August Sun

16 June 2013 | Marathon, Florida
16 June 2013 | Marathon, Florida
05 August 2012 | Bradenton, Tampa, Florida
07 April 2012 | Panama City, Florida
09 March 2012 | New Orleans - Part 1
08 March 2012 | ICW
07 March 2012 | ICW
06 March 2012 | Intercoastal City
05 March 2012 | Lake Arthur
04 March 2012 | Bow Tie Marina
03 March 2012 | ICW
02 March 2012 | Kemah, Texas
29 February 2012 | Kemah - but not for long!
22 February 2012 | Kemah - Still!
12 February 2012 | Kemah, Texas

On the Move - Again......

16 June 2013 | Marathon, Florida
Glorious weather
The Atlantic – So far, so good! No animals were harmed or lives lost!
It has been over a year since I put finger to pad to update our travels – much has happened - as it always does with us!
Some data:
• We have travelled 6840 miles since we bought the boat;
• Max speed was 10.4 knots – this was sailing in the Inter Coastal Waterway, Kathy on the helm and the boat ‘rounded up’ – she nervously looked at me said – ‘what was that’ I explained that sailing boats do that when over canvassed – Hmm…. She did not like that!
• Average moving speed 4.2 knots, which ain’t bad!

We had the hurricane season in twin Dolphin Marina in Bradenton (Tampa) Florida and loved it. Pool at the end of the quay, amateur theater 300 meters way, Saturday Street Market that sold produce and arty farty stuff….. We met some very interesting people; J (name withheld to protect the guilty) was a female ex- New York Cop, who ran a local store, was a hoot to be around – the stories she had – even I, and with 20 years at sea, often blushed! She would occasionally ‘break out’ and go on a binge and everyone would warn everyone else to hide for a couple of days……. Then back to normal …. Not surprising, her last job in the NYPD was to identify body parts and put as much of them as they could together for burial after 9/11. Truly a lovely person! We also had a another yacht, just down the dock from us thrown out of the marina, for painting all his anchor chain on the dock, but did not put anything down before he did it, an ‘unusual decorative pattern’ was the result which he felt was OK….. Hmmm. One morning I was walking India, who is not known for her tender nature to other dogs, and a little old (about 103 yo, by my guess) lady who would have weighed 50kg soaking wet, was walking her German Shepard puppy, who was nearly full grown and taller than her. The dog beamed in on India and off it went, with the little old skidding along behind and about a 45 degree angle to line of direction she was being dragged in. I lifted India out over the sea wall and so as to keep them apart. To which I said ‘Lady, get your dog under control’. She hauled the dog off and got about 20 meters away and looked at me and ‘Fuck off – nasty man’! It takes a lot to make me speechless but she did it – she did not look as if she would even know THAT word!!.

Anyway we left Bradenton on the 28th November and sailed and motored to Burnt Store Marina at Punta Gorda. Quite an unusual place 15 mile for the nearest store in any direction and it was a large housing complex maybe 2000 people, totally isolated? We had New Year at the restaurant just by the boat which was great, but every Thursday was Karaoke ….. Aghhhhhhh…….. do I really sound like that when I am drunk??? We caught up Jerry and Lee Anne (Bella - 47’ Ketch) as they were returning from the Bahamas and watched and ate our way through the Super Bowl.

Next was Calsua Island Marina in Goodland (near Marco Island). We went via Fort Myer Beach to see Gary and Lisa (42’ sloop), but they got caught up when someone let them down and couldn’t make it to the boat. Unfortunately Gary was run over and killed the following week – wow where did that come from?? On passage from Fort Myers Beach to Calusa Island you need to go half way to Key West to get around the Remano Shoals, we were overtaken by a front and ran into Marco Island instead ahead of 30 knot winds and 15 feet seas, just in the nick of time. Had we tried to carry on we would have been in trouble trying to get around the shoals and reefs! Calusa Island Marina is a true delight. It is very difficult to get into and out of – but worth every moment of the effort. Wild manatees + dolphins playing around the boat, no houses and when taking the dogs for a walk (yes, we have 2 now, SCAT a 4 month old Boston Terrier….) I was confronted on the boardwalk with a bobcat – one with paws, not tires – do you know how bloody big those things are? About the size of full grown Boxer dog – What me scared – never….. I left it eat the dogs whilst I ran in the opposite direction. It could not have been hungry as the two dogs came home eventually!

At the beginning of June, we came around Key West and into the Atlantic – yippeeeee! We are currently at Marathon in the Florida Keys and will be heading to Blues Waters Marina, Tavernier, just south of Key Largo for the Hurricane season. THEN, drum roll…… over to the Bahamas for a year at Marsh Harbor on Great Abacos Island
I am planning to retire in November, but will keep Kathy working for about another 10 – 15 years so I don’t run out of anything…….. I will pay for that statement!

On the Move - Again......

16 June 2013 | Marathon, Florida
Glorious weather
The Atlantic – So far, so good! No animals were harmed or lives lost!
It has been over a year since I put finger to pad to update our travels – much has happened - as it always does with us!
Some data:
• We have travelled 6840 miles since we bought the boat;
• Max speed was 10.4 knots – this was sailing in the Inter Coastal Waterway, Kathy on the helm and the boat ‘rounded up’ – she nervously looked at me said – ‘what was that’ I explained that sailing boats do that when over canvassed – Hmm…. She did not like that!
• Average moving speed 4.2 knots, which ain’t bad!

We had the hurricane season in twin Dolphin Marina in Bradenton (Tampa) Florida and loved it. Pool at the end of the quay, amateur theater 300 meters way, Saturday Street Market that sold produce and arty farty stuff….. We met some very interesting people; J (name withheld to protect the guilty) was a female ex- New York Cop, who ran a local store, was a hoot to be around – the stories she had – even I, and with 20 years at sea, often blushed! She would occasionally ‘break out’ and go on a binge and everyone would warn everyone else to hide for a couple of days……. Then back to normal …. Not surprising, her last job in the NYPD was to identify body parts and put as much of them as they could together for burial after 9/11. Truly a lovely person! We also had a another yacht, just down the dock from us thrown out of the marina, for painting all his anchor chain on the dock, but did not put anything down before he did it, an ‘unusual decorative pattern’ was the result which he felt was OK….. Hmmm. One morning I was walking India, who is not known for her tender nature to other dogs, and a little old (about 103 yo, by my guess) lady who would have weighed 50kg soaking wet, was walking her German Shepard puppy, who was nearly full grown and taller than her. The dog beamed in on India and off it went, with the little old skidding along behind and about a 45 degree angle to line of direction she was being dragged in. I lifted India out over the sea wall and so as to keep them apart. To which I said ‘Lady, get your dog under control’. She hauled the dog off and got about 20 meters away and looked at me and ‘Fuck off – nasty man’! It takes a lot to make me speechless but she did it – she did not look as if she would even know THAT word!!.

Anyway we left Bradenton on the 28th November and sailed and motored to Burnt Store Marina at Punta Gorda. Quite an unusual place 15 mile for the nearest store in any direction and it was a large housing complex maybe 2000 people, totally isolated? We had New Year at the restaurant just by the boat which was great, but every Thursday was Karaoke ….. Aghhhhhhh…….. do I really sound like that when I am drunk??? We caught up Jerry and Lee Anne (Bella - 47’ Ketch) as they were returning from the Bahamas and watched and ate our way through the Super Bowl.

Next was Calsua Island Marina in Goodland (near Marco Island). We went via Fort Myer Beach to see Gary and Lisa (42’ sloop), but they got caught up when someone let them down and couldn’t make it to the boat. Unfortunately Gary was run over and killed the following week – wow where did that come from?? On passage from Fort Myers Beach to Calusa Island you need to go half way to Key West to get around the Remano Shoals, we were overtaken by a front and ran into Marco Island instead ahead of 30 knot winds and 15 feet seas, just in the nick of time. Had we tried to carry on we would have been in trouble trying to get around the shoals and reefs! Calusa Island Marina is a true delight. It is very difficult to get into and out of – but worth every moment of the effort. Wild manatees + dolphins playing around the boat, no houses and when taking the dogs for a walk (yes, we have 2 now, SCAT a 4 month old Boston Terrier….) I was confronted on the boardwalk with a bobcat – one with paws, not tires – do you know how bloody big those things are? About the size of full grown Boxer dog – What me scared – never….. I left it eat the dogs whilst I ran in the opposite direction. It could not have been hungry as the two dogs came home eventually!

At the beginning of June, we came around Key West and into the Atlantic – yippeeeee! We are currently at Marathon in the Florida Keys and will be heading to Blues Waters Marina, Tavernier, just south of Key Largo for the Hurricane season. THEN, drum roll…… over to the Bahamas for a year at Marsh Harbor on Great Abacos Island
I am planning to retire in November, but will keep Kathy working for about another 10 – 15 years so I don’t run out of anything…….. I will pay for that statement!

Close Encounter of the Military Kind – Again!

05 August 2012 | Bradenton, Tampa, Florida
Hot and Wet!
And over the VHF came 'This is the Unites States Air Force Launch, AF1 - you are in a missile testing zone and a live exercise is in progress with the US Air Force and you must leave the area now' at which point, an F-111 flew overhead, just above mast height! I replied 'We have a flare gun and a vicious dog on board (India, Boston Terrier) - you don't scare us' - well that's what I wanted to say, but Kathy said I mustn't ....................... Instead I said 'Yes, Sir, pleased to oblige'

We were on passage from Panama City to Tampa Florida (200 miles), it was a beautiful, early evening, clear sky, deep water, wind on the starboard beam and we were having a class of white wine for 'Sundowners' - and in steps the military to screw it up! To be fair, the Coast Guard had been announcing it on VHF 22Alpha all day, but.................. Anyway we headed south - and we only 1 mile into the zone.

We left St Andrews Marina, Panama City on the 28th June after spending 3 months there - we LOVED it (apart from the biker bar just opposite our berth, which had loud music, excessive drinking and fights. Kathy and I tried hard to compete, but they were professionals!) I had just come back from Romania, where I was working on the southern slope of the Transylvanian Alp's (and yes, it had biting wind - Ha!) whilst my Kathy had stayed on the boat, as Tropical Storm Debby passed directly overhead! It was a big rush to get ready, but there was an 'ideal weather window' behind the storm front. We anchored overnight in St Joe's Bay at Eagle Harbor - truly a beautiful spot and a chance to empty the Fuzzle.

The run across was uneventful on our boat (the way we like it!), but a lot was going on around us and we were 60 miles out to sea! 3 guys were picked up in a life raft after their barge sank in the storm and they were adrift for 3 days in a coastal life raft (little provisions and water) and were in a bad way. We heard of 2 lots of distress flares being set off via the VHF, and a pontoon boat was found 50 miles out to sea with no one on it!

We made landfall at Tarpon Springs and stayed overnight at the Turtle Cove Marina - great little place! Tarpon Spring is predominantly Greek and the main industry for many years was sponges. There are museums about the early days and the sponge divers. Had Greek meal that night and headed out to Tampa the next morning.

We are currently at Twin Dolphins Marina, Bradenton to hide out for the hurricane season, then we head southwest to Key West, with a few stops along the way, and then to Marathon and preparation for the run across to the Bahamas, Exumas Islands and Cuba (we need to be careful, as this is still an embargoed country by the US and if Kathy spends money there she can be arrested for 'Aiding the Enemy'! - How long ago was the revolution and the Bay of Pigs?)

Anyway, we are getting settled into life here in Tampa and the marina is top class (http://twindolphinmarina.com/). Mitch and Rachel (his girlfriend) came over for 3 weeks and they did the usual tourist bit, LA and Disney Land, New Orleans and Bourbon Street, then 2 weeks with us. We went up to Crystal River, which is the only place in the US you can swim with wild manatees and they did not let us down. I was swimming beside a little calf, about 4' long, when mummy came up UNDER me! It was like watch Red October surface! About 12 ft long and a huge tail, which I did not want a closer look at! They are very tame and they let you scratch their noses and belly - I did roll over and offer to let people do it to me - but I got no takers - COWARDS!!

We had a week in Miami and Nikki, Kathy's daughter joined us - again we did the tourist bit! - all the Keys down to Key West, airboat riding in the Everglades, etc..
Last weekend we spent at the St Petersburg yacht Clubs and loved every minute of it! People refer to St Petersburg as 'old Florida' and it is easy to see why. Lovely old building and parks and great restaurants.... We did however have a tragic return trip to Twin Dolphin when we did a recovery of the body of a 32 year old man who had jumped of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge (180' from span to sea), but at the time we did not know that was where he had come from the bridge - we thought it was off one of the same vessels nearby. Very sad.....

Well, I need to go back to my bunk, as I am nursing a hangover as the result of a good night at the marina, where Kathy forced me to drink too many screwdrivers and had the audacity to tell my this morning that it was own fault!............... I was just being polite and joining in! Ho hum........................

FLORIDA!!

07 April 2012 | Panama City, Florida
Him - Great!
Martin: 'Why aren't they carrying Bibles'?
Kathy: 'What?...Who'?
Martin: 'Those guys in the white shirts and ties'
Kathy: 'Why should they carry Bibles - they are business men'?
Martin: 'Oh - I thought they were Mormons come to preach the Good Word'
Kathy: 'What!!! - Why'?
Martin: 'Cause in Texas only Mormons where white shirts and ties.....................................'

We're in Florida! Yesssssssssssssssssssssssss!

We had a dream trip over from New Orleans - with added excitements as well. Crossing the Mississippi delta, just after New Orleans, we ran into thick fog - I mean 50' (15m) visibility - the forecast had said light fog but.................. Before we left Texas we made the decision to bite the bullet and have an AIS (Automatic Identification System) transmitter and receiver installed. This allowed us to see other vessels as well as be seen. So, how is that different from radar? Well, it certainly is not a substitute for radar - it does not show a vessel without AIS, but the advantage over radar is that it provides information on your vessel, such as, name, type, course, speed, status, anchored, etc. This is a must for anyone transiting the ICW. It means that other people can identify you and you them (even if you can't understand what they say when they call you on the radio!). During the crossing of the Mississippi delta, we managed to:

• Try to run into a 20' thick wall - they are building a flood gate station across the ICW just outside New Orleans - this is not on the paper or electronic charts! A guy who was controlling the traffic called us, by name, and advised us that if we keep going on our course will make our boat considerably shorter! The fog was so thick they sent out a workboat to lead us through the construction area! That's service. When I advised him that we were also hungry and could he come and prepare lunch for us, he declined - I guess service only goes so far!
• Moor on a pile (wooden pole driven into the sea bed) as it was really quite dangerous to keep going at this stage, but the all-seeing man at the flood gate station called us, AGAIN, and advised us the a barge carrying 5,000 tons of benzene was going to tie up there very soon. How inconsiderate. I asked him if he realized who we were? - he was not impressed!
• Get run down by the afore mentioned barge carrying 5,000 tons of benzene - actually this is a gross exaggeration, as we saw each other on the AIS and we negotiated how we were going to pass . We were only 100' apart we hardly saw each other. We did eventually anchor for about 2 hours until the fog started to lift.

The transiting of the Mississippi delta, after the fog cleared was an absolute delight. A 10' spotted dolphin adopted us for about 20 minutes - just to plague India - she would stand rigid and shake, with an expression of 'what is it - Aghhhhh'?

We made a number of overnights/longer stays which we fabulous, such as:

• Point Cadet Marina, Biloxi, Mississippi -here is where we 'washed our fuel'? Some of you may of have heard of fuel polishing' (running all your fuel through a fine filter and having the tank/s cleaned out). This is the DIY version, when one person fills the fuel tank - and leaves the plug out (me) and another person washed the deck down and water goes into the fuel tank and pushes out afore said fuel (Kathy). Ummmm.... A day later we had the engine running again! Ho hum - the joys of cruising!
• Lu Lu's restaurant at Homeport Alabama - this is owned by Jimmy Buffets sister and is a great place for a Margarita and a burger!
• Palafox Marina, Pensacola, Florida - great place to stop. Fabulous restaurant overlooking the marina and the city is just the best, with everything that you could want (even a Greek food store just down the road). We stayed there a little longer than expected and we had a double front came thorough, which decided to stop right over us! 3 days of 30 knot winds, rain thunder, etc. BUT, being in Pensacola made up for it!

Also, Pensacola was the end of ICW passage and now it was the big boys stuff - the Gulf of Mexico! When we entered Pensacola Bay, we watched the water turn from ICW turd brown to crystal clear green/blue (I must confess to there being a visible stirring in my nether regions..... Kathy said that I could put that away and stop being silly!

Anyway, when we did get a weather window we made for Panama City, via Destin - to empty the Fuzzle. The trips can only be described as 'magic' - although the wind was light - clear blue sky, golden sun, clear blue sea - Ooop's ... there's a stirring happening again! We had booked a berth at Treasures Marina at Destin but made the decision to anchor overnight instead and empty Fuzzle using the dingy. THAT WAS A GOOD MOVE! The place is Party Town! We were 3 miles down the bay and the music still made the glasses rattle on the boat!

We are now in Panama City, having decided that we could not take the chance on poor internet connections at Port St Joe, as Kathy relies on that for work (Port St Joe is beautiful, but tiny!). I love where we are in Panama City - firstly, I love Florida, pity about the old people - hang on a minute, I am one of them! We are at St Andrews Marina on the south east side of the bay, I can only describe it as a maidens dream come true (me being the maiden - well , my feminine side at least!), safe, secure, bars and restaurants all around us, a farmers market in the marina on a Saturday morning, selling homemade bread and fresh produce. I know the history and lives of more people on our dock than I ever knew in all the places I have ever lived! There is even a guy at the end if the dock, who lives aboard a 20' yacht with his scruffy, pound puppy, called Gizmo, who plays the bongos every evening - my kinda guy!. ALSO, each night, a few minutes before sunset people blow on horns and conch shells to remind everyone to watch the sun go down!

'Taint a bad life we've got!

The Journey, Not the Destination – New Orleans

19 March 2012 | New Orleans
Yes
Our trip across to New Orleans has been full of adventure - yeee har! I have often heard that the ICW is just an industrial highway- but, dat ain't so! We have had a great time and been to some wonderful place and seen some amazing things - we have not dropped the anchor once, but stayed at docks or marinas all the way over. I have attached some photos of the various places we stayed at.

We did manage to get boarded by: US Coast guard, Immigration and Homeland Security waiting for a bridge to open outside Houma, Louisiana - what the f....? Anyway, we had nothing to hide and they searched the boat from one end to the other. I was asked if I had been arrested and then he asked me if Kathy had - the Homeland Security guy said - 'Hmmm, this might not be a good time to find out!!'

Between Houma and New Orleans we managed to get a tree between the hull and the propeller - much clunking and juddering and we eventually cleared it, so we will need a haul out or I/Kathy will dive on it in Florida, if the water is warm enough.

I had one of the best meals of my life in a little restaurant in Morgan City called Jo Jo's - at first I had some reservations about the place, as it was boarded and shuttered with iron bars on the windows - but once inside it was like Aladdin's Cave! I cannot recommend this place highly enough - it is worth taking a detour for! Also, Bow Tie Marina on Lake Charles is a delight and a pleasure to go to. It is also the local Coast Guard base - very secure.

On our passage from the ICW to the Mississippi, took us along the Industrial Canal and I had an argument with the bridge master at the La Palco bridge - the man was so rude and angry - the bridge had electrical problems but he did not let us know what that meant or how long it would take. After 1 hour of standby, I asked him if he knew when we might transit, as there was a weather front moving through - he blew a fuse and shouted at me to go to a marina! As we all know I do not take kindly to people losing it with me, so I call the office of the Director of Transport. Eventually they shut the bridge down and we had the transit via the Algiers Canal.

Anyway, we did get to Seabrook Marina on the Industrial Canal and had 3 nights there. I need to say that outside the tourist areas of New Orleans, it is a dangerous dump! So much is still in ruins 7 years after Katrina and there is a general lethargy about the place which is depressing. We had originally planned to stay here for a couple of months - but we got out as soon as we could - we had to travel 30 miles to Slidell on the other side of Lake Pontchartrain to do our laundry as all the others were to unsafe!! I am re-reading a book called The Great Deluge by Douglas Brinkley - which tells the real story of Hurricane Katrina - well worth a read!

Some of you may be asking why we stop overnight at marinas? We have two reasons for that:
1. We like our creature comfort and to see the places and sites; and
2. We need to 'Empty the Fuzzle'- eh? We recently read a book called 'Bumfuzzle' by Patrick Schulte ( Another recommended read, even if you are not a sailor) and we decided that the name Fuzzle was much more suited to India's (our Boston Terrier dog). So, I am sure you work out what 'Emptying the Fuzzle' is? We have to do this at 12 hour periods - hence, the lazy way we are making it to Florida.

Next: Florida or bust!

The first six hours.....

09 March 2012 | New Orleans - Part 1
Kathy/Cloudy, rain, E15 to N 15-20
Part 1
We had heard all the horror stories about heading east on the ICW and up until today were wondering what all the issues were. We left Houma at approximately 6:15 AM . We arrived just outside New Orleans at approximately 12:30 - and tied up to the Seabrook Marina which is located in New Orleans at 9:45 that night. We transited the Bayou Blue Pontoon Bridge, had quite a wait at the West Larose Bridge which was incorrectly labeled SR21 in Active Captain. One thing that you need to know about bridge handlers - if you don't know the name of their bridge - they will not answer. If you get no response use VHF 13 and call a barge captain to get the correct name. It will save you tremendous time and frustration. When we finally found out the correct name of the bridge - we had hit curfew. This is a time that some bridges will not open - usually due to traffic conditions - not a coffee break - although......? While we were waiting for the bridge to open a small boat filled with large uniformed persons and bright flashing blue lights approached us - that's right - we were boarded by the US Coast Guard. The Coast Guard brought their friends from Homeland Security and Immigration and ATF. The only group that didn't participate in the boarding and subsequent search of our boat was the DEA. They found nothing - no surprise - but it emphasized the need to have your paperwork, your safety equipment and your plumbing up-to-date, on board, and Y-valves in place and locked. If you don't know the regulations necessary - take the time to read up on them. This could have been a very costly stop had we not been prepared. Instead it was very interesting, and had its funny moments - at one point I had one of these very professional and strapping young men carrying up my purse so I could get out my ID as I was busy steering the boat in circles at the time. While they were searching the boat and questioning my "alien" I asked the young man who remained in the cockpit with me filling out the paperwork - Why Us? His reply was that the decision had been made to target Houma and we were the only pleasure boat out in this weather - Hmmm - does that make us intrepid or idiots? This little delay - while interesting - cost us about an hour and a half.
Vessel Name: August Sun
Vessel Make/Model: 40' Jeanneau Sun Odyssey
Hailing Port: Kemah, Texas
Crew: Martin, Kathy, India & Scarlet (Scat)
About: Life has changed for India - rat mutt junior (Scat) has arrived!
Extra: ..... and is on constant 'Dolphin watch'!
Home Page: http://www.sailblogs.com/member/runningwild
August Sun's Photos - Main
The latest travels and crew addition
11 Photos
Created 16 June 2013
Florida!
14 Photos
Created 7 April 2012
26 Photos
Created 10 March 2012
Trinity Bay - Galveston Bay
16 Photos
Created 24 February 2012
Hull clean and skin fitting renewal + dripless coupling
9 Photos
Created 24 February 2012
The dawg
6 Photos
Created 24 February 2012
Das my girl!
3 Photos
Created 24 February 2012
Kemah Texas
20 Photos
Created 24 February 2012
Lats and Atts Spring Fling - Freeport 2011
7 Photos
Created 24 February 2012
Galveston to Port Aransas Rave 2011
9 Photos
Created 24 February 2012

August Sun

Who: Martin, Kathy, India & Scarlet (Scat)
Port: Kemah, Texas