We had thought we were going through the "canyons" on a day other than the weekend but then it turned out to be MLK day! Still, there was not the amount of the traffic typical of a weekend so it wasn't so bad. 

The Las Olas Marina by the bridge is all changed. The clubhouse is gone as is the laundry room, all removed due to tearing up the parking lot and replacing it with a four-story parking garage. The docks haven't been touched but there are no moorings. This coming Wednesday they are supposed to start reinstalling the moorings for a total of six I'm told. Meanwhile, we took a dock for a few days. The dock we are on is concrete, not floating but then it has rubber fenders so there's no danger of hitting raw concrete. The current offers somewhat of a challenge but we came in a near slack tide which was fine. 


The docks are very secure and well fendered, better than I expected.
The marina office has been moved to temporary housing. They still have their excellent laundromat with six washers and six dryers as well as new showers (3) for men and women (didn't check inside...) It all looks entirely adequate until they get the parking garage completed which is to take 2.5 years (!)

We took a walk to the beach and the surf coming in reminded us of why we are going to be here for a few days. Along the way, Finn saw his two famous people. They were wearing what looked like a big step up from halloween masks. They were very well done. At a casual glance, they looked just like the famous personalities. You had to get close to see the subtle differences.

There's boat work on Tuesday and then we're renting a car to provision and explore the area. A cold front is coming through with the highs only reaching 60 degrees for two days. When the winds subside, we'll continue on south.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Lantana - an anchor south of the bridge

The bridges in Florida tend to  be picturesque, we're anchored south of this bridge
Today was a fun day. We started it off with an early morning genset run. He started it around 7:00 in the morning (Editor's note: it woke Finn up). We had a regular breakfast. I now on a Sunday. What happened to donut Sunday (Editor's note: so you wanted to swim ashore for donuts?) So anyways when we got to Lantana. I got to SWIM. And there were no barnacles this time. So I got a lot of time to swim and I took a shower. Tonight’s menu is ragout with corn bread and some chicken. That’s all I got for you today.

Today was the first of two days of bridges. In Florida, they are well organized. If you can maintain 7 kts, then you can make all the openings without waiting more than 10 minutes. We could just do that so the bridges were not a problem. That is not the case in North Carolina where the bridges that only open on top of the hour are not coordinated. 

As always, there's Hoolie relief nearby at the boat ramp
The winds are 15 to 20 and higher kts for the next few days out of the north so we'll brave more bridges Monday and hole up at Ft Lauderdale until the weather calms down. It's been a ferocious winter trip. It's been high winds and much colder weather than in our previous seven trips down the ICW. The one thing we've learned is to not fight the weather. If it's a no-go for our tastes, then we stay and enjoy the local scenery. We'll explore Ft Lauderdale for awhile. I think Finn wants to go in the ocean, a treat in January.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Hobe Sound - A cold swim

Kid + water = happy kid 
Today was fun. We are at Hobe Sound anchorage. I also learned my lesson from a barnacle. I was climbing up the swim ladder when I felt a stinging sensation in my arm. Then I saw red ooze on my arm and liked at a blood-covered barnacle. I got some Neosporin and put it on my arm. Then I took a shower. Nana and I tried some origami… it didn't turn out well. The trip was 5 hours long. I spent 3 hours reading. 1 hour on origami. And 1 hour on my device. That is all we did today. 


Note that the water temperature was 70 degrees, that might sound warm until you try it yourself
We slipped our three way mooring ball this morning and head south again. We are back on our usual schedule of 40 mile days instead of 60 to 70 mile days. It's a much more enjoyable trip when you can get up in the morning, shower and have a nice breakfast when it's daylight outside. 

In looking ahead to the rest of the trip, it's not favorable for easy rides. It's okay getting down to Ft Lauderdale, but then the high winds set in from the north. We are weighing our options on whether to wait out the high winds or shoot for a day when the winds are the least unfavorable and run for Caesar's Creek which is well protected and has a ranger station with a dock for Hoolie relief. From there we can time our passage to Marathon. 

So it's weather watching time again, the major activity for those on a passage, even coastal passages.