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Crossing to Bahamas
01/10/2012

I finally set out into the Atlantic, to make the crossing from Florida to the Bahamas. It was either that or pay $ 6000 in tax on the boat. Everything has been leading up to this day. I could have used another month to prepare the boat and myself, but I decided we were both good enough to go. The hardest part was waking up at 5 o'clock in the morning ! The crossing itself was a piece of cake, except for the first part where the Gulf Stream meets the coastal waters. I had forgotten, again, to make an offering to Poseidon, and so he took it from me, right from the gut. First time I've been sea sick on Nereia. It didn't last long though, and soon I was sailing into the heart of the sunrise. Yes !

A Kick Ass Day
01/05/2012

Covered almost 40 miles today in brisk winds. The boat was heeling over 20 - 25 degrees, and flying along at 5 to 6 knots. Just great ! Used my new iPad, which replaces my inadequate charts and my failing GPS. Slick ! The water was the most incredible color of bluish green today - I haven't seen it like this yet in Florida. I wanted to dive in but there were LOTS of jellyfish.

Sylvia and David on Nereia
01/03/2012

My mom and her husband David on deck. They sent me off with best wishes and a blessing for the 4 elements and Poseidon.

Amanita Muscaria
01/02/2012

My mother and her husband David came for a visit, which was great even though I was in a marina having some work done to Nereia. They stayed onboard overnight, and loved it. We drank hot chocolate and colored and talked. Mom brought me a special mushroom, like the one I found with her up by Alta years ago ... this one was made of chocolate and cookie dough.

The Last Day of This Year
12/31/2011

Made it to Key West, finally, and in time for New Year's Eve. Had a good time running around town as all the people poured in for the big celebration. Went back to the boat at sunset, bummed that I wasn't in New York with my buddies at the Phish shows, and then got a call from my favorite Colorado girls Olivia and Ava. Kicked back on the boat as all the schooners sailed by in the bay, talking and dreaming of good times to come. Not a bad way to end what has been a very interesting year for me.

My First Night Passage
12/29/2011

I made some soup and bundled up for the push through the night. Not too much trouble, as it was just motoring, but kinda weird to see nothing but darkness and the little red and green lights on the bow. Here's a photo of the last I'd see of the sun for a while.

The Passage to the Keys
12/29/2011

It was a long haul from Marco Island, where I ran aground and had to be pulled off by Tow Boat US. They said it happens all the time, but I felt pretty stupid. I decided that it would be better to go straight across the Gulf from Marco to Key West, instead of threading down the Everglades Coastline. It was the first time I'd ever been so far offshore that I couldn't see land or any other boats. Very cool. No wind, so I had to motor a lot. Figured that I'd get there at 3 o'clock AM - not a good time to come in to an unknown harbor. So I killed the engine and drifted for about 5 hours. That's when the dolphins came, circling the boat, saying hello.

Chrismas Sunset
12/26/2011

I made a big push from Venice to Charlotte Harbor, and only half way did I realize that I was sailing off my charts. I thought I had them all the way to the Keys, but I guess I just assumed they were in the bundle. Wouldn't be so bad, except that the GPS screen is burning out. I can only read the left side and the bottom row of numbers and letters. Good thing the scenery keeps me cheery, headed into the unknown waters ahead ...

The View From the Foredeck
12/24/2011

Lying on my back in the sun, glad I'm not in cold Colorado. Overwhelming feelings of freedom and joy. I'm sure it won't all be like this, but for a few hours I'm going to pretend it will be.

Gulf of Mexico
12/24/2011

Out on the Ocean ! Well, at least, the Gulf of Mexico. Feels pretty big to me. Sailing down the coast in fine weather, the boat coasting along nicely at about 4.5 knots. Feeling good !

Monkey
12/24/2011

Finally found a good place for George. Don't want him jumping overboard when he sees the dolphins !

Nirvana
12/23/2011

Anna Maria island for sundown. A joyful day for me.

The Bridge
12/23/2011

Passing under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, into the Gulf of Mexico.

A Nice View Forward
12/23/2011

So good to see the sails flying. Pretty exciting, as this is only my second time solo on the boat ! Very mellow conditions for the start of my trip.

Rearview Mirror
12/23/2011

Farewell to St. Pete ! It's been good - much better than I thought.

The View to the Future
12/23/2011

Clear sailing ahead ! The adventure begins for real.

It Begins !
12/23/2011

Finally ! After 2-1/2 months repairing, outfitting and practicing I am finally casting off the lines and starting the cruise.

You are looking at one happy camper :)

Banyan
12/20/2011

The beautiful banyan trees of Florida. As big as a house !

I wonder if you could build a treehouse in one of these ?

David and Morrison
12/17/2011

My friends David and Morrison. We met on a historic house tour here in St. Pete and have enjoyed each other's company for the last month or so. Great folks, who helped me out above and beyond the call of duty. Driving me around to marine stores, offering showers and laundry, taking me out to eat, letting me use their car for my never ending errands ... all I can say is THANK YOU !

I think that beyond being nice folks, they liked participating in my outfitting and preparations. David especially seemed to get a kick out of running around finding all the things I needed, and hauling them out to the boat and such. They are with me vicariously.

This photo is from one of our test sails on Tampa Bay.

Wind Generator
12/13/2011

The wind generator was not working (like pretty much everything electrical) but the dealer / servicer for the whole US is just north of here, in Tarpon Springs. An afternoon outing with David and Morrison and a hundred bucks yielded a totally rebuilt wind generator. On a breezy day, it will put out anywhere from 5 to 10 amps of power. Almost enough to keep up with the refrigerator ! Good thing I have solar panels too, although they only put out power a few hours a day ; the wind spinner will work at night too.

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