Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Key West - Charters anyone?

Want a charter to see sharks? Just $400 for the sunset cruise
Today was ok. I got all my work done in the morning. I did my report on Henry Flagler. It was sooooooooooooooooooooooo easy. I did not have to neaten my writing. I also decided I want to make a survival guide space addition. This is the introduction. Space is big in fact it’s so humongously big no one has been to the end of it. We also went to the dog park. Hoolie always gets distracted by other dogs. We saw lots of fish in the water. They looked so cool. That’s all we did today BYE!!!      

Or you could go for 1/2 day of fishing for $200 with others on this boat
Finn seems to have lots of interests, typical of a 10 year old. We do homework in the morning, not his favorite part of the day but he does apply himself. In math it's fractions and decimals, pages and pages of different way of doing them. Ann does the rest of the subjects, I do the math. I think I got the better of the deal. 

In walking around today I noticed prices for charters. We'll never take one for fishing, it's not our thing but the prices are not cheap as shown in the photos. It is obviously not cost effective as to the value of the fish you catch vs the cost. However, I guess it's all in the fun of catching the fish I suppose.

It's still cool as shown by Schooner Wharf still being shuttered up at night, not open air as usual. We are in a warming trend though so on Thursday we plan on a visit to the aquarium and lunch at Garbo's Grill, the best hamburgers in Key West. They competed last year in Miami as one of the top 25 burgers in all of Florida although they didn't win the top prize.          

Monday, January 30, 2017

Key West - Homework and dog park

Two for one, we exercise both the dog and Finn at the dog park
Today was boring. I did math work all morning. I also did a sloppy copy of my report on Henry Flagler. We did go to watch the fish feeding but no one came. When I did my horn I had to oil some valves but my valve oil was nowhere in sight so now I have to look for it after I do this. We also took Hoolie to the dog park. He did not pay attention very well. That’s all I did today BYE!!!     

The very large Key West Express
Home schooling takes up some serious time. I spent about an hour with Finn on his math and Ann spent the rest of the morning on his other subjects. I is not all fun and games on the boat. We aim to be sure Finn keeps up with his class. You can see from his blog that he would rather be doing something else but we keep at it. 

Many of the houses in Key West are all lit up at night, pretty
Today was another trip to the dog park which is at least an acre in size. Even though there are other dogs, all Hoolie wants to do it run after a ball. Finn found a throwing stick which takes a ball and allows a much farther toss than you could do by hand. A few other dogs follow for awhile but usually Hoolie is the only one running at the end. 

The view from our dock in the direction of Mallory Square
Finn did find his valve oil finally so he's all set. He calls his mom every night but he has a habit of walking wlile he's talking, a neat trick on a boat, we dodge a lot.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Key West - A Rainy Day

Just a rainy day, none of the charter boats went out - a lost day of revenue for them
Today was AWESOME. We watched some movies. We watched Crocodile Dundee. It made me jump some because there were some parts I did not expect. We also saw the Jungle Book. It also made me jump. We also took Hoolie on a walk. I even got a chance to walk him. Today it rained a lot. So much that no one was in the cockpit. This morning I had 1 chocolate Danish. It was so good. But the chocolate had a weird taste. A good taste. That’s all BYE!!!                 

Today was donut day but there were no donut shops nearby. However, we did find pastries at a bakery shop down the street so we did have our Sunday special of a sort. The weather did not cooperate today with rain all day long and high winds. Occasionally, you do get bad weather in paradise, in the 60's today. We will have one more day of temperatures in the 60's and then it's back to the 70's according to the Weather Channel with no rain. 

The Island Duo playing at Schooner Wharf
Having a 10 year old on board led to movies in the afternoon since today was not a school day. That changes on Monday when it's back to the books. Math is all fractions and decimals and takes a little thought but Finn's doing fine. The Island Duo is back. They are one of our favorite bands and they play the steel drums, an especially island type of sound. Monday is back to school for Finn and us. 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Key West - Hand made street fair

What a great bed for a kid
Hi it’s Finn. Today was awesome. We had an omelets and sausages. It was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Good. We also took Hoolie to the dog park. I found a long arm like thing that allows you to throw the ball faster and stronger. We went to the craft festival. There where some cool crafts. That’s all we did BYE!!!        

Along the way, a chicken with chicks
As part of his home schooling he's supposed to write more than one of two lines in his daily blog. Well today he figured out that if he held down the "O" key, it would repeat and fill up several lines. I called foul and made him delete about 50 "0's". He still had too many but then he's a kid. 

Sample of the craft fair - a cushion for your boat
Today was the craft fair which had over 50 booths and some were pretty good, especially the one with the hand painted cushions. It made for a nice walk and the temperatures were cool, in the low 70's. We explored the dog park nearby, a very large, fenced in area which was perfect for Hoolie since all he wants to do is just run after balls. He doesn't care for other dogs, just throw the ball. 

On the way back we picked up fresh scallops. It was the first time Finn had scallops and he liked them. We had 1.25 lbs and they were delicious. At night we've been going through our movie collection. So far we've seen Overboard, then Hot Pursuit, Deadman's Chest, and tonight we're due to see Big Trouble in Little China - all excellent movies to watch with grandkids that are still interesting for grandparents. We still have our all time favorite left, Captain Ron to watch. Ann came into Hinckley one time and performed the "Captain Ron" maneuver to get to the dock. The dockhands recognized the maneuver and called out "Captain Ron!" If you've seen the movie, you know what I mean. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Key West - Barry Cuda with a horn player

Before he knew...
It’s Finn. Today was not exciting. I did school work to make up for yesterday. The burger I had was awesome. I did not finish it because it was TOO BIG. Besides I was filled with calamari. # OCTOPUS!!! I don’t think I will look at calamari the same way ever again. I did do well on my horn today. As they say practice makes perfect. I can't Wait for my cousins and family to be here!!! For some reason we keep seeing chickens. I also saw a guy using a weed whacker as a motor!!! That’s really all the stuff that happened today BYE!!!                          

As I said yesterday, Finn now knows that calamari is octopus! He said he still liked it though. He plays the horn for his orchestra so when I heard that Barry Cuda's band had a trumpet player tonight at BO's Fishwagon, Ann and I took Finn by to watch the trumpet player. He was very good and Finn watched. During one of the numbers some of the people started to dance and one woman wanted Finn to dance too but he was too shy. On seeing chickens, well, in Key West they run free and are protected. 

The trumpet player
Other than that, we did the usual things when you've been away from a dock for awhile (boat stuff, and laundry). One thing I noticed when walking around was that the restaurant prices have gone up dramatically. The price of a grouper sandwich at BO's Fishwagon went from $15 to $20 this year. A Cuban sandwich from Cuban Coffee Queen went from $6.50 to $8.50. Monthly price for a dock also increased $4/ft. Caroline street is finally finished after a year and many buildings have been renovated. I guess things are looking up for Key West.               

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Key West - At last, our dock for the next two months

It’s Finn. Today we are in Key West. It was a very bumpy ride today. And I got seasick. It was not fun. I almost felt like up chucking. We did take Hoolie on a walk today. And I also helped do the lines. It’s very fun to do the lines. + I helped run the electric lines. I also did a great job the lines over the piling. Tonight we are going to Schooners Wharf. I am having a burger. That’s all we did today BYE!!!                

For the first time in several days we had a quiet night. No worrying about nearby boats or high winds, just a peaceful sleep. The anchorage at Newfound Harbor could handle 100's of boats, plenty of room. However, on the way in I found 6.0 MLW at multiple spots with 7 MLW where we anchored. Since we draw only 4 ft 9 in, we had no problem even at low tide. It's the shallow, surrounding water that keeps the anchorage calm, even in a high wind. We've ridden out 30 kt winds there with no problem. During the day there are often beach parties at Picnic Island and fishermen roaring by producing wakes that will rock the boat. All that calms down at night, the important thing for us. The requirement for Hoolie relief was provided by Picnic Island with a sandy beach. 

The forecast was for 10 kt winds out of the south but we were met with 10 to 15 kts out of the southwest so it was a bumpy ride for our 10 year old guest. He didn't feel so good but he kept his cookies down. We went to Newfound Harbor to not only escape Marathon but to also make the final leg to Key West much shorter. So although the weather wasn't ideal, it was bearable due to the short distance. 

Finn now picks up the responsibility previously held by Matthew and Sarah, namely coiling the lines into a Flemish.
We ate out at Schooner Wharf and Ann spilled the bean on what calamari is, We had just called it calamari and left it at that. Finn's eyes grew big when he heard what it was but it still tasted good. We'll see what he does the next time we order it. 

I think Key West is getting more crowded. More condos are going up but no high rises. The building heights on Key West are limited by the building code. It is so nice to be back to such a relaxed life style, especially with both our kids coming down on separate weeks with their kids (our grandkids) for a weekly visit. Great fun.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Newfound Harbor - We escape Marathon, now at anchor at Newfound Harbor

Nothing like snorkeling in January
It’s Finn. Today was  ok I guess. I lost a flip flop. I think it just wanted to go to the Bahamas. So basically the Flip Flop Flip Flopped but this time out of the boat. I did go snorkeling off the boat. It was fun but when I saw a GIANT jellyfish I thought I should call it quits. I also found out crabs can swim. I just saw a big thing in the water with pinchers and decided it was a crab. Also we were under way today. I was seasick  That’s all we did today BYE!!!    
Picnic Island is a local favorite, lots of visitors
We were eager to get out of Marathon, it was just too crowded. You were always looking over your shoulder to see if another boat was going to bump into you, especially in the middle of the night. As a result, it's hard to get a good night's sleep with one eye open. We did survive the night without incident but we headed out around 8:00 am. Finn just felt bad for awhile, he didn't really get seasick.

Here's the official sign for the island
Newfound Harbor is one of our favorite anchorages. It appears to be wide open with no protection at all. However, our spot by Picnic Island is surrounded by shallow water which kills wave action. As all of our anchorages, there's Hoolie relief nearby. In this case it's Picnic Island itself with a sandy beach for easy dinghy access. 

Peaceful, you can see Fleetwing in the distance
We were surprised to see the raft of boats anchored by the island. Although it can be crowded by the island, we've never seen so many. Still, it's a huge anchorage and we're off by ourselves, far from any other boats. There's one long termer there with a houseboat complete with solar arrays. It was the same boat we saw last spring. 

We will be here just one day and then on Thursday it's off to Key West and our dock for the next two months, we can hardly wait.                           

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Marathon - Yet another anchoring adventure

Someone planted a cactus bed by the entrance to the parking lot of Marathon, very pretty
It’s Finn. Today I woke up and saw that we where close to our neighbors. Then I heard the motor. # 2 time this weak. So when I went up I saw us up close to our neighbors. So Nana moved us but she ran over the anchor line. We had to get our neighbors to help us. One ran his dink when the other one dived under. When the diver got out of the water he said we ran a ground. # Not good. so the neighbor in the dink had to pull us out of the mud. Meanwhile the diver had to CUT THE ROPE. I just carried messages from person to person. After that we had breakfast but the genset wouldn’t turn on. So we had to toast the bagels on the stove. They where a bit burnt but they still tasted good. I am getting better at my horn. That’s all we did BYE!!!            

Another example of the cactus bed
I think you get the gist of the morning's events from Finn's post. It was not good to wake up to find a boat snug up against your port side. We weren't actually touching but that was only because we both had hit bottom and he went farther into the shallows due to his less draft. We intended to just power forward and let the anchor pull us into deeper water but we didn't do the maneuver right and drifted  back into the anchor line from the boat we had been snug up against. Now the line was wrapped around our prop and we were going nowhere. 

Our last sunset at Marathon
The guy on the boat we were against offered to dive on his line and free the prop, a great offer which he proceeded to do. He had to cut his line to get it free and he also cut off the excess line around the prop. Now we could power forward but we needed to turn to starboard for deep water. That involved putting the anchor in the dinghy and taking it out at a right angle to the boat about 100 ft. After dropping it overboard from the dinghy (heavy! 70 lbs!), Ann put the prop in forward and as the boat moved ahead, the bow was swung to deeper water by the anchor, we were free. But now the genset wouldn't start. After an hour or so of debugging, it turned out to be debris in the raw water cooling intake. The genset has a safety feature to not turn on unless everything is perfect. Once cleared, the genset worked fine. 

After two days of this enjoyment, we are getting less enthused about anchoring in Marathon when there's a long waiting list. This week there were 35 waiting with the overflow anchored, very crowded. On Wednesday we're headed for Newfound Harbor to escape the crowds. Then it's on to Key West on Thursday. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Marathon - A wild night with 36 kt winds

If you look carefully, you can see the sailboat up against the bridge on the otherside
It’s Finn. Today was CRAZY!!! I was woken by the rain last night. So I go back sleep at 3:00 in the morning I was woken by the motor in MY EAR!!! The guys in front of us lost their anchor. So well my mom and dad and little brother sleep all warm and cozy I am out there in the freezing rain with my PJ’S on. But I thought I earned a nice Oreo so it was worth it. This morning I woke up with a bad cramp in my neck. Now It sometimes hurts to turn. There was so much rain today. When I was doing math I felt drops of rain on my head. Speaking of math today I learned decimals. I think I have them in the bag right now. For lunch I had a sandwich. That’s really all the exciting things that happened today BYE!!!              
How would you like to have this boat pass repeatedly behind you? That mast laid on the deck looked mighty intimidating 

As Finn said, it was crazy early this morning. We knew the winds were going to pipe up but then the cool front came through with lots of lightening and high winds. So it's pitch black out, lightening is all around us and we're pitching in the wave action in the anchorage with 36 kt winds. To add to the excitement, there was a wind shift and as we turned with the wind we barely cleared another sailboat with its mast mounted horizontally on the deck and stuck out over hanging the bow. It looked like a natural ramming device for boat wars. Naturally the new wind direction was put us directly towards the bow of that boat with the mast stuck out, we barely cleared but then was subject to repeat performances of that passage every minute or so as we swerved around with the wind. We never did hit but the last thing we wanted to do at 3:00 am in the pitch black in a driving rain was re-anchor

So we dodged that bullet but there was another one in the chamber. The  boat in front of us dragged into our bow. There were two boats tied together and they lost one of their anchors in the storm. So I'm up on the bow in the driving rain trying to minimize damage and having a conversation with the owner of the boat who, luckily, was aboard (sometimes the boats are left for periods of time) on how to improve the situation. He wanted (as I did) to put out another anchor so he could fend off but he had no motorized dinghy. I jumped in mine and motored over to his boat and he dropped an anchor into the dinghy and came aboard. He played out the anchor line about 100 ft and then dropped the anchor. I came back aboard Fleetwing and he pulled on the anchor line an moved his boats off my bow and off to the side. By now it was around 5:00 am and I just stayed in the cabin and watched the sun rise. 

Others were not so lucky. Two sailboats and one large powerboat were blown into the bridge with major damage to the powerboat. One other boat drug during the night nearby but we were not affected by that. Well, boating is never dull, at least in our experience. We've moved our entrance to Key West to Thursday now, the 26th of January, can't wait to get there!

PS, Finn's cramp in his neck went away, he's fine. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Marathon - We visit the turtle hospital

This guy was run over by a boat and the prop cut out a section of his shell
It’s Finn. Today was AWESOME. We went to a turtle hospital and saw real turtles. They are so cool. Some of them have a bubble butt. It is when they float because a boat hit them. For lunch we went to the cracked conch. They have really good conch. I had a pizza for lunch. It was so delicious. But I didn’t finish it. I got too full on conch. I did my horn today. I still need more practice. Today was so fun BYE!!!      

They have an operating room just like in a regular hospital
Finn likes turtles. With that we just had to visit the turtle hospital. It was the first one of its kind in the world, now there are dozens. They specialize in rescuing turtles that have met a disaster of some kind while in the wild. The problems include being run over by a boat prop, bitten by a shark or getting a tumor growth. They have an operating room and provide individualized care. After recovery, the turtles are returned to the wild. 

A turtle is being treated here. That's suntan lotion being applied to the shell, it can sunburn if not protected
After the 90 minute tour, we treated ourselves to the Cracked Conch, a local eatery that been featured on the Food Network as the experts in how to serve conch. They have a tradition that they always stay open, even in hurricanes, after all even the emergency workers have to eat somewhere. We had the conch burgers which were very good but Finn had a cheese pizza. However, he ate part of Ann's conch burger and got too full to eat all of his pizza which we had the rest of tonight. 

The winds are coming. They are predicted to peak out at 30 mph with gusts to 35! We're hunkered down and hoping all will be okay. The winds will blow for the next 24 hours but then there's a lull Wednesday and Thursday when we'll move on to Key West two days early since there's more windy weather coming.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Marathon - Provisioning and at the beach

The beach at Marathon on the Hawk Channel side
It’s Finn. Today we went to the BEACH. It was so fun. I spent most of my time in the water looking for cool shells. I found a really cool one but it was occupied by a conch. It has a little door that opens but the conch wasn’t cooperating. I almost lost my NEW HAT. It blew straight or my head. But grandpa came to the rescue and got my hat straight out of the water. This morning I had a pancake. They are HUGE. That’s all we really did today BYE!!!      

A treasure found, a live conch. 
Finn wanted some beach time so after provisioning at Publix, we spent some time in the sun. The beach at Marathon is reachable via a dinghy ride to the south side of the island. There is also an alternate entrance there too but one I have never tried. I did watch as several boats made the passage. The fishing boats didn't honor the reds until R8, cutting all of the previous ones on the wrong side of the reds. The one sailboat I saw enter did honor all of the reds but it appeared to be only 30 feet or so in length. 

A storm is coming. Winds are predicted to pick up starting tonight and continue through Monday night with peak winds of 30 with higher gusts along with thunderstorms. There are no moorings available I think we are securely anchored, we'll find out soon enough. 

The Gulf Stream is just off the coast, clouds gather over it and result in great sunsets
I picked up a rental car which we used for provisioning and we plan on seeing the sights Sunday although it will be windy. With the coming storm, we'll sit here until Wednesday when we'll move on to Newfound Harbor. We moved up our date for Key West to Friday, the 27th due to another storm due Saturday. However, it's nice to be warm.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Marathon - at anchor

I took Hoolie into shore in the morning and saw a great sunrise
Hi it’s Finn. Today could have been better. I got seasick so we didn’t do much work. It was Hawk Channel being Hawk Channel. We did a lot of nothing and more nothing. When we took Hoolie out I felt like kissing the ground. # not a good idea. Hoolie on the other hand had an AWESOME DAY # lucky. So yah today was AWESOME… for lunch I had NOTHING. For dinner we are having chicken over rice. I can’t wait to go to the beach. That’s all BYE!!!   

Here's the same sunrise a little later from the cove where I took Hoolie
I guess it wasn't one of his favorite days. We had 50 Nm to go from Rodriguez Key to Marahton which was much shorter than yesterday's 70 Nm but the weather was not as good. We didn't have much wind and it was from the aft so it didn't do much to steady the boat. It was a sloppy ride for most of the way. Finn didn't feel too well but he didn't lose his cookies. 

Getting back to the boat to haul anchor, the clear water was evident at Rodriguez Key
I called ahead to Marathon and found that the waiting list was at 35 boats! We had hoped that with the good weather of the past week, there would be more leaving for the Bahamas but no such luck. We wedged into the anchorage, a little closer to other boats than we wanted but good enough we think. If not, we'll move again, no problem. 

The perfect end to the day was another sunset in Marathon Harbor (Boot Key)
There's a storm coming over latter part of the weekend with winds up to 30 kt or higher. The Marathon harbor is very well protected, you just need a good anchor so we depend on our 70 lb Spade and 3/8 inch BBB chain. We plan on moving over to Newfound Harbor on Wednesday and then to Key West on the 28th, Saturday. .

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Rodriguez Key - at anchor

So what does a 10 year old do on a 10 hour passage?
Hi it’s Finn. Today we went to Rodrigues Key. I took so many thing to keep me from getting sea sick . I also putt on some sea bands # They really hurt when you take off!!! Today we where in turquoise water. We could see sea sponges because its only 10 feet deep. I played my tablet. Grandpa gave me some headphones. They work perfectly!!! In fact they even block out noise. We also took Hoolie to the dock to do his business. I also found out my shoes are not waterproof. That’s all BYE!!!   

Lots of sailboats in the Keys
Our intention was to stop over at Caesar's Creek for the night but when we saw the forecast for today with winds less than 5 kts and no wave action, we decided to push on to Rodriguez Key, about 25 Nm farther than Caesar's Creek. We left our mooring at 7:30 but had to take on fuel so we lost 1/2 hour doing that. We were finally underway by 8:00 and arrived at Rodriguez Key by 5:20 or so. It was a long day but the ride was perfect with the flat seas and no wind. We had a new sailor with us so we didn't want to stress the new crew with choppy conditions. 

The water here is very clear, the first place down the keys where you can easily see the bottom. The anchor chain is clearly visible as is the anchor itself in 10 ft of water. With winds of less than 10 kts for the night, it is predicted to be a calm anchorage even with the wind blowing into the anchorage. 

As always, we enjoy the sunets
From here it's only 48 Nm to Marathon which we intend doing on Friday. We don't yet know what to expect there. Last year there was a waiting list of 55 boats this time of the year. With the much  better weather for a crossing to the Bahamas, we hope the waiting list will be much shorter. It will be a little choppier for the run to Marathon but not too bad with winds only around 10 kts. We have a car reserved for Saturday and Sunday so we'll take Finn out to see the sights. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Ft Lauderdale - Laundry, groceries, French Bakery

Palm trees, warm weather and a sandy beach, what's not to like?
Hi it’s Finn. Today we almost SANK THE DINK!!! We where going along when I felt water I looked down and saw a lot of water. I also docked the dink. At first it was hard but it got easier. Today we went to CVS. There we got groceries. In the morning we went on a walk. I played my horn very well. We read chapter 7 of Treasure Island. It is now getting interesting. That’s all BYE!!!  

Humm, he "almost sank the dink" and then didn't say anything more. Let me flesh the story out a little more. There's a stopper at the aft part of the dinghy that can be pulled out to let water drain out of the dinghy when it's on land. Well, that stopper got knocked loose somehow and water came flooding in. The dinghy wouldn't sink of course since it has three air filled chambers which were still okay but you could get your feet wet. I put the stopped back in and Finn dewatered the dinghy once again. 

Like Matthew and Sarah before him, Finn is learning to run the dinghy. Docking to the boat is the biggest challenge but practice makes perfect. 
CVS stores in general have expanded to include items you would normally find at a 7/11 store. In fact, the selection is generally better. So we went to the nearest one and found everything we needed minus any fresh vegetables. It's good enough to get us to Marathon. It looks like we have a two day window to go down the coast and we plan on taking advantage of it. If there's anything we've learned the last seven years is that weather is king. If the window opens, you take it, never mind wanting to rest an extra day or see the sights, take the weather window! For once we are determined to take our own advice and hopefully will reach Marathon by Friday evening. That will put us in good stead for Key West on the 28th of January. We will probably move over to Newfound Harbor before making the final jump to our winter dock. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Ft Lauderdale - at a mooring after 15 bridges!

One of 15 bridges!
Hi it’s Finn. Today we where underway. Dinner was AWESOME with captain Joe and Mr Tom. We had calamari for an appetizer # AWESOME. For my main course I had a burger # AWESOME AGAIN. For my drink I had a root beer # could have been better. Today we came through 14 DRAW BRIDGES. So it took a llllooooooooooooooooonnnngggg time to get here. Some kids are smart with instruments. In the woodwind area you can just put them in your pocket. My friend told me you don’t haft to bring the kettledrum it just sits on a shelf. I also learned a song called the pelican. That’s all BYE!!!     

We left our anchorage at Lantana, just south of the Lantana bridge, around 8:30 and picked a mooring at 2:15 after 15 bridges. Each of the the 15 bridges had to lift for us but for the most part we didn't have to wait much except for two that were just out of sync for our speed. Otherwise, just do 7 kts and you'll make them. One thing you don't want to do if at all possible is to make the run to Ft Lauderdale on a weekend or holiday. The area is called "The Canyon" due to the bulkheads on both sides that reflect any wave action from passing boats setting up a confused sea. You can bounce all over the place. It's not so bad during the week. 

The mooring field is full now
With temperatures in the high 70's we can't complain. The mooring field by the Las Olas bridge has been reduced to only 7 moorings but during the week it is still possible to get one. There were two free when we arrived but they are now all full. The very high mooring fee is probably a factor at $40 a day. They do have an excellent laundry which we will utilize Wednesday and will also visit the nearest market for some minor provisions. The weather is looking good for an outside run down to Miami on Thursday. We may wind up at Marine Stadium or even go on to Caesar's Creek, depending upon the wind and waves. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Lantana bridge anchorage - at anchor by Old Key Lime House restaurant

Finn's beach at our Hobe Sound anchorage. Lot's of random stuff on the beach to attract a dog. We're usually successful in keeping him away from disaster but he can be pretty quick, faster than us in snatching a tidbit. 
It’s Finn. Today we where moving. I spent most of my time doing work. It was fun… we are going to meet captain Joe at the lime house for dinner. The dog didn’t have a good time he accidentally threw up on THE BOAT!!! We saw more turquoise water. There were so many draw bridges. In fact they where the only bridges we saw. I also did my horn. It’s a trumpet. I picked it because its light and is easy to play. When I saw the case it's ten times bigger than the trumpet. When I saw a tuba player I felt better. That’s all I did BYE!!!    

The Lantana anchorage - another boat joined us later on
Today was the first of the bridge runs, 11 for today and for Tuesday it will total 14 and that's just counting the draw bridges. However, Florida does a great job of timing the openings which varies from every 1/2 hour starting on top of the hour or every 1/2 hour starting 15 minutes past the hour. There is even one bridge that opens every 20 minutes. Once you get in sync, you can usually make all the bridges without waiting if you can maintain 7 kts which we can do. The sole exception is the Flagler Memorial bridge which is under construction and opens only once an hour at 15 past. 

So off we went at 8:45 and we were in our anchorage by 2:30. You can pick the depth you want by how far into the anchorage you go. We chose to get closer to the restaurant and reached 5.2 ft at low tide (we only draw 4 ft 9 in). If you anchor farther out, you can be in 7 MLW. 

We always stop by to see Joe Mastri along the way, a long time friend from the Poughkeepsie Yacht Club
We met Joe Mastri and a buddy from his condo complex for dinner at Old Key Lime House restaurant, Florida's oldest waterside restaurant. They have a free dinghy dock for those coming by boat, very convenient. So we had a great time, trading stories and catching up.

Meanwhile, Hoolie is not feeling well. He upchucked three times today and is not his usual perky self. This has happened in the past when he snatched something off the beach that he shouldn't have. If it doesn't agree with him, it comes back up along with everything else he's had to eat that day. The last time to come up was a round nut of some type, hopefully that's the end of it. We'll see if he's better Tuesday. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Hobe Sound Anchorage - between R38 and R40

Add water to boy = entertainment
Finn here. Today we spent most of are time under way. When we stopped I got to swim off the back of the boat. We saw turquoise water. It's basically ocean water. I also got to steer the boat. I am not too good at it. We took Hoolie to the beach to do his duty. We had donuts for breakfast. For lunch I had a sandwich. I also read some of my book Harry Potter. Plus I made a small tank. That’s really all we did BYE!!!         

It was another beautiful traveling day even though it was a weekend with all the weekend traffic. People like to fish directly in the middle of the ICW channel and they seem upset when you pass them close by. The R188A marker was an eye opener. I was cruising along at high tide and I saw the depth suddenly dip to 5.5 ft! Corrected to MLW, that's 3.6 feet right in the channel. R188A is just south of Fort Pierce so if you're headed this way, watch out for R188A. There more water on the green side, I was too far over to the red buoy. 

As the sun set, we looked out on the only other boat in the anchorage
Boys are easy to entertain on a boat. Just give them some water to play in and they're happy. With temperatures in the upper 70's and full sun, it was plenty warm. Like all our anchorages, the Hobe Sound anchorage has a place for Hoolie to reach shore, a sandy beach. We're one of only two boats here. The Peck Lake anchorage was packed with boats, several dozen with many rafted. We've always seen that anchorage as too crowded for us, we like more seclusion. 

Monday is the first of the "bridge runs". We have 11 to pass through before reaching our anchorage at Lantana where we plan on meeting up with Joe Mastri for dinner. It's only about 35 miles or so but the bridges will slow us down. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Vero Beach - We chart the area

Finn decided the main cabin was better than his bunk aft, just like Matthew
It’s Finn. Today we took a ride in the dink. It is not easy to drive. On the ride we saw pelicans and osprey. For breakfast we had eggs and bacon with toast. It tasted so good. We also went to the dog park. It was so BIG. Hoolie had a wonderful time.  On the dink ride we saw a dolphin again. We went shopping with grandpa. The best thing was RELAXING!!! I did my horn too. Today was splendid. That’s all BYE!!!    

This is a chart I made this afternoon of the northern part of the Vero Beach mooring field. The mooring field is to the right, the exit to the ICW (which is too shallow by the island) is still deep enough for a good anchorage up to the island by the ICW. All depths are corrected to MLW. 
A number of chores including replacing the zinc on the genset and generally checking it out since it had not been used for several months, it was fine. Restocking on groceries was also on the list which Finn and I did. In the afternoon it was time for Finn to learn by doing in steering the dinghy. He seemed to always veer towards the shore ("Finn, more to the middle!") 

I got my sounding program working again and so I charted the upper part of the Vero Beach mooring field where there is no moorings but space to anchor. It's located at the northern end of the field and toward the channel going to the ICW with an island in the middle before the exit to the ICW. The depths are plenty for anchoring as long as you stay towards the middle and don't go beyond the island next to the ICW. I included a chart for detail. Knowing this info, you have an alternative to taking a mooring or more likely, an alternative to doubling up on a mooring with another boat. 

One more sunset at Vero Beach
We plan on leaving around 9:00 am for our Hobe Sound anchorage, a six hour ride. Weather is expected to be calm and it's getting warmer, finally. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Vero Beach Municipal Marina - Doubled up on a mooring

A view south from the Vero Beach mooring field, a quiet end to a busy day
It’s Finn again. Today I woke up to the sound of the motor, it was loud. I learned what the red and blue markers mean. They mean go through us. Note to self, don’t eat under way it made me sea sick. We also had to call a bridge AND IT OPENED UP!!! On my spelling test I got 100/100 pts, it was easy. After that I did math with grandpa. When we got there I helped grandpa with the lines. We also saw a pod of DOLPHINS. I also did my horn. After that I learned how to turn  the boat. That’s all the exciting we did BYE!!! 

Finn complained about the early start but it was only a 7:30 departure. He had to get up at 7:00 to get ready and help with the lines. Finn didn't really get seasick, he just felt a little queasy. Once he climbed out of his cubby hole down below and into the cockpit, he was fine. I think Matthew had the same problem. They like to barricade themselves in the aft cabin so no lights disturb their video game playing but that's not conducive to a settled stomach when the boat lurches from a passing cruiser. I mean, we're not even out on the Atlantic, it's just the ICW! 

Today was more fractions, a favorite of the course for Finn. We worked through them and now it's the weekend. Finn lobbied for a half day but Ann said no dice! Got to study. 

We left at 7:30 am and reached Vero Beach by 4:45 pm, a long day, about 65 miles. It's full here with boats doubled and some tripled up even. We'll spend another day before heading south again for Hobe Sound.