01/13/2011, Key West, FL
Still on a mooring ball here in Key West, currently with 25+ mph winds. High winds expected for the next couple of days. Bill had a very wet dinghy ride in this morning, I opted to stay aboard and stay dry.
My son and daughter (Chris and Laura) were here for 6 days, we had a great visit with them. Their flights back were cancelled several times due to weather here, Atlanta and Minneapolis. But they finally made it back to Minneapolis, one a day late. We stayed 3 nights in a marina, 2 nights at the Westin and 1 night at Key West Bight Marina. I can definitely say that I prefer being at a dock than being on a mooring ball.
Bill, Laura and Chris fished from the boat here in the mooring field and almost caught a baby hammerhead shark, did catch 2 small nurse sharks and a bird. The bird decided to go for the bait fish and took the fish, hook and bobber with him. It was one of those extremely funny then sad experiences. Once they reeled the bird out of the sky they tried to get the hook out, with no luck it was stuck in the beak. Finally let the bird go, did get the bobber back though.
Saturday is the start of race week here in Key West, not sure what the activities are but all the marinas are full with incoming race boats.
Starting to think about moving on - probably Boot Key mooring. Key West has been good but think we have visited all the bars at least twice, some several times and I am ready to leave this mooring field. It is really exposed to northerly winds and it seems like that is all we have been getting. The other issue is there is really no cruising community to speak of here, at least not that we have found. Boot Key (Marathon) is known more for it, with a cruising radio net each morning. We will probably look for a weather window early next week to head up there. It is only about 50 miles so don't know yet if we will go in one day or stay at an anchorage one night.
01/01/2011, Key West, FL
It is a sailing tradition that the final entry in the ships log book be some type of poetry. We're a day late but here is our final log for 2010 recapping the adventures of the s/v Walk A-Bout and crew:
When we told everyone that we wanted to sail south on Walk A-Bout,
They all looked at us and said what in the hell are you talking about.
We quit working and made preparations to get underway,
Happy, sad, excited, scared were but a few thoughts on that last day.
As we sailed away on Lake Gitche Gumee,
Our intestines felt a little gloomy.
Through the Great Lakes, Erie Canal and Hudson River we did go,
With new places to see and new friends to meet we needed to go slow.
Our concern for transiting 37 locks on the Erie Canal proved nothing,
The flood on Catskill Creek was really something.
New Jersey was too shallow for Walk-About's keel,
So offshore overnight seemed the right thing we did feel.
The ICW was next up to confound,
Good thing TowBoat US was around.
Offshore again we went from Hilton Head,
Only to have our engine go dead.
The waves that night were a fright,
We both chummed the fish at first light.
Even though we did not arrive in Florida as we intended,
The Coast Guard and TowBoat US again we befriended.
A month in Telemar we did spend,
Walk A-Bout needed a good mend.
Off we went headed south for the Keys,
Warm weather we are seeking can we have some PLEASE.
Here we sit on a mooring ball at Garrison Bight,
Contemplating how to clean bird poop off the canvas each night.
2862 miles we have traveled,
Whatever the next phase might bring we hope we won't become unraveled.
Happy New Year to all our family, friends in Minnesota and Cruisers alike,
We wish to say thank you, fair winds and good night.
12/30/2010, Key West, FL
TUESDAY - DECEMBER 28TH
Left Coconut Grove Sailing Club mooring this morning with a temperature of 39 degrees!! We turned the stove on to heat up the inside of the boat a little before taking off this morning, left at around 8:45. For the first time since leaving Lake Superior I have my long johns on in addition to sweat pants and jeans. That is just the bottom half - I have 5 layers on top and 2 pairs of socks. The good news is that it is bright sunshine and the wind has died down so it should warm up a little. Next 5 days high temp should be in the 70's.
The Sailing Club we just left was very convenient to the downtown area of Coconut Grove. Can't say much for the restrooms/showers there. Yesterday we went to see True Grit, Bill was disappointed - I think the John Wayne version was more to his liking.
Plan is to anchor off Pumpkin Key tonight then head through Angelfish Creek Inlet out to the Hawk Channel tomorrow morning. There has been lots of conflicting information concerning Angelfish Creek Inlet - not only water depths but also a phantom rock that may be on the outside of the Inlet. Hopefully we will not be one of the boats that discover it. The Hawk Channel runs down the Keys between the islands and the coral reef, this will be our route down to Key West.
As usual, plans changed. We got to Angelfish Creek Inlet right at high tide. We hailed TowBoat US from the radio to get advice on us going through. He said we should be okay but to watch when exiting, to stay to the north side as there are rocks on the south side. We made it through with no problem. Lowest depths were 5.5 feet at the entrance and 6.5 feet at the exit with much higher depths in between. So, we did another all nighter. This all nighter I can gladly say was very uneventful - no strong winds, no mechanical problems, no seasickness. We did 3 hour watches, which works best for us. The cockpit enclosure helped tremendously. With keeping warm and out of the wind the challenge was to stay awake.
WEDNESDAY - DECEMBER 29TH
We arrived in Key West at around 9:00 am, tired but glad to finally be here. We are now at the Key West City Mooring Field. There are lots of empty mooring balls, most are way the heck out there. It is a very long dinghy ride to the dinghy dock. There is some chop in the mooring field so our dinghy ride was a little wet to say the least - actually very wet. Thinking we will need to wear our foul weather gear from now on each time we want to go ashore. I'm not happy at all about this mooring field but hopefully after I get a good nights sleep I will put it all into perspective and remember that it could be much worse - I could still be working in the frozen north.
I have read many negative comments about the restroom/shower facilities here - I can happily tell say that they are great now - very clean, look new and are individual private showers so no communal bathing which makes me happy.
THURSDAY - DECEMBER 30TH
Our plan is to stay here for a month. My daughter and son (Laura and Chris) arrive January 5th so we will go to a marina for the first and last night they are here. Slip fees at a marina are very expensive here, cheapest I can find so far is $3.00/foot per night.
The City of Key West provides a free pump out when staying at the mooring field. We are waiting now for the pump out boat to arrive. After that the plan is to dinghy to shore (wearing foul weather gear) to do some laundry and take the bikes to the dinghy dock to lock up so we don't have to transport them back and forth each time we want to use them.
Expected high temp today of 71 degrees.
12/25/2010, Dinner Key
Hope everyone is having a very Merry Christmas.
We stayed 2 nights anchored on Lake Worth. First time using the new Mercury outboard motor, worked great. There is a place to lock up the dinghy just between Lake Worth and Little Lake Worth and walk about a mile to a West Marine and about a block away from a Publix grocery store, both very convenient.
From there we stayed last night at anchor at Lake Sylvia, in Fort Lauderdale. We are at The Coconut Grove Sailing Club on Dinner Key, just south of Miami on Biscayne Bay, on a mooring ball. We arrived here at around 1:00 so it was a short day for us.
We have been through a lot of bridges, something like 30+ bridges in the past week. As Bill was saying - when we were working our 15 minute breaks went super fast, when waiting 15 minutes for a bridge to open it feels like forever. Some bridges open on the hour and half hour, some quarter past the hour and three quarter hour, etc., etc. So, timing is everything. Some bridge openings we missed by minutes, then having to wait close to 30 minutes for the next opening. We are very glad all the bridges are behind us now.
It looks like we will be here for a couple of days, thunderstorms expected tomorrow and some high winds for a couple of days. Next stop: Rodriguez Key.
12/21/2010, Fort Pierce, FL
Our month at the Telemar Bay Marina came to an end. We wanted to say a big THANK YOU to everyone there, Karen, Kenny, Tony have all been great. Karen in particular was extremely helpful to us and we very much appreciate it.
Bill arrived back from Minnesota on Sunday afternoon. He really enjoyed his time with his daughters, parents and brother. I don't think he will miss the Minnesota weather though. On Sunday we finish stowing everything that was used the past month, filled up the water tank and did some last minute cleaning. I rode my bike to the grocery store to pick up food for the next few days. I added a basket to my bike so with that and my backpack I can buy several days worth of supplies. We put the bikes on the bow, now we really look like official cruisers.
We have already deviated from our tentative plan. We left Telemar Bay Marina at about 7:30 and went all the way to Fort Pierce City Marina, by-passing Vero Beach. Arrived at around 4:00. We had a few cocktails at the Tiki Bar here at the marina then walked to a bar called Jo-Jo's to watch the Vikings play the Chicago Bears. Ended up playing trivia at the bar and Team Walkabout won 3rd place! We won $10 but I think Bill would rather have won 4th place - a pitcher of beer. Anyone know what a "Pile Driver" is? I had no clue, Bill guessed that one right something about wrestling and construction. Bill lost his bet with Mike of Anan Cara - twice now Vikes have lost to the Bears.
We are staying a second night since the guy from Sisco Marine didn't finish with the fuel cleaning until around noon. Nice guy, seemed to know what he was doing. Not sure this will solve our problem with dirty fuel, guess we will need to constantly be changing the fuel filters and adding the bio-stuff (don't know what it is called) to keep the fuel clean.
I talked Bill into looking for our Christmas lights so now have lights in the salon and around the cockpit. Guess that is about as much Christmas as we will have this year. Downtown Fort Pierce has a fantastic Christmas light and music show next to the marina that we walked to this evening, we can hear the music from our boat as well. I think Bill has had enough since Christmas music - he dislikes Christmas music even more than Country which is saying a lot.
Plan on leaving at around 8:00 tomorrow morning after the fuel dock opens. Not sure where we will anchor tomorrow night, several options depending on how long it takes us to get through all the bridges.
12/16/2010, Indian Harbour Beach, FL
Dan & Pam in Minnesota - this blog is for you.
Still in Telemar Bay Marina, waiting for Bill to return so we can get the heck out of here. Almost a month here and I am definitely ready to get going again. The plan is to leave bright and early Monday morning and head to either Vero Beach or Fort Pierce. I have lined up a guy in Fort Pierce to come to the boat to empty the fuel tank, clean the tank then clean the diesel and put it back in. Hopefully this will take care of the growth that is supposedly taking place in the tank. Definitely something we didn't need to worry about back on Lake Superior.
Varnish work is progressing very slowly. I haven't been able to work on it for the last several days due to the cold temps. I have been keeping busy sewing an enclosure for the cockpit. We already had a screen enclosure but I am making a plastic enclosure for rainy and chilly days. Bill went to our storage in Minnesota and mailed our Buddy Heater to me here. With the Buddy Heater in the cockpit we can keep our tootsies warm while underway. Never thought we would need to have all these cold weather protections on the boat here in Warm Sunny Florida!!
I have a very tentative itinerary for getting from here to Key West. As all Cruisers soon discover the itinerary will be changed many, many times to fit the immediate needs/wants.
So, here is the plan:
LOCATION # MILES BETWEEN STOPS DATE
VERO BEACH MOORING 38 12/20
PORT PIERCE CITY MARINA 13 12/21
HOOKER COVE ANCHORAGE 20 12/22
NORTH LAKE WORTH ANCHORAGE 42 12/23
FORT LAUDERDALE MARINA 37 12/24 & 12/25
NONAME HARBOR ANCHORAGE 45 12/26
PUMPKIN KEY ANCHORAGE 25 12/27
RODRIGUEZ KEY ANCHORAGE 25 12/28
MARATHON MOORING 20 12/29 to 12/31
BAHIA HONDA KEY ANCHORAGE 40 1/1
KEY WEST MOORING 40 1/2
The main factor, other than weather, to actually being able to get to each location within a day are the bridges. There are 31 bridges between Hooker Cove and Fort Lauderdale. All bascule or lift bridges. Some are 'on demand' but most are on the hour and half hour or some variation of that. With about 10 bridges to get through each day we may end up going out to the ocean instead of the ICW, that is dependent on weather and which inlets we can get in the out of.
Expected high of 75 degrees today............it's a heat wave!!