Monday, February 18, 2013

Friday was a miserable start to our weekend with Cory & Jessica.  They arrived to wind and rain and the wind still hasn't stopped!  It started Thursday night around 9:00 and has floated between 15 and 25 Knots all weekend, with gusts to 35.  Not a pleasant, although a fairly pleasant time was had by all.  After Gary whipping us all at UNO on Friday night, we braved the wind to go to Key West on Saturday.  It was blowing from the North and at the Galleon Marina we were able to catch a glimpse of the Anchorage off of Key West.  We had heard the warnings about how rough it was and I was extremely glad we took heed and didn't see for ourselves.  There is NO WAY I could stay on a boat out there.  They were sitting in a sea of white caps.....CRAZY!  I don't even think they could get to shore in a dink it was that rough, well maybe if they HAD to.

At least it didn't rain and we stayed from 11 am until 9:30 PM.  Had to stay and see 'Magic Frank' at Schooner Wharf per Cory.  He does a card trick session at his "bar" made you believe in 'magic' even though logic says it can't be true.  We played pool (haven't done that in 30+ years) and I have to say I was pretty damn good!  The old folks even won a few games...not bad huh.

Yesterday we went to the Big Pine Flea Market, and drove out onto No Name Key where we saw five Key Deer.  The Key Deer are an endangered species who are occasionally seen on Big Pine but their habitat is on No Name Key where it is quite remote with not much civilization.  They seemed to be very used to 'gawkers' as they came right up to the side of the road to look at us as studiously as we were looking at them.  Jess has been after us to get a real dog for Bob (she thinks we're becoming too attached to him) and when she saw the deer coming up to us she said "I think he wants to be a Boat Deer"!  Funny girl.

What do you think,    Boat Deer???

They left yesterday around two o'clock when the wind finally died down to about 10-15 knots.  Only to pick back up at dusk for another night of rockin' and rollin'.  Honestly, I LOVE Rock and Roll, but not unless it is coming from my stereo speakers.

So today we still have the ongoing toilet issue to look into again and for an added little dose of fun our galley faucet fell apart yesterday (literally) and Gary will have to try and get it to cooperate for a while longer.


 7:30 wake up call.  

This is the Florida Keys?????

Oh my, our solar panels are CRANKING this morning.  We should have installed a wind generator along with them...we'd be in outer space by now!! I am actually blogging with the inverter the first time we've been able to use it!   HOO RAH!!!

Amps being produced by the sun....this is fabulous guys, it's only 11 AM
The amps reached 26 by 1:00.  We were elated.  We only had to run the generator for a half hour today to heat water and that was the first time we ran it since Sunday morning. Where as before Solar Panels it was 4 hours a day!!!  Tomorrow we pick up Gary's sister Meredith in Key West....let the fun begin........

Friday, February 15, 2013


The deed is done!  On Monday, we rented a mini-van and off we went on a two and a half hour trek to Fort Lauderdale to E Marine Inc. to purchase solar panels. It was quite a straightforward shot from here, and since we are still in the dark ages and don't own a GPS for land, we had to navigate just like the old days, well post paper maps anyway.....Yahoo maps are THE BEST!!  The little teeny tiny store we were aimed for was right in the heart of Marnia Mile in Lauderdale....every conceivable type of marine service shop and
parts distributors with a very off the beaten track Race Boat place filled with a lot full of very large Offshore race boats on trailers must have been headed for the Miami Boat Show, which is this weekend.

But I digress, we were happy to find out that we had chosen the right place to get our solar panels.  Bob the manager was very knowledgeable and had everything we needed (at a good price) to get our set up going.  We purchased two 215 Watt Solar Panels and built a temporary frame out of  2x4's to make sure they that two are going to give us the power we need.  Bob felt sure it would, so we are hoping he is right. Getting them to the boat via dinghy was interesting. 
Couldn't leave Bob home on our 'road trip' we're not crazy....much

Rocket Man.....Islamorada...jet pack propelled by water.

Offshore race boat 'Broken Arrow'  one of about 8 boats at this shop  

One of the 'twins'


Attaching the first panel

Positioning the frame supports...they are attached to the bridge top support

Our hope for a powered  life aboard.

Just a little redneck....

On the wall and getting "juiced"!

 Even better news came the next day when a spot freed up on the Marina wall and we got a spot to charge our batteries.  It took eight hours and they are loving it.  It was like giving them an energy drink!

The panel install went pretty smoothly.  Gary had it all figured out in his head (although he didn't necessarily give this information freely to me, so as usual I had too many questions) and we had the solar panels up in one afternoon and he had them operational by early afternoon the next day.  It was very sunny when he got them hooked up and they were rockin'....then the clouds came and we haven't had sun since although they still give us a little boost.

 Last night we had dinner with Bob & Sandra and their darling little dog, Maddie. They have lived on their sailboat 'Carpe Diem' for 15 years.  Maddie is new to boating and  she is a hoot. We were her BFF's in a matter of minutes.!

Sandra served a wonderful shrimp dish for dinner and we had a very interesting conversation about their knowledge of Maine and the East Coast.  We are thinking of possibly heading that way and took all the inside information we could get. :-)
Maddie is a Coton de Tulear and she is turning into a great boat dog.

Today we are waiting for Cory and Jessica to arrive with our truck.  Then we will have wheels to pick up Meredith on Tuesday in Key West and will be much more mobile.  Although we have been so busy fixing things on the old girl that we haven't had much time to do any exploring.  All of our other issues are still waiting for us, (by Us, of course I mean Gary) and will be taken in the order of necessity.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

News Flash!!   Numero Uno on the 'I did it' barometer today....I finally got my water background back on this darn blog!!  You know how it goes, the powers that be (Blogger) making things easier, backfires for me every time but I fooled them, this time I beat them at their game.  So, Yay me.

Then again that is probably one of the few things that have gone right this week.  I am telling you, touch one thing and 3 others start acting up.  Let's see, it's been the engine, the generator, the toilet, the dinghy motor, the batteries.....out of those we have, partially fixed the engine problem, cobbled together the generator for now, replaced the impeller on the dinghy motor (now it needs a new 'boatbuerator'), and started to tackle the toilet problem today, (not going well in case you wondered).

As for the batteries we are STILL waiting to get a slip to charge one is leaving, no window for the Bahama Bound (that means they are waiting for the right wind conditions to cross over), so we wait.  The battery issue is very limiting to our 'social' life.  We can't leave the boat until 10 in the morning (charge batteries from 8-10) and must be back by 6pm to charge them again until 8 pm.  The noise courtesy rule applies here and before and after 8:00 is frowned upon.

As you can imagine hands have been thrown up in the air more than once with "I GIVE" with this constant stream of problems.  Then we repeat our mantras...."Tie a knot and hang on", and  "If it was easy everyone would be doing it"!!!

We did visit with Nelson & Ondra from 'Last Boat', whom we met here in 2011 and went out with them and their friend Ray from 'Maria' to 25 cent wing night on Wednesday.  Had a great time and got a CD with valuable information from Ray on our possible cruise to Tenn. and Kentucky this summer, he has tons of experience travelling the ICW and also recommended the Hudson River and upper New York another of our maybes. Last night their was a music 'jam session' at the Tiki Hut that we attended but it was so windy and chilly that we left around 8:30, which is past Gary's bed time anyway. 

The weather has been warm, which I know most of you don't want to hear, just like I don't want to think about the cold and snow.  It has been very windy though.  Maybe only one day since we got here with winds below 15 mph.  Today through Tuesday they are expected to be 15 to 20.  Cory & Jessica are going to bring our truck next weekend and then we'll pick Gary's sister, Meredith, up in Key West on the 19th for her first visit to the Keys.  Should be fun.

Here is a little taste of Boot Key Harbor....

The White arrow indicates where Boot Key Harbor is.  From the arrow to the land at the right. It is at the west end of the key near the Seven Mile Bridge.
Our mooring ball indicated by black arrow.

The Main Marina Building....this is the wall we are waiting to get on for the batteries.
The Shower facilities....I think their are about 12 shower units, with shower toilet, and sink.
They have spruced them up quite a bit since 2011

The hub of the Marina, meeting place, library, post office.

The SS "Stink Pot" commonly known as the Harbor Sewage Facility....Yuck!

Tie A Knot on her mooring ball.
Much Closer than last time to the dinghy dock.

A small squall...dropped about 50 drops of rain...
otherwise nothing but sunshine .

On a final note, caught this guy on the dinghy of the boat behind us
....I think he was posing.

Friday, February 1, 2013

We have definitely had a couple of trying days.  The winds have been blowing between 15 and 30 MPH while a cold front blows through and with the dink motor inop the Captain has had to row to shore 4 times. You'll see the pictures and say that doesn't look bad, but he actually had to tack his way there.!  The North winds are not fun to maneuver in.
Any we took the bus to Big Pine Key to pick up the part that the marine place here was going to pick up for us.  This is the "Islands" you know, and the Latitude does at times change the Attitude.  When Gary called him today to find out when he could pick up the part he said "oh, my trip south was cancelled until tomorrow and if you want me to go get it I'll have to charge time and mileage!  Nice of him to call and let us know that, right. 
We were going to meet Gary's sister Wendy & husband Carl (who are vacationing in Key West) for lunch at what sounded like a fabulous restaurant on Cujoe Key, but instead they met us on Big Pine Key so we could get the part and we had lunch at a not so fabulous restaurant but had a very nice visit.  They have bus service between Marathon and Key West, but if you get off anywhere in between you will be waiting and hour or more for the next bus to come through, so you better know where you are going!
We returned to the boat with the impeller in hand (again, tacking back) and BELIEVE it a SPARE!
See, we are learning as we go :-)
The following is a pictorial of this current event on Tie A Knot...

First trip with Motor aboard, the next trips were sans motor.  I know you say it looks very calm but looks ARE deceiving!

He's going to have, six pack biceps!

This looks familiar .....I believe this was his McGiver move in the Chesapeake also.

Looks kind of like a big fish..

"oh, no!, what have they gotten me into!"
New motor harness to alleviate all of the 'heavy' lifting...