Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Key West - Chickens and Geometry

List of shapes
Today was a good day. We took are morning walk and had breakfast. We did school work and I had a test. We then had lunch. I had my regular lunch. And we took Hoolie to Mallory Square. I finished my model car today too. I put a reflecting layer on and put the turrets on as well as the stickers. We did not go to the dog park though but I can't blame them I was tired after our walk too. I got a high B on my math Quiz so that was a plus. That’s all I got for you today.    

Chose from the list of shapes, how many
shapes fit the one shown above?
I was amazed at what they are teaching now in 5th grade. Ann does all the work but I occasionally help with math and geometry. The geometry is what I got in junior high or high school. Just in case you think I'm exaggerating, I thought I would drop in a couple of the two dozen questions on the test. Why don't you take the two example test and see how you would do in today's 5th grade. The answers are in the comments section of this blog. How did you do?? Get everything right?

Sample test 2, list all the shapes
that fit the one above
Meanwhile, nature marches forward as we saw a mother hen and all her chicks today along one of the side streets. They were just striding along, pecking for food and growing bigger, the next generation is on its way.

Key West replenishes!
The second batch of high winds is ending tonight and now we are almost  back to normal! There are still empty slips down here, come on down, there's room!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Key West - Our Sunset Disappears

There goes the neighborhood! What sunset?
Today was another day. We took the bus to Winn Dixie. It was a nice ride but the store was crowded. So I had fun maneuvering around old people and dodging different stands. But it was a good day all in all. I got a model to work on from my aunt. It was an oak wood module of the bat mobile. I painted it and went to the dog park to wait for it to dry. When we got back from the dog park I painted a second layer on the car. I am going to put the reflecting paint on tomorrow. At the dog park I got to run Hoolie all I wanted. But I had an eerie feeling that someone was watching me. But all in all it was a good day. That’s all I got for you.   

Our susset disappeared today. A huge, 161 ft ship took the dock directly between us and our sunset. On the other hand, there have been no sunsets anyway what with all the clouds. Fortunately, they will be gone by the weekend.

The local Winn Dixie is really a nice store, much better than Publix
Meanwhile, we took the local Key West bus to Winn Dixie and back. The schedules are very convenient. We left at 11:00 and returned to our boat around 12:15. You have to be quick about your shopping but there's no wasted time waiting for a bus. The cost for seniors is only $0.50 one way. With the return of the high winds, there was no windjammer activity today and no charters went out either. All the bad weather is supposed to end on Friday with good days ahead after that.

We have a week until the first of our visitors from the frozen north arrive, Finn's parents and their son Rowan. We typically spend about 4 to 5 hours a day with Finn on homeschooling. I will scan in his geometry test tomorrow. It's typical of what I remember taking in high school, not easy! Wait until you see the test!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Key West - Turtle Races and Windjammers

Today was a good day. We took are morning walk and I saw a shirt with a T rex holding a pinching hand thinking I AM UNSTOPABLE end quote. I thought it was hilarious and took o picture of it. We had a normal breakfast witch I am starting to loath (Editor's note: he picked out his breakfast choices). We did school work and took Hoolie to the dog park. But I was not allowed to throw the ball far distance due to it being too hot and we didn’t want him to over heat. I also coiled up the rope so no one will get on my nerves about the rope (Editor's Note: his cousin, Sarah, will be coming aboard later and will be inspecting the coiling of the rope!). We just saw the turtle races at turtle corals. 4 won and that was the turtle I picked but I did not get a ticket. 1 ,2 and 3 did not move so that was a bonus. That’s all I got for you today. 

All the schooners went out today for the first time in a week!
The winds subsided to under 15 kts today and the Key West charter business came alive. Even the sun came out with the promise of a Key West sunset that went unfulfilled. Still, all the windjammers went out today for an afternoon sail and even a sunset cruise.

It was supposed to be a sunset cruise, but no sunset today with the winds back up to over 20 kts
All that good weather lasted for about 8 hours. Now the wind is back up to 20 to 25 kts and that's due to last for another three or four days - again. Even so, it's still warm so I don't mind too much since we're comfy.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Key West - A ride on the new Duval Loop bus

Fill that tank!
Today was a regular day. We woke up and made donut muffins. They tasted amazing. The news had comics so that was a plus. We also took a walk to see the art galleries on Duval Street. There were some interesting paintings too. My favorite is one of a chicken riding a bike. After Duval we went to get ice cream for tonight. On our way to Duval we took the Duval loop. It is a free bus that takes a loop around Duval. There was also a parade. It was to remember all the dead singers in Key West. That’s all I got for you today.   

Ann used a donut recipe for baked donuts coated with cinnamon and sugar, they were delicious. Later on we tried out the Duval Loop bus, new this year. The new service opens up the southern end of Duval Street for us in exploration. There are lots of art galleries Ann wants to see and plenty of good restaurants down that way. The service runs until 10:00 pm so it would be easy to eat out and have time to return to the boat. With a bus coming by every 15 minutes, it's very convenient. 

Our Duval Loop bus line
I put Finn to work on filling the water tank and help with walking Hoolie. We had to walk forever to find ice cream since the supermarket downtown lost their freezer and all the ice cream in it last week. Hopefully, they will restock this coming week. 

Being Key West, there was a parade on Duval Street to commentrate Key West musicians that have passed away
The winds are finally dying down and it's even under 10 kts now! Unfortunately, the light winds are only due to last one day with winds in the 20's again tomorrow and for the rest of the week. We even had a few of the charter boats go out this afternoon for their sunset cruise. On that note, there have been no sunsets yet since we've been here with nothing but heavy, gray clouds on the horizon. But we can't complain, it's been warm, above 70 everyday so far, I'll take it.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Key West - Craft show and

The popcorn kid
Today was a Saturday. Saturday is a day of relaxation. A day of prosperity. But I did school work. We started it with math and ended it with math. Yes we did only math in the morning. We also took Hoolie to the dog park. I got some new shoes too. We went to C.V.S to pick them up. We took a walk to Duval Street to check out the merchandise. Grandpa got popcorn until it was devoured by me. I ate a large bucket of popcorn at the theater. By the end of the movie I was groping into the bucket wondering where my popcorn went. We saw a lot of vendors at the festival. They tried to sell stuff like plastic chickens and glass painting. But Nana said that the second we got on the boat it would break because of some bogus person that made a lot of wake. That’s all I got for you today.         

We had gusts to over 30 kts today in the harbor! They are supposed to subside somewhat tomorrow but not a lot with winds still in the 20's. As I said before, this wind is something else. The charter business is suffering since no boats go out in this wind.

However, once you walk inland, the winds are blocked by the houses and shuberry and it is nice and warm. We took advantage of the effect by walking to the craft show at the end of Caroline St. All sorts of vendors were set up selling their wares but we didn't buy anything since there is no room on a sailboat for anything not absolutely essential.

Tonight we had Key Lime Shrimp using Key West Pink Shrimp - just great!
Finn forgets that there are days when we don't do schoolwork during the week when we're traveling and have to make up the lost time on weekends. Today it was geometry, not a favorite subject of Finn but did it we did. There will even be some limited schoolwork on Sunday but not much. There is a new service at Key West that we will try out Sunday that does a loop around Duval St at no charge. Key West is trying out the service to alleviate traffic congestion downtown. In an island paradise, it hard to believe there can be too much traffic but it's true. It's a major concern for Key West with parking at a premium. Still, the temperatures remain in the 70's so the winds are not hard to take.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Key West - Big Announcement Today

I expected to see palm trees devoid of frons and shrubbery without leaves, no so. Everything looks normal. 
Today was another successful day at Key West. We started it of with a morning walk. I was a nice morning but windy. The wind got worse around 9:00am. We went to the store in the after noon to get groceries. I got Nutter butters (: so that was good). We started schoolwork around breakfast. But got done around 12:00 pm. We sadly did not take Hoolie to the dog park because Nana was pooped. That’s all I got for you today. 

I am now the Waterway Guide editor for the Atlantic ICW.  I will be working with Ed Tillett, the General Manager of Waterway Guide, on the 2018 edition of the Waterway Guide and the Waterway Explorer app accessible on their website. The goal is to bring their guide up to date on ICW hazards.

 Okay, so what changes as far as what I've done in the past outside of the Waterway Guide? In a word, nothing. I will continue to update Active Captain as I go up and down the ICW as well as continue to publish my yearly ICW Cruising Guide. There is no way all the detail of the ICW Cruising Guide I publish could be folded into the Waterway Guide. However, I will be adding and editing the ICW hazard information in the Waterway Guide and on their Waterway Explorer app on their website. I will endeavor to keep that information up to date based on my own experience and from ACOE surveys of the key inlets. I view the Waterway Guide as yet another source for cruising sailors in enjoying their trips on the ICW. From my viewpoint, the more the merrier as far as information is concerned. My own guide has a laser focus on hazards while the Waterway Guide is much more general and covers everything along the way including all the marinas and things to do in ICW stopovers. I think we complement each other.

There is still a hardy group anchored out, this area is known as "The Bowling Alley", think you know why?
Of course, I'll keep doing my blog as I move along, there's nothing like first hand experience on the ICW. So I hope your'll continue to follow along. The ICW looks to be very exciting this coming spring with all the shoaling at Lockwoods Folly and Shallotte Inlet not to mention the other famous places.

 Here in Key West, the winds continue to blow, up to 32 kts! Any reduced winds are beyond the forecast window so we're in for a spell. If you haven't gotten here yet, you will have the ride of your life if you try now.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Key West - Same as always

A kid and a dog - Hoolie's ready!
Today was our 2nd day at Key West. We went to the dog park in the afternoon. I got some good pitches in I do say so myself. We did school work in the morning. We went on are morning walk too. We did not see a lot of chickens though. I got news that they got wrapped up in newspaper and relocated to a safe place while Irma was coming down. We had a random reunion. Some people came on the dock an asked to talk to Nana. So I told her and said she would be right up. I finally got to meet Mr. Fish. He was a nice person and told us some stories about fishing.

Island Time Duo was holding forth at Schooner Wharf, just like last year
We haven't noticed any big difference in Key West. I was expecting much of the greenery to be gone or at least in the process of recovering. What I found was a Key West just like last year with lots of flowers and palm trees. The crowds seem to be as big as last year at this time. Barry Cuda is still playing although he moved from Friday nights at BO's Fish Wagon to Saturday nights.

Sloppy Joe's was doing the usual, full-house business
We had a visit from an old friend that likes to fish in the area. He's from New York too, right nearby our home. He had to leave his boat here during Irma and when he returned, he found it undamaged. He offered to take us out fishing so we'll see what the schedule might be.

The winds continue unabated and are due to increase on Friday and stay at plus 20 mph through the forecast window of five days. I can only imagine the chaos in the Marathon anchorage. I'm just glad I escaped that mess. The mornings and part of the afternoons are taken up with home schooling Finn. It takes a lot of attention to keep a grade-schooler up with his studies. Ann does about 95% of that work. At least it's warm here with temperatures in the 70's still, even with the strong north winds.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Key West - at our dock, E14

Gotta feed the kid, Cuban Coffee Queen Cuban Mix
Hello from Key West. Yes I did just say that. We are finally in Key West. Our landing was smooth and got to throw the bowline over the piling. The trip was pleasant and no one felt sick. We are getting sandwiches from the Cuban coffee queen. By the way I have a question that has been bothering me all day. Who wrote Funky Town? I don’t know why it is bothering me but it just is. We are next to Jeff and Charlie Brown. That’s all I got for you today.       

We did not like the looks of the anchorage at Marathon with a 30 kt plus wind in the forecast and after we took a dock at marina, there was no future there since the high winds were due to last for most of the week. So at 7:00 am this morning I called Key West Bight Marina to see if our dock was open and got the reply I was hoping for - it was! With that we shoved off around 7:30 am  but then encountered a dense fog. It was like a time warp, being in Maine again, complete with pots to avoid. 

Our slip for the last eight years, we're here
Being Florida, eventually the sun won out and we motored west dodging the pots. It was a much better ride than yesterday when we had seas on the broadside. Today the wind and waves were behind us and all was calm. Key West looks about the same as always. I can't tell any difference before or after Irma. at least around the marina area. We'll venture out farther over the next few days and see how things are. It's great to be settled into our slip with the coming high winds!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Marathon - Got stuck on the way out of Tavernier

Nah, I think I'll keep my Fleetwing
Well today was not just the long it was the loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong haul. We started the trip of with a nice sand bar and then had a nice dish of sand bar in one hour. And topped it off with anchorage mayhem. Dessert was a nice good pee on the dock from Hoolie. So yea that’s how the day was. But we had a smooth landing and decided to dock. I was relived when the cool air swooped in. Tonight’s menu is jerk chicken and some beans and asparagus that’s all I got for you today.         

We had 6.1 ft on the way into Tavernier on Monday with a 1.8 ft tide so I thought it was safe to leave the next day with a 1.0 ft tide. I was thinking 6.1 - 1.0 = 5.1 which is enough for my 4.8 ft keel. However, overnight the east wind eased off and that allowed the water pushed up against the southern edge of the Keys to drain away. I had figured may 0.5 ft but it was more like 1.0 ft of less water due to the subsiding east wind. So the right equation was 6.1 - 1.0 (1 ft less tide) - 1.0 (1 ft less water pushed up by the failing east wind) = 4.1 ft. That was not enough for us to clear the bar across the entrance with my 4.8 ft keel.  So there I sat, waiting for the rest of the tide to come in.

Eventually, the moon did its job and brought enough water in for me to get moving, after about 45 minutes of sitting. So off we went with not much wind which was both good and bad. On the good side the waves were minimal but on the bad side, what there was hit us broadside and slapped the boat from side to side and since the wind wasn't much, there was no steadying effect from the sails. So we slopped along to Marathon.

The docks are fixed and raised higher than the sides of Fleetwing. Sturdy but not especially boat friendly
Coming into the anchorage, we called the city marina and found there was an eight boat waiting list. The anchorage looked as crowded as ever (where are all these boats coming from !) With a front coming through, the anchorage was going to be chaotic to say the least.After last year's experience, we wanted no part of it and took a dock at Marathon Marina and Resort (it's not the city marina, it's the one on the west side as you come in).

So we are fit for the night but we have to decide what to do on Wednesday. The front won't come until later in the day so we could make a run for Key West if our dock is free. We won't know that until the morning. Otherwise, we'll stick around here and wait out the high winds and rough seas in Hawk Channel.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Blue Waters Marina - at a dock

A sunrise greeted us in the morning at Caesar's Creek
Today was awesome. We got underway at about 8:00 am. When we got to blue water marina we saw a pavilion and said, ”that would be a nice place to do school work."  Then we saw a stove and said that we could cook diner there. Then we saw some fans there and said lets eat at the pavilion. Sadly Nana is a bit pooped so we are eating here. But at least we are eating hamburgers. We also met 2 men at the pavilion. They told old fishing trip stories. I thought it was entertaining. One of the older men told a story of how he won the fishing championship a third time in a row. The radioman told him he had to give everyone else a chance so he hasn't done it in a year. That’s all I got for you.    

The dock was very well protected
The anchorage at Caesar's Creek was calm and out of the worst of the current. When I took Hoolie ashore in the morning, I got a photo of the sunrise over the ocean. We had to wait a little to get over the  bar on the exit to the ocean side but we made it with room to spare with a 1.3 ft tide (4.8 MLW).

Sailing or not, Finn has his studies to do - this time in a cabana by the boat
We had a reservation at Blue Waters Marina in Tavernier where we've stayed  before so we headed west and arrived just at high tide. There is a 4.3 MLW bar across the entrance so we needed some tide to get in with our 4' 9" keel.

We are getting into the tropical flowers, finally
The marina here is mostly liveaboards but they occasionally have an empty dock. In our case, we had the dock of someone who had to haul his boat to be worked on. The area used to be a quarry so it's plenty deep once you get past the entrance. It's said that once they quarried what they needed, a trench was dug out to the ocean and dynamite was used to open the last 20 feet and the ocean flooded in. The depths are generally 20 to 30 ft except right at the entrance where it's 4.3 MLW.

We will leave in the morning for Marathon where we will wait out a cold front coming down that will result in some high winds for several days. Once they subside, we'll move on to our dock at Key West.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Caesar's Creek - at anchor

On our way south, we passed by Stiltsville. It's still there but taken over by the National Park Service now
Today was fun. We started it of with some biscuits for breakfast. I had Charleston honey on mine. It’s the best honey in the world not including my uncle commando’s honey. He owns a bee farm in Pennsylvania. We were under way at about 9:30 am then we left Miami. We are now at Caesar’s Creek. And we are at a no wake zone so we got a plus added. But theirs always the occasional speeder but the other boats help by yelling slow down at the top of their lungs. Tonight’s menu is pork tenderloin with cranberry syrup. That’s all I got for you today.      

Ann had a rider part way down the cruise today
We took the bay side route to Caesar's Creek. The entrance to the creek from the bay side is rather shallow to say the least. We only try the entrance at a dead, high tide of 1.3 ft or more. Even with that tide, the entrance has a 5.1 ft bar to get over which we can clear with our 4' 9" keel. The bottom is not forgiving, it's rock, not mud.  However, we've used this anchorage for years which we like for the good protection from adverse winds and the free park dock for Hoolie. The docks have a ladder at one end for easy access. Even though it's about a four foot jump, Hoolie manages to make the leap onto the dock.

The Park Ranger has a nice house on the island
Going ashore today, we were met by another Brittany! He was as energetic as Hoolie as they pranced and hopped around the area. It turns out that the Brittany was owned by the park ranger who lives in a house on the island. I asked him about the dock and he relayed that it was a day-only dock and not for an overnight stay. That's fine with us, we anchored anyway just off the docks out of the channel.

Here's the reason for our stay, see the ladder at the right end of the dock, that's our easy in and out
Our goal on Monday is Tavernier at Blue Waters Marina. It's a long term marina but they occasionally have dock space when renters leave for awhile. That's the case for us on Monday. There's a 4.3 MLW bar to get over so we'll need some help from tides which we will time for our entrance. Once inside, the place is a hurricane hole. The next day we are all set for Marathon.
Finally, a decent sunset

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Miami - last day

More water
Well today was a blast. We started it out wit some pancakes. They tasted delicious. I also snorkeled. I saw lots of rocks, a few crabs and a big fish. And we went on a ride in the dink. After that was it. We had a lazy day. We did some math to catch up with our class. Tonight’s menu is a tilapia sandwich with rice and beans on the sides (sorry this one was short but like I said we had a lazy day) that’s all I got for you. 

We have a beach nearby so we took Finn ashore, yet another day of boy + water = fun. He got a chance to snorkel and splash about. The anchorage here was proven to be excellent, at least in an east wind. Last night was as calm as being on land.

A nice ending to the day
Sunday is moving day again, this time to Caesar's Creek. We have to make the approach at dead high tide in order to clear the shallows with our 4' 9" keel from the bay side. We'll spend the night and move on the next day to Tavernier. The ocean exit has a little more water but not a lot at 5 MLW so we can scrape through even at low tide. We're then headed to Blue Waters Marina which has an approach of 4.3 MLW so it's another more than low tide passage. After that, it's Marathon.

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.