Mandolin-at-Large

Vessel Name: Mandolin
Vessel Make/Model: Bayfield
Hailing Port: Rock Creek, MD
Crew: Tod and Anne Herrick
About: Retired from human service occupations now living a human exisistance!
08 April 2018 | Florida Keys
28 February 2018 | Boot Key Harbor, Marathon
15 February 2018 | Lower Keys
14 February 2018 | Off Boynton Beach
13 February 2018 | West Palm Beach
11 February 2018 | Vero Beach
06 February 2018 | Vero Beach
31 January 2018 | Cocoa
31 January 2018 | Cocoa
27 January 2018 | Titusville
27 January 2018 | Daytona Beach
05 January 2018 | Daytona Beach
03 January 2018 | St. Augustine
01 January 2018 | St. Augustine
30 December 2017 | St. Augustine
28 December 2017 | St. Augustine
23 December 2017 | St. Augustine
22 December 2017 | St. Augustine
20 December 2017 | Amelia River
Recent Blog Posts
08 April 2018 | Florida Keys

Paradise, aka: the Florida Keys

It's been a really long time since I posted a blog. I know, I should be more disciplined! But I have made numerous Facebook entries. That counts, doesn't it? I prefer Facebook when I have a bunch of photos to post. I can only post one on this site. So any readers who are not on my friends list at Facebook, [...]

28 February 2018 | Boot Key Harbor, Marathon

Boot Key Harbor: A Pleasant Community on the Water

We have enjoyed our stay in Boot Key Harbor in Marathon. There is a nice community of boaters here. It's protected from winds during bad weather and the city makes it a welcoming place.

15 February 2018 | Lower Keys

Welcome to the Keys!

We left Lake Worth at 7:30a thinking we were only going to Fort Lauderdale. The admiral didn't like the waves and seas we had yesterday so she was reluctant to put in a long day again. I can't say I blame her. However, today's conditions were delightful! She put off the task of seeking a marina for the [...]

14 February 2018 | Off Boynton Beach

The Lazy Fisherman

We woke early and got underway from our pleasant Anchorage in Lake Worth around 7:30 to catch slack current in the inlet. It was a bit bumpy with the east winds but not terrible. Once out we set sail and motor sailed under full sail and mild winds for about 3 hours. Our original destination was Fort [...]

13 February 2018 | West Palm Beach

Moving south

After pulling ourselves away from Velcro Beach we traveled south along the waterway to Ft. Pierce. We had our friend aboard as extra crew as needed but more as pleasant company. We enjoyed Vero Beach and will likely be back. We had a good time walking to the beach and getting caught by the security guard [...]

11 February 2018 | Vero Beach

Shorts, sandals, and sunny skies

We have been enjoying our stay at "Velcro Beach" and understand why people have named it thus. Life is pleasant here and you have access to the town via the free bus. It's not a fast way to get around but it is convenient!

Paradise, aka: the Florida Keys

08 April 2018 | Florida Keys
Tod / sunny and warm
It's been a really long time since I posted a blog. I know, I should be more disciplined! But I have made numerous Facebook entries. That counts, doesn't it? I prefer Facebook when I have a bunch of photos to post. I can only post one on this site. So any readers who are not on my friends list at Facebook, let me know and I will approve your friendship.

We have really enjoyed our stay in the Keys. The weather has been fabulous, for the most part. The only cold spells have been when we've had visitors. Funny how that happens.

We have spent about 5 weeks in Marathon. The harbor is more protected meaning you can get off your boat easier during high winds. There is a great public Beach a short dinghy ride from the mooring field. There is also a great sense of community with a morning net announcements that welcome all to the harbor, asks people for announcements or requests for help and gives everyone a morning laugh with trivia. I looked forward to listening every morning and will miss it now that we have left. People have asked for help with their boats and engines and coordinated events. Every 2 weeks there is a pot luck breakfast which includes eggs, bacon, and sausage provided. Families organize play dates for their kids and dinghy drifts for the adults. We organized a group to go listen to a local band play at a bar on the Bayside. We we're lucky enough to be there for the Marathon Seafood Festival which was fabulous. There are quite a few bars and restaurants but music tends to wrap up by 9pm. We met many people who we now call friends.

We spent 2 weeks in Key West, one on a mooring ball. Alex and Lisa Tarlacky are working hard to creat the same atmosphere but it's hard since people are spread between the mooring field, Anchorage, and various marinas. There is no morning net because they don't yet have an army of volunteers to man it. It's more transient than Boot Key Harbor. They announce over Facebook so you must monitor that. They did organize a get together at the Brewery which was well attended. The mooring field is open to the north and can be difficult to get off your boat is high winds as it is a longish dinghy ride in.

Key West is a happening place, full of excitement, crowds, watering holes that are open late. Plus great places to explore like the Butterfly House and Hemingway's House. You have to see the street performers at Mallory Square at sunset. Lots of restaurants to choose from and lots of music. We stayed at a marina in Stock Island which was a neat little resort. Expensive, but all marinas in Key West are. It was very nice, we would stay there again when we return.

We are anchored off Rodriguez Key, off Key Largo waiting for bad weather to clear in Miami. Hard to accept that there are T-storms predicted as it is sunny where we are. Better safe than sorry. So now I have time to catch up on my blog.

We plan on leaving early tomorrow morning to head to Key Biscayne where we will either go to no name harbor or directly to a mooring ball off Coconut Grove. We've been told that this is a neat place to visit.

We are slowly making our way up North but the 32 degree temps make it hard to get excited.

Boot Key Harbor: A Pleasant Community on the Water

28 February 2018 | Boot Key Harbor, Marathon
Tod / Sunny and warm
We have enjoyed our stay in Boot Key Harbor in Marathon. There is a nice community of boaters here. It's protected from winds during bad weather and the city makes it a welcoming place.

The day starts off with you daily Net announcements on Channel 68 where new arrivals are welcomed and departures are wished well before they start in their next adventure. Space is provided for people to ask for help (I borrowed a dive flag from another boater for my snorkeling trip for example) and people let others know what they have to sell our seek to buy. Activities throughout the Key are announced as well as other pertinent announcements. They end with some trivia which many participate. We learned of a dinghy drift the other might on the net and were able to join a large group of dinghies mashed together in the center of the harbor sharing appetizers and conversation. We met new boaters and it was great fun! There is a brunch pot luck on Sundays which we are looking forward to.

There are many restaurants and pubs on the island. You walk most places or borrow the marinas bikes. There is a taxi service for those other places deemed too far.

There is a bus service to Key West (where roosters run wild) which is very inexpensive and runs multiple times throughout the day.

The bath house, while not upscale or air conditioned, is more than adequate. You get good hot showers and are clean and airy.

We are happy to call this harbor home while in the Keys and understand why many come back year after year.

Welcome to the Keys!

15 February 2018 | Lower Keys
Tod / Sunny
We left Lake Worth at 7:30a thinking we were only going to Fort Lauderdale. The admiral didn't like the waves and seas we had yesterday so she was reluctant to put in a long day again. I can't say I blame her. However, today's conditions were delightful! She put off the task of seeking a marina for the night as she was clearly regretting her stance. She then said she thought we should go further. Well, we couldn't make Miami by nightfall and I wasn't going into an unknown inlet after dark. Well then, why not still through the night and go to the Keys? We couldn't come up with a coherent reason so we said, "let's do it!"

It turned out that we had a wonderful sail with winds off our beam until the winds abated later that afternoon. We got to Ft. Lauderdale in the late afternoon which was a busy port. Ships were coming and going. One was spinning in a circle outside the harbor, I kid you not!

We reached Miami just at dusk. Miami looked beautiful all lit up with an orange sky. There was lots of ship and boat traffic too. It was confusing and frustrating to try to figure it out but we managed to avoid getting run down.

We then headed for Hawk Channel, the channel that allows deeper draft boats to sail to the Keys. It goes along a coral reef and is pretty well marked except some marks are not lit! We managed to negotiate it pretty well except some confusion around a red mark whose light was extinguished and some confusing cross channel marks. We ended up nearly T-boning that dark red mark, passing it on the wrong side in the darkness. We didn't strike a coral head or run aground so all is well. Our friend Steve, who was helping out said after that experience to not expect him to help at the helm at night in a small channel. I felt the same way!

We pulled behind Rodriguez Key at 6am ready to drop the hook at bit or bunks. Oh, and the person who suggested the night sail? She went to bed last evening and slept through it all. There is something not quite fair about it all. Even considering the fact she got a little sea sick didn't make it any more fair.

We are in the Keys and the weather is fabulous! The color of the ocean is beautiful too.

The Lazy Fisherman

14 February 2018 | Off Boynton Beach
Tod / sunny and beautiful
We woke early and got underway from our pleasant Anchorage in Lake Worth around 7:30 to catch slack current in the inlet. It was a bit bumpy with the east winds but not terrible. Once out we set sail and motor sailed under full sail and mild winds for about 3 hours. Our original destination was Fort Lauderdale but the admiral liked the conditions in the ocean so much she said why not pass Miami and continue to the Keys through the night. Weather is predicted to be benign so Hawk Channel here we come!

Winds freshened and veered more east so the motor is off and it is a delightful sail! The sun is out, a nice breeze and Steve is fishing for supper.

More too come!

Moving south

13 February 2018 | West Palm Beach
Tod / Clear
After pulling ourselves away from Velcro Beach we traveled south along the waterway to Ft. Pierce. We had our friend aboard as extra crew as needed but more as pleasant company. We enjoyed Vero Beach and will likely be back. We had a good time walking to the beach and getting caught by the security guard as we trespassed through a private property trying to get to the beach. We would have made it if the gate wasn't locked!

We found a neat Anchorage along the causeway island and had a very pleasant night. Dolphin were out and the pelicans were their usual silly selves.

We pulled up our anchor at 7:45a to make the trek down the ocean to Lake Worth Inlet, some 48 miles. The winds were light at first, out of the southeast. They gradually built to 12k out of the east in the afternoon and we set the Yankee to take advantage. We bashed through 4-5' waves heading south. The sun was mostly out.

We arrived in Lake Worth and found a tight Anchorage off the inlet. Anne made a fabulous dinner and we ate it up!

Tomorrow we head for Ft. Lauderdale and stiltzville before heading to the keys!

Shorts, sandals, and sunny skies

11 February 2018 | Vero Beach
Tod / clear and warm
We have been enjoying our stay at "Velcro Beach" and understand why people have named it thus. Life is pleasant here and you have access to the town via the free bus. It's not a fast way to get around but it is convenient!

Some of you may remember Marc Lienard of Champagne from Glenmar. He and his wife moved down here and have a lovely home here. Marc helped us do some major shopping as we provisioned for the next stage of our adventure and made us a very nice dinner. It's nice to have friends in all the nice places!

We had a lovely visit with Anne's cousin who snowbird to Vero Beach from Nova Scotia. They took us to their comfortable and lovely home and we shared a great fish chowder, wine and plenty of stories. It was a great time and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We also got to sleep in a real bed, an added plus!

Our friend, Steve, arrived to crew with us and help us on the off-shore portion of our adventure. We dinghied down the creek to Jaycees Park where we had access to the ocean Beach. This is a very pretty Park with a great Sandy Beach and picnic areas as well as a boardwalk. We speed our feet in the warm waters of the Atlantic and marveled at the crashing surf.

Back on the boat with Steve settling in we relaxed with beer and wine for story telling and catching up. Steve brought crabs that he had caught on Florida's West coast and we had a nice crab feast with a salad made by Anne. A pleasant evening was enjoyed by all!

We then hit the bunks for some shut eye. There are thunderstorms predicted for Sunday so we will stay put another day. Besides, the winds are strong out of the SE which is the direction we will be headed...

Somehow we will find something to do in Velcro Beach!
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