15 September 2013 | Boot key Harbor, Marathon, Fl.
I am sorry inform you all that this will be the last blog of the Carson G II. We're unable to continue cruising due to Hope's continued health issues. So our advice to all of you is to go cruising as soon as you can and for as long as you can!!! We did get out in 2010 so we do have those memories and the ones up until now.
God Bless ....
Hope & Carson
30 July 2013
July 30, 2013
It’s amazing how fast time goes! It has been almost a month since I updated this blog…. It was a rainy July 4th here, in Marathon, so we didn’t take in any of the festivities except for watching the fireworks while listening to the selected music, for the show, playing on the radio. The rain held off till just after the show ended.
If you’re a face book friend then you know what we’ve been up to but for the other blog followers here’s the skinny on the last month….
During July we have had approximately 10 days of stormy, windy (35 to 50 MPH winds at times), hot, humid, raining weather. Yucky would describe it pretty much. The other days were just very hot and very humid. (I keep reminding myself we’re in a tropical zone after all.) The average interior temperature, with the wind scoops in place, is 85 to 88 degrees. When we used the “window” AC unit, in one of the salon hatches, the interior temperature of the cabin dropped only by 2 to 3 degrees but it removed the humidity and so we were comfortable. (The AC unit has been used twice when the interior temperature was 89 and the humidity was at 75%. Whenever the AC is on the generator has to run…) The boat is now “tented” with tree tarps to help cool the deck area. It helps with the interior temperature…
We’ve been “noodling” off the boat and so far “the creatures from the black lagoon” have left us alone! I did notice that I appeared to have little red marks here and there afterwards and was concerned about sea fleas so I asked a “full time” resident about the marks. He said there are very small krill here and that’s what made the marks… The diver wears a wetsuit when he cleans the boats’ bottoms as they bother him also. Hubby didn’t have one mark at all. Go figure….
Florida has been having a problem with iguanas and have pest control advertisements on TV and in the papers. We had a visit from a 3 foot iguana. It must have swam, to the boat, because it was on our back deck one morning when Carson got up and was going to go ashore. He “assisted” it off the boat with a long handled brush/mop only to have it attempt to climb back up… Carson assisted it back into the water again. Finally the iguana swam away. Hubby did not tell me about this episode until that evening when we had company for dinner. The back deck hatch is located over our bed and there isn’t a screen in it because of the wind scoop…
Have taken a few photos and hope to post them to our FB page… We had a dolphin visit us early one morning and he stayed for quite some time around the boat’s stern and the dinghy. He’s been the only one we’ve seen here so far…
That’s it for now. Hope everyone is having a great summer!
Happy Canada Day!!!
01 July 2013
July 1st, 2013 (Monday)
Happy Canada Day!!!!! Hope it's been bright and sunny on Grand Manan today. My hubby, Carson, was born and raised on Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick, Canada and he remains a Canadian citizen. We're both proud of it!!! All of our children were born on Grand Manan and are both Canadian and US citizens. I guess you might say we have a mixed marriage..... (lol)
The weather remains the same (hot & humid) and it's not going to change anytime soon.... What can you expect in the Florida Keys? Sunday evening we had a squall come through... (Winds up to 45 to 50 from the south.) We had already taken our wind scoops in and dogged down the hatches and latched the portholes. Everything, that could possible fly off, was already moved from the cockpit so we didn't lose anything. Today it's been cloudy with wind gusts up to 30 but so far no rain.
We've had a problem with getting the batteries charged back up after the hot water heater breaker was somehow turned on accidently... (We have 520 watts of solar energy from 4 solar panels and a wind generator also.) So Sunday evening hubby ordered a generator.... (It never ends. BOAT = Bring Out Another Thousand.) It'll more than take care of the freezer, "icebox", and battery charging. (If I'm very lucky maybe even cool the boat off a little, at night, so we can sleep better....) It will be nice to have be able to watch a DVD or VCR tape in the evenings, again....
Walked to the library in "town" today ... (Anyone who's been in the Keys knows it has one road that runs straight down from Key Largo to Key West so "town", as a "Northerner" would describe one physically, is a misnomer for sure. ) The walk only takes about eight minutes but it's almost as noisy as a street in a city, minus the jackhammers and construction workers. The traffic whizzes by you, at more than thirty MPH. There isn't a buffer zone between you and the traffic except for a painted white line. I swear sometimes they (car drivers) like to see how close they can come to a person before they force you to move further into the bushes! Interesting walk today... I spent about three hours, in the air conditioned library, catching up on reading magazines and of course, checking out another book to read.
Carson was able to rig a way to pump the water from the containers, that were loaded in the dinghy, into the boat's water tank. Because we have a high freeboard, on the Carson G II, Carson had used a pulley system to raise the containers up to the deck, and then manhandle the containers over to the opening for the water tank. Those containers are not lightweights.... (50 lbs a piece when filled)
We're planning on taking in some of the 4th of July festivities, at Sombrero Beach, in Marathon. There's to be a parade, live music, food, and then a "sky concert - fireworks". Hope the weather is good....
That's it for now.....
New Blog Site????
24 June 2013
June 24, 2013 (Monday)
It’s been a week since I’ve updated the blog. We’re still on the mooring at Boot Key Harbor….
It’s discouraging to be “sitting here” instead of sailing but I guess, this time, we’ll have to go with the flow. We’ve been keeping an eye on “the weather” in the area we would be sailing if we chose to go to Guatemala and it hasn’t been good. We also have been looking at sailing to Green Turtle Cay, staying the season, but then read a number of blogs concerning weathering the hurricane season there and decided to stay put here. We have also talked to a number of “folks” (cruisers) who now make their year round residence here “on the mooring field” and they have been through “storms” without any real problems…so far. We can only hope and pray…
This past week there were a number of items that took Carson’s attention and had to be seen to. The inflatable tubing collar around our hard Walker Bay dinghy decided to spring a leak on both sides. He was able to contact a fellow to inspect it to determine if it was salvageable. Thank goodness it was and the fellow reglued all the seams, returned it to be put back on, but the next day the port side inflatable was “down” again. The end of this story is that after a couple of phone calls Carson is taking the collar off again tomorrow and the fellow is going to inspect it to be sure it’s viable and a redo will work. Fingers crossed….
We’re enjoying the new wind scoop even if it only allows the warm air to circulate and provides no really “cool air” down below. Another one has been order and is expected to arrive on Thursday. So now we’ll have one for each of the staterooms and hopefully the inside temperature will drop a few degrees just from the air circulating.
A cruiser friend of mine, who shall remain nameless, once told me of the “noodling parties” they use to have down in the Bahamas. I had no idea what, in the world, she was talking about. She told me that at cocktail time (whenever that is… could be all day down there) the cruisers would have their drinks while floating on noodles, which were hooked to each other so they, the cruisers that is, could stay cool… (I really hope you were able to make sense out of that run-on sentence.) So we’re, Carson and I, are going to try it from the back of our boat (noodling, that is) using a floating line tied to the boat. (Minus the drinks as I’d probably drown.) Since the boat’s always moving on the mooring it will be a lot of fun… Hope we’re not acting like shark bait …. Lol
We located a fish company that has a restaurant but is also a fish market. It’s about a 10 minute walk from the marina and so we went last evening for a “look see”. The grouper was $16.95/lb. I won’t tell you what they wanted for the lobster tails!!!
I’ve been toying with the idea of using a Face Book page as a blog instead of this site. The reason being is I’d like to post photos. This site charges for that. It would be no longer free…. If you have a moment please let me know what you think via the comment area… Thanks!!!
17 June 2013
June 17, 2013 (Monday)
We’ve been swinging on a buoy (W #3) here, at Boot Key Harbor, for 5 days. A few friends and family members have been asking us, “What have you been doing?” (Yes, we still have cell phone, e-mail, FB, and Skype up and running…)
Cruising is, at times, a lot like living a “regular life” and then again, it’s not. We have the usual daily things to do like: cooking meals, doing dishes, cleaning up, but there’s a good chance that they are done in a different manner. Take the laundry; after the usual sorting, it’s now placed in waterproof bags (to protect it from any salt water spray), and then lowered into dinghy for the ride into the marina’s dock. You then carry the bags to the “Laundromat” and do what must be done. Of course, that doesn’t describe the fun of climbing down the ladder, off the boat’s stern, into a pitching wee boat and not falling into the drink while all “the neighbors” are looking at you. ;) When “the wash” is done you reverse the procedure. Up and down you go every time you leave the”mother ship” to do anything… You really do need to have or develope “balance” if you’re going to live aboard a boat because it is never still, especially so while at anchor or on a mooring.
We’re happy tell you that “Burton”, our mechanical autopilot, is back on board and installed. He was returned to us this past Sunday… What a Fathers’ Day gift!!! (Much better than having to buy a new one… Yikes!!!) We still need to calibrate him but need flat seas so today’s not the day to do it. Tomorrow maybe….
It is taking us longer to adjust to the heat and humidity then we thought it would. (We don’t have AC on the Carson G II.) We leave all the hatches and portholes open and still the temperature “downstairs in the living area” is usually 88 degrees by 1000 and doesn’t go below 85 degrees at night. Carson, in the middle of the night, usually ends up spending a couple of hours up in the cockpit trying to sleep. I usually move from the aft stateroom to the settee in the salon and back again several times during the night. Carson’s ordered a wind scoop for the forward hatch and if that helps, at all, we’ll get another either for the salon or the aft stateroom. The “tenting” will be put up tomorrow if the wind allows. I hope we’ll catch a little break….
Our future plans???? Right now we’re here in Marathon, Fl.…. Time will tell but we will be sailing again in the not so distant future….
Have a good evening.
The good, the bad and water spouts
13 June 2013 | Florida Bay
June 12th, 2013
The start of the day was perfect. We had set the alarm for 0530 to be underway at 0600. (Light enough to see before “sun rise’). We awoke to a slack tide…absolutely perfect. The marina is located on a tidal river so we needed to watch the currents to see how they would set the boat as we departed from the dock. We cleared our easily and pointed her bow towards the Gulf of Mexico.
We were having a wonderful “sail” except the wind was little to nothing so we continued to motor. When the breeze picked up we were able to motor sail, using our jib, for awhile. The sky was overcast. The sun did eventually come out and really showed off the vibrant aqua color of the water. (The water temperature on the Garmin was showing 85 degrees….)
Along the way, to Marathon, we were mesmerized by acrobatic dolphins, flying fish of all sizes, and Carson was “lucky” enough to see a loggerhead sea turtle resting on the water’s surface before it lifted its head, looked at the boat, and then dove. Seeing and experiencing nature like this is one of the wonderful experiences of cruising for me.
We were watching the clouds build in the East, checked the weather on VHF, and the radar but nothing more than “a slight chance of scattered thunderstorms” were being forecasted. So we continued on. Before we knew it the weather went bad… Before we knew it horizontal buckets of rain, which felt like wasps’ stings, were pelting us. I quickly went below to close the open hatches. When I returned topside and turned around there was a water spout, approx. two miles, off our starboard bow. I quickly looked at Carson and we both put on our life vests and shackled our lifelines to the rigging. Using the VHF (Channel 16) I hailed the Coast Guard to notify them of the water spout. (Carson had his hands full handling the steering…) While talking to the Coast Guard two more water spouts dropped, from the sky, approx. 2 miles in front of our bow. All three spouts were dancing around making it very hard to figure out where exactly they were headed. (Carson turned the boat 90 degrees while I was still on the radio with the Coast Guard.) I informed the Coast Guard of all the precautions we had taken, the boat’s name, our position at the time, the course we were now steering, and that there were two people aboard. They replied per form: put your life vests on and if possible change your course away from the water spouts. (We already had done both…) One water spout dissipated and the other two changed their paths slightly… This encounter lasted thirty minutes all told. We did experience very high winds, very high waves, BUT we weren’t hit by the water spouts full on….
Though the water spouts were gone, we hoped, we kept looking for more because the weather conditions hadn’t changed at all. The thunderstorms were still furious with the lightening hitting the water all around the boat, but thank God, not us. (The hair on Carson’s arms, hands, and head was standing straight up, at times…) It was raining so hard that the cockpit was taking on water. I was on my hand and knees using a ruler sideways, as a squeegee, to direct the water down the “drains” more quickly. (We both were still shackled in.) Eventually the storm calmed a bit (3 hrs is a long time). We took turns hand steering and going below to change our soaked clothes. We both had the beginnings of hypothermia due to the very high winds and being soaked through. I came up looking like I was going skiing: polar fleece hat & gloves, sweatpants, sweatshirt under full foul weather gear, and I was still cold. When it was safe I made us both a cup of cocoa to warm up…
While we were still experiencing the storms we heard a call, to the Coast Guard, from a boat experiencing trouble. It had four people aboard… A Good Samaritan Captain came to their aid and it ended well.
We feel fortunate and very blessed to have come through the other side unscathed. We’re safe n’ sound moored in Boot Key Harbor (Marathon City Marina) Marathon, Florida. At this time we planned on staying here for the hurricane season and then (hopefully) “Island Hop” our way down to Guatemala.
Thanks everyone for reading our blog…. We’ll keep telling you what and how we’re doing.
P.S. I did take a photo of one of the water spouts but since my camera was soaked by rain I’m not sure if I’ll be able to post it….
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