12/06/2010, Indian Harbor Beach, FL
After 6+ years of outboard motor problems we bit the bullet and bought a new Mercury outboard at the boat show. Not as big as Bill wanted, bought a 5 hp and he wanted an 8 hp. I had 3 factors for my needs in an outboard: 1. One that I can start 2. One that is reliable and 3. Price. The 5 hp won out since: I tried starting the bigger motors and my arm strength just couldn't do it and the price. There is an $800 difference between the 5 and the 8. Now we need to get rid of our 2 old motors. Bill is putting them on Craig's List and hope they sell since we don't want to take them with us when we leave.
We toured lots of boats, both monohull, multihull and power boats. There was a catamaran that we both liked a lot but definitely not in our future, maybe if we had it to do all over again it would be a possibility. One of the power boats we looked at was $4.5 million; don't think that one is in our future either. We love Walk A-Bout but those brand new boats sure were nice.
It is really cold here with an expected low tonight of 36 degrees. I realize it is not as cold as Minnesota but still this is florida.......lots of sunshine but I want warm temperatures to go with it!!!
12/03/2010, Still in Indian Head Beach
It has now been 4 months since we moved aboard the boat and decided we needed an excuse to sleep in a real bed, so.......we decided to go to the boat show in St. Petersburg. We rented a car today and will leave in the morning. It is about a 3 hour drive from here. Two nights in a hotel and the boat show then return on Monday.
Our boat projects are progressing. Cockpit and hull are washed and partially waxed. One side of the toe rail is all stripped of the old varnish and first coat of new varnish is on with at least another 6 coats to go and the other side to still finish sanding and 6-7 coats on that side to do as well.
Waiting on a couple of packages to arrive, one is new charts and cruising guides for the Keys and the other is sunbrella fabric so I can finish making the enclosure for the cockpit.
We ordered Chinese takeout the other night, talked to the delivery guy and he wanted to know where we are headed next and I told him the Keys. He said to watch out for the mosquitoes down there as they carry something called Dengue Fever. Looks like we will need to buy lots of mosquito repellent before we head down there.
Weather has turned a little chilly - only a high of 70 degrees!! :)
11/27/2010, Telemar Bay Marina
Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Ours was definitely different than we have ever experienced before. We did miss family and turkey dinner but did not miss the freezing temps and snow back in Minnesota. We purchased bikes at the local Walmart soon after arriving so we rode our bikes to the beach, 80 degrees ;) here! and then came back to the boat and grilled chicken for our Thanksgiving dinner. Did Skype with our kids and spoke to parents on the phone.
We are progressing in our boat projects. New head and a new hose from the holding tank is installed, mustache and marks on the hull are gone and about half of the sanding of the toe rail is done. Today is an unplanned day off due to it being overcaste and short showers off and on all day.
Paul, Gaynor and Pepper from 'Meridian' were anchored nearby yesterday. It was great seeing them again, we had cocktails on our boat then walked to a nearby restaurant for dinner.
Bill and I have started researching the next 300 miles - basically from here to Key West. We will probably do several off shore days but don't plan on doing any overnight passages. From what we can tell there is an area down the ICW for about 80 miles with 15+ bridges so that is one area we are thinking of avoiding and going offshore. From Miami south there are two routes: 1. Continue down the ICW, which is basically the westerly (Gulf side) of the Keys or 2. Follow the Hawk Channel (mostly a natural trench that runs along the ocean with the Keys on one side and a reef on the other side). There are pluses and minuses for each option. The ICW route has a lot more anchoring options but some very shallow water. The Hawk Channel would be faster with more depth but few good places to anchor for the night but several good spots for us to stop and do some scuba diving. Still have some time to figure it out.
11/21/2010, Indian Harbor Beach, FL
We are at the Telemar Marina in Indian Harbor Beach and will be staying here until approximately December 20th. This will give us some needed time to do some boat projects and a visit back to Minnesota. The marina is within 4 miles of West Marine and only about a mile to a Publix (grocery store), restaurants and the beach. We decided to buy a couple of bikes which will allow us to go a little farther and faster than on foot.
I plan on only doing a weekly update to the blog over the next month since I'm sure no one wants to read about things like replacing the head (toilet) and washing and waxing the hull.
11/16/2010, Palm Coast, FL
It's been a few days since I last updated the blog. After leaving Fernandina we stayed one night in Jacksonville Beach at Beach Marina. The marina was fine, only problem (which is a big drawback) was no potable water available. Next stop for 3 nights was St. Augustine. We picked up a mooring ball (first try too!). The cost of mooring is only $20 per night, much easier on the cruising kitty than staying at a marina.
We both really liked St. Augustine a lot, ranks up there with our top favorite places we have stopped at so far. It was Pirate Days so lots of people dressed up as pirates, we missed the pirate parade which was right before we arrived. We toured the old fort and did a lot of walking around the town. We met Mike and Francie of 'Anan Cara" for a couple of drinks on Saturday. Monday night Paul and Gaynor of 'Meridian' invited us to their boat for cocktails and Paul's Indian Curry.......yummy.
11/11/2010, Fernandina, FL
It looks like we are good to head out again tomorrow morning. After 2 days of having the diesel engine mechanic here it basically ended up being a fuel filter problem. Won't go into a lot of detail but I'll just say we had a discussion concerning the bill and ended up with a compromise on the end price.
As we were waiting for the mechanic to come back today Paul & Gaynor of 'Meridian' pulled up in their dink, great to see them again. They came back in the evening, we ordered pizza and had a good time catching up with them since we last saw them when they were trying to pull us off the sand bar back in South Carolina.
We have decided to find a marina to stay for about a month to do, for us, a major boat project - the head. Plan to replace the head, holding tank and hoses. Hopefully it will take us a lot less than a month but based on pricing it might be cheaper to get a slip for a month than for a week. The other thing we need to look into is a solar system for the boat. Since we plan on heading down to the Keys and anchoring out a lot we need to have an alternative energy source.
Tomorrow night we should be in the Jacksonville area.