02/08/2008, N27° 39.604’ W80° 22.314’
The theme today is BIRDS. Remember the movie? For a number of reasons, but perhaps most importantly, there is such an abundance of wildlife, particularly birds, and it is beautiful. They are everywhere, and there are so many different kinds. A birder's paradise, I should think. I particularly enjoy watching the egrets and herons hunting for fish in the shallows. They are stealthy, yet so quick. But the laugh of the day was the pelicans and the gulls. The gulls follow the pelicans around like flies, looking for scraps or fish the pelican misses. I laughed my ass off today when I saw a pelican floating with his beak half in the water, and a small gull was perched right on top of his head. I think the pelican was protecting what he had just caught and the gull literally had the pelican by the short hairs. I am laughing out loud now as I think of that image. In the end, the pelican won. Also, the fishermen are constantly pulling up traps marked by small buoys (which I have to watch out for so as not to get lines wrapped in the prop as these guys sometimes set their traps very close to the ICW marked channel) and flocks of pelicans and gulls will literally fly to follow them when the boat is going fast, and then float right next to the boat when the guys pull up the traps. I suppose they are throwing some things back they don't want, but the pelicans do! So one of today's pictures is of one of those moments.
Today was cooler with a fair amount of rain, but having travelled through the cold stuff up north, this was nothing. Strictly motored the first 1/3 of the day and then the wind picked up enough to motor sail. I was able to pick up from 1/2 to 1 kt of extra speed with the Genoa up making as much as 7 kts at times. Dick and Kay actually found me about 1100 and took some pictures as I sailed by them. We waved and talked on the phone - great fun. Travelled a total of about 55 miles in 10 hours. I am ready for a break.
The other thing that just amazes me is the wealth that must be down here. North of Vero Beach for miles are multimillion dollar homes stacked right next to each other. Unbelievable - there is hardly any shoreline down here that is not developed. So I included a picture of one of these houses. There are many like it just as nice, and nicer.
Lastly, DIRECTV has a blimp that I constantly find over my head, so you get a picture of that as well. I think this son-of-a-bitch is following me!
Time to go make some dinner. I think I will hang here through tomorrow night and then head south Sunday, but that is subject to change. I am in a marina tied up to a mooring ball. It's cheap and I don't need to worry about the anchor dragging in a big blow at night while I am sleeping. And besides which, there is no place around here to anchor!
02/07/2008, N28° 31.848' W80° 45.267'
I knew there had to be a way for you to find me easily enough given the latitude and longitude coordinates I give you when I give you my location; I just wasn't sure how to do it. My friend Joe finally clued me in tonight. Some of you have probably figured this out already, but if you go to http://maps.google.com/ and copy and paste the coordinates I give you (e.g.: N28° 31.848' W80° 45.267' for when I was near Cape Canaveral) and use the satellite view, you will be able to see within something like 50 - 200 ft. or so of where I actually am. Then you can zoom in or out, whatever you prefer. Now, I am assuming you would like to know this bit of knowledge, and undoubtedly some of you have figured this out already, but for those of us just realizing it, this is some pretty cool shit!
02/06/2008, N28° 31.848’ W80° 45.267’
Not much to write about today but since I did not write yesterday, I thought I would send you another picture of a foggy morning. I really like this one because you can't tell where the water and the sky begin, and the blues are beautiful.
Travelled 6 miles further south and am anchored in the Indian River (part of the ICW) next to the NASA Causeway. As far as I can tell, this puts me about 9 miles from the huge shuttle assembly building, which I can clearly see, and some further distance from the launch pad, however far apart they are. I was there before and I am guessing something like a mile or two. Anyway, if they get this thing off the round without delay (1445 EST) then it should be something to see (and feel, I am told).
Had dinner with Dick and Kay (original owners of Kristinly) last night as well as with Kay's sister Betty and her husband Jim. Had a great time and was treated to a great prime rib. What wonderful people they are. We are going to attempt to get together some time in the future so that they can actually step foot on Kristinly again. She was anchored outside of the marina last night, so all they got was a distant glimpse. But I could see the shear joy in their eyes as they recalled fond memories of the past.
02/04/2008, Titusville, FL
The forecast was for fog and they weren't kidding! Anyone surprised by the Giants winning last night? I was, and am happy the underdogs won. My brother-in-law Doug, however, is probably STILL crying in his beer and will be for some time ...
Had lunch on a place called Hope's Restaurant. Great food cheap in a local atmosphere. Love it! Best part is they do green beans exactly the way my grandmother did!!!!!!!!!
02/03/2008, N28° 37’ 34.0” W80° 48’ 26.3”
Listening to Jimmy Buffet on a Sunday morning with a cup of coffee on the boat at anchor, calm waters, sun shining, shorts and flip flops, and nothing to do but relax for a moment is about as good as it gets. He talks about having a school boy's heart, nomad feet, stout sailor's legs, and a wanderer's eye, among other things, and I think I can relate to all of that right now. I would imagine a day will come when I am tired of my home bobbing up and down in the sea and long for a strong sturdy foundation underneath my feet, but today aint one of 'em!
Arrived at Titusville at 1330 yesterday as planned, set the anchor outside the Titusville Municipal Marina, and proceeded to clean up. I like to shower daily, but if there isn't a good reason to shave, I can let that go for quite a while. After 5 days, even I can't stand it! Probably more than you wanted to know ... Anyway, I checked and the shuttle is still scheduled to launch 7 Feb so I am planning to hang here until then. It sounds like this may be as good of a place as any to see the launch, but I have also heard of an anchorage that is a bit closer to Cape Canaveral, so I might head over that way Wednesday. If the launch gets delayed beyond Thursday, then I will give it up and head south. Perhaps rent a car and come back later to see it off.
Dick and Kay Axelson, the wonderful people who sold me Kristinly, and also the original and only previous owners of her, live about 10 minutes from here. They have been following my progress and Dick reached out yesterday and said to call him when I reached Titusville. I did and we have agreed to meet for dinner Tuesday. Dick and I communicated a fair amount shortly after I bought her and he has been so gracious in offering knowledge about her and helped me with some of the documentation. For those of you who don't know, Dick and Kay named the boat Kristenly after their granddaughter. Of course, everyone knows about my Kristin (nearly the same age as Kristen), and I decided I liked the name too much to change it. It's bad luck to change the name of a boat, but the spelling is different by one letter, and the essence of the meaning behind the name is still there. I may have told you we had a big ceremony this summer praising Neptune and the four winds when we christened her after the name was redone on the transom, so all is good.
Anyway, in a relatively short period of time, I have had the good fortune to meet wonderful people along the way who are so kind and helpful, and I feel so fortunate. I expect this kind of thing will continue. The lesson here for me is you don't have to be on a boat to meet people like this. They have always been there, I just wasn't paying attention. But I am now, and the feeling is remarkable.
Many of you have asked for pictures of the dolphins. I can't seem to get a real good shot of one with the head up, but here is what you get. I watched something interesting yesterday. There was a group of dolphins obviously feeding going in circles and they were driving the bait fish to the surface and the gulls were going mad swooping down and feasting on the little fish, making an incredible racket. It looked like a cooperative feeding frenzy. Mother Nature at her best ...
OK, enough of my musing. Need to get back to reality and go buy some groceries. Enjoy the Superbowl everyone. Go PACKERS! Oops, they didn't make it in did they? Rats ...
01/28/2008, N29° 11’ 54.5”, W81° 00’ 19.0”
As I said in my last update, we were offshore for 3 days and unable to connect to correspond. But here you go:
What a ride! We left the mouth of the Cape Fear River at 1500 Friday. Followed Joe and Deb as planned and the night sailing turned out to be more motoring than anything else - no wind, until 0400 Saturday when the winds picked up and we put the canvas up. The weather continued to be cold, particularly at night. Brent and I worked alternating 3 hour shifts, and sailed non-stop through Sunday. By Sunday morning, at the end of our respective shifts, we were each so tired and cold that we pretty much just climbed into bed while the other stood watch in the cockpit. But all of this has been great learning opportunities. We have been working really well together on this, each bringing different skills and perspectives. We have also been quick to get the other to get some much needed rest. I found myself not eating as well or regularly as I should (like I ever do, but it's even worse out here) and got a little woozy when down below. I think some new vitamins I have been taking also aren't agreeing with me. Anyway, I am back to feeling well.
Back to the wild ride on Saturday night: after following Joe and Deb Friday night and Saturday day, they decided to pull into Savannah, GA. We were going to follow them but decided that we had had enough of this cold weather crap to last a life time and the only way to beat it was to get farther south, so we decided to press on without them. The weather forecast called for 15 - 20 kt NNW winds and 4 -6 ft seas and we felt that heading south, this would be a relatively easy ride. Welllllll, never trust the weather man (NOAA). The evening started out as forecasted, but by about midnight, the winds shifted west and consistently blowing 20 - 30 kts. We saw the wind gauge register 40+ kt gusts and pegged it at 50 kts numerous times, so I don't really know just what we had going on. The seas were mostly a manageable 5 - 6 ft, but there were some rolling around there in the 8 - 12 ft range. For you sailors out there, we reefed the main, furled the Genoa, and left the stay sail up. It was the perfect combination, and even though we were in rough seas on a beam reach, Kristinly really handled it all extremely well and cruised at 6.5 to 7.5 kts consistently. We never felt like we were out of control or in over our heads. We concentrated on staying calm and making good decisions. We were able to sleep some when we were each supposed to be "resting". In fact, it was more the cold that made things most difficult. Were it not for that, I think I would have been having the time of my life. As it was, I was really proud of what we learned and were able to accomplish. I still have an incredible respect for the sea and will never get cocky about this. In summary, we sailed 370 miles in 3 days and at this writing are anchored just off the ICW by Daytona Beach. I will hang here 2 - 3 days to make a few repairs, clean up the boat well and reprovision.
Brent is getting off the boat to go visit some relatives in Florida. I doubt he will return as he promised. Sailing/cruising is really not suited for him, his personality, and I think if he stayed on the boat much longer I would have to ask him to leave. I think he gets that and is therefore doing us both a favor.