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Puffin II's Log
Cooley's Landing
Even warmer than yesterday
02/06/2013, Fort Lauderdale

I had reserved a slip at Cooley's Landing Marine on the New River for 5 nights starting today. The current on the river runs up to 3 knots so it is important to plan an arrival at slack tide to get into a slip. This must be the best deal in Ft Lauderdale: Around $1 a foot, plus $10 for electric a day. You are in the middle of town and are entertained by a constant procession of boats large and small going up and down the river. I'll be here for a few days, hope to meet some old friends, and then on to Miami Beach for the Miami boat show.

ICW trip 2012-2013
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19 bridges
Nice and warm
02/04/2013, Lake Sylvia, Ft Lauderdale

The wealthy part of Florida starts at the Palm Beaches. The houses are getting bigger and bigger, and so do the motor yachts. When passing the Rybovich Marine Center I saw Steve Jobs's yacht Venus. He may have had a keen sense of style when designing Apple products, but lost it completely when working on the design of this floating monstrosity. Most modern mega-yachts are not pretty; they all look much like wedding cakes, but Jobs's yacht turned out even uglier than that. Good luck selling this POS. Can't imagine the De Vries yard in Aalsmeer had much fun building it

The ICW between Lake Worth and Fort Lauderdale has 19 low bridges. I had never done the inside route before (with Curlew we went outside on our trips south), but thanks to Puffin's low clearance only 3 bridges had to open. Most of this stretch of the ICW is a no-wake zone, supposedly because of the manatees. As a one of the authors of a cruising website facetiously noted, it seems that manatees concentrate in the areas of the mega mansions. Of course I did not see one manatee on this trip.

Dropped anchor in Lake Sylvia at 1510. I counted 15 other boats. This anchorage has become more popular over the years. When I was here 6 years ago there were only a few other boats anchored. There is no dinghy landing, but when you go through one of the canals to the ICW and enter another canal further west at the end you will the Southport Raw Bar. Free dinghy tie-up if you eat there. Happy hour oysters and beer are cheap and delicious. Shopping is plentiful across the street.

Fort Lauderdale must have the highest concentration of faux Spanish mansions, with the occasional modern art museum look-a-like thrown in. And the number of mega yachts is astounding. When you cross the ICW on the way from Lake Sylvia to the canal to the raw bar, you pass marinas specifically dedicated to these yachts.

ICW trip 2012-2013
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Lake Worth

Today was a short trip from Stuart to the anchorage in Lake Worth, near West Palm Beach. Very breezy from the north, anchored close the north shore and put out 100ft of chain.

ICW trip 2012-2013
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Mary reincarnated?
01/30/2013, Stuart, FL

I left Vero Beach at 0805 and after a bouncy ride on the Indian River with a 20 knot breeze turned into the St Lucie River at 1235. Picked up a mooring at Sunset Bay Marine in Stuart at 1340 . On Thursday morning it was rainy, breezy and cold. I had to run the genset and run a space heater for a while to warm up the cabin. Time to go ashore and do laundry. Later that morning I ran into a diver and I asked him to come out to Puffin II and clean the prop and rudder, and replace some of the zincs. Later I had dinner with Tom and Sylvia from Sylestial Star.

In November, in Georgetown SC, I saw a nice looking older Pearson sailboat, named "Mary T" (picture in the photo gallery side bar). I thought that was an unusual name for a boat. Was it Mary who had reincarnated as a sailboat and following me on my trip? (She did have a vague belief in reincarnation.) And now here in Stuart is another sailboat by that name. This one a Morgan 38, with a full cockpit enclosure. I hate full cockpit enclosures. Was she trying to tell me something?

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Vero Beach

Again we had a pod of dolphins following us and playing in Puffin's bow wave. There were three, one of which was a baby dolphin.

The last time I was in Vero Beach, on our first trip south with Curlew in early December 2006, we had to raft up as the third boat on a mooring. It appeared that the boat we were assigned to raft to was in less than pristine condition: No cleats that we could use to temporarily tie up to, lots of junk on deck, and nobody on board to give us a hand. The boat looked OK from a distance, but close up it was just fresh paint over lots of rotted wood. The whole event was described in one of Mary's emails to friends and family at the time. I don't have a copy of that email anymore: If there is anybody who still has a copy, please let me know.

This time I was on a mooring by myself. December is the height of the southbound travel circus, and January is a much quieter month. I stayed a couple of days and used the free bus shuttle to re-provision. Also filled up the fuel and water tanks, and had the empty propane tank refilled. Had drinks and dinner with Frank, an old friend from Baltimore, who had moved ashore in Vero Beach a year ago.

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Cocoa Village

Anchor up at 0730 for the 56 SM to Cocoa Village. We were stuck behind a slow moving tug in the Haulover Canal. After talking to the tug captain over the VHF I was able to pass slowly once we were out of the canal

Later, where there was deeper water outside the channel, I re-swung the fluxgate compass that had developed significant deviation after I replaced the water heater in Baltimore last fall. This process did eliminate most of the deviation, but as soon as I turned off the DC power to the electronics it reverted back to its original setting and the deviation returned. Somehow it does not keep the setting in permanent memory, despite what the manual says.

Dropped anchor in the Cocoa Village anchorage at 1415, and went ashore to buy a couple of spare hose clamps. Finally shorts weather again, temperature in the low 80s.

ICW trip 2012-2013
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Rockhouse Creek, near Ponce de Leon Inlet

Again underway at 0800. There are a few shallow spots in this section of the ICW, but with Puffin's shallow draft, and a tidal rise of 2ft we had no problem navigating the shallow areas near Matanzas Inlet. Finally we had dolphins playing in the bow wave for some time. I had seen them on many occasions before on this trip, but they didn't seem to like Puffin as much as they did Curlew.

We anchored in Rockhouse Creek near Ponce de Leon Inlet at 1625. A very pretty anchorage, protected from the ocean swell by the sandbanks in the inlet.

When I checked the oil level in the engine and the genset I discovered that there was oil in the oil drip pan at the bottom of the genset enclosure. It appears that the oil dipstick runs through a rubber hose that has a 90 deg bend, and then fits over a metal tube that is connected to the genset's oil pan. This hose had become detached. No surprise, as it was only held to the metal tube with a cable tie, where you would expect a hose clamp. The flexible dipstick over time had slowly worked the hose off its barb. I had to remove several access panels in order to get to the hose and finally was able to reconnect it and secure it with a hose clamp.

ICW trip 2012-2013
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Changes in St Augustine
01/22/2013, St Augustine, FL

I left Jacksonville at 0800 and noticed on the compass that I was heading north for the first few miles. Not exactly where I wanted to go, but that was the direction to get back to the ICW. When I returned to the Ortega marina on Tuesday the temperature was 80 deg. Shorts at last!. Next day, and the following days, the temperature did not get much above 50 during the day and high 30s at night. Brrrr!... Long pants, sweater and the heater on. Time to head south fast.

At 1015 I re-entered the ICW and I picked up a mooring in St Augustine at 1510. Quite a few changes since Mary and I last visited here: The Bridge of Lyons is now fully restored (or, more likely, completely rebuilt and way over budget at huge expense, and finished years later than planned), the derelict boats in the anchorage all gone (but now you have to pay $20 a night for a mooring).

It is a sign of the times: the great used book store had a going out of business sale. As I have observed before, the bookstore in downtown Charleston had closed, and so had the small independent bookstore in Beaufort SC. But for $7 I picked up a copy of Simon Schama's book about the French revolution. After this purchase I walked the mile to Sailor's Exchange, a wonderful store/junkyard which sells mostly used and some new boating equipment. A true treasure trove. And guess what I found: pull rings for the access panels to some of the lockers on Curlew that I had been looking for forever. I took 6, 3 short and 3 long. When I was ready to settle, the person behind the counter said "$40, but just give me $30". When I reacted surprised and told him that they came from a bin that listed them as $3 each, he commented that that must have a bin that was used for different items before. He ripped the sign off the bin, but told me that I was the last person to get them for $3!

ICW trip 2012-2013
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Jacksonville Landing, again
01/21/2013, Jacksonville, FL

After filling the larders and the water tanks we were ready to leave. The first day's trip was a short one: Back to Jacksonville Landing. Unfortunately, my "favorite" spot across from Hooters was taken. I had to settle for a spot at the Fionn McCool Irish Restaurant and Bar. Dinner at Vito's Italian Café.

ICW trip 2012-2013
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The trip continues
01/20/2013, Ortega Landing marina

After celebrating the holidays with friends and family in Philadelphia I took the train to Jacksonville and arrived back on board on Wednesday, January 16. Puffin II looked exactly as I had left her, except for lots of spider poop and a yellow sheen of pollen covering the decks. Pollen in January? I guess in Florida there is pollen year-round. After a thorough wash-down Puffin looked as clean as ever.

When I left in December I had unplugged the AC shore power system, and let the solar panels that I had installed last summer keep the batteries charged. This was to prevent premature wear on the zincs. The batteries were fully charged when I got back. I checked the fluid levels but the solar charging system had worked as designed.

I then installed an exhaust temperature alarm system. I heard of this gadget during the Trawlerfest seminars that I attended in Baltimore last fall and ordered one while I was in Philadelphia. It is supposed to trigger an audible alarm if there is no cooling water flow into the exhaust system before the engine itself overheats. It was easy to install. See the pictures in the side bar under Photo Gallery and Projects.

ICW trip 2012-2013
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End of part one of this trip
Thierry, sunny
11/29/2012, Ortega Landing Marina

We filled up with diesel at Lamb's Yacht Center and then moved to the Ortega Landing Marina. This is where I will leave Puffin II to return to Philadelphia for the holidays. I'll be back on board on January 16. Greg will leave Puffin tomorrow. He was an excellent crew member and a great companion on this trip.

ICW trip 2012-2013
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11/28/2012, Jacksonville Landing

It was quite hazy when we left, but the light fog burned off later in the day. Underway at 0735. An American Cruise Lines boat was ahead of us, and they were moving slowly through the winding and narrow channel. We passed two sailboats, but stayed behind the cruise boat. From the AIS application I could see that she was bound for St Augustine and as we were going to Jacksonville we would be free of her once we entered the St Johns River. Before we tied up at the public Jacksonville Landing we tried to get fuel at the Riverside Marina, but nobody responded to our VHF or phone calls, and there was nobody at the dock, so we left. Once we tied up at the public dock, Greg pointed out to me that I had picked a spot almost directly across from a Hooters restaurant. (No, we did not eat there this time.) Besides the typical harbor pavilion with chain restaurants and some shops there was not much else.

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Who: Thierry Danz
Port: Philadelphia, PA
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