Friday, January 31, 2020

Key West - We visit the lighthouse

The view from above - kinda scary
Today we got to see the lighthouse! 88 steps up and down (editor's note: he counted?!) and there is NO elevator! My feet still ake, REALLY ACHE, from scaling the lighthouse. Even when I bend my knees, my legs fall apart. There's this cool thing about the mirrors in the lens, where no matter which way the light is coming from, the light emitted goes in 1 direction. So when the lantern spins around in the lens, instead of spraying the light all around, it becomes two fixed beams that spin around, pretty neat. That was today's highlight (Get it, high LIGHT. Hehe. That was a horrible "joke."). We did some schoolwork, had a nice walk, that was really all. Bye! 

The Fresnel lenses were fascinating and very pretty
You can see that the excitement of the day was climbing the lighthouse. It was built on the highest point of land in Key West so it's a little inland now. The point of the Fresnel lens was to direct the light horizontally so a faraway boat could see it. All the lighthouses had them and the exhibit in this lighthouse was excellent in showing the advantages of the design.

The view straight down, a long way it seemed
We took the Duval Street free bus to the lighthouse. They have expanded the route to include the park by the Coast Guard boat which is also near the Eco-Discovery Center, a free exhibit that you don't want to miss while in Key West.

The kid has Saturday and Sunday off from schoolwork which he's looking forward to and for that matter, Ann too. The plan is still to finish up on the schoolwork on Monday and Tuesday so he's free to enjoy Key West with his parents on Tuesday afternoon and during their stay.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Key West - Another school day and my new laptop arrives

Island Time at Schooner Wharf

Today wasn’t COMPLETELY normal. We went to the grocery store, did some school, that was pretty much all. Right now we’re chilling in a good amount of humidity. Grandpa got a new computer today. Something was wrong with the old 1. We saw a bunch of chickens when we were walking down the street in the morning. Even a few little chicks. We were very productive in school today. Ended around 12 PM. There was nothing more, nothing less today, so that was all. Bye

One of the very few grocery stores in Key West - fine if you want steak for $36/lb
It was another school day for Ann. They had a routine by now of getting up at 6:30, going out for a walk, doing schoolwork until around 1:00 pm and resting in the afternoon in Key West weather. I discovered that Barry Cuda is back! He will be playing at BO’s Fishwagon this Saturday and we will drop by to say hi. One’s one of the entertainers we love to listen to. He plays nothing after 1960 and that’s fine with us. 

Tonight we went by Schooner Wharf to listen to Island Time who plays steel drums. I like to just listen. There are many other bands too but I like them less except for the Jazz bands at the Green Parrot which are nice too. On Friday, we headed to the lighthouse as part of Rowan’s lesson in history and we’ll take the free bus to get there (it’s still running!) We haven’t really explored Key West yet since Ann’s been working with Rowan most of the time. We’ll explore when everyone returns north. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Key West - Laundry and more lessons for Rowan

The pelican feeding time is always popular with the kids
Hello everyone! We’re still in key west, 3 days in now. Everything’s fine and running. We were very efficient when it came to schoolwork. School got out at 1. My favorite subject was social studies. In social studies, we are making a map of Florida. Our map is cool because it covers modern and historical Florida. We’ve covered Flagler M Henry’s overseas railroad, we’ve colored in the places that the old Florida tribes lived, and even where some European colonist landed their ships when Europe was still exploring the new world. It just started raining :(, and you really expect there 2B no rain, what with the sunshine all day and stuff, but it still rains. At least it didn’t snow, especially talking to u folks up north. That was all. By!

The big ships are back in town after a year’s hiatus. 
It’s just wonderful to be in warm, sunny weather! Ann and Rowan had schoolwork to do so I did the laundry. The schoolwork takes up most of the day but we did get out for a walk in the afternoon to Mallory Square (before the sunset). Most of the familiar places are still here like BO’s Fishwagon, the Cuban Coffee Queen, Schooner Wharf, and others. Eventually, we’ll get a chance to walk down Duval Street and see what’s changed there. 

We have reserved our spot through 2023! That’s assuming there’s no major change in management. I don’t know if we’ll be going that long but at least we have the location if we do. I found out that Barry Cuda is back in town! He’s playing at BO’s Fishwagon on Saturday nights now. We will certainly go to listen to him! 

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Key West - A day of rest

Flat Rowan
First full day in Key West! You expect that since we’re in Key West, there would be SO0oO0oO0 many things to do, but it was just a normal day, nothing special. We saw a few fish in the water, looked like they were eating something that was growing on the hull of a sailboat. At the dingy dock, there were two HUGE fish swimming around. Man, someone would love to find that on a fishing hook. It was a Tuesday, so we had some school todo. That was all today. No, really, I’m serious. Bye

We found this escapee from the frozen north sitting in bush enjoying the warm weather
Nothing to do suited us just fine except it was a work day for Ann in the home schooling department. Ann is trying to finish up his school work so he can enjoy the time with his parents without worrying about homework. Rowan reinstituted “flat Rowan” again. It’s popular in schools where the students can send drawings of themselves to far away places and the person there can take a picture with the “flat student” in the foreground against a famous or at least identifiable place. The photo is then sent back to the classroom for discussion.

The dinghy dock is just as crowded as ever
The weather continues to be ideal with highs in the 70s and lows in the 60s at night. We are settled in for the next two months and looking forward to enjoying what we missed so much last year.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Key West - we are docked for the next two months!

Well, it’s a tourist photo but it’s appropriate
WE GOT TO KEY WEST!!!!!!!! FINALLY!!!!! We just got done with a talk with the Johnsons, some friends of Nana and Grandpa. Well, it’s a good thing Key West sprays for bugs, because from the elbow up, my left arm is TORN UP. It was a Monday, so on the way here, we did a good 3 or 4 hours of school. I also helped docked Fleetwing. All I did was just throw a rope over a pole and pull on it, I wouldn’t consider myself an athlete. Then we took Hoolie out to do his biz (Hoolie couldn’t get on the dock, so Grandpa had to lift him up.). Something that was interesting, was that when we were coming in, we saw a NAVAL ship at the cruise ship dock. It was kinda grey, and had no curves on the panels. I think It having no curves has something to do with radar and stealth technology and whatevs. The particular shape looked like a WW1 German A7V landship. Kinda odd for it to be here. Grandpa says it is a landing craft. That was all today. Bye!

There were three of these monsters in port today
The say turned out just as predicted, very little wind and flat seas. We were happy to get that and we made it in to Key West by 2:00 pm. It feels so good to be back in Key West after missing all of last year! The marina is turning into more of a live aboard than a transient place. There are only two transient docks left, everybody else is long term. 

This is actually a photo of this morning’s sunrise at Marathon, nice
We had Gordon and Eta over for dinner along with Cuban Sandwiches from the Cuban Coffee Queen, which can’t be beat! They are very filling and taste great. I think I will sleep well tonight. We plan on starting our morning walks Tuesday and in general getting more excursive than in the past several months. It’s time to relax and enjoy the calmness. 

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Marathon - at a dock at Marathon Marina

The Great Balloon Experiment - what happens when you connect two balloons together?
Today we traveled to Marathon! It was a rocky ride down, though. Most of the time I was on my tablet playing Minecraft and making things with redstone. When we docked, we took Hoolie out to do his biz.   Grandpa got us a reservation at LazyDays, so we’ll eat there tonight. Again, shortly after we docked, I made this bizarre machine with a short pipe and 2 balloons. You get the short pipe and stretch  the 1st balloon over it. Then blow up the 2nd balloon and stretch that over the opening (It isn’t as easy as it sounds, so you may want some help.). Then squeeze the larger balloon. The air from the larger one will transfer into the balloon that you did not blow up (Not that kind of blow up, the other type, where you blow into it.). That was all today. TOMORROW[[

A table with a view that can’t be beat
We finally had good weather arrive for traveling and we headed out for Marathon. At this time of the year, there are no moorings available. There is usually a waiting list to get a mooring and we only wanted to stay one day so we just took a dock. Even the docks are in very short supply. I had reserved one for two days a week in advance and when I told them I only needed it for one day, the second day was immediately taken, within a couple of minutes. They were turning people away as I was getting fuel. 

We took advantage of an excellent nearby restaurant, Lazy Days which overlooks Hawk Channel with a perfect view of the sunset. We had an outside table and watched the sun set and the moon and stars come out, what a great place! On Monday we head for Key West, finally! We will be there two months, a great place to spend quality time!

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Tavernier - We leave Sunday

Rowan’s drawing of Hoolie, his art assignment today
Today was a pancake Saturday. It was a normal day, AGAIN (Note to self: stop using, “Again, another normal day,” for the blog). At least no schoolwork. We did have a sort of science class, where we Nana had some balloons she had been saving for god knows what. And lots of people know that when you let go of a full balloon, it  flies around and then falls to the ground. So Nana and I experimented with ways to make a LEGO car move using the balloons thrust. It did work, but a little after we had a problem with spit in the balloon. That was all today. Tomorrow we set sail for Marathon! Wohoho!

What. a great place to keep a boat!
It’s been a nice time here, very well protected no drama. I think we would like to make this a regular stop if we can get in. Rowan likes anything to do with Mars so we watched some videos about the next Mars rover and another one on how they plan to live on Mars. I think Rowan would be first in line to go there if offered. He definitely wants to be an astronaut. We had some balloons left over form his birthday and we made Lego cars with balloons attached to a straw for propulsion. After a few iterations with the straws being too narrow from wrapping the tape too tightly, we had success. The cars zipped right along over the table. 

The sunsets are getting nicer
On Sunday we’re headed to Marathon. The exit out of the channel will be about 10 feet to the red side of the channel. Last year we favored the green side and got stuck for almost two hours waiting for the tide to come in. It’s about 0.5 to 1.0 ft shallower on the green side. If the wether holds, we will make Key West on Monday, a day early! We will celebrate with Cuban Coffee Queen’s Cuban sandwiches. 

Friday, January 24, 2020

Tavernier - We scout the entrance - at a dock

The way in and out is very narrow, but doable in our Beneteau 423

Again, a normal day. Nana and I did some schoolwork. For science class we watched a movie called packing for mars. It was about, well, packing for mars. It talked about how we will get there( Using NASA’s SLS rocket.), how we will live there, and some new systems to help us get there, like a spacesuit developed by the European space agency that can simulate different gravities. Another cool thing, also developed by the people at ESA, is a motion activated rover. Kinda like using the force. That was really all today.

The time spent yesterday paid off in a clean boat!
The warm weather has returned with temps in the 70’s and lows of only in the 60s. I’m all four that! Rowan and I took the dinghy out to the entrance of the channel into Blue Waters Marina to find the deepest path in. The result was to favor the red side of the channel by about 10 feet off the centerline for about 5.3 MLLW. The green side of the channel has about 0.5 to 0.8 ft less water. We got stuck there the last time we left Tavernier a couple of years ago. We sat and waited for high tide. This time I wanted the best path out in advance! 

Not too bad to look at while sipping wine

The weather still looks good for a Sunday run to Marathon followed by either Monday or Tuesday to Key West. The weather apps don’t agree on Monday. Some say it’s a good day to go west and some say it’s not and that Tuesday is the day to go. Our experience has been that as we get closer to the decision date, the apps will converge. 

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Tavernier - at a dock

Here’s the entrance to Travenier

Here’s the entrance to Tavernier

Today was again, a normal day. Wake up, take Hoolie out, have breakfast, stuff like that. After a while, Nana and I went to the tiki hut to chill, read, and relax. It finally got a bit warmer. Right now, we’re chilling in 80 degree weather. 85.6, to be exact. I had s’more math todo. Still in Tavernier and will soon be heading to Marathon. We were going to stay there overnight, but Monday has winds coming in south. So we’ll stay there for a day, 2 nights. Maybe take a day trip to the turtle hospital. That was all today.

In the tropics, there are gorgeous flower plantings

Today was beautification day for Fleetwing. I finally did a wash down which has been needed ever since we returned from New York. Now she’s looking good for coming into Key West. With the good weather, we are also getting out for our daily walks and everyone is feeling better for that. Meanwhile, I’m looking for a replacement for my failing laptop and have settled on a new Lenovo T150 for a fire sale price of $700. They are moving on to newer models but the T150 is fine for me. 

Pardon me, but I like flowers 

I will be using my iPad Pro 12.9 in the meantime which works fine but I do need access to Microsoft Word for my work with Waterway Guide so I do need the Lenovo. We will spend another two days here before moving on to Marathon on Sunday. It’s a pretty good place to spend some time, protected, warm, what’s not to like?

Blue Water Marina in Tavernier - Computer Meltdown

There was no blog last night due to my laptop losing the WiFi adapter, it’s no longer functional. I thought I would just use my iPad but then I discovered that it would not recognize a USB drive with photos, that’s the first and only time that’s ever happened. So I had no photos to share and no internet if I used the laptop. 

On to a backup plan this morning. I took this photo with my laptop so I didn’t have to use a USB drive to post the photo. We took our usual walk this morning with the temperature about 58. Tavernier is still recovering from 20 to 30 kts of north wind bringing down cold, northern air! I had on a sweatshirt and a wind breaker as did Ann. Rowan went outside dressed as you see him in the photo. The kid seems immune to cold weather. He claims he wasn’t cold at all. 

I’ll spend the day finding a solution to writing my blog. I’ll probably resort to using my iPhone for photo taking duties since I can transfer the photos via WiFi to my iPad or use the WiFi transfer function of my Canon camera. I need a new laptop, the old one is at least 8 years old. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Blue Waters Marina in Tavernier - Provisioning and Rowan's Birthday

We are in the tropics!
Today we did a wash and went to a Winn Dixie supermarket. Today there was nothing to do. But, again, I wasn't bored out of my mind. I had s'more (Get it? Smore?) schoolwork todo today. It was kinda cold out today. 57 Degrees. Up north that might be good, but I've got used to 80 and up weather. I think we all thought it was cold out. Today was also my birthday,.

Mother Nature will not be denied!
Rowan seemed to enjoy his 10th birthday. He got a snap-together electronic set so the first thing he made was a noisemaker, of course. He still has school work to do every day since Ann is homeschooling him. After dinner, we had a birthday party and Rowan successfully blew out all the candles. There is school work for him every day now.

We took up the offer of a ride to the nearest supermarket from the owner and restocked for the trip to Key West. We are now all set for the duration. The weather continues to be cool with winds of 20 to 30 kts, not good weather for moving south so we will stay put until things calm down. We are still looking at Sunday for moving on to Marathon and to Key West the next day.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Tavernier - at a dock

It's a very tight slip, but snug.
Today, we went to Blue Waters marina. We'll stay there for a while, to do laundry, take out the trash, and get some groceries. Unlike Miami, we had a place to get ashore( :) ).  It was a school day today. I only had to do spelling, math, and reading. That was all that happened today, but again, I wasn't bored out of my mind. When it was dark, I went with Grandpa to walk Hoolie( I was scared out of my mind because It looked like the Upside Down from Stranger Things.). That was all today. bye.

The farther into the Keys we get, the better the sunsets
We use the Blue Waters Marina at Tavernier when there's a prediction of high winds and we need a place to wait out the weather. It is mainly a liveaboard marina but they occasionally have slips open with their owners away for some reason. That was the case for us. We had been there before so we knew the dockmaster and he made room for us. At $2/ft, it's a very reasonable marina for the keys. You have to watch your approach since the MLLW varies from 4.3 to 5.2 ft depending upon wind direction. With a 2.5 ft tide, you can make it in depending on your keel. Once inside, it 10 to 30 ft deep. It used to be a quarry that was later flooded after it had run its course and now it's surrounded by residences and two marinas.

We have high winds predicted here for the next three days. We hope that the forecast for Sunday holds and if it does, we'll move on to Marathon with Key West on the itinerary the next day. With the cold front roaring through, it's due to dip down into the 40's overnight! Chilly for the keys. One great positive is the internet service. I clocked it at 200 Mbps! It's great to be connected.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Miami - Art day and we leave Monday

Rowan's art assignment: one realistic (as a 9 year old can make it) and one with imagination
Hello everyone! Today was a PANCAKE Sunday instead of donuts. It was a normal day, but without any travel. Tomorrow, we set off to Blue Waters marina. During the trip, we will pass a place called "Stiltsville." It really is what the name suggests. A town, on the water, held up by stilts. It's an abandoned fishing community, which the old residents had no plumbing, water, or electricity. The highlight of today was that I GOT STUNG BY A JELLYFISH!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was swimming in the water when I felt something prick my arm. I thought it was just some pointy seaweed, but then I felt it in multiple places. Then I came to realize that it was NOT seaweed, and then started screaming," FRICK, SOMETHING JUST STUNG ME!!!! GET ME OUT OF THE FRIKIN' WATER!!!!!!!!!" The thing that stung me was a Man O War jellyfish. Right now I am fine. I can still feel the sting, but it's very weak.

Here's a better view of the rocks we take Hoolie to, no problem
Well, Rowan had some excitement today. He was happily swimming away when a Portuguese Man O' War came floating by. It was a very small one but it packed a wallop! If he could walk on water, he would have. We searched the internet on how to best treat the problem and settled on vinegar followed by a hot water bottle press on the area affected. The sting gradually abated but not before a lot of complaining by our third crew member.

Miami is nearby
Rowan had an art assignment today. He was top paint two pictures of a turtle, one to be realistic and one with different colors. He produced the painting at the top of the blog. He was inspired by Susie Poff who paints marine scenes but with color not found in nature. We met her at the Key West art show at the end of February.

Today is our last day at anchor. On Monday we are headed for Blue Waters Marina for a stay to wait out the bad weather. We expect to stay a week and hope for an opening for a run to Key West by the weekend. The weather continues to include high winds and rough seas, not good for an extended run with a 9 year old. Monday is supposed to be calm before the wild weather starts the next day .

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Miami - We plan for Blue Waters Marina

Rowan likes to wear his space helmet for serious work, like doing his blog
Today was sunny ( :) ), finally. No rain at all.Yay!!! Today I only had 2 hours of screen time ( A personal best!). I didn't use my legos as much today. I thought I would use them more. Even though there wasn't much to do today, I wasn't bored out of my mind. It was also clear enough for me to go swimming ( In frigid water.)! Since there are no motorboats permitted on the beach, we have to take Hoolie to a bunch of rocks to do his biz. It can be VERY difficult to take him there at high tide. That's all. 

There is a convenient place for Hoolie nearby
We went through several options today in waiting for the weather to clear out for our trip to Key West. There are just no three-day windows to go east. First, we thought of spending some time at Black Point Marina where we've been before. You can rent a car there from Enterprise and explore the area, including the Everglades park. It's only $1.50/ft. There's a 4.5 ft spot at the entrance that's best taken at high tide, depending upon your draft.

We always like sunsets!
The other choice was the Pilot House Marina but it's $3/ft although it's on the way east at least and has a great restaurant on site. Our third choice was Blue Waters Marina which is very hard to get into, they are usually full and the entrance only carries 4.5 ft at low tide. We were lucky enough to get a slip at Blue Waters. We've been there before and they remembered us and worked to find a place. We will probably be there a week waiting for better weather.

And, Miami at night from the anchorage
Sunday will be another waiting day and we'll move on to Blue Waters Marina on Monday. It's a liveaboard marina which suits us just fine. Our slip will open up on 1/28 and we intend making that date on time.

Friday, January 17, 2020

High winds in Miami - a layover day

We're snug up for a northeast wind. Hoolie's relief is by the Waterway Guide anchor symbol.
We finally didn't have a travel day! But it was pretty boring. There was really nothing to do, other than play on my tablet, do school work, and read. I did my school work pretty fast, I had limited screen time, and I already read all my books a thousand times and counting. Even if there was something I hadn't read, I wasn't that into it. It was very rainy today, so I couldn't go swimming. That was all today. 

Well, I guess you can't please a 9-year-old all the time. The topic of interest to the crew is weather. We need two good days to reach Marathon and then another good day to reach Key West. It appears that the first opportunity will be Monday to head south although Sunday is an outside possibility. If all goes according to plan, we'll spend Monday night at the Pilot House Marina and try for the next weather window.

Meanwhile, we're running the genset twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. That keeps the batteries and hot water in order and we sure do need both, especially with a 9 year old aboard for all his electronics. Hoolie has gotten into a routine where we take him to the "rocks" for his outings. It's in a cove next to land and with the wind out of the northeast, it's completely calm for a landing there.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Miami - at anchor

Cuddled up for the ride, with Hoolie too
Sorry, but yesterday I lied! Today was really a travel day, and we'll be anchored in Miami, south of the Rickenbacker bridge, for a couple of days. After a while, I went swimming off the back (In freezing water.). Before we anchored, we saw a shipping port, filled with container ships and barges. There were HUGE cranes, loading and unloading ships. After, we anchored just little ways out from a beach. And the ice cream truck comes every once in a while, which I know is a good sign. Tomorrow will not be a travel day, :), which is good, because I'm getting sick of them

Fleetwing looked fine at Bahia Mar - but expensive at $3.50/foot
We thought we would have a calm ride south from Ft Lauderdale but it was a lot more bouncy than we anticipated. Rowan took it in stride and even read a book along the way, something I would not try. He certainly has his sea legs.

We got all the way to Miami before seeing our first sunset!
We found that our favorite anchorage was closed! Marine Stadium was closed so they could install the docks for the Miami Boat Show. High winds out of the northeast are predicted for the next two days so we rounded the corner and anchored on the south side of Rickenbacker. It will provide protection from the north, northeast, and east - and a little even from the southeast. The beach itself is off-limits to dinghies with motors but dogs are allowed if on a leash. I found some rocks to the east so I used those for Hoolie relief.

The next two to three days are not good for traveling. We are due winds up to 22 kts with higher gusts. Perhaps we can move on Monday depending on the details of the forecast. The weather has been strange this trip, lots of variable weather we usually didn't see in the past.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Ft Lauderdale at Bahia Mar

"Fleetwing clear, thank you ____ bridge"
We got moving again. After 15 DRAWBRIDGES, we made it to Ft Lauderdale. When we got to an open mooring, but a police boat came by and said we couldn't moor there, so right now we're docked at a marina. After we docked, we took Hoolie out. We found out that there was a beach across the street. Tomorrow we'll stay here (Thank god, I'm done moving.) (Editor's note: we're going to Marine Stadium on Thursday, there's bad weather coming after that). So we can prepare for Marathon. For a few days, we'll do laundry, go out to Walmart, and we're already refueled

Rowan has taken on the duties of announcing our passage through a bridge. It's customary to thank for bridge operator for the opening and to let him know when you're through. We only missed one bridge today and that was due to the constant current against us all the way. There were probably some times when we didn't have an adverse current but we don't remember those times. In order to have a chance at not waiting between bridges, you have to be able to cruise at 7 kts which we can do except then there's a foul current of more than 0.5 kts.

Some of the houses could have been museums, perhaps they were.
We we get to Las Olas and we're waiting for the bridge to open, our first chore is to get out the binoculars and see if there's an empty mooring. This time they were all empty! That should have been a warning. Sure enough, a short time later, a police boat came by and told us we would have to move, all the moorings were closed! In talking to the marina office later, I found out that there was a barge waiting for an opening that was pushed by wind directly into the mooring field, wiping out everything there. They are now in a rebuilding mode and the office manager expected the mooring field to reopen by the end of January.

A remodeled Trumpy??
So we went to Plan B, a dock nearby. Las Olas was full so we went to Bahia Mar Yachting Center. Unfortunately, $40/night turned into $3.50/ft. We had wanted to stay several days to provision and catch our breath but the weather will not let us rest. Thursday will be the last good day to go south outside until Tuesday of next week. So our plan is to go outside to Miami and anchor in Marine Stadium to stage for the trip to Key West towards the latter part of next week.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Lantana - We eat out at Old Key Lime House with Joe

This is the temporary Southern Blvd Bridge with a clearance of 65 ft but only at low tide!
We got the boat moving again. Right now, we are in an anchorage in Lantana. To get here, we had to go through 11 DRAW BRIDGES! I remember one was called a"lift bridge". Picture a normal, two-lane bridge, but at each corner, there is a tall, piece of scaffolding and when a tall boat wanted to come through, the entire bridge went up. It really wasn't ideal for sailboats, because at low tide, it only was 65 feet tall. Fleetwing barely made the clearance the last one we went through, Nana REALLY didn't like the bridge master. "If you don't get to the bridge at 3:30, I'm not going to open it," He said. I can see why Nana didn't like him. After all, he did sound kinda mean over the radio. A few hours after we anchored, we went to "The Old Key Lime House" so Nana and Grandpa could meet up with some friends of theirs. I had a grilled cheese and fries (I had to order off the kids' menu :( .), and their fries were really good. After, we took Hoolie ashore to again, do his biz. That was all today. Tomorrow, we set sail for Fort Lauderdale.

The place was packed! You'd think they were giving away money!
We usually don't miss any bridges in this stretch of the ICW in Florida since we cruise at 7.3 kts but today was different, we missed four (meaning, we had to wait for the next opening). The complicating factor was the 1.5 to 2.5 kt of adverse current over the entire stretch. That was too much for Fleetwing to overcome. One wonders at how the current can be against you for the entire day, even as you pass inlets where you would think the current would reverse! Half a knot or even a full knot is manageable but not 1.5 to 2.5 kts!

Hoolie guarded Fleetwing while we were gone. You can see our dinghy at their dock, convenient. 
The new news is the vertical clearance of the Southern Blvd bridge. It's supposed to be 65 ft but the bridge operator north of the Blvd bridge was asking each sailboat for their height and warning that the Southern Blvd bridge only had a clearance of 65 ft at low tide, not a high tide. The sailboat behind us had a mast of 63.5 ft and with the 2 ft tide at the time, they decided to stop and stay overnight and leave the next morning at low tide.

We met with Joe Mastri, an old friend from the Poughkeepsie YC for dinner at the Old Key Lime House restaurant. The place was hopping, even on a Tuesday night. They even had a sign posted saying that staying at a table was limited to a maximum of two hours! I've never seen that before. However, the dinner was excellent which is the attraction of the place.

On Wednesday, we make the run through 15 bridges to Ft Lauderdale and hopefully, a mooring. We'll then look at the weather for an outside sail to Miami and a stay at Marine Stadium.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Hobe Sound - School day for Rowan

Dog duty on Fleetwing
Today we moved again, and now we are in Hobe Sound, anchored. It was a normal travel day, get up early (editor's note: well, by 9:00 am, not that early), start moving, go under a few drawbridges, stuff like that. After we anchored, we took Hoolie to a small stretch of beach to do his biz. Later, I got to take a swim in the water. I forgot to tell you yesterday that when Grandpa and I were going to take Hoolie out, I tried to get my life jacket out of a locker, but I opened it too soon, and Hoolie walked straight in. I had to pull him up with his collar. I also avoided my electronics the whole trip, and I was using, NOT PLAYING with my Lego's. I thought there would be more today, but there wasn't. That's all, folks.

Nothing like a little relaxation after a hard day of schooling on a boat (in 70-degree weather, swimming, ...)
It was a full day of school work for Rowan, he didn't mention that. We both took Hoolie to shore and he was about to do his business until he saw Rowan get out of the dinghy - "oh boy, someone to play with me." That was the end of that. I took Hoolie to shore at a drain tide tonight, he had to wade ashore for about 60 feet at least but he got the job done.

We are here in one of our favorite anchorages, it's in Hobe Sound by R38. It's just a quiet place for the night with beach access, it's all we ever want in an anchorage. It used to be deserted with us being the only boat but it has become more popular lately. Tonight there are five boats here but there's plenty of room. As usual for this area, the charts are wrong, there's more water than shown. We're at 7.5 MLLW with good holding.

On Tuesday, it's a trip to the Lantana anchorage and dinner with an old friend at the waterfront restaurant, the Old Key Lime House. They have a dinghy dock for water access. Ann is looking forward to a fish sandwich.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Vero Beach - We raft up

Step One, make a model of the infamous Alligator River Swing Bridge
WE FINALLY GOT TO MOVE !!!!!!!!!!!!!! We got up early in the morning, took Hoolie out(Hoolie fell into the water when trying to get on the dock, so we had to fish him out with his leash.), and we took off! So long (Kennedy space center :(.), Titusville :)! After that, we had DONUTS for breakfast. After 9 FRIKIN' HOURS, we got to moring #3, Vero Beach. When we finally docked, we got Hoolie and ourselves on the dingy and headed for dry land. Hoolie was going really fast, just like yesterday. That was all that happened today.

Step 2: show the bridge opening for boaters! Oh, if only it was so easy..
Messieurs Style and Grace were not with us this morning when we left the dock. I had all lines doubled and I missed one when we tried to back out. Rule number one when leaving a dock - count all the lines attached to shore, remember to unattach them before moving! Fleetwing came to a sudden halt! After removing the offending line, we proceeded to back out and to go south.

Our kind neighbors for the night, Foolish Heart
It was a long day, especially for a kid. Nine hours can seem like an eternity to a 9-year-old. Nevertheless, we made it to Vero by 5:00 pm and asked for a mooring. The only option was to double up on a mooring which we did as directed by the office. Luckily, the couple on the boat we tied to were welcoming.

I uploaded my first track of this trip this afternoon so it's available for download now. I will repeat for each day as I head south. On Monday we are headed for the Hobe Sound anchorage by R38, one of our favorites. It's never crowded and there's a sandy beach nearby for Hoolie.