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Swingin' on a Star
Ship's log for the circumnavigating Saint Francis 50 catamaran, "Swingin on a Star".
New Friends
11/26/2006, No Name Harbor

While the anchorage off Key Biscayne is much more calm than No Name, we have meet a lot of wonderful folks here in the little Harbor. Rick and Rose in Merlin, a Gulf Stream 39, were the first couple we met here. They had been to the Exumas many times and gave us a lot of Bahamas crusing tips.

We met two new couples in the anchorage over the past two days. Mike and Brenda on Magic were here for a Thanksgiving pot luck with their yacht club. We clicked with Mike when we noticed him yelling ?No wake” at all of the power boaters plowing into the anchorage at 10 knots. Magic is a very fast looking Cal 27. We joined them aboard for a few beers and some great conversation. They were even more newlywed than we were so we had a lot in common.

Today Jane and Lowell came over to visit for a bit. They are heading to the Bahamas as well on Edelweiss, their Hunter 45. Great people from my folks?? home state of North Carolina. We?? re hoping to make the passage with Edelweiss and some other yachts from the harbor, all of whom have been waiting for a weather window.

We also met Michael, an 80 something year old single hander, who sails to the Bahamas every winter. He is a wealth of knowledge and has laid out the passage plan that most of us are going to follow. It is amazing and encouraging to see his vigor and zest for life and sailing. He is full time aboard his Prout catamaran and spends the summers in the Chesapeake bay.

Key Biscayne
Swimming Lessons
11/25/2006, No Name Harbor

Well it had to happen sooner or later. Roq took the plunge today. Hideko went with him. I jumped in of my own accord to ensure that the entire family was equally wet and stinky.

I have been taking Roq ashore with the dink every morning since we moved aboard, so today Hideko decided she would give me a break (some break) and take Roq herself. Hideko then proceeded to dunk Roq in the drink right at the stern of the big boat before even getting into the dinghy. I went out to see what the commotion was and helped Hideko get Roq into the dinghy.

Hideko then set out, rowing the 100 feet over to the quay. After the first incident I decided to stay out on the transom to look on, it was low tide. As Hideko got to the dock she made a valiant effort to get Roq up onto the quay from the stern of the dink while it was tied up by the bow. Having experience here, I know that you want to get his front feet on the quay at the bow of the boat when tied up by the bow so that you can then shove his butt up without the boat flying out from under you. I was in the middle of calling this to Hideko?? s attention when the stern of the boat skated away from the quay and Hideko and Roq both disappeared into the brine.

My choices were, 1) Get a 50?? cat underway to go help (not happening), 2) Take the concerned neighbors up on their offer to use their dinghy (very kind but a bit slower than needed), 3) Jump. So I jumped, and swam over to the dinghy.

The water was 82 degrees a few days ago, but post the Norther that came in it was now somewhere around 71, a refreshing swim to say the least. Hideko and Roq were back in the dinghy by the time I got there and once I trundled in over the transom the circus was over, no charge to the many well entertained lookers on. We are now waiting to see if Roq develops the famous ?wet dog” smell.

Key Biscayne
Crazy Anchorage
11/24/2006, No Name Harbor

For the first couple of days in No Name harbor every time we saw a boat anchor close to us we would worry. After Thanksgiving weekend we gave up worrying. The anchorage was crowded last weekend but this weekend it is even worse. There are folks visiting for the long holiday, the usual weekenders and a yacht club gathering for a pot-luck as well. Some of the yachts that come in just turn around and leave when they see how packed it is. Others, determined, squeeze into spaces a mere spitting distance from the next boat. All's well when the breeze keeps everyone lined up but it gets scary when there's no wind and the boats begin to drift in different directions. I'm certain that many of the anchor scopes overlap.

[Power Boat Rant]
I hate to say it, but statistically the power boaters are in the greatest need of an upgrade in seamanship. Many of them blast through the anchorage (a no wake zone), anchor on top of other boats (although most of them tie up to the dock), blast stereos as if they were the only boat around, fish (no fishing posted), swim (no swimming posted), tie up to the dock overnight (no overnighting on the dock posted) and generally display a lack of regard for others. Some of the sailboats are in this category as well and there are some very well handled power boats, but by and large…

Key Biscayne
11/23/2006, No Name Harbor

This is our first Thanksgiving on the boat. It was a great test of just how much food our galley could prepare in one go. We BBQed turkey on the grill with candied Yams, we cooked stuffing, gravy, asparagus and fresh cranberry sauce on the stove top, and we cooked pumpkin pie in the oven. It was yummy and we were both stuffed at the end of the night with plenty of left overs for Roq.

Key Biscayne
11/21/2006, Miami

We decided to have our new anchor shipped in while we wait for the weather. It is an 88 pound Rocna from New Zealand and we're very excited to try it out. Our 66 pound Claw (which is basically a Chinese Bruce knock off) seems fine in the bottoms we've tested it in, but it trips in a 180 degree wind swap and doesn't necessarily reset right away. We watched it drag about 100 yards in Biscayne Bay after an on-shore/off-shore swap. I'm hoping the Rocna works a bit better in this situation. If not we always have the trusty FX37 stern anchor.

Key Biscayne
Cape Florida Light
11/20/2006, Key Biscayne

We toured the new "old light house" (modern rebuild) that was designed to keep the ships from crashing into Cape Florida. It seems the shoaling is so bad that they had to move the light a few miles off shore to provide real protection, turning the lighthouse into nothing more than a monument to the past. I have personally run aground in our dinghy in Biscayne Bay so I support this relocation. The light house provides a great view of Key Biscayne, Miami and the surrounding area.

Key Biscayne
11/19/2006, Atlantic Ocean just off of Key Biscayne

We caught a momma and baby Manatee grazing on the ocean side of Key Biscayne today. Eat your heart out Fred.

Key Biscayne

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