Thursday, March 31, 2022

Loggerhead Marina at Vero Beach - at a dock

The new docks are very nice, easy to dock and sturdy

 We had winds all night long in the 20s at our Hobe Sound anchorage but the bottom is mostly sand with excellent holding. Our 66 lb anchor didn’t move an inch according to the GPS. I took Hoolie ashore and then we were off to Vero Beach. We had winds of 20 kts all day long with gusts up to 28 kts but with the winds out of the south when we were going north, it was no problem at all. 

Hoolie learned from the dog next door at Key West to do a
Walkabout for an evening stroll. He never did it before.

The marina here is part of a gated community which is very nice. They have a swimming pool that transients can use as well as the usual showers and laundry facilities. We took advantage of the pumpout on the fuel dock so now we’re all set for waiting out the expected two days of rains and storms. 

I’ll finally do my taxes and catch up on some Waterway Guide work, using the local WiFi that seems to work pretty well so far. Several people with boats in the marina long term dropped by to talk. One topic of discussion was the recent increases in fuel costs which may cause some boaters to leave the boats in Florida for the summer rather than taking them back north for the summer. At $7/gal for gasoline, it can get pretty expensive for a 1000 mile trip for a powerboat.

Loggerhead Marina is a gated community typical of many in Florida

We plan on moving to Titusville on Sunday once the expected storms have had their say. Hopefully, Sunday will be good for going north but who can predict the weather?

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Hobe Sound - at anchor

Southern Blvd Bridge - only 65 ft at low tide! Of course, we were fine with our 55 ft mast

 We are living a charmed life with making bridges. It was tight at a few but we just got there in time and didn’t miss a single bridge. However, you need to capable of 7 kts even in an adverse current to avoid missing one and waiting 1/2 hour for the next opening. 

Hoolie is happy, he has his beach nearby

In the course of racing between two bridges, I ran over a small branch that I didn’t see but heard the “clunk”, but then the prop started to shake the boat. On sh*t I thought, that’s all I need is a haulout to fix the prop! I did the usual backup routine that opens and closes the folding prop and after four repeats of the process, I saw a chip come floating out aft of the boat. In the process of digesting the branch, parts of it must have been caught in the gear mechanism of the folding prop. Opening and folding the prop by alternating periods of forward and reverse did the trick of expelling the offending piece of wood. The prop was smooth again after that.

Add in the 7% tax for the total price!

Having survived that scare, the rest of the trip north was without drama. We took on fuel and I think most of the fuel prices are now being rounded up to the next higher dollar amount. Diesel was less expensive than gasoline which was $7.00/gallon plus a tax of 7%. Diesel was around $5.90 plus tax at most places, higher at some. 

We are now at one of our favorite anchorage areas, Hobe Sound. The anchorage we chose is a new one for us. It has a sand spit reaching out from the west to the ICW channel which provides wave protection from a south wind if you anchor behind it like we did. With a north wind, you just anchor on the south side so the anchorage can provide wave protection from either direction. It also has a sandy beach for Hoolie, a requirement for us. 

We have winds predicted all night around 20 kts but with our anchorage, it’s pleasant but windy. On Thursday, we’re heading north to the Loggerhead Marina at Vero Beach to wait out two days of forecast rains. I have taxes to do and other work so I’ll be occupied for a while. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Lantana - at anchor


Miami is always speculation at night from Marine Stadium

Last night, while looking at the Miami skyline, we decided to make the leap all the way to the Lantana anchorage. There was not a slip to be had in Ft Lauderdale and all the anchorages were filled to over flowing. I tried marinas all the way north to Hillsboro Inlet - they were all full. That only left the option of getting up early (6:30 am), weighing anchor and heading out through 13 bridges and 43 NM north. 

We were told to change course for this guy, we did as we were told

The weather, for a change, cooperated and the ocean was like a lake with gentle winds of less than 10 kts and often around 5 kts. Along the way, we received a call from the Coast Guard to alter course to the west by 300 yards. We duly followed orders and saw a submarine pass by us out to sea (see photo). I didn’t realize there was a submarine based anywhere nearby.

The mooring field at Las Olas is supposed to be out of commission but boats are still using it

After entering at Ft Lauderdale, we were then on the ICW and the safety of an inland route. Since we can do 7 kts when required, we made every bridge without waiting beyond the 5 mins to raise the leaves.  All the bridges in Florida are conveniently timed at 7 kts, unlike other states. 

All of the anchorages we passed by were full

We dropped anchor at 4:00 pm, a long day and I got Hoolie ashore as the first priority. The winds are due to be light tonight but they are predicted to increase Wednesday afternoon to around 20 kts. We’re headed to our Hobe Sound anchorage to sit out the winds and the next day, we’re on the move again to the Loggerhead Marina in Vero Beach to sit out the expected two days of rain. 

Monday, March 28, 2022

Marine Stadium in Miami - Early start


We are out on the ocean before sunrise

We wanted to take the Angelfish Creek crossover from the ocean side to the bay but high tide was at 6:25 am and was going to take us three hours to reach the entrance so we had an early morning departure, 7:00 am. 

There were lots of boats but it’s such a big anchorage that there’s always room somewhere.

The sun was not up yet but it was light enough to negotiate the canal. The ocean was flat calm, a relief from yesterday with winds less than 10 kts. We wanted to cross over at Angelfish Creek so if the winds did pick up on the afternoon, at least we didn’t have to contend with ocean swells.

The rowing teams were out in force, 2 men, 4 men, and 8 men teams

As it turned out, the winds remained less than 10 kts all the way north and it was a pleasant ride to Marine Stadium. We anchored and was surprised at the lack of party boats. It was a Sunday night but we still didn’t hear any music or boats going by with speakers blaring. There was a patrol boat slowly cruising the perimeter and we didn’t see any jet skis. The local rowing club was out in full force and they can’t practice if there are jet skis stirring up the water. 

Marine Stadium is a big anchorage, there’s always room somewhere to anchor. We found our spot deep into the anchorage and wetted our new anchor for the first time, a Spade 140 (66 lbs) and 90 feet of 3/8 BBB chain spliced to 5/8 inch nylon rode, we’re not going anywhere with that combination. 

The news of the day is that Ft Lauderdale is fully booked, there’s not a slip to be had anywhere! I tried every marina in Ft Lauderdale next to the ICW - they are all full. Several reported that they are booked solid for the entire month! Since I couldn’t get a slip for Tuesday, I asked for a slip on Saturday (after the storms) but even that far out, I was put on a waiting list! 

Given our problems in getting a slip, we decided to make it a long day and just head directly to the Lantana anchorage, 56 NM north. From there we’ll head to our favorite anchorage on Hobe Sound and then on to Vero Beach. We’re waiting for a call back on slips there too. It must be a busy year for marinas. They’ve all drastically raised prices. What used to be a $2.00 or $2.25/ft slip is now $4.00 to $5.25/ft slip! Whatever happened to 6% inflation? We’re talking 100% inflation! The same goes for fuel. I’d be happy with only 6% inflation, it’s the 100% increases that has me up tight. Will boating crash at these prices? We’ll wait and see. 

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Key Largo - We wait out the high winds


Breakfast with a view, we like views

There was as small craft advisory out today with winds over 20 kts out of the direction we wanted to travel so we stayed put in a very protected marina at Key Largo. They have a complementary breakfast of a Jimmy Dean egg sandwich with any of several options (ham, sausage, bacon, etc.) along with orange juice, coffee, danish, and a boiled egg if desired. So naturally, we took advantage of that offering. 

The African Queen of the movie of the same name came by every few hours. 
It’s one of the two original boats used in the movie and was just refurbished in the same yard we were at for our repairs in January. 

The rest of the day was spent washing all the salt off Fleetwing from the sporty seas of the previous day and filling the water tanks along with doing a laundry. When we reach Ft Lauderdale, we’ll be traveling north most everyday so we wanted to get as ready as we could for the constant travel.

Monday is forecast to be a perfect day for going north with winds of 5 kts or less and calm seas. It remains to be seen if the prediction matches reality - it didn’t on Saturday! We are aiming for Marine Stadium in Miami, 50 NM miles north, a doable trip for us. Then we’ll look at the forecast for Tuesday and if it’s not good, we’ll just sit it out. It’s much easier to do that in Marine Stadium where you don’t incur a daily $180/day charge!

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Key Largo - at Marina Del Mar

We selected a side-to dock for Fleetwing, every convenient

 All weathermen are liars. They are either incompetent or know the truth and decide not to tell in order to punish boaters. We were “promised” light winds off the beam for our cruise to Key Largo. We got neither. The light winds turned out to be 20 kts and the “off the beam” turned out to be on the nose! So we persevered all morning before the promised conditions materialized in the afternoon. By the way, it wasn’t just the weathermen, it was also all the apps which gave the same forecast with the sole exception of PredictWind PWE model which was closer to the truth than any of the others. 

It’s convenient for Hoolie relief, lots of places to sniff around

At any rate, we are now at a dock in Marina Del Mar and secure for the next two days. Sunday is a no-go due to 20 kt winds out of the northeast, exactly our direction to Marine Stadium. Monday is “supposed” to be better with light winds (Ha!) which shouldn’t be a problem for a northerly direction. 

It’s quite the resort area - many people spend the winter here

If Monday doesn’t work out, we’re stuck in Key Largo for a while since a cold front is expected to sweep through Tuesday through the rest of the week. At $4/foot, it’s not cheap but it is comfortable and comes with water and electric. 

We’ll partake of their free breakfast on Sunday and rest for a day in preparation for the slog on Monday which I fully expect since the weatherman hasn’t been right yet. Once in Marine Stadium in Miami, we’ll wait for good passage weather to Ft Lauderdale. At least it’s free at anchor there.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Key West - A rest day from our sloppy ride yesterday


Ann never met anyone she couldn’t have a conversation with.

We were exhausted from our ride yesterday with the constant motion of the boat in the sloppy seas. We hit the bed around 10:00 and didn’t get up until 7:00. Overnight, the weather changed with high winds out of the north and cooler temperatures. The low tonight is even due to get below 70!

A good view to the west but I would think it would be exposed to a strong west wind?

With all that excitement out of the way, we didn’t even have to turn on the air conditioning but I’m sure that won’t last. We met our neighbor (photo with Ann) who spent the winter in the Bahamas and they were off today in winds that we would rather not sail in. The marina here is situated with a view to the west and is known for fabulous sunsets and even charges more for slips with a sunset view. Some people spend the entire winter here, it’s certainly warm enough. 

We will head for Key Largo on Saturday and will probably wait out Sunday with high winds out of the north. Monday is due to be calmer for ride north to Marine Stadium where we will stage for the outside run to Ft Lauderdale. 

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Marathon - at Safe Harbor Marathon (the first marina on the way in)

 We have a special report tonight from Sarah on her spring break in Key West - in her words!

Belated blog summary

Sarah at the helm of Fleetwing - happy, I think

Hello everyone! Last week my brother Matt, his friend, and I spent spring break in Key West on Fleetwing! We initially got delayed on the flight down due to bad weather, but made it two days later. Once we arrived in beautiful weather and paradise, a list was made to organize our week. This list had all of the things everyone wanted to do for the days we had left. I have been waiting four years to return to Key West so I made sure to do everything I could! 

The first day we enjoyed some delicious Cuban sandwiches from the best place right by the dock, Cuban Coffee Queen. Afterwards we walked throughout the busy streets of Duval and Caroline. By my own surprise, a map was not needed, I was able to remember every street (even where the fresh gelato was). 

Then on Wednesday, Grandpa said the weather was all set for a perfect sailing day. We of course couldn’t just do that as our main event if we wanted to get everything crossed off our list, so we spent the morning near Mallory Square at the Key West Aquarium to watch shark feeding and then the Shipwreck Museum to climb the tower. To our surprise, we found out that nearly all of the street names are important figures in Key West’s history (fun fact). 

The spring break gang - Sarah, Kiernan, and Matt at right

We went out to explore the other side of the island. We waited in line to take a picture at the iconic Southernmost Point. Afterwards we went right next door to the Butterfly Museum. It was absolutely stunning inside with hundreds of flying butterflies. Once we said goodbye to the flamingos and butterflies we rushed over to Fleetwing for our departure time. Once we were out on the water, we all took our places. Matt and Kiernan were set on different sides handling the lines. I took over from Nana to steer the boat as we sailed along. Grandpa directed us like a conductor in an orchestra. It was a fabulous time to be out at sea with the wind blowing and vibrant blue waters. 

Coming in wasn’t as easy as going out because of a traffic jam. There was the Party Cat, two catamarans, a dinghy, and two sailboats including us. As chaotic as our arrival was, Nana did a great job bringing us in. 

Then we went to Mallory Square to watch the sunset in hopes of seeing a green flash (didn’t see one). We decided to view some of the fun shows that perform right in the square. Both Matt and Keirnan helped with one act where they held up a ladder (wasn’t very exciting for them). On Saint Patrick’s Day, we took advantage of The Brewery right next to us to hear some live music. We saw the view from from the second floor and they gave out free T-shirts. After, we had some of Nana’s delicious Corn Beef and Cabbage to end the night. 

Friday was our very packed adventurous day out on the water. We ate at the Breakfast Club where I had a delicious Cuban Egg Benedict. After getting fueled up, we rented bikes to ride to the beach. On our way there we had some obstacles where a semi truck led by police was turning super tight corners on busy tourist streets. We decided to go see the fort first and then cool off in the ocean. It was the perfect day for the beach! Going into the water was so refreshing after being in the heat. We swam over to a small rocky island close to the beach shore. Then we headed back to catch our snorkeling sunset cruise. We rode out on a catamaran which had about 80 people. It was an hour out, an hour to snorkel, and then an hour back. The snorkel part wasn’t really for me because I kept inhaling salt water. Matt and Keirnan said they enjoyed it and saw an eel. 

On our way back we watched the sunset out on the ocean which was gorgeous. Afterwards we were very hungry and luckily were super close to La Meson de Pepes. They are an amazing authentic Cuban place right next to Mallory Square. Miraculously, we were able to get a table and in this stunning closed off garden! I had cuban pork, a tamale, black beans, yellow rice, sweet plantains, and yucca. It is by far my favorite restaurant on the whole island and was a perfect ending to our crazy day. 

Unfortunately on Saturday the trip home was not smooth. Our flight from Key west to Fort Lauderdale got pushed back so much we would have missed our connecting flight. The only other option of flying out would have been on Monday and as much as we would have wanted to stay, we had to get back to school. So we rented a car and took it through the keys up to FLL airport. I think we saw more of the Keys than we wanted to that day, but it was a beautiful trip nonetheless. 

We missed the gang this morning as we set out for Marathon (red sky in the morning,… )

In the end we managed to cross off so many things on our list. Overall it was a fantastic trip and better than i could have even hoped for! Sadly we missed having lunch with my grandparents, but I hope we can go to Schooner Wharf next year. I had a wonderful time and can’t thank my grandparents enough for everything! 

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Key West - last day with dinner at Schooner Wharf

Ann continues to paint every day. She has quite a collection from this time in Key West

 The weather looks good for a run to Marathon on Thursday morning so we moved up our planned departure date by one day. We got the laundry done in the morning and I attached our new Spade 140 anchor to 90 feet of 3/8 inch BBB chain in the afternoon (with 150 feet of 5/8 inch nylon rode added for good measure). Now we are officially ready to head east. 

A scene in Schooner Wharf from our favorite corner seat - notice the green umbrellas for the tables

To celebrate our last day in Key West, we had dinner at Schooner Wharf, one of our favorite places. It’s all outdoors (no roof, gravel floor, no sides - good air flow). I had my usual fish sandwich but before that we always have conch fritters - our favorite appetizer in Key West. 

Look at the chicken in the tree at the top of the photo, now look at the awning underneath. 
There’s a reason for that awning beyond protection from rain and sun.

One may wonder why each table has an awning. It’s not for protection from the sun and it’s the dry season here in Key West. Just look at one of the photos and you’ll see the real reason for the awnings!

Our last sunset in Key West for 2022!

I’ve been using the weather overlay in Aqua Map which is based on the HRRR NOAA model, updated every hour on the top of the hour. It’s very convenient to use and it predicts a south wind on Thursday of about 10 to 12 kts, good enough for a trip to Marathon where we’ll take a dock for one night before moving on to Key Largo if the weather holds. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Key West - Getting ready


The spring breakers have all gone home, not so crowded anymore

The weather looks good for a Friday departure heading north so we’re doing the last of the boat chores. Today it was washing the boat to get rid of all the tracking in of footprints over the last two months. It also involved a pumpout and filling the water tanks. The only thing left to do is attaching the anchor to the chain. We also need to do a laundry on Thursday. 

The end of a great day!

Making reservations in advance nowadays involves paying for everything in advance through DOCKWA. It’s not my favorite thing to do since your credit card is charged the minute they accept your request for a dock. In order to cancel a reservations so made, you have to do it 72 hours in advance - or else they won’t refund your money. It’s quite a change form years past where all you needed to do was to call the marina and make a reservation. In some cases you had to give a credit card but it was never charged until you arrived - and you could cancel at any time due to a change of plans. 

Times have changed now with the buyouts of marinas along the ICW by conglomerates like Safe Harbor. They insist on the full protection from weather, putting the onus on the boaters to absorb changes due to weather or a change of plans. Three days advanced notice for a cancellation is too much for a boater but it’s great for the marina. I’m sure they’ll make a lot of money that way for the bean counters. Regardless, I’m now reserved for Friday and Saturday nights at around $4/ft for each night but at least Sunday night and onward is free with anchoring out. 

Tomorrow I have to attached my Spade 140 66lb anchor the 90 ft of 3/8 BBB chain and I’ll be done. We will be ready to travel! 

Monday, March 21, 2022

Key West - Breezin Sails and others


We’ve known Dennis for years, see him if you want a day on the water!

Key West is an adult playground. There’s all sorts of things to do and a wide selection of places to eat. One of the unique features of Key West is the easy and quick access to the ocean. This spawns a multitude of boats for enjoying the water. One boat in particular is one we’ve known for the last 11 years, Breezin’ which operates from our dock E and can be reached at

There are other opportunities for getting on the water but not as personal as with Breezin

Dennis is the captain of the sailboat that is available for charter on a 2 hour, 4 hour, all day, or just for enjoying the sunset. He has nothing but 5 star reviews, he enjoys sailing. Walk by on Dock E and a talk to Dennis, he is always on the back of the boat when not sailing. It will be an enjoyable experience.

There are many other opportunities for getting out on the water too around the harbor. They span the traditional schooner sailboat to a party catamaran for snorkeling and viewing the sunset from a great vantage point from the water. 

All the go-fast boats have left and now we’re filled up with Vikings powerboats. They come is all sized, up to 70 feet and more like the one across from us off our aft. It must be expensive to fill up with diesel with the price of fuel nowadays. We’re looking at the weather daily,  trying to decide on the best day to head east. We would like a north or west wind to push us along. A north wind would be off land and not stir up the waves action too much. We are planning on going to Marathon first, then Key Largo, and lastly, Marine Stadium in Miami to wait for good weather for the run up to Ft Lauderdale. We’ve become weathermen now. 

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Key West - The kids get home at 2:00 am and glorious flowers


Walking along any street in Key West - you’ll see displays such as these

The adventure never stopped for the kids headed home. They had to rent a car to get to Ft Lauderdale in time to catch their flight from there to Hartford. They talked to an agent over the phone to secure the car but she said they were not sure they had one, it depended upon someone returning a car they had previously rented. Rather than wait for a call from the rental agency, they took Uber to be at the office. When the agent said they had no car, they pointed to a car going out just then and asked, “why wasn’t that our car?” After some discussion on that point, they eventually got a rental. 

The tree was covered with these blooms

They piled right in and headed to Ft Lauderdale. Upon arriving, they discovered that the rental agent added on every conceivable extra and charged for two days instead of one day to a total of $600! I showed a price of $140 using Enterprise’s internet site. So now they have a fight on their hands for the overcharge. 

Not just read flowers, lots of different colors

They should have received a refund on their flight from Key West to Ft Lauderdale but when they arrived at the ticket agency they received a royal run-around with each company pointing fingers at the other one as being responsible for a refund with statements like, “You didn’t read the fine print - we don’t refund for Acts of God”. They would have us believe that an equipment problem with the aircraft which was responsible for the delay was an “Act of God”. So they have yet another fight to pursue. What a nightmare. However, they had a great time in Key West and I think they are eager to do it again if we make it down here in 2023. 

On the way to the supermarket, a local residence 

We took it easy today, recovering from all the visits. I rearranged the boat to move stuff around making more room for our main living area (utilizing the storage area in the aft cabin that was now freed up). It was also about 5 degrees cooler today and we walked the streets looking at all the new flowering plants coming out in March in Key West. They are just gorgeous. 

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Key West - Flight delayed! What to do?


The crew departs!

The kids called the airport in the morning and found that their flight was delayed on the way into Key West. The revised schedule into Ft Lauderdale would have them missing their connection to Hartford! What to do? We all quickly decided that the best strategy was to rent a car and drive to Ft Lauderdale. That way, they would be sure to arrive in time for the flight north. 

The raw bar. shucking oysters. 

They called Enterprise to reserve a car for a pickup at 2:00 pm. That was a little tight for the drive to Ft Lauderdale so they packed their bags and call Uber for a ride to the Enterprise rental agency. Waiting at the office, a rental came in ahead of time and they we given first dibs on it - and Enterprise allowed an upgrade at no extra charge to an intermediate SUV, a Toyota Rave. 

Like anywhere in Key West - you have chickens 
Wandering around

With that bit of excitement settled, they were off north. As I write this, they are at the Ft Lauderdale airport waiting to board their flight. They won’t be home until the wee hours but it will be in time for Monday jobs. 

Meanwhile, I took my all-time date out for dinner at the Raw Bar. We didn’t have anything raw but it was good. Ann had fried oysters and I had a fried conch sandwich - preceded, of course, by conch fritters. On Sunday, it’s time to rearrange the boat, moving all the stuff we stored to make room for three large people back to the aft cabin so we have more room to move around. Sure is quiet around here… 

Friday, March 18, 2022

Key West - The Grand Finale for the kids


It was solid go-fast boats!

They put it all on the line today. Breakfast at a place down the street, lunch was also enjoyed, then they rented bicycles and went to the beach for the afternoon - to be finished off by a 4:30 to 8:00 pm snorkeling and sunset cruise on a very large catamaran. I think it also came with dinner snacks and an open bar. They are re supposed to be back around 8:00 pm but who’s counting? 

I think they had plenty of horsepower

Meanwhile, the rest of the Poker Run came in today and congregated in front of the Conch Republic Seafood Company. They filled up the place normally reserved for the fishing boats. They were all “go-fast” boats with multiple outboards, each of which were more powerful than my little diesel - usually in multiples of more powerful. 

Is that 400x4 = 1600 horsepower? Fleetwing has a 55 hp engine

They are due to be around until Sunday morning when they head back north to Miami. I think there’s a dinner Saturday evening. They were certainly very colorful in their paintwork. I don’t think any of them ever heard of mufflers (what’s a muffler?) You could feel your insides vibrating as you passed by. 

Saturday is the last day for the kids. We’ll have breakfast and then a celebration lunch at BO Fishwagon before saying goodbye so they can catch the 5:00 pm light out. They won’t get home until 2:00 am or so, a long evening. I think they enjoyed their stay! 

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Key West - Anchor backsplice, St Patrick’s Day, Oyster Shot, BO’s for Conch Fritters, etc.


Big party on the top deck

Everybody had a full day today. The first order of business was to get our new Spade 140 anchor ready for Fleetwing. Before that, the 90 feet of new 3/8 BBB chain needed a backsplice to 150 ft of 5/8 inch nylon line. Ann and Sarah deciphered the instructions and got that accomplished. Meanwhile, I had Matthew up forward to clean out the anchor locker which had collect various levels of debris over the years. I wanted to new 5/8 inch line and 3/8 inch BBB chain to start off like new, not to mention the new anchor. 

The Poker Run fast boats start to arrive

All that consumed most of the morning and once I finish the final step of attaching the anchor to the swivel, Fleetwing will be ready for the trip north. The kids were now free for the serious stuff of having fun. The Brewery (at the end of the dock) was hosting a St Patrick’s Day party on the open upper deck. They were giving away tee shirts and selling beer at half price. We went up for a while but the kids were over at BO Fishwagon for lunch with fish sandwiches and conch fritters. They joined us later. 

We retired back to Fleetwing but the kids kept on. The kids went over to the Raw Bar and Kiean took on the challenge of trying the “World Famous Raw Bar Oyster Shot”. You can see the video here of his reaction after gulping down the drink! You can see from his reaction in the video that it didn’t go down as he expected.

While the kids were exploring the Raw Bar, the Poker Run Boats came in. They were very loud with their engines, you can see them arrive in the video. They took up the previously empty side-to docks behind us.

Meanwhile, Ann cooked corned beef and cabbage with potatoes and carrots in the Instant Pot. The corned beef was cut-with-a-fork tender, a good recipe. Needless to say, the 2.5 lbs of corned beef was gone without a trace left at the dinner table. There were a few vegetables hanging around but that was it. Dessert was ice cream with chocolate syrup. It was a full day. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Key West - A fun day sailing


The Western Union - the Key West flagship is still in dry dock on Stock Island
There are rumblings about “where did the money go for the renovations?”

We always have at least one day of sailing when kids visit us in Key West. There’s a lot involved in getting unhitched from land after over a month attached. We had eight lines attached to land that had to be coordinated in being detached so as to not imped our departure. Once moored to the dock, you tend to add a line here and there with the forecast of high winds. I am no different. 

Oh, the joy of sailing! That Sarah and Matt’s friend enjoying the ride

Systematically, we rid ourselves of our land attachments and headed off for a sail. The winds were actually pretty light for a good sail but then we had crew that wasn’t used to high winds so everything worked out. We hade a moment of tension when I told the crew to pull on the outhaul for the mainsail as I pointed to the inhaul. Naturally, the line didn’t move. Eventually I realized I was pointing to the wrong line and after correcting that mistake, the mainsail came out smoothly, duh! 

With winds in the low teens, it was a relaxing sail. Sarah got her time in at the helm and we were out for almost two hours.Coming back in was a coordinating in advanced planning. I had attached the aft stopper line to the permanent line strung between the boat next to us so Sarah had something to grad with the boat hook to prevent us from wandering. Eventually, we got all the lines reattached and we made it in without undue excitement. 

Thursday is St Patrick’s Day and there are events all over town. I think the kids will be attending the roof party over the Brewery which starts at 11:00 am and lasts until they can’t party anymore. I’m sure they will outlast us! 

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Key West - Busy Day for the Kids


We now have our new anchor, a Spade 140 (66 lbs) to replace the one we lost

Ann and I did our usual morning run and walk while the kids slept in. Sarah has the entire week planned out. In the morning, they visited the shipwreck museum and a couple of other shops. When they returned to Fleetwing, they brought slices of Key Lime Pie and talked about what they were going to do the rest of the week. 

Meanwhile, we still enjoy our afternoon walks, looking at all the flowers coming out

We plan on a sail Wednesday afternoon with winds around just 10 kts but fair skies. That should make it easy to return to our dock without doing damage from high winds pushing the boat around. We also have one member not so used to sailing that we don’t want to push too far. Thursday is taken up with an all day party at the end of the dock on the second floor of The Brewery, an Irish Day celebration with half price beer and other goodies.

Thursday will also be the day Ann cooks corned beef and cabbage in her Instant Pot, a first for that but following a recipe she found that looks good. Friday will be an evening cruise for the kids on one of the catamarans with snorkeling and snacks. 

That’s brings up Saturday morning which they have free since they don’t have to leave the boat until early afternoon to make a 5:00 pm flight. Time flies. For now, we look ahead to a Wednesday afternoon sail.

Monday, March 14, 2022

Key West - The youth infusion arrives!


The first stop is always the Key West sign in front of the Cuban Coffee Queen!

The plans for a Saturday arrival was cancelled due to fog in Hartford so the kids rescheduled for Monday, today. The flight was in two parts with the first part involved a trip to Chicago to catch a  non-stop flight to Key West from there. Sarah said she was up at 1:30 am to prepare for the 3:00 am check in time for the 5:00 am flight, time needed to get there and park, etc. 

Either Matt has shrunk or that chair is plenty big

This time the flights went smoothly and they arrived in Key West at 12:30 pm and caught a bus to the Bight shortly thereafter. Sarah is busy making a list of things they want to do, it’s a long list. I suggested she compose a schedule broken down into hour by hour events. They want to do everything: so much to do, so little time to do it in. 

The first order of business is to crash since they’ve been up since the wee hours for the flight out of Hartford. However, tonight we had the famous Cuban sandwiches from the Cuban Coffee Queen which I think are still the best in Key West although the cost has gone up now to $10 (still cheaper than anywhere else). 

Everyone’s up in the cockpit trading stories and I’ll join them after I complete the blog. Exciting things coming this next week.

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Key West - A stormy night


The coming storm, yesterday

The storm was predicted far in advance and we could see it coming on weather radar. It marched across the Gulf and hit us around 3:00 or so with an initial gust of 40.2 kts! Even after its passage, the wind only decreased to 30 to 35 kts. After a bit, we started to bump up against the dock head and had to start the engine in reverse so I could tighten the lines and put us farther away from the dock face.

Here’s what the local weather on a 60 degree day - long pants, hooded sweatshirt, gloves, etc.

All through the night, it was noisy but after our adjustment with the engine in gear, at least we no longer hit the dock. It was just bouncy with wind in the rigging. It was still blowing in the 20s this morning but it gradually tapered off to around 15 kts or so in the afternoon. With the front came cold air (cold to Keys residents).  With a low of 60, all the locals were wearing hooded sweatshirts with long pants, with the hood pulled tightly over their head. Once you’re used to high 70s and 80s, 60 feels cold! 

We celebrated surviving the storm with Ann buying a new hat
The kids are due to arrive Monday afternoon now, after the Saturday flight was cancelled. They have leave their house at 2:15 am to make the 5:00 am flight to Chicago where they will take a flight to Key West. I wonder if they will be tired when they arrive? We will have Cuban sandwiches that night, quick and easy and good tasting.