Sunday, April 28, 2013

Busy, Busy, Bees

Early morning reflection on C Dock

Whoa, that last post was a grammatical nightmare, sorry about that.  Sometimes I check, sometimes I am just so anxious to fill you in I don't. (hee,hee)
Still no decision on the generator, except we have to have one that is operational.  Our choices are: a new manifold for our 28 year old generator $$$, a 'get by' decision with a portable generator $$$, or a new marine generator $$$$$$. If only we were psychic....and could know the decision we make is the right one!!  I  bet everyone would like that ability, put me at the top of the list.
Anyway.....we have a line on a new one, will hear on Tuesday and then decide.  If we do go new, we will be here longer than planned....that is why making plans is NOT a good idea when one is on a boat!

Gary did install our new gas range (since RV models cost less than half than the "marine" version that is what we purchased.  Our version of smart spending. I haven't baked in it yet but the burners are the bomb!  It has been a long time since I cooked on it.

I spent the last few days recovering the nasty buffalo check cushions in the dinette.  Got the sewing machine out and put the pedal to the metal.  Ran out of fabric but Sue is going to pick it up for me in Melbourne on her lunch hour, while I go to the paint stores for her!  A winning situation for me that is for sure. 

I also made some curtains...

Last week I had the find of the Engel refrigerator -freezer.  It is a 12 volt unit that is all the rage among cruisers.  You can use it as an additional frig., or as a freezer, We have been spending $2. a day on bags of ice that are extremely hard to get when you are cruising and stopping for ice every day is not an option. Last time out we taxed our refrigerator beyond its limits with "liquid" refreshments and I have been looking for a used Engel for over a year. 
The other day I went on Craig's list .....and it was my lucky day.  Someone in Satellite Beach (20 minutes from here) had listed one that morning. Ten months old and used for only 3 of those 10 months on a trip to the Bahamas.  It was almost half off of what you can buy it for online.  You'd better believe I speed dialed him and we picked it up an hour later.  SCORE!

Friday we were treated to lunch with long time friends from Algonac, Andy & Barb Manzi.  They live in Titusville now, about 30 minutes from the marina.

Saturday we went on a day trip into the Atlantic with Sue and John on their tug with friends from their dock at the marina.

The 'John William'  John & Sue's Lord Nelson Tug

John driving the boat with his remote control....I kid you not!  I told Gary, no we are not getting one of those.  It was pretty cool though.  He also has a "joystick"  

Cruise ships getting ready to depart at Port Canaveral...

Entertainment at the was quite amusing watching them try to raft each other  .

Synopsis??  We are busy, very.  last week we attended two dock pot lucks and a dinner at the marina restaurant to listen to a little music , a 'docktail' party on the boat next to us, lunch with the Manzis' and a day trip on John & Sue's boat. It was a great .

More entertainment for us in a week than in years!!  A great bunch of people here...kind of like a floating campground, without the bonfires!  

Friday, April 19, 2013


I've been getting emails about our, we didn't fall off the face of the earth.  We just fell into a slip at Harbortown Marina, Merritt Island, Florida.  Gary has been busy helping our friends John & Sue with the trim on their new house.  They gutted it and started over so there is lots of trim work to be done.  I went to Tampa on Sunday afternoon to help out son Kent and his wife Chris, with child care.  Sydney had been sick the week before with a double whammy- congestion and stomach flu and then Cole came down with it.  Then they both ended up with ear infections!  They are on the mend now that they are on antibiotics and I am back on the boat.  Hopefully I will be able to fight off "the super bug"!!
We have several projects to attack while here but time is flying and we may not get it all done.  Gary and John did get my new gas stove in while I was gone but it hasn't been hooked up yet.  We are having major troubles with our generator which of course means $$$, how many is yet to be determined.  Still having SMELL issues but what else is new.  You've been hearing about that since day one!!!
So one day and thing at a time.  I'll update you when we get a handle on things.  We plan to leave here on May 6th and head north

All tied up....

Friday, April 5, 2013

Just A Little Squall To Jazz Up Our Day

We had an uneventful night last night, not even any wind (that we heard anyway), but we talked to Theresa on 'It'll Be Alright', whom we'd met in Marathon.  They went further than us, about 6 miles, into a protected bay in Stuart and at 5:30 in the morning they broke loose after high winds that switched 180 degrees and dislodged their anchor. was our day!  We travelled all the way to Ft. Pierce under gloomy skies and calm seas when we started to see the storm build up on the western horizon.  Checked the radar and it looked like the storms were well below us with just a little line headed our way.  Hoped we'd make it ahead of it all but we got caught in a squall.  Gary turned us into the wind but not before the wind caught us and heeled us to starboard (that's to the right for the not nautically versed) we bounced back from that and headed into the wind (reversing our direction to south) until the squall passed.

I am not scared when we get in situations like this because it happens very quickly and you don't have time to think....just react and I know that Gary is on top of it.  If it was me in charge we would have gone down a long time ago!!!!

We are anchored off of the southernmost bridge in Melbourne tonight.  We hoped to get to Dragon Point on the south tip of Merritt Island but the squall held us up and the winds predicted tonight dictated Gary's prudent choice. 
That's our position...the green  boat  but our bow is facing the bridge now that we are anchored....always into the wind!

We are protected from the predicted NW winds by the bridge, its time to relax with a 'sundowner' and have a 'concoction' dinner.  That means we are very low on food and anything goes!!!

Here are some photographic memories of the day..

Not looking so good

Not Fog....Rain

 Rain hitting the water so fast and furious it looks like a bad case of dandruff!

Another one missed!

One man down.

Another casualty...when we did our 180 pirouette into the wind the port door which we haven't sealed (yet another project) took a direct hit and the water came in...this is the result.

All in all not a good day but not a bad one either.....

Thursday, April 4, 2013

All Tucked In

We are tucked into Loblolly Marina.  It is a membership type of Marina with a few transient wells in Hobe Sound, a town south of Stuart.  The weather is supposed to get very bad tonight high winds lightening etc.  and although we thought about anchoring in Peck Lake across the way we decided to take the safer option of being tied to a dock. I am ready to go lay on the solar panels if the hail they are predicting comes!!! 
This is the view from the back deck......a 60 foot beauty!

Gary reminded me that I got my wish.  I'm like, huh???  He said "remember when you said you would rather be the worst boat in the nicest marina"  and the light went on.  I did say that.  Well it's true. Would you rather be the nicest boat in the worst marina, or the worst boat in the nicest marina??  Think about it.

We anchored in Boca Raton last night with friends Elaine and Lawrence (this taken Tuesday night in Marine Stadium)  They are stalking us....or maybe we are stalking them!!   Just kidding guys.
They have had their share of storms already with the one that caught them off guard on Monday, since they are on a sailboat and can't quite keep up with us, although they really made a effort today, they are spending the night tonight anchored in Lake Worth.  It didn't look like the storms were going to go that far south.  Hopefully we'll meet up again tomorrow or the next day.  Safe is better than sorry.

We went through Palm Beach today, once again an experience not easy to forget.  Between the 'palaces' and the mega yachts your eyes get overwhelmed.  These are a few that caught our eyes....
Loved this 'Fantail" yacht.  Had a bit of  class .

Steve Jobs, 256 foot , $140 million dollar (houseboat??), VENUS, that was finished after he died and just came into Palm Beach on Monday. Google Mega Yacht Venus if you want info.

'Fountainhead'  was at the Port of Miami...a 287 foot Feadship owned by Mark Cuban a 'self made' Billionaire!!  She was a BEAUTY

When we make it to Merritt Island I will try and put together a slide show with the sights along the waterway. For now I'll call it a day....

By the way it is only sprinkling...our guarantee for a wrong weather forecast is paying for a slip in a marina!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A New Adventure Begins

I had a comment from yesterdays post from my daughter, Dorian.  She is always thinking when I drop the ball.  

For those who'd like to learn more about, and help to support, the amazing manatees, check out Consider "adopting" a manatee the next time you need a gift for someone!!

Thanks Dorian!!!!!


After our very hectic day Sunday our friends Ondra & Nelson Gainey from 'Last Boat'....came over Sunday night to send us off on our voyage.  They plan to stay in Marathon for another couple of weeks before heading back to North Carolina.  We have made many new friends and reconnected with quite a few from 2 years ago. We met Ondra & Nelson in 2011.

A look back at Sister Creek .....Bye, Boot Key !

And there was a new dawn.....

Sunrise on Blackwater Sound...on the very north end of Key Largo
We started our trek north yesterday at 9am.  The wind was supposed  to be in the high single digits so we had decided to go into hawk Channel in the Atlantic and anchor at Rodriguez key off of Key Largo.  This is the way the boats with deeper drafts have to go as the mean depth inside is about 7 feet and under 5 even in the intercoastal in a lot of places.

WELL.... it is a good idea always to have a plan B and a way out of your Plan A! The winds were over 10 which would generally not be an issue but they were from the SE which was right on our aft quarter and old Mother Ocean was rolling those swells at us like a bowling ball.  Boats with bridges like Tie A Knot do not like swells....they wallow....not pleasant.

Gary had to go below to secure things and he came up slightly green at the gills which totally matched my totally green at the gills!  
I had already put my magic Sea Bands wristbands (which are an acupressure device ) on 
for seasickness but even those weren't enough.
So on to Plan B.   Three and a half hours later ,we again (just like 2 years ago) ducked into the inside (Florida Bay) at Channel Five, which is on the south end of Islamorada.

Once under the bridge and into the bay the seas were flat the winds calm and after a few hours we were over the slight cases of mal de mer. 

The calm waters of Florida Bay

We entered Blackwater Sound around 5pm and dropped the hook. We  heard from our friends Elaine & Lawrence on S/V Elle & I who left Boot Key a day ahead of us, that they had a really rough trip for two days on Hawk Channel on the outside.  They are now in Miami waiting to go out again to get past the Miami bridges to Fort Lauderdale where they will be able to resume their trip on the Intercoastal back to New York State.
We are now approaching Miami where we will meet them for the night in the Marine Stadium, one of our favorite spots to stop. 

We sent our auto pilot out to be repaired while we were in Marathon.  
Now Bob can take his turn at the helm!!!

We will be in Miami for the night and then heading for Merritt Island where we will finish projects for our summer "playtime".  We have some destinations in mind but nothing in concrete.  More on that later.  Here are a few snaps coming into Miami....

Florida Power and Light 
Turkey Point Nuclear Power plant

Quick facts
  • Located on Biscayne Bay, 24 miles south of Miami and just east of the Homestead area
  • Two nuclear power units:
    • the first unit began operation in 1972
    • the second unit following in 1973
  • Generates about 1,400 million watts of electricity -- enough powerto supply the annual needs of more than 450,000 homes
  • Reactor manufacturer - Westinghouse
  • Turbine Generator Manufacturer - Westinghouse
  • A safe, reliable and a low-cost producer of electricity

Rafting up Miami Style

Whats left of the Rickenbacker drawbridge with the new fixed bridge in the foreground.  The first bridge into Miami from Biscayne Bay

The Marine Stadium Bleachers...  built in the 60's it was condemned in the wake of hurricane Andrew in 1992.
The Stadium was host for many world class powerboat events including Unlimited Hydroplane, Inboard, Outboard, Performance Craft, Stock, Modified, Grand National divisions as well as other special event races. The Stadium was also the site of a number of nationally televised events including the Bill Muncey Invitational and the ESPN All American Challenge Series. The last major race in the Stadium was the 1987 Inboard Hydroplane national Championship.
Although there is a drive to restore the stadium we saw no evidence of any forward movement since 2 years ago when we were here.

 At anchor with a fabulous view of the Miami Skyline.

And of course it wouldn't be a day on Tie A Knot without an "issue"....this time a steering fluid leak at the lower helm.....Oh Joy!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Manatees and Eco Systems

Yesterday as we were at the dinghy dock we saw a group of people on the next dock looking at a Manatee 'floating' in the water.  We went over to get in on the action and turns out he wasn't just floating but feeding on the sea growth on the dock and posing for the cameras!!
This  the second Manatee we've seen since we've been here and this was a real photo opportunity....we got lucky!
A real POSER!  They have very tiny little eyes that look so out of proportion to the rest of them.  They are also sometimes referred to as Sea Cows, obviously because of their size.

She was close enough to touch him and she said he had rough skin with a slimy feel but the little white hairs you see sticking out were very soft.  We all figured he was looking for a treat.
Here he is chewing on the sea growth on the dock.  Maybe it's a girl and she is one of the "Ladies who lunch"!

Still there when we got back from the store.  This time at the other side of the dock and chewing on a dinghy rope.  Ummm, maybe that's where those dinghys go when they turn up missing??

As for the growth on the dock....this is what our dinghy looked like when we took it to Sombrero Beach to clean the bottom yesterday.  No wonder that manatee was chewing on the dock.  

 Gary starting the task of scraping

No kidding it was like an ecosystem....little crabs running around and everything.  Unbelievable after only 2 months.  Made us wonder what the bottoms of some of the boats in Boot Key Harbor look like when they've been there for five years!  They probably don't even need a mooring ball they're attached to the bottom!!!!!!   We did get a tip from another boater, all you have to do is lift it a foot or two out of the water overnight every  days or so and the stuff won't grow.  Where was he in February???