Monday, January 31, 2011

Out of Order

Just wanted to let you know that the pictures from Sunday's bike trip post are below the Snivel post.  Gary wants to head to shore and I don't have time to figure it out.

9 Mile Ride out the 7 Mile Bridge

Yesterday we decided to go for a bike ride to Pigeon Key.  Pigeon Key is located 2 miles out on the old railroad bridge which runs along the 7 mile bridge to the lower keys.  It was the original bridge that Henry Flagler built to get people to Key West and Pigeon Key is an island that housed the workers.  It is a 4 mile ride from the Marina to Pigeon Key with 2 miles of it being over the water.  It was really cool.  The water was clear and beautiful and it was nice and warm out.  There were a few people walking and a few more riding bikes but not many, so we didn't have to dodge a lot of pedestrians.  It was interesting two see just how narrow the bridge was. Although it originally was a railroad bridge they made it bigger to accommodate automobiles, and it was quite narrow.  Sure couldn't fit a couple of Hummers side by side.

I must say we did an admirable job on this ride.  It ended up being 9 miles total, with a break in between for lunch at the Sunset Grille, which is at the Marathon end of the 7 mile bridge.  Really nice place, fantastic views.  I had a blackened grouper sandwich and a get this, mango beer, yummy!  Mr. Un-adventursome had a Reuben and a Bud Light, no comment.  We left at 10:30 and got back about 3:00 to screaming meemee knees.  That peddling stuff is hard work, but we did it !!!!

So we had a short nap, watched the sunset, had a snack and collapsed.  No gain.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

New things to Snivel about

I am so sorry I have been remiss in posting.  This week has been stressful and when things get stressful I do not thing blogging is to your advantage....I can get very "woe is me".  Actually we have had a big decision to make (AGAIN), we have to buy a new refrigerator.  Of course this refrigerator cannot be of the Home Depot variety, because of the size it cannot even be a RV store item.  It must be prefaced by the words Marine, which is translated into break out a thousand!  Mind you this is a refrigerator smaller than an apartment frig, but larger than a dorm size one.  Since it can only be 54" tall and 24" wide (without having to tear out and redo the entire galley) it is only made by 3 manufacturers......and they all are....yes you got it, Marine!  Of course the manufacturer with the least expensive one had a fire in their factory, the entire thing burned to the ground, and that factory made the model we need.  Oh well, I am sure there are hundreds of others out there who wanted that  frig and can't get it either..makes me feel better.

So this week we will have to bite the bullet and get the best replacement we can.  We found one that can be delivered from Miami for $60. so at least we are saving a bundle on shipping.  I should really have a story to tell when that thing gets here and we have to install it.  Keep tuned....
To far to jump

Smiles on our accomplishment

Donna, the Iguana, found her right alongside US1 and she could have cared less about the cars whizzing by.
Posted by Picasa
Add caption
Our Wheels

Florida Bay

Pigeon Key

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Taste of Grape

We went to a wine tasting party last night....had a GREAT time and met more great cruisers.  We hesitated about going as it wasn't supposed to start until 7pm., which is approaching bed time for us, jeesh are we lame or what!!  I was talking to the gal from Blew Moon (the boat that saved our dinghy) in the laundry and she encouraged us to go. They had been last year and said it was a great time, everyone brings a bottle and some finger food. Of course I knew that anyone who liked wine would be great fun!!  Gary took his cooler of Busch and off we went, we got there at 6:30 and it was in half swing, by 7 it was in full swing, probably about 50+ people, young and "mature".

We talked to three very interesting couples from N.C., and N.Y., one who had just started this journey like us and the other two, seasoned experts.  The topic of the night was of course, batteries!  That seems to be the main issue for all of us.  We found out in this discussion that although we know our frig is a real problem we didn't know quite how bad, talk about an energy hog.  Now we know.....  We are drawing 16 amps when it runs and most of them only draw 2 or less.  OMG   here we go again.!

We are here for 3 more weeks and then we will head out, barring any unforseen problems.  We hope to go our and anchor a little further south for a few days in the interim.  Although it is great here....we want to experience more variety in our surroundings.  Everyone we talked to last night is only here for a while.  Some will be heading up Florida's west coast, some to the Bahama's.  All will head back north in the spring so we hope to meet up with them again.  Chesapeake Bay sounds like the place to be this summer from all accounts.

Kent & Christine moved into their new house last weekend.  Seems like they are really going to enjoy it.  Sydney already has a new friend in the new "hood"!  

We're supposed to get a big blow tonight and tomorrow, so Jill, I'll try and send pictures of the roiling waters.  Now we are off to more fun in the sun!
Gary to the right of the two yellow jackets

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Definitive Quote

"Let the beauty that we love
 be what we do."

Jalal ad-Din Rumi  (Persian Poet)

This quote struck a cord in me when I found it on the web today, as this is what I am living every day.  The water has always been a force for calming my endlessly chattering mind.  It brings peace and beauty and I am truly thankful for every day I can say "I love what I am doing". Even with the many challenges,  we are with countless other people who are dealing with the problems and joys that come with living on a boat and we are all united in loving what we do.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Dead Calm

We woke up this morning to really dead calm.  Just like the night we spent in Shark River at the beginning of our trip.  I took a picture right away because usually the boats are all in rows like little soldiers.  This morning the soldiers were definitely at ease in fact it looked like a potential mutiny.  Two sailboats near us looked like they were about to collide, but in fact they still had a tiny bit of room left to swing.  This after the fabulous moon rise last night.  It was spectacular over the water unfortunately my digital camera didn't capture it well.  
Today the humidity is off the scale...and it is only 9:15!

I would love to say we were problem free at this time (that would be a pleasant change, wouldn't it?)  but alas, they just keep on a comin'.  We had to purchase a new battery charger/ inverter as ours was not doing the job of keeping the batteries up and a Link Lite, which is a gauge that tells you what the batteries are doing and where the power is going ( This will entail a lot of reading (the installation guide/manual) and swearing on the installers part.  Oh, has already started at 9:33.  The Link Lite is defective, and that is what we really needed!  As the young say these days OMG!!!!  

Well I guess I'll leave it at that today.....the fun has just begun.  

Full Moon rising over Boot Key January 19th

Posted by Picasa
This looked like a very near miss on a very calm morning.
7:15 am December 20th
Posted by Picasa
Soldiers At Ease

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Key West and Beyond

We had a good trip to Key West.  The horrible winds we had been having finally started to lay down and by the end of the day we could take our fleeces off.  We hadn't slept much the night before as the winds were ferocious and it sounded like a cheap motel with the doors constantly slamming.  Those are just some of the sounds the waves make as they slap against the hull, and although Gary says I will get used to the dinghy hitting the swim platform I'm thinking ...not so much.
We plan to stay longer here to iron out some of our ongoing energy issues and hopefully fix the head (toilet) that does not want to be fixed.  Gary's job, I still only do diapers.:) Good thing we have 2 or we would be running back and forth to the Marina constantly.
Last night at 6 there was a music jam at the Tiki Hut and we went  after a ride in the dink to the inlet near the ocean to watch a SPECTACULAR sunset.  It was really unbelievably gorgeous, and on the way back in we met up with Ann & Mike on s/v Grey Wolf who were coming in the channel from their trip across the Gulf from Charlotte Harbor Stg.  Always nice to see old "friends".  
Back to the jam, we left around 7:00 as we were not dressed for the sudden cold after dark, but it went on for hours. It  was a chance for anyone that played an instrument to show their stuff, and there were quite a few, but we only ended up hearing two.  The fun went on until after midinght..... I could still hear the bongos.  
Cruising fun.
This one's for Cory...Mom at Captain Tony's

Add caption

Posted by Picasa
The Water Taxi and Laundry Barge
(the paint buckets are our transport for fresh water..
The Captain's McGiver gene at work again!

Waiting for the bus to Key West with other Cruisers.... from Canada

The Four Musketeers

Posted by Picasa
City Marina coming from front dinghy dock

Mural on City Marina building

Largest of four bike rack areas

Rear Dinghy Dock near bike racks
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Another Lesson Learned

We had a great day yesterday with Wendy & Carl, exploring the harbor and the many different boats that are moored or anchored here.  We made it back safe and sound (this mainly because Gary did NOT let me drive the dinghy, after my blatant lack of ability due to over confidence displayed earlier in the day, i.e. running aground, and doing circles trying to pull her into the swim platform earlier that morning.)  I just can't figure it out. I seem to have the hang of it with two or three great trips and then things fall into" Lucy" mode.  I laughed pretty hard at myself but "The Captain" didn't find my performance quite as humorous, hence I am on Dinghy probation.
Maybe the dinghy has had enough of me too.  This morning after a night of wind and waves slapping at the hull due to a cold front that came through with 30 mph wind gusts , she decided to runaway from home.
The four of us were sitting chatting when the phone rang and it was the Marina Office asking if we lost our dinghy.  Gary said no, it was tied behind the boat, she said "are you sure" and when I ran up on deck, guess what, no dinghy.  This was at 11am, we had checked at 8 and she was there so sometime in the morning she made her escape.  A nearby boat had seen her running off down the river and out to sea so he went and grabbed her. 
Ok, I will take full blame, when the guy brought her back to us, I stood on the deck in shame with my "deck hand in training" sign plastered to my chest, a bottle of wine (for him, not me) and a humble attitude.  I was the one who had tied her up with my "girl knot" as Gary calls it and Carl's eye rolling confirms it, and she decided since I wouldn't listen to "the men" she would teach me a lesson.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Unexpected Turn of Events

Well, I expected many things from this voyage but spending two and a half hours Saturday Morning in Marathon's Fishermans Hospital ER was not one of them.  Gary got sick at about midnight Friday with chills and joint pain.  By morning he was so weak that we knew a trip to a Dr. was necessary.  Of course being Saturday and being in Marathon (Island Time ya know) we were advised to go to the ER.  Since it is only 2 blocks from the Mooring field we were able to ride our bikes and get their quickly.  It wasn't easy for Gary but he made it.

The diagnosis ended up being a severe urinary tract infection.  He got an IV antibiotic and has been in bed since we got back.  I think we have been very lucky to be near help when these problems have arisen.  For instance if we had been in the Shark River Anchorage we would have had a BIG problem.  So, thank you to our Angels watching out for us.

The upside of this new development is that I have learned new skills.  The most important being.....handling the dinghy.  It is a pull start and Gary didn't think I could start it...but I did! I can do one more thing.  Along with turning the gennie on and off (an 8 step process) I am really getting an education!

 It is amazing what you take for granted in a house when you can turn on and off everything any time you want. On a boat you have to think everything out ahead of time.  For example: I just turned the generator off after 3 and a half hours (keep in mind it is very noisy, and silence is golden) only to have Gary get up and say he would like some soup.  OK, that means turning the generator back on again and ticking off the neighboring boats whom had just heaved a sigh of relief, or trying to heat some up on the grill.  See...time to see if I can learn another new skill.

All is Good!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Living the Dream

Well here we sit in the lovely Mooring Field in Marathon.  We started "living the dream", on Tuesday, January 4th.  We left Naples in a light wind and overcast skies at 7:12 am.  We had a fantastic trip, Florida bay was totally flat, and we got to Shark River in exactly 8 hours getting between 9 & 10 miles per hour most of the way and using 4 gallons of fuel per hour. 

The anchorage at Shark River was without a doubt a sanctuary.  We were with 2 other boats, and only the birds and shoreline to look at but if you want peace that is the place.  The water was like glass (or as we St Clair Flats people call it "piss on a platter").  Later that night when we woke up to check on the anchor the stars were so bright and the water so calm that the stars were twinkling off of the water.....something we had never seen before.

We left Wednesday morning at 8:00 and again the water was POP!  We had an unbelievable trip across Florida Bay, no wind, lots of Dolphin and LOTS of crab pots to navigate.  We arrived at Marathon at 3:00 and grabbed a mooring ball without mishap, then decided to move to another mooring when we were told the dog on the boat directly next to us (pretty close quarters here) barked nonstop.  

Well lets just say things did NOT go smoothly on the next pickup.  The thing about a mooring ball is it has a 4 foot line (if you are lucky) attached that you must pick up off the bow and attach to a line on your boat.  Since our bow is about 10 feet off the water this is not an easy task, so Jann decided that she would once again get it from the swim platform.....NOT a good idea.  Although it had worked well the first time, this time I couldn't get it in time and it got caught in the prop and wrapped around the shaft.  This was not a good way to start our stay other than the laugh it gave to all the boaters around us I'm sure.  To make a longer story short, we had to hire a diver (only $60. when we were expecting at least a couple of hundred) to untangle us and wait to hear from the office as to whether we damaged the line on the ball, if so we would have to replace it.  The divers checked it today and said it looked ok so we have our fingers crossed that the office will say no charges!

BIG lesson learned on that one.  Captain's orders are law and the mate must not offer opinions on anything technically over her head....which pretty much means everything. 

Other than that snafu,we got our bikes ashore and went for a ride, I went to a yoga class yesterday at the tiki hut with 42 other cruisers (wow it is so cool to call yourself a cruiser and actually be one!) and we got through our first cold front last night with wind gusts to about 30 mph.  We were bobbin' and swingin' and doin' a few dos ee dos.If you looked out you felt like you were on the tilt a whirl, so I didn't look out!! :)  Somehow,  I
slept like a baby and woke up to an absolutely beautiful day.  Warm and calm as could be.  We even took a ride out into the Atlantic Ocean in the dink.  Another POP day on the high seas!

Gary's sister Wendy and her husband Carl are in Key West now so we will hook up with them, where still to be determined.  
Hope you all enjoy the pictures.  They don't do the beauty justice and I took way too many.
Mooring Field From our Boat these are a few out of over 200 Balls!
Approaching the 7 Mile Bridge in the Keys
We always wondered if we'd ever get to go under it in a boat !!
Navigating the 5,000 Crab Pots in our path in Florida Bay
Sunrise at Shark River in the Ten Thousand Islands
Proudly Flying the PBYC Burgee
Our " Boat Dog"
People Don't Stop Playing Because They Get Old
People Get Old Because They Stop Playing
(Just in case you wondered what it says)