Archive for: ‘May 2014’

Cape Canaveral

May 29, 2014 Posted by Deb

One World

The family we have written about in the past on One World crossed our path in Columbia and Panama. One World, a new 50-foot Lagoon, was lost 16 miles off Australia and all five crew (the four kids were not on board) were rescued. Here is a link to their interview.

All in all, the run from Miami was great for 80 miles. We cruised on the far west edge of the current at between 9 and 10 knots and did not feel the need to go out into the main current for only a 20 hour trip. Just after Palm Beach, the wind went light and what little current we had, quit. Once again, we were stuck motoring about half the trip.

In the Marina at Cape Canaveral

In the Marina at Cape Canaveral

Miami and Dinner Key

May 27, 2014 Posted by Deb

MooringShuttle

The mooring field was not full and they put us a long way out. The dinghy ride was slow and wet like Key West. Dinner Key had an on-demand shuttle every hour and we used that to stay dry. It was a strange area and it was Memorial Day weekend but, all in all, we were pleasantly surprised by that part of Miami. Deb found a matching Giant Expressway folding bike and we now have a matched pair. The small folding bike technology has come a long way from the early Dahons.

Touring Miami on Our New Rides

Touring Miami on Our New Rides

We went to Little Havana with Wildest Dream, caught a weather report later that night, frantically converted from a condo to a boat, and were back in the ocean by 11:00 a.m. the next morning for a 160-mile run to Cape Canaveral.

LittleHavana

Florida Hops

May 25, 2014 Posted by Deb

After a few pats on the back for making it to the U.S., Doug from Aquadesiac mentioned that we still had 500 miles to go. There’s a nice intercoastal waterway (ICW) north up Florida but when you have a 68-foot mast, the ICW isn’t possible. If you’re outside the ICW, there are a limited number of places to hop through the reef and get into anchorages, mooring fields, or marinas. So … when you go outside, you have to have an idea where you’re going to come back in and it’s real nice to do that in daylight.

Neytiri and Windsong popped out of Key West bright and early and headed for Miami and Ft. Lauderdale respectively. They had a 20-mile jump on us and we were just a tad out of radio range but we could hear them hail freighters that were trying to run them down. One conversation was great … Jim asked, “What are you intentions,” and the freighter captain said, “My intentions are to proceed to my destination,” to which Jim replied, “Do you want to pass port to port or starboard to starboard?” Anyway, it seemed funny at the time and 40 minutes later the freighter (Paradero) was lined up to run over us, but we made our turn north early and did not have to hail him.

The details for the trip were  …

  • We motorsailed about 9 hours out of Key West in calm seas
  • Just as we turned north, the wind picked up, went east, and we shut down the engines
  • We arrived off Biscayne Bay in 15 hours, and it took about 2 more hours until we got the hook down on the east side of the Bay

Our Miami destination was chosen partly because Aquadesiac was still there and Wildest Dreams (friends we met in Colombia and Panama) were having a barbecue the day of our arrival (and we were invited). We got out in the Gulf Stream, ran up to 11 knots, and realized we were going way too fast for a daytime arrival and tried to slow things down a bit. That didn’t work, and we crossed into Biscayane Bay at around 3:00 a.m. finding channel markers by Braille. We anchored, probably illegally, right by the famous Biscayne Bay Stiltsville and slept until the Dinner Key marina opened. Most sources claim the first stilt shack was built in the early 1930s, but some Dade County historians say that there were a dozen shacks in “the flats” as early as 1922. “Crawfish” Eddie Walker built a shack on stilts above the water in 1933, toward the end of the prohibition era, allegedly to facilitate gambling, which was legal at one mile offshore. Crawfish Eddie sold bait and beer from his shack and was known for a dish he called chilau, a crawfish chowder made with crawfish he caught under his shack.

Stiltsville Miami

Stiltsville Miami

Dinner Key Marina

Dinner Key Marina

We grabbed a mooring, checked in, cleaned up, ate a $104 pizza lunch with Aquadesiac, and got picked up by Dave and Gail (Wildest Dream) for the BBQ.

BBQ with Wildest Dream, Aquadesiac, Neytiri and Panache

BBQ with Wildest Dream, Aquadesiac, Neytiri and Panache

Key West

May 19, 2014 Posted by Deb

Are We In The U.S.A.?

Are We In The U.S.A.?

Key West Customs was legendary in the old days and not in a good way. The way they treated us on re-entry and especially foreign boats eighteen years ago made us angry and embarrassed for our country. Back then they told us to not get in the line with the lady who had small handcuffs on her necklace.

Now they are professional and pleasant. We called, got a clearance number, cleaned up and went to 301 Simonton the next day. They want all your garbage, produce, and meat and they aren’t kidding. We dumped our garbage at the dinghy dock and got a mild lecture for not hauling it all the way into town. We did have to turn off our cell phones and go through a security scanner but we got “closed out” and a “Welcome back to the U.S.A.” in a matter of minutes.

And now it’s Key West time. We don’t feel like we’re really back in the U.S. because this place is where the really strange people hang out. They call it the Conch Republic. We’ve reunited with many boats that were scattered to the wind and are now converging on Florida to wrap up their sailing season. Way too many calories, alcohol, and late hours but we may not be together again like this for a long time, if ever.

Battling the Mooring Ball in the North Winds

Battling the Mooring Ball in the North Winds

Oysters at Pepe's with Aquila, Windsong, Aquadesiac and Neytiri

Oysters at Pepe’s with Aquila, Windsong, Aquadesiac and Neytiri

Captains Talking Boat Projects, Crew Talking World Peace

Captains Talking Boat Projects, Crew Talking World Peace

The Gulf Stream

May 15, 2014 Posted by Deb

The morning of Tuesday, May 13, was clear and the winds had dropped but we were with only two other boats, Aquadesiac and Aloha. It turned out we were late in leaving. After a few hours we caught up to a small armada of white sails as far as we could see. We even had a floating net when one of the boats acted as leader and got us all ID’d and acquainted. Everyone was sailing, we were headed north looking for the current, and boat speeds varied from four to seven knots, depending on the type of boat. We were doing around six or seven in light wind.

By late afternoon, the crowd had thinned and several boats decided to move 15 miles east to go current hunting. We made that move as well and fired up one engine to help with the angle. Later that night we found the current and it took us north toward Texas like a freight train. The engines were running only 1,800 rpm and we were over eight knots. We were also alone with the freighters, no other sailboats in sight and only a few within radio range.

The next morning we made the turn at 86 W and 23.30 N to find the east Gulf current. That was hard because the north current wanted to keep us. We headed over 100 degrees to make 60 for awhile. When we found the east current and got wind from the south at 16 apparent, we were off again at 11.6 knots and never below 10 for the bulk of Wednesday. We also got quite seasick in the crazy Gulf waves, some huge, some choppy.

The night of the 14th was forecast to be the squall night. It was. The wind went to nothing except when we were directly under a squall. We were surrounded with no options for dodging so we plowed through. Aquadesiac, we heard over drinks later, had young crew on board and they were hand steering instead of using the auto helm. When the squalls hit, the guy on duty was having so much fun he refused to come off shift and stayed at the helm for eight hours. Kind of like Gary Sinise (Lieutenant Dan) in Forrest Gump.

"It's Time for a Showdown. You and Me!"

“It’s Time for a Showdown. You and Me!”

We rounded out Thursday, May 15, motoring at 8 kts at about 2,500 rpm with no wind and flat seas for a total run of around 54 hours and only two nights. We sailed half the trip, which is pretty good for the Gulf. We got into the Garrison Bight mooring field in Key West right next to J and J, the former owner/operators of Vista Rio in the Rio Dulce. They are now working here, he’s a chef facilitator at a fancy restaurant and she’s a project manager and estimator for a construction company.

The Weather Gods

May 12, 2014 Posted by Deb

Riding the River in Ocean

Riding the River in Ocean

Chris Parker reigns supreme as the weather guru over the area we sail. We and many others subscribe to his e-mails and webcasts. We also get raw weather data off the internet, some free, some not. Chris will take calls for $25 and give a custom weather forecast. We called him twice because the raw data seemed like it would make a good trip and Chris kept telling everyone to wait. He gave us a brief education in what Cuba does to the wind in the Gulf and stated that the models do not do a good job of dealing with the effect of weather and current in that area. So … we waited and we were glad we did. On Monday, May 12, we paid off the port captain and immigration, partied one last time, and tried to get some decent sleep.

Downloading GRIB Files

Downloading GRIB Files

Mexican Wrap

May 11, 2014 Posted by Deb

Cruiser BBQ at El Milagro Marina

Cruiser BBQ at El Milagro Marina

By the end of our stay in Isla Mujeres there was quite a fleet in town waiting for the group decision to go north to Florida.

We spent our time getting the boat ready, being tourists, and choosing which of the dueling restaurants were going to get our pesos that night. We did the obligatory golf cart lap of the island and were surprised at Punta Sur, the southern tip of Isla Mujeres. It is also the easternmost point of land in Mexico and it was wild and crazy out there and great for photo ops.

Hiking Isla Mujeres

Hiking Isla Mujeres

The Most Eastern Point of Mexico

The Most Eastern Point of Mexico

Glad I'm Not Sailing In That

Glad I’m Not Sailing In That

Haul Out in Spanish

May 4, 2014 Posted by Deb

Be Careful Now!

Cuidado — Be Careful Now!

HauloutIslaMujeres

HauloutWorkersOnce again we’re doing boat work in Spanish. The dialect in Mexico is one of the most difficult for us. They run words together more than in some countries and they speak fast. We scheduled a haul, power wash, prep, two coats of Transocean, and sail drive seals and were in and out in four days despite the interruptions of hundreds of waving bikinis going by just outside the fence. The guys working on our boat would drop what they were doing and wave and yell back. Quite a parade.

Boatyard Work Stoppage

Boatyard Work Stoppage

Meat Wagon Cats

Meat Wagon Cats

We worked on trying to bring the holding tank system back online and found a mess that included blocked plumbing, frozen Y valves, frozen thru hulls, and pumps that had long ago dried up and quit working. Oh … and the odd leak so it was good we tested with water. It was weird how after we explained what I was doing all day, no one wanted to eat around me.

Launching

Launching

Paint Your Wagon

May 1, 2014 Posted by Deb

Racing By Cancun

Racing By Cancun

An obscure reference to a movie few remember. We were squeezing through the markers and shore to enter the Isla Mujeres lagoon when we heard yelling from the beach. Mike from Casa del Mar was waving from shore and Deb waved back while she was trying to register who it was in the distance. The conversation was something like “I think that might be Mike on shore” to which I replied “I can’t do anything about it now” and off we went. Mike and Linda were on Isla Mujeres and their boat was in the Rio Dulce. They were vacationing with old sailing partners and couldn’t get a weather window to bring their boat so they spun and bussed from the Rio. We partied one afternoon and they were off to Cuba. We also ran into MokaKat again and were hailed by Gone With the Wind, who we last saw in a swimming pool in Trinidad. Aquadesiac also returned from a side trip shortly after we arrived.

Backside of Isla Mujeres

Backside of Isla Mujeres

Aquadesiac, MokaKat and Neytiri

Aquadesiac, MokaKat and Neytiri

What Kind of Insurance Do You Need to Sell a Four Gallon Margarita

What Kind of Insurance Do You Need to Sell a Four-Gallon Margarita

Mass Snorkeling: Mandatory Orange Life Jackets

Mass Snorkeling: Mandatory Orange Life Jackets