02/15/2012, Marathon Boat Yard
I will add more that is summarized in this post at a later date. The transmission is in, and working, thanks to Ramiro the highly skilled mechanic! Marathon Boat Yard is his employer. Tammy at the front office is a gem!
We are moving
up to Long Key Bight out to Boot Key Harbor as part of our strategy of making sure everything works while advancing toward Bimini.
Our cat will require a much higher level of care than we had previously given her, there was no tape in her system, she just had a common older-cat problem, but it's very serious. Kathleen at Dr. Rene Cruz's Cruz Animal Hospital gave me the instructions on how to attach the IV to the cat, which we will be doing every other day until her bloodwork is closer to normal. She is so much better when we do the IV (with 150 ml lactated Ringer's), it's like a little miracle. As much as I hate needles, that is what will keep me IV-ing the kitty on schedule.
We had a nice Valentine's Day dinner at Castaway, a dockside restaurant owned and run by fellow boaters (John and Arlene) who came through 12 years ago and took root.
On the way back to the boat, we also met Linda and Fred aboard M/V Young America, just down the canal wall from us, a lovely couple (Fred's a ret submariner and MIT grad -- they really NEED to watch Big Bang Theory!) with a lovely Great Harbour 37 trawler. They semi-custom designed the interior to fit their liveaboard needs, having a table and settees and open area beside the galley-down instead of a closed second cabin -- it gives such a great, light, airy impression, I think the company should offer that as a standard option!
Fred introduced us to a Dilbert video called "The Knack" -- which is another reason I think they would love Big Bang Theory.
02/11/2012, Marathon, FL
Waiting for a transmission... no, not from our home planet :-) Well, we're at a marina again... but this one is actually a boat yard and they are going to put a new transmission on the starboard engine.
Here is the starboard transmission. It's a Hurth HBW100 2R / ZF 10M -- which means it was built in Italy after the ZF company acquired Hurth. This is good for us, because this particular transmission is still being made (only now it's just the ZF 10M).
Can't see the crack? It's not easy...
But "Dr. Diesel" at foleyengines.com says that despite their wonderful properties, the Hurth is a "dollar an hour transmission" -- about $1200 for a new one, and it will probably last 1200 engine hours... ours were both purchased in 1999 from Foley. So in a way, this is not unexpected. We are hoping (hope, hope!!!) that the port engine, having been used less than the starboard, will last a little longer before needing the same treatment. Also, the starboard engine has been under a great deal of strain with the misalignment due to the untightened mounting bolts (viz. Mark Hyma, our otherwise wonderful mechanic in Pensacola) coming loose and the engine thus moving on its mount, misaligning itself, which stressed the flex coupling (trashed -- replaced by Mark de Jong, our mechanic in Key West) and the damper plate (also replaced in KW by MdJ -- to do that, he had to take the Hurth transmission OFF and put it back on again afterward). Now, MdJ realigned the engine and the bolts are tight, but the case was already cracked... Derek had reported to MdJ and his guys that the transmission seemed to be losing fluid, but they told him to put an absorbent pad underneath it to monitor the situation... the pad that was soaked through when the tranny failed just outside Marathon's Boot Key Harbor.
The weather was full of lightning and thunder last night not too far off, and this morning is the usual after such a thing passes: mostly sunny and wind from the north. Right now it's still from the NW, but it will clock around as the day passes, and the forecast has it building up to nearly 30 mph. That's hairy-chested weather for sailors, but if it's pointing against the Gulf Stream, that's insane weather for crossing. Not to worry, the new transmission can't be here before Tuesday...
The cat seems to be better. She's sleeping a lot, and we're not sure she's eating anything beyond the occasional vitamin, but we have tasty "Nutri-Cal" to feed her if she really isn't eating (she hates it: I have to smear it onto some tongue-accessible part of her fur and she licks it off but then won't talk to me for hours). She has a favorite sleeping place at the moment, so we are leaving the comforter piled onto the portside settee to allow her to recover right in the center of everything.
When we came in Thursday, they told us they had an open space along the wall for us, but when we got into the creek itself, there was no open space. So they told us to raft up alongside this big ol' wooden powerboat, which wouldn't be so bad, except:
1) She's got termites
2) She's covered with bicycles, so moving along her side decks is downright dangerous
3) She's in need of a lot of maintenance
4) Getting up onto her deck to get ashore is an athletic event from our deck, and Heather's arm-pull abilities are seriously affected by that left wrist still in the process of healing.
Turns out, a sailboat called Setting Sun had happened into the same creek just before we entered, and took our spot without a word to anyone. By Friday afternoon the office people had figured out what was wrong, and they asked Setting Sun to go raft up to someone else... they chose a nice, new, lower-decked catamaran (gorgeous boat, really), and they are now happily rafted. Here's the boat we were rafted to, and Setting Sun in the background with their higher class of raftup:
The area is interesting: the town of Marathon itself spans a number of different keys, the main one being Key Vaca. There is a Boy Scouts of America Sea Camp nearby, called BSA Florida Sea Base. Apparently, the yard we're in is also the yard that services their boats:
Heather finished the chafing gear for the two lines of the anchor bridle. It looks a bit like jeans for a really tall and skinny pixie:
We saved Derek's last pair of destroyed jeans exactly for such a purpose, having read in one of the many cruising books we absorbed that because of its softness and sturdiness, old jeans material is great for chafing gear.
02/08/2012, Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, FL
Cat-driven delay having shortened our weather window, nature also closed it down from the other end (i.e., the winds picked up again faster than forecast). So we did not have time to make it across the Gulf Stream before they came on strong and directly against the stream: exactly what is not recommended in Van Sant (and more to the point, we have direct experience of what wind-against-current does on the Gulf Stream, and we will wait for weather). Plan B: stage up to Marathon and wait for the next decent window to either slip farther north to Molasses Reef, or scoot across to Bimini if the next weather window is slightly longer.
Of course, this gave me some time to work on the mosaic (started by previous owner Margaret, John's wife, before her illness; so much love went into that that we had to keep it and finish it up) on the counter opposite the nav table. The tiles are all mounted now and only require grouting and the final pour of clear plastic to seal them in and flatten the surface (like those thick-covered bar tables with corks and other interesting objects embedded). Derek also helped by silicone-caulking the sides and back of the countertop to prevent the liquid plastic from leaking down onto his tools in the cabinet beneath. Here it is, waiting for grout:
See the masking tape along the top of the craft paper shield? That's what the cat was eating that made her sick. We are still working on getting her well. We will watch anything she might chew on much more rigorously after this!
A closeup (with flash) of the center section. The flamingo's tongue shell is from Grant's qualifying dive in St. Thomas, the other shells are mostly from a great shelling beach Grandma led us to about a year ago when we visited Sarasota!
Grouted behind the stove, too:
We made good time up from Key West to Marathon. We were running both engines since we had chosen light winds for our departure, and we wanted to do a shakedown since we'd had the starboard engine repaired in Key West by Mark de Jong (Mark's Marine Diesel at Oceanside Marina). It was gray out, of course, as we were riding the funky wind direction that follows the passage of a front. Soon the wind went a bit farther N rather than NE, and perked up, and we were able to pull out the jib and motorsail close-hauled. That raised our speed to 5.7 - 6.3 kts (faster as the wind strengthened later in the day).
Everything went well, both engines seemed to be performing well, the starboard engine certainly sounded a lot better than it had when it got weird on the way down to Key West. The autopilot worked, crab pot floats were dodged as we took watches. By 4:30 in the afternoon, we were outside the entrance to Boot Key Harbor. We called the City Marina, which controls the mooring field, but all of their mooring balls were taken. There is a daily "show up in person to be put on the waiting list for a mooring ball" routine, so if we want one, we have to go to the office in person and get our boat on the list. Over the phone, they told us we could anchor near the former bascule bridge.
Outside the harbor entrance, we turned into the wind to take in the jib. I brought the engine revs down so as to simply hold our face into the wind without making progress in that direction: a current was running so I could hover and still have steerageway. Just after I brought the revs down, the starboard engine started to make a strange noise, kind of like the noise of ice in a blender. Not good. I put it in neutral and told Derek, who was taking in the jib. I had thought to leave stbd in neutral and just use the port engine, but the starboard engine started making the noise again even in neutral, so I shut it down. We still had the port engine, so we proceeded into the anchorage.
After we anchored, Derek found that the fresh absorbent pad that he'd placed on the floor of the starboard engine compartment was soaked through and the transmission fluid was empty. It had been full up when we started this morning. He had two bottles of tranny fluid in his spares cabinet, so he refilled from one, and worked the shift lever back and forth a bit with the engine off -- it seemed to get easier to move. He tried restarting the engine in neutral, and it sounded better at first but then started making the bad noise again and he shut it down. We called Mark de Jong (Mark's Marine Diesel). We were hoping he had a colleague in Marathon he could recommend to do diesel repair.
Um, no. His suggestion was to have TowBoatUS tow us back to Key West. We do have TowBoatUS coverage, but there are a number of problems with doing that. First, we would have no place there to stay (the NAS Boca Chica marina is highly oversubscribed this time of year). Second, we just made all this effort to get up here. Third, didn't we just pay Mark to diagnose and fix that engine? It ran less than seven engine hours between the "fix" and this. If he'd said, "Hey, I'll look at it and if it's something we should have caught when we fixed your starboard engine the first time, we'll take care of it," well, that would maybe justify going all the way back. But this is different... Derek is pretty upset, can't remember what having equipment work as it's supposed to even feels like anymore. It could be seals (there are three), it could be something worse. Yet more money??? It seems like every time we go anywhere, that engine has some problem or another. We'd hoped the magic of actually paying a professional mechanic to figure out what was wrong and fix it would mean we could go on this family voyage after all, and we paid more than we could afford to do that -- now it looks like if we want to voyage, it's pay more again for the same engine: for someone else, or the same someone, to look at it and maybe -- this time, again -- it will stay fixed, or maybe the problems will still not all be found. That's what really has him down.
It's very peaceful at anchor here in the popular Boot Key Harbor anchorage:
Derek has adopted another catamaran cruiser's recommendation and rigged a bridle from the two bow cleats that hooks onto the anchor chain about 10 feet along. The resulting pull on the bridle is very light even in today's 14-kt breeze, but my new sewing project is chafing gear to protect the bow's finish from the rub of the line we might expect in a really strong breeze:
Being a catamaran, we have a shallow draft, so we can anchor close to the destroyed bascule bridge:
02/07/2012, Key West (NAS Boca Chica) until 2/8/12 0700
Grant likes the word "Bimini," it sort of rolls along. Let's hope he also likes the place!
We finally met Chris and Joyce, an adventurous couple with a bright spark of determination in planning their "going cruising" adventure. They took us to breakfast at the very delicious Blue Heaven on Sunday, early enough to actually get both a table and parking... it was a pleasure meeting them at last after communicating over sailblogs :-)
Well, we had thought we'd start Monday, but the kitty cat decided to get sick (um, actually, she ate masking tape and then stayed up most of the night barfing) on Sunday night. Monday we kept the car hours longer in order to get her to the Cruz Animal Hospital just north of mile 27... they took an X-ray and determined that yes it's bad for her to eat tape, but she'll probably recover. They also gave us some Cat Lube, which is a "tasty" (to cats) brown alimentary paste to help cats pass things they ate that they were not supposed to eat. And they recommended wet food for a while to help the process, which she apparently is really enjoying! We could not believe it, she actually willingly went into her carrier for the return trip to the boat, without being trapped into it. Very impressive.
When we did return the car, Roger (of the wonderful Flicka, JoHee) offered to lend his jeep to our efforts to get back to the marina (thank you, Roger!), and Ginger of Gypsysails, who was doing her first day on a new job, actually came out to the airport as soon as she got off work and picked us up from the rental return lot! How cool was that! She and Maury were headed over to Jon & Renee's boat for a dinner with Jon (Renee is north right now, helping her daughter through an illness), and she still made time to be our angel -- thank you so much, Ginger! Which turned out to be even better, because the taxi company that had said it would have a driver call us apparently forgot all about us: beware of Four Sixes, they do have some drivers with Navy base access, but, as happened today, they can just space out instead of getting back to you. My guess is that calling them back would have gotten results, but by then Ginger had called us and was on her way over. May the sun shine and the gentle breezes blow whenever Gypsy Sails! Actually, on all ya'll, what a wonderful bunch of people we have met at this marina.
All of that cat-tivity meant we didn't start our trip as planned in the afternoon to make a "shakedown" jump to an anchorage nearby, so we now plan to leave Tuesday morning early and just keep on to Bimini. That way, we sort of stay with the weather window rather than losing it. It closes behind us back here in Key West, but extends nicely into Thursday and even Friday where we are headed.
Light and variable winds with smooth seas. Small short period wind waves.
Winds: N 4 to 6 knots
Seas: NNE 2 feet at 9 sec.
Light winds with a slight chop. Small short period wind waves.
Winds: NNE 6 to 8 knots
Seas: NNE 2 feet at 8 sec.
A really nice graphical representation of the weather window is available by clicking the Florida-to-Bimini box on the map at http://www.passageweather.com/ and then selecting "animate" for either the wind or the waves. Of course, by the time you read this, weather in that box will be different... so to summarize, today's is pretty good, very low wave heights and light winds predicted all day. We're wishing for luck, and to stay ahead of any exciting changes...
Sunday night I spotted a very strange sea creature by our dock: about 10" long and with two diaphanous elegantly-spotted brown "wings" in the water, it looked like a cuttlefish with very elongated propulsion. I'm going to have to look that one up. It was full moon, and the critter was hunting in the light from one of the dock lamps. I suppose it might have been an upside-down cuttlefish... do they ever hunt upside-down? The following morning there were large tarpon hanging in the still water by the docks, 4-5 feet long, motionless and huge-scaled, between 2 and 4 feet below the surface. It was a great 24H for spotting sea life in the marina! Maybe due to the change in wind? The full moon? The very still surface?
02/02/2012, Key West (NAS Boca Chica)
In the morning, we will watch Groundhog Day, which is a wonderful comedy. Sort of a family tradition!
In the afternoon, I will have my first physical therapy appointment. I'm a little scared -- everyone talks about how painful that is!
Derek has been monitoring the weather and apparently we have a weather window coming up. [UPDATE: He agrees that it has "moved" and we will probably be going a few days later than he originally thought. This is due to the incoming front passing north of us instead of directly over us... ) Right now for a few days the wind has been from north, northeast, and east, up to 20 kts. Today it was moderate and we would have gone but for my PT appt. Friday is a bit blustery, Saturday the winds are supposed to moderate again (UPDATE: "Not any more!"), be east and then from SE over the weekend... light winds in line with the Gulf Stream are what we are waiting for. At the very least, not against the stream, and not heavy. (UPDATE: all that moves a few days downstream)
Weather prediction is more complicated when multiple sources do not agree. Weather Underground doesn't suggest any real moderation of the wind speed, having it still above 12 kts all weekend, although SE by Sunday, and much lighter Sunday evening. Here's a graphic from NOAA: http://innovation.srh.noaa.gov/swan/swanloop.php?sid=KEY
We're starting at 25N 81W, heading east and north a bit... The National Weather Service, as usual, shouts a lot:
SYNOPSIS FOR THE SW N ATLC INCLUDING THE BAHAMAS
1030 PM EST WED FEB 01 2012
.SYNOPSIS...STRONG HIGH PRES RIDGE WILL BUILD SE INTO THE AREA
THU NIGHT THROUGH SAT. A COLD FRONT WILL SWEEP ACROSS THE FAR NE
WATERS FRI AND EXTEND FROM 27N65W TO E-CENTRAL FLORIDA LATE FRI
THEN STALL AND WEAKEN FROM 25N65W TO E-CENTRAL FLORIDA SAT.
That is north of us.
WEAK HIGH PRES WILL SHIFT E AND WEAKEN SUN AS A COLD FRONT MOVES JUST N OF THE FAR NW WATERS SUN NIGHT...SWEEPS E AND CLIPS THE FAR NE PORTION OF THE AREA BY LATE MON.
The relevant portions for us being "stall and weaken" and that the cold front will be N of us and thus the winds will be from SE for part of the time.
.SAT...W OF 70W NE TO E WINDS 10 TO 15 KT...EXCEPT N OF 27N W OF
77W E TO SE 10 TO 15 KT BECOMING NE 20 TO 25 KT BETWEEN BAHAMAS
AND WINDWARD PASSAGE. SEAS 6 TO 8 FT IN SE SWELL...EXCEPT W OF
BAHAMAS BUILDING TO 4 TO 7 FT.
Saturday morning is when we hope to move up NE (in the shelter of the reef), so as to take some miles off our trip without getting pounded. Yes, we will probably have wind on the nose as we start out eastward, but the engines are working.
.SUN...N OF 28N W OF 70W VARIABLE WINDS BECOMING E TO SE 5 TO 10 KT LATE. SEAS 4 TO 6 FT IN NE TO E SWELL.
We will be a bit south of that.
S OF 28N NE TO E WINDS 10 TO 15 KT...
This is where we will be, headed NE. Still sounds like a bad wind direction for sailing...
EXCEPT 15 TO 20 KT S OF 23N. SEAS 5 TO 8 FT E OF BAHAMAS AND 2 TO 4 FT W OF BAHAMAS.
Low seas we could really support, though! Sun the winds are supposed to moderate through the day, getting weaker by evening. See what they say about Monday?
.MON......N OF 28N W OF 70W VARIABLE S TO SW WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 3 TO 4 FT IN NE TO E SWELL. FROM 25N TO 28N VARIABLE WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 4 TO 6 FT. S OF 25N NE TO E WINDS 10 TO 15 KT...SEAS 5 TO 7 FT E OF BAHAMAS AND 2 TO 4 FT W OF BAHAMAS.
Sounds about as good as it's gonna get. We may have to wait until Monday once we are at our jumping-off anchorage, but that is no problem.
We want to avoid having wind against current in the Gulf Stream if at all possible, light winds better than heavy.
THE APPROXIMATE SHOREWARD EDGE OF THE GULF STREAM AS OF FEBRUARY 1ST...
19 NM S OF SOMBRERO KEY LIGHT...OFF MARATHON.
18 NM SE OF ALLIGATOR REEF LIGHT...OFF ISLAMORADA.
15 NM SE OF MOLASSES REEF LIGHT...OFF KEY LARGO.
But it seems that every weather forecast is different. This one is also NWS, for http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?zoneid=AMZ671
FWYF1 Fowey Rocks
Lat: 25.59°N Lon: 80.1°W (slightly NE of us, we will go this way)
Last Update on Feb 2, 12:00 am EST
Saturday Night...East winds 13 to 16 knots. Seas 2 to 4 feet. Intracoastal waters a moderate chop. Slight chance of showers.
Sunday...Southeast winds 10 to 13 knots. Seas 2 to 3 feet. Intracoastal waters a moderate chop. Slight chance of showers.
Sunday Night...Southeast winds 5 to 7 knots. Seas 2 feet. Intracoastal waters smooth. Slight chance of showers.
Monday...East northeast winds 6 to 9 knots. Seas 2 feet. Intracoastal waters a light chop. Slight chance of showers.
Weird. Sounds OK, but despite the area outlined in red being the forecast area, they make it sound pretty near-coastal.
Another really good graphical predictor (good in the sense of complete, but they were not correct about our trip down here!) is Stormsurf: http://www.stormsurf.com/locals/miami.shtml
They say we should go next Wednesday... ugh... so does windfinder: http://www.windfinder.com/forecast/bahia_honda_key_state_park
So we may just work our way NE and wait to see what the weather does. It's a great area with plenty of places to wait!
01/24/2012, Key West (NAS Boca Chica)
Just a quick note to mention that Great Escape has started their journey (way to go, Conrad and Roxanne!) and FantaSea is in Sarasota for now while Iris does a little more work back in P'cola -- looking forward to both vessels' next posts! (links to these are in the right-hand navbar)
Had some very tasty pizza last night (Mr. Z's in the Winn Dixie plaza: the W-D is open until midnight, Mr. Z's is open until 10 pm, and FYE video is also in the same plaza) with Ginger and Maury from GypsySails. They haven't been updating their sailblog, partly due to computer issues, but they are both healthy and doing fine: Maury's working on base and at West Marine (feed the cruising kitty) and Ginger is sewing new sailcovers. As usual, they are charming and cheerful and willing to share helpful info like fishing tips! Thanks for a fun evening, GypsySails! And we will try that potato chip bag thing :-)
01/22/2012, Key West (NAS Boca Chica)
We have stayed in the temporarily-available slip at the marina at NAS Boca Chica all this time, waiting to get the cast off my arm (set for Wednesday). We will marinate just long enough after that to get a good weather window for either heading farther north to take off to Bimini, or heading straight across if the window looks great for it -- this time of year, you have to jump on good weather when it comes for crossing the stream, as often there will be long spells of wind coming out of the wrong direction (wind against stream = big and steep waves, so avoid anything north of east).
Although this broken-wing thing has been frustrating for me, hard to get things done while one-armed, still boat projects have progressed, mostly through Derek's energy and willingness to carry the household chores (and anything else heavy)! And even to plumb. He hates plumbing, but he has done quite a bit of it while we've been here. When I get my arm back I will pamper the heck out of him!
Every evening that's fair, the snowbirds who came in a flock after Christmas blow conch shells for the setting of the sun.
Last night, they took to the calm waters of the mooring field in a raft-up for conch-blowing dinghies!
Roger's peaceful corner of the mooring field got rather musical for a bit:
Yes, that's a Flicka, a 20-foot well-found sailboat (JoHee) that he's been fitting out for extended cruising.
We have visited the Hemingway house while we've been grounded here, and Grant found to his delight that the house is a paradise for the descendants of Hemingway's six-toed cats...
Here is where Papa H did his writing. Cats move in and out through the iron grating installed to keep people out (but not cats!).
Notice the statue of a curled-up cat beside the typewriter? There are pictures of him there with a real cat beside him. The grating, and another six-toed cat:
The cats have a lovely place to be. Here is what Hemingway would have seen from one of the windows in that upper room:
Grant loved the place and trekked through the winding paths finding friendly (and usually six-toed) cats to stroke:
Notice the pawprints in the cement? Some cats prefer to go their own way...
And there are those who have gone before. They had wonderful names. Hemingway's original six-toed cat was "Snowball," fluffy and white, given him in the 1930s by a sea captain. The polydactyl descendants in H's lifetime were named after famous folk, and the tradition has continued. The markers here say things like "Marilyn Monroe, James Joyce, Ava Gardner, Charlie Chaplin, and Mr. Betty Davis" (they named him before they found he was male).
IIRC this is the six-toed descendant of Charlie Chaplin. He decided to invade a wedding reception table that was being set up in the garden:
Charlie Chaplin, wedding crasher.
A bit later, we decided to visit the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum, also downtown. Fisher was instrumental in locating and salvaging a number of Spanish wrecks off the coast of Florida, including Nuestra Senora de Atocha. The museum is a monument to the treasure ships he's salvaged, a store selling pieces of the treasure attractively formatted as jewelry or coins for collection, a kid's store with touristy-piraty trinkets, and an upstairs exhibit on pirates and "Golden Age of Caribbean Piracy" artifacts, some of which were donated by other collectors.
We start with the orientation, maps from the time:
Not all coins were silver and gold:
But the ships were carrying mostly silver and gold. Much of the silver came from Potosi:
And was defended by cannon that shot iron balls, stone balls,
even grape shot (came apart after firing) to clear decks of people
and bar shot (which spun and extended wider in flight) to bring down masts and rigging (easier to get prize money if you don't actually damage the hull severely).
What were they defending? Well, there were the usual riches carried both as cargo, like this bar silver with die marks stamped into it to show where it was from...
And riches carried by the important people aboard, Church people and nobility:
Wealth can be a heavy burden. Especially if it weighs fourteen pounds per foot of length! Talk about "I wear the chains I forged in life!"
Now, given all that wealth and power, you do realize they were not safe from the malignant intent of others (alternative claimants? Or perhaps those they crushed as a matter of course -- the why is not as relevant here as the how), and many went in fear of being poisoned. This cup was meant to hold a bezoar in the bottom of the bowl:
Sounds a bit too Harry Potter to work? Aha, there was a reason for this belief about bezoars!
When they weren't dodging arsenate poisoning, they wore the heavy stuff (rendered lighter by filigreeing) everywhere they could: as pomander beads, buttons and bangles, as belts:
They even ate off of it, served fruit off it, etc,:
For a more complete set of images of the Atocha salvage, see this link: melfisher.org/atochamargarita
For news of recent finds on the Atocha site, see: melfisher.com/SalvageOperations/RecentFinds.asp
Finally, Derek took Grant as promised to a local gun range:
He did well, shot through a whole box of ammo fairly quickly. It's an expensive hobby, but loud and fun (even with hearing protection on). Now all we need is a cannon (remember the wake-repelling water cannon idea?), and he can be our gun crew!
01/10/2012, Key West (Boca Chica)
After more than a month away, the manatee, or at least A manatee, is back. So Grant and I went to admire it yesterday, drifting down from C dock to B dock...
The manatee moves slowly, as my friend DJ might (might!!!) say, because its Kung Fu is strong. Either that, or it's pretty close to sessile, most of the time.
I used to think they looked like semi-submerged tires of some kind...
But perhaps this is one of their subterfuge skills...
This one is drifting with the current, first beside the Lady Nancy:
Zoomed in. Yes, that really is some kind of gold-colored aquatic weed growing along its flanks, just as it grows on the bottoms of the boats that stay still in the marina for long periods. You can also see where some motorboat propeller cut it along the back. The cut has healed but exposed the white fat layer beneath:
Then between boats, where it actually took a breath after a few minutes and moved its tail a few times!
And went under the Lady Nancy and out of our ken. The marina is dredged to 16 feet or so and the manatee can stay down quite a while.