End Of The Road!
19 March 2018 | Naval Air Station Key West Marina at Boca Chica
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
After being on the boat all day Monday, we were excited to go back into town. By late morning the waters in the mooring field were still a little choppy with the 15 knots of north wind. But since we were heading with the chop, we managed to stay relatively dry. We’re lucky to have a hard bottom dinghy with large tubes that helps to protect us from spray. Our first stop is for some lunch at our favorite Cuban restaurant, El Siboney. We’ve eaten here each time we’ve visited Key West. It never disappoints. Afterwards we head over to the Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. Just as we are locking up our bikes, I recognize a guy walking down the street. I yell out his name and sure enough, I was right. It’s one of my old classmates from my Navy Officer Candidate class 34 years ago. John and his wife Mary are also enjoying vacation time in Key West. We do some quick catching up on the sidewalk and then continue on our separate ways. The Butterfly Conservatory is amazing. There were hundreds of butterflies of all types, a couple of flamingos and great tropical foliage. The admission price is very reasonable and is good for the whole day – you can leave and come back. Keeping with the nature theme, we bike over to the West Fort Martello garden. This is an unfinished Civil War Fort and the home to the Garden Club of Key West. They suffered significant damage from Irma with the loss of a huge Banyan tree that took down some of the old brick structures. The Banyan tree provided significant shade to the gardens and as a result of its loss they now have a much sunnier space. They are working to shift a significant amount of their plantings from shade loving-plants to sun tolerant species. It was a good hour spent and the admission price (free but donations are welcome) was worth every penny. By now, it’s late afternoon and in keeping with the nature oriented theme of our day … it sounds like we need to head to The Green Parrot, an old dive bar away from the crazies on Duval Street. We kick back in a window bench and enjoy some live music and ‘people watching’ before heading back to the boat after a day well spent.
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
We are lazy this morning and take our time getting into town. The weather’s on the cool side so we dress in long sleeves. First stop is the Hemmingway House and Museum. They run tours about every 20 minutes and even though there are lots of people on the property, you never really feel like you’re crowded. That’s probably because most people are outside petting the Hemingway cats. Our tour guide, Steve, was awesome. Probably one of the best tour guides we’ve had on any trip. The house was in great shape after Irma. The walls are 18” thick limestone/coral blocks excavated from the foundation (yes, the house has a basement). The house is also on the highest elevation on Key West. During Irma all 54 of cats were kept safe in the house along with 2 volunteers who stayed with them. For a late 2 o’clock lunch we make the pilgrimage to Sloppy Joes. There’s a guy on stage playing guitar and the place is packed but we quickly find a table near the stage. Not much to say about Sloppy Joes. It’s big, noisy and the drinks are expensive. We checked that block off of our ‘do list’ and moved on to a nice bike ride through the Truman Annex. It’s a gated community ( but open to bikes and pedestrian traffic) that used to be part of the old Navy base and is now a very expensive neighborhood of historic and newer houses and condos, many of which are vacation rentals. Everyone’s landscaping is immaculate and the homes are amazing. It’s also home to President Truman’s winter vacation home. There’s a museum and tour of the home that we decide to save for another trip. Before heading back to the boat, we do a fly by of Mallory square which is pretty calm during the day but pretty crazy at night.
Thursday, March 15, 2018
Today is Key West’s weekly farmer’s market. We dinghy in to town a little earlier than usual to check it out. The weather’s still on the cooler side so we’ll be able to store anything we purchase in a cooler in the dinghy for the day. The market has a great vibe. Plenty of veggie and food vendors. All the vendors were eager to share samples and we gladly obliged. The market had a distinctive Mediterranean feel with lots of humus, breads and such. There was a band playing in the gazebo which kept us hopping along between the booths. We could easily eat lunch at the market but have already planned to try Amigo’s Tacos on Greene Street. Amigo’s Tacos was recommended by some cruisers we met at the Naval Air Station Key West Marina and it did not disappoint. Most seating is counter-style and our counter was right on the sidewalk overlooking the corner of Greene and Duval Streets. Great food and great fun to sit and watch the world of Key West stroll by. Next we take advantage of another free tour. The Woman’s Club of Key West maintains a historic home on Duval street dating back to the mid-1800s. Not much to see, but the home did have a beautifully etched red glass paneled door that faces the sunset – the red color comes from mixing gold into the molten glass. After the tour we decide to check out The Tiki House on Greene Street. It’s across from Amigos Tacos and we had noticed they have BOGO drinks 4-6pm. We’re lucky to get the 2 seats overlooking the street. We settle down with some great live music and more excellent people watching. We dinghy back just as the sun is beginning to set. The veggies and hummus from the morning market held up well in the cooler.
Friday, March 16, 2018
We start the day with a quick provisioning run to the Winn Dixie. We only get dry goods so we can leave them in the dinghy. The temps are getting back to normal today so we’re wearing short sleeves and lots of sunscreen. We check out Lucy’s Retired Surfer Bar for lunch. It’s off the main drag and we’re happy to try someplace away from the tourist crowds (which really isn’t possible in Key West). We split some fish tacos and lightly battered deep fried avocado wedges. Amazing! We had never heard of fried avocado. Can’t wait to try some when we get home. After lunch we take in another free tour, this one is the oldest standing house in Key West. The house is from the early 1800s and survived hurricanes and a fire in 1886 that decimated the island. It is owned and operated by the Old Island Restoration Foundation. Next we head over to the Key West Rum Distillery. They’ve got a nice free tour that comes with one free sampling. Lynn really liked the spiced rum (and she’s not a rum fan). We enjoyed the Tiki House so much on Thursday that we end up there again. After a short wait, we are able to snag our favorite seats overlooking the sidewalk. The music today by guy who can be best described as a “Spring Break, get the crowd going” kind of guy, except most of the people in the bar are not spring breakers – they’re older folks just like us. He did a great job keeping everyone pumped up. Another sunset ride back to Interlude.
Saturday, March 17, 2018
We decide to make it a short day, even though it’s St. Patrick’s Day. We’re in town early for a late breakfast at Amigos Tacos. Heuvos Rancheros and Breakfast Tacos… Yummie. After breakfast we walk around a bit to observe the shenanigans along Duval Street. Lots of green on the streets today. Since it’s our last day, it’s time to buy the souvenir shirts and get one last bike ride in around town. On the way back to the boat we stop at the Basilica of Saint Mary, Star of the Sea’s Grotto Garden. Very cool. By mid-afternoon we’re back on the boat and we mount the dinghy outboard on the stern rail and raise the dinghy in preparation for sailing tomorrow. We’ll be heading back up to the Naval Air Station Key West Marina at Boca Chica. We had a great time in Key West and now it’s time to start our slow journey home.
Key West Adventures
13 March 2018 | Key West Garrison Bight Mooring Field
Saturday, March 10, 2018
This is our 3rd trip to Key West. The first two times were in 2010 and 2011 when we participated in an open water swim around Key West (12 miles). We were part of a 5 and 6 person relay team. After both swims we hung out for a day in Key West before driving back to Isle Of Palms. This will be our longest visit to Key West and we're looking forward to doing more things. We got a late start Saturday, which was okay. After a nice shower ashore, we headed over to the United Methodist Church to check out their annual yard sale. Luckily, we didn't find anything we couldn't live without. Then we biked off to the other side of the island to the 'Food Truck in Paradise' Food Truck Rodeo. There were about 10 trucks, a beer tent and live music. I had an awesome Jerk shrimp bowl with coconut rice, beans, slaw and carrots. Lynn had the same but a veggie version. The music was great. The highlight was a local music school with a group of kids called "School of Rock", like the movie. They played some classic rock and then did a couple of songs with everyone playing the ukulele. On the way back to the dinghy we dropped in at Waterfront Brewery for a quick beer before heading back to the boat.
Sunday, March 11, 2018
We make a plan to go to church this morning and head out about 10am so we can shower before the 1100 service. As we enter the basin to the dinghy dock, we discover that we've left the bike seats on Interlude. Rats! Back to the boat we go knowing that we've missed our church opportunity. We get back to the dinghy dock (with our bike seats) and decide to skip the shower until the end of the day. Our first stop is at the Artisan's Market only a few blocks away. Lots of local crafts, some fresh produce and food vendors. All good stuff, but nothing we need. Today we packed a picnic lunch, so we search for a park where we can sit in the shade. The closest park is the Key West Cemetery so we bike on over and find a nice shade tree. We learned that as many as 5 people can be buried on one plot - 2 stacked underground and 3 stacked aboveground in crypts. After lunch we've picked out some open houses to visit. Seeing the open houses is like getting a free home and garden tour of Key West. We saw about 9 very nicely remodeled 'conch' cottages in the heart of old town. In the middle of our tour Bob's bike gets a major blowout. The rear tire has a nice slash and needs to be replaced. We have extra parts and tools on the dinghy but no tire. Luckily there's a bike shop that's open just a short walk away. While Lynn visits a couple of houses, Bob heads over to the shop. 15 minutes after arriving and $40 later, Bob's bike is repaired and we continue our tour. By now it's late afternoon and time for a libation and an early dinner. We decide to check out the Margaritaville Café on Duval Street. We're both old Jimmy Buffet fans and have never been to a Margaritaville restaurant. We're pretty disappointed. We split a gigantic plate of nachos that were mediocre at best. However, the margarita was very good. Before we head back to the dinghy we visit the Winn Dixie to do some light provisioning. At this point we're very glad we've waited until the end of the day to shower. It's been a hot and sticky day.
Monday, March 12, 2018
Today we're sequestered on the boat. Over the past 12 hrs we have a front passing through. We've got 20-25 knot winds and thunderstorms most of the day. There are some nice 2 foot waves moving through the mooring field and not much dinghy action. Lynn uses the day to catch up on her boat cleaning and journaling. I didn't do much of anything constructive other than untangle one of our lines attached to the mooring ball (that required a short time in the dinghy). I also pumped out the dinghy a couple of times with our hand pump just to keep the rain water manageable. We did observe a little excitement in the afternoon. I was on deck when a rowing dinghy with a small outboard puttered by. The man was steering and the woman was bailing (water was blowing over the bow). They seemed okay enough so I waved at them as they went by and went back below. About 5 minutes later Lynn and I saw that they must have capsized because they'd been rescued by another dinghy and their dingy was being towed (upside down). I'm glad someone saw them flip over and was able to respond. It was a noisy and bouncy night with the wind howling.
It's Not Always Mermaids and Manatees!
10 March 2018 | Key West Mooring Field
Wednesday, March 6, 2018
The Boca Chica Marina at Naval Air Station Key West is a real bargain at $1 a foot for a slip. We’re lucky to be able to take advantage of this facility. The marina did suffer some damage from Hurricane Irma but the docks are fixed concrete so they were in good shape. Unfortunately, the marina hasn’t restored electricity to the docks which is probably why there was room for us. Normally, there would be a waiting list. Since we’re equipped with solar panels, our batteries are fully charged by the afternoon. For boats without solar or wind, they have to run their engines or installed generators every day because the marina doesn’t allow portable generators. Today we get to work doing some laundry and go for a walk to the mini-mart for some exercise. By the time we get back it’s time to head for the bar & grill to watch some ACC Tournament basketball and grab some dinner.
Thursday, March 7, 2018
Another lazy day for the most part with a few chores thrown in. In the morning Lynn gets another load of laundry done (at $1 a load which is a great price for a marina) and I plan our route for tomorrow’s transit to the Key West mooring field. After lunch we gear ourselves up to pump out our waste tank. Boca Chica Marina is served by a mobile pump-out boat on Mondays however we are not here on a Monday. The marina has several manual pump-out carts so we wheel one of those over to Interlude and get to work. Lynn, with the help of a fellow boater, Mike, does the hand-pumping, while I hold the end of the hose to our deck fitting. The system works remarkably well and is pretty easy. But it does remind us that cruising isn’t always mermaids and manatees. After the pump-out we walk over to Jay and Marti’s Lord Nelson Tug for a tour. It’s a ‘vintage’ tug that looks like Popeye should be at the helm. Even though the Lord Nelson Tugs were built in Taiwan back in the 1980s, it has the look and feel of something that was constructed in a shipyard somewhere in the states. After the tour, it’s time to head to the bar for a few cocktails and dinner.
Friday, March 8, 2018
We’re underway this morning for Key West proper. It will be a short trip, only a couple of hours down and around Key West to the mooring field. We plan on delaying our departure to allow some light drizzle to pass by and about 10:30 we’re on our way. The winds are brisk and favorable so we unfurl the headsail only and shoot towards Key West at 6 knots. After about an hour we head around the west end of Key West into the shipping channel used by the cruise ships and Coast Guard. There are two cruise ships in today. We continue around Key West, by Mallory Square; around Fleming Key and into the mooring field. We secure a mooring just after lunch. After getting the boat secured we drop the dinghy and head into the City Marina office to check in and go for a quick walk to get the lay of the land. After returning to the boat it’s time for dinner and a movie.
Enjoying The Florida Keys
08 March 2018 | Boca Chica Marina, Naval Air Station Key West
Wednesday, February 28, 2018
We got underway from Miami's Marine Stadium around 9am and started heading south on the ICW in Biscayne Bay. After only an hour or so we turn left and head towards No Name Harbor to stage for our transit south along the Keys. Winds are perfect to put up just the headsail and leisurely make our way down the bay. We anchor just before lunch and relax the rest of the day. We don't anchor in the harbor but just outside. It can be crowded and since we're heading out in the morning, we don't plan on going ashore. During the day several more boat anchor outside the harbor probably staging for the Bahamas.
Thursday, March 1, 2018
We weighed anchor at 7:45am and headed out to sea. We'll take Hawk Channel which is the channel for deeper draft vessels on the Atlantic side of the Keys. It's well protected from ocean swells by a reef that runs the length of the Keys. Winds will be close on the bow so we plan on motoring most of the way. Our destination is Rodriguez Key, a popular anchorage along Hawk Channel. The water is really looking crystal clear, a beautiful shade of turquoise and blue. Winds are light and the seas are fairly calm with only a little wind blown chop. We arrive at Rodriquez Key around 3:30 pm and anchor in about 8 ft of water. It was a long day and a little hot so we decide to take a dip and cool off. Winds are light overnight which is good because the anchorage is a little exposed. The crew gets a good night's sleep.
Friday, March 2, 2018
It's a good morning for the crew to have an anchoring lesson - no wind and shallow calm water that is so clear you can see the anchor on the bottom. Lynn follows directions well and successfully brings the anchor up so we can get underway. Next lesson will involve dropping and setting the anchor, but that will be for another day. We're anxious to get down to Boot Key Harbor (BKH). It's a very large mooring field run by the City of Marathon with about 200 moorings available on a first come, first serve basis. We're moving south at 8am. Winds are extremely light and on the nose so we motor the full day. We arrive at BKH around 3:30 and squeak our way through the channel at low tide. We check in with the city marina and are lucky to get the last available mooring ball in the harbor. It's too late to drop the dinghy and check in, so we'll do that first thing on Saturday. With Interlude comfortable on the mooring ball, the crew sits down for a relaxing beverage and looks forward dinner and a movie.
Saturday, March 3, 2018
The weather continues to be awesome. We have breakfast in the cockpit and get ready to listen in on the BKH Cruisers Net. A Cruisers Net is a VHF radio broadcast typically held where there are large numbers of cruisers. It's hosted by volunteers and provides general information, Q&A, announcements, buy-sell-trade, etc. One of the announcements is for a Sunday cruisers potluck brunch at the marina tiki hut. It sounds like fun so we add some additional items to our grocery list for the day. After the cruiser's net, we drop the dinghy and head in for a shower and to check-in with the harbor master. You can tell this is a big operation. There are about 50 dinghies at the very large dinghy dock(s). We head over to the office and walk into a great big open bay with a huge library, several TV viewing areas and tables with outlets for laptops, etc. We pay for 4 days as we plan on leaving Tuesday morning. We get tags for the dinghy and bikes. We also get a cruisers bag with info on local things to do. The bag is a nice insulated bag, perfect for grocery shopping. After showering we head back to the boat to grab the bikes and head out for some lunch and sightseeing. Our first stop is at the Keys Fisheries Restaurant & Marina. This is a favorite of ours. In 2009, we drove down and took US Sailing sanctioned lessons on a boat that was docked here. We enjoyed a lobster roll and fried conch sandwich and then walked over to the marina to see if Capt Bruce was around. Capt Bruce was the guy who ran the Key's Sailing school. We saw the Catalina 30 that we took our lessons on. Unfortunately, we discovered that Capt Bruce had passed away several years earlier and the business is under new ownership. We meander around on the bikes and visit a couple of shops. By now, it's getting later in the afternoon so we stop in at Publix and do some much-needed provisioning. Shopping can be tricky when you have to be careful not to buy more than you can carry in the bike baskets. Soda will have to wait until the next run!
Sunday, March 3, 2018
This morning we begin with breakfast in the cockpit and the Cruisers Net. Somebody is looking for an aluminum welder... can't help with that. While listening to the Cruisers Net, Lynn gets started on our contribution for the potluck brunch, Chili Relleno Pie. At 10am and we head in for the get-together. Wow, this is a great setup. Along with all the potluck dishes, there's also a bacon and egg's station along with someone making waffles! Nobody's going away hungry this morning. After loading up our plates, we head over to the Bloody Mary bar. Life is good. We meet a couple of cruisers who give us some advice on Key West so we are well armed with some local info before leaving on Tuesday. After brunch we drop off our empty dish back at the boat and prepare for a full day of sightseeing. We head over to Crane Point - a 50 acre preserve that has been held in trust to preserve the early 1900 buildings and the Key's Hammock maritime forest. Like most historic sites along the Keys, it's linked to the East Coast Railroad built by Henry Flagler which once linked Key West to mainland Florida. After some good trail Burdine's Waterfront for dinner on the docks. We enjoy a 20 minute dinghy ride through the mooring field to get there, but well worth it for the gigantic basket of fries, quesadilla and fried Key Lime Pie!
Monday, March 4, 2018
Lynn's excited. We've heard about yoga classes at the park by the marina. So Lynn dinghies off to the class and I hang out on the boat because we are expecting the pump-out boat to arrive around 10am. With the pump-out done, I work on the track for our next transit south towards Key West. Lynn gets back to Interlude in time for us to head out again for some lunch. We are in search of pizza and end up at a Cuban/pizza place that probably had better Cuban food than pizza. We return to the boat and get the dinghy motor mounted on the stern rail in preparation for tomorrow's ocean transit. We finish just in time to receive Keith and Nicki (s/v Sionna) aboard for sundowners in the cockpit. Lynn met Nicki at yoga, enjoyed chatting and invited them. A typical cruiser encounter - many friendships are formed just this way. This year they are wintering in BKH; summers are spent in Maine. Keith has been battling a detached retina so he and Lynn were able to trade 'battle stories'. We say good bye to Keith and Nicki at sundown and hope to run into them again - hopefully next year in the Bahamas providing everyone's eyes are healthy
Tuesday, March 5, 2018
We're underway at 8am sharp with no wind. We ride the tide out of BKH and head southwest into Hawk Channel. We're heading for the Naval Air Station Key West Marina at Boca Chica. This is supposed to be a great marina for active duty and retired military and it's only a few miles bike ride from Key West. The winds are expected to be light today so we are pleasantly surprised to have enough wind to hoist the sails and cut the engine around noon. We have a great sail the rest of the way to the Boca Chica Channel The highlight of the day (and probably for the trip, according to Lynn) was when 4 dolphins started to ride our bow wave as we entered the channel. Lynn was poised on the bow and had a front row seat as the dolphins zigzagged and jumped just in front of the boat for about 5 minutes. We docked around 3:30pm at the marina and immediately headed to the bar for dinner and cocktails. It's been a long but rewarding day.
Headed For The Conch Republic!
28 February 2018 | No Name Harbor in Biscayne Bay
Saturday, February 24, 2018
We had a bit of a lazy morning but eventually dinghied over to the marina loaded with shower gear and bicycles. After a refreshing hot shower and some WIFI time, we stowed our shower gear back in the dinghy and bicycled off for some lunch. On the way we checked out the International Swimming Hall Of Fame Pool. We had lunch at a very crowded beachfront place packed with happy tourists. A decent lunch and the beverages were cold. After lunch we headed up the beach road (A1A) to The Bonnett House, one of a few historic homes in Ft Lauderdale. It’s a 32 acre patch of green set right in the middle of all the gigantic condos and hotels. Good tour with a great tour guide of the quirky artistic home and natural maritime gardens. After the tour we head back to the boat. When we get there, I notice that the solar panel does not seem to be charging our batteries. Typically, we are fully charged at the end of a sunny day, so something is wrong. We are only at 94% battery capacity as we go to bed.
Sunday, February 25, 2018
As the sun came up I could see that the solar panel wasn’t charging the batteries, we are now at 91%. We want to get in a workout this morning so we hop in the dinghy and head ashore. The Hall Of Fame pool is a 5 minute bike ride from the marina. For a mere $4 each we enjoy an hourlong swim in the 50 meter pool. Then it’s back to the boat because I have an idea about the solar charging problem. I check the fuse between the panel and the charge controller. The fuse is blown. I tested the panel with a voltmeter and the panel checks out good. I pull out my one extra fuse and replace the bad one. Fixed. We are now charging the batteries again. However, what I don’t know is why did the fuse blow in the first place? With my solar charging issue somewhat resolved, we head off for Ft Lauderdale’s historic district. After lunch at Rocco’s Taco’s (great Mojitos), we’re off to the historic Stranahan house which is the oldest standing structure in Broward County - a trading post in the early 1900s. After the tour we bike along the Riverwalk district on the New River. It was quite a site to see all the mega yachts tied up along the bulkhead. On the way back to the boat we stop at Briny’s Pub for a snack and a refreshing beverage. Back on the boat I notice that the solar panel isn’t charging the batteries again and we’re down to 87%. Problem not solved.
Monday, February 26, 2018
I’m in high gear now to solve this solar charging issue. We plan to sail offshore to Miami tomorrow morning, and I need this problem to be solved. I also have a diver scheduled for this morning to clean the hull. I had hoped to be in the clear waters of the Bahamas so I could do this chore myself and it is overdue. After doing a bunch of researching on the internet I’ve decided that I’m under-fused. This seems to make sense since it appears that the fuses are blowing at peak sun exposure. Luckily there’s a large solar store in Ft Lauderdale (eMarine and RV) and I call them as soon as they open. Unfortunately, they don’t have the fuse that I need. They recommend that I replace the fuse holder with a breaker since you can reset a breaker and don’t have to carry a bunch of fuses. eMarine recommends Ward’s Marine Electronics in Ft Lauderdale for the fuse replacement. I call the diver to confirm his arrival time and let him know that I need to be away from the boat to get a new fuse. The diver was gracious enough to meet me at the store and drive me back to the boat - because he needs me to dinghy him out to clean the hull. Everything’s falling into place. Lynn and I take the Sun Trolly (Lauderdale’s very convenient trolly system) into town so she can get a haircut and do some light provisioning. I catch an Uber from Supercuts and arrive at the electronics shop about the same time as the diver. Problem: Ward’s Marine Electronics doesn’t have a fuse either, but they DO have a breaker suitable for replacing the fuse holder. I really didn’t want to do that kind of work until I got back to Southport but it needs to be done. The diver and I get to the boat before Lynn trollies back to the marina. The diver starts cleaning the hull and I tear into the solar panel cabling. By now Lynn’s back at the marina waiting (can’t go get her because the diver is using the dinghy to hold his air tank). As the diver finishes, I’m ready to test the solar charging system with the new breaker installed. Excellent, the panel is charging the batteries. It’s just after noon and the breaker hasn’t tripped. I upped the breaker to 30 amps from the 20 amp fuse. All is well. I take the diver back to the marina and pick up Lynn. We’re excited to have the bottom cleaned and the solar charging system back on line. Now it’s time to prepare for our offshore passage tomorrow to Miami.
Note from Lynn: Sometimes there seems to be a lot of ‘hurry up and wait’ involved in this grand adventure. But, not to worry!! I spent a lovely hour walking on the beach and enjoying the gorgeous aqua water while waiting for Bob to fetch me.
Tuesday, February 27, 2018
It’s going to be a long day so we leave the Las Olas Mooring field at 0800. We stop at the Lauderdale Marina and take on 22 gallons of diesel, fill our water tanks, and fill our gasoline gerry can. By 9:30 we are clear of the inlet and sailing. We sail for about an hour but the winds are just too light so we crank up the engine and motor-sail the rest of the way to the Port of Miami. We enter the Government Cut inlet and pass by enormous merchant ships on our way to the ICW. We take the ICW only a few miles south before turning off to anchor in the basin next to the Miami Marine Stadium. This is where the Miami Boat shows are held. Luckily the last show was just completed and the area is clear for boats to anchor. We drop the hook around 3pm and settle down for a snack and a refreshing adult beverage. Tomorrow is a short day. We’ll head to No Name Harbor in Biscayne Bay. It’s a well-known anchorage for boats staging to go to the Bahamas or the Keys. We will leave Wednesday morning to head south towards Key West. We plan on anchoring near Key Largo
Note from Lynn: About halfway between Ft Lauderdale and Miami, I spot something red and blue glinting on the water. Cap’n Bob agrees to adjust our course so I can snag a couple of killer mylar balloons with our boathook and pull them aboard. The turtles and other marine creatures thank you, Cap’n Bob!!
Sempre Gumby – Always Flexible
24 February 2018 | Fort Lauderdale
Sempre Gumby – Always Flexible, is a play on the official motto of the US Marine Corps, Sempre Fidelis, “Always Faithful”. When cruising you must be flexible and on this trip we are exercising our flexibility.
Tuesday, February 11, 2018 – Friday, February 16, 2018
Still at anchor in Lake Worth, which is surrounded by the Village of North Palm Beach. We continue to see boats come and go from the anchorage. One of the boats, is Meredith with Bob and Connie from Ontario. A very nice couple who have been cruising since 2004. They’re on their way to the Bahamas. They are experienced cruisers who have sailed to the Mediterranean and back. We are impressed. I told them about Lynn’s retinal tear and Bob (from Meredith) is quick to tell the story about a detached retina that he had treated in Casablanca. Again, we are impressed. Another boat that’s just weighed anchor near us is Vivo. A very nice Island Packet 445 with Steve and Linda aboard who sold everything to live on the boat. We first ran into them in Ft Pierce, FL on the way down. Steve and Linda are waiting for a weather window to cross to the Bahamas. I mentioned to both Meredith and Vivo that Lynn was running low on reading material, and before we knew it, they were both pulling up to our boat in their dinghies with books for her. Once again, boaters helping boaters. Lynn’s eye is doing really good and she’s excited to get off the boat in the next day or so. On Valentines Day, I treat Lynn to take out pizza and a movie from Redbox. Thursday afternoon I return the movie and run into Aaron and Joann at the dinghy landing. They are from Quebec and have the same boat as we do named Déjà Vu. As we dinghy back to our respective boats, I notice that they are having problems. I head over to their dinghy and it appears their engine is overheating. I tow them back to their boat and advise them that their telltale is slow (cooling water) and they may have a water pump issue. I recommended that they get a new impeller for the pump from West Marine and told them I could pick it up for them because I plan to head there myself tomorrow.
On Friday we weigh anchor and head over to the Old Port Cove Marina about 500 yds from the anchorage. It’s time for us to pump out our waste tank and fill a fresh water tank. After returning to the anchorage I head out to West Marine (only a short 10 minute walk). Before I head out, Joann calls from Déjà Vu and tells me that they are uncomfortable working on the motor and asked if I would help. After the West Marine run, I head over to Déjà Vu with the impeller. Unfortunately, there were no good instructions online on how to change the impeller, but after a while we manage to get the foot off and replace the impeller. Their motor hadn’t been serviced in quite some time and really needed a new rebuild kit because the gaskets were very dry and brittle. After putting the foot back on we could not get the motor to shift into reverse. All else seemed to be okay. On Saturday, Déjà Vu is leaving for Port Canaveral and I suggested they get the motor serviced since the pump really needs to be rebuilt. They were happy for the experience but I was frustrated that we didn’t get the problem fixed.
Saturday, February 17, 2018
This is a very exciting day for Lynn. It’s her first trip off the boat since arriving at the anchorage. We still have to be careful of her eye. We dinghy very slowly ashore and walk a couple of blocks to Duffy’s Sports Bar for dinner. We enjoy 2 for 1 drinks, some good pub food and get to watch some of the Olympics on one of their hundreds of tv”s. After getting back to the boat we realize that our bodies aren’t use to eating such big portions after being on the boat for 2 months. We barely get through a show on Netflix before hitting the rack.
Sunday, February 18, 2018
A lazy day at anchorage turns into an exciting day very quickly. While relaxing in the cockpit after lunch, Lynn says to me, “hey, is that dinghy drifting?”… Sure enough, there’s a perfectly good 9 foot dinghy and motor drifting down the anchorage with no one aboard. I jump in our dinghy, race over and tow it back to Interlude. The dingy has no registration number or any other identifying markings. We survey the other boats around us but none look like they’re missing their dinghy, and no one appears to be looking for one. I put out a call on VHF 16 and no one claims the missing dinghy. I also post on a couple of Facebook boater groups. After a while I call the Florida Wildlife Commission and find out that I can keep it if I want and that all I need to do is put an ad in the paper for a couple of weeks as a public notice before titling the boat in my name. Crap! I don’t want to haul this dinghy around for the next couple of months even though it looks relatively new and the motor is as well. I decide that on Monday morning I’m going to call West Marine and see if they can contact the original purchaser (it’s a West Marine brand dinghy) using the boats serial number. By now, it’s getting close to cocktail hour, and Lynn and I are expected on a neighboring boat for sundowners. I met Greg and Jodi (Moon Pie ll, from Washington, NC) on Friday and they offered to share their Bahmas experience with us since they’ve just returned the day before. Greg’s retired Air Force and Jodi’s a veterinarian. As we’re swapping stories, Greg see’s that someone is towing away the rescued dinghy from Interlude. It’s about sundown and time for Lynn and I to leave anyway, so we jump in our dinghy and race over to see what’s going on. Long story short, a charter sailboat had been in the anchorage and decided to go sailing. They tied their dinghy to a friend’s boat and it had come lose, so when they returned, their dinghy was gone. They had left a nice note on Interlude and offered to have us over for dinner. We politely declined and were just happy the dinghy had found it’s owners.
Monday, February 19, 2018
We prep the boat for tomorrow’s transit back down south for Lynn’s follow up eye appointment. Then dinghy into town for lunch and a quick stop at Publix. We’re having Greg and Jodi over for sundowners on Interlude so we need some nice snacks. We enjoy another great visit with them. Very personable people who live on their boat full time. We’re not interested in being full time live aboards. We like having a house to return to after cruising.
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
We’re underway at 0800. Our destination is the Delray City Marina which is about 4 miles south of where we were in Boynton Beach. It’s going to be a long day with 9 bridges. We dock around 2:30pm. We get right to work changing the engine oil since the engine is still warm from a hard day of running down the waterway. You need the engine oil nice and warm because unlike a car where it drains out the bottom through a plug, on a marine diesel, you suck the oil out the dipstick tube using a vacuum pump. After the oil change, we really don’t feel like doing much else… it’s cocktail time after all. And, more importantly, time for our first long leisurely hot shower in over a week! Sure beats the quick, every-other-day barely lukewarm showers aboard! This is a really nice marina. Set in an old historic section of Delray Beach surrounded by old bungalows. It has a nice bath house with laundry, showers, ice machine (free) and a book exchange. There are only about 25 slips and they only keep one open for transients so we are lucky to be here.
Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Pat and Tom are picking us up at noon so we get to work early on remaining boat chores. Lynn helps me wash the boat and then we pump out our waste tank. Then we get our gear ready to go to Pat and Tom’s condo. After they pick us up, we head over to the beach for lunch. They are really excited to show us their town now that Lynn can walk around. We have a great lunch at The Sand Bar. We then head into downtown and stroll the streets. Downtown Delray Beach is very hip with lots of cafés and bars. We manage to stop a few times for a refreshing beverage. On the way back to the car we bump into a local drum circle setting up. Lynn is bum’ed that she doesn’t have her drum with her. It was a great afternoon anyways.
Thursday, February 22, 2018
Lynn’s eye appt isn’t until the afternoon so we do some provisioning with Pat and Tom in the morning. It’s also a good time to update my chart plotter software and my charts and download a couple of Netflix movies. At the Dr’s office we’re seen quickly and it’s good news. Lynn’s eye is healing perfectly and she has no further tears. The doctor does want to see Lynn again in another month so we will alter our plans and head to Key West vice the Bahamas. It’s never a good idea to go to the Bahamas with a schedule over your head because your departure and return are very much determined by the weather. We are okay with this and really expected that we probably wouldn’t be going to the Bahamas this year. We will rent a car and drive back up to Delray Beach for the appointment later in March. Spirits are high and we are in Florida in our bathing suits! After the appt we say good bye to Pat and Tom and look forward to seeing them again in March.
Friday, February 23, 2018
We had planned on leaving at 0800 because we have 11 bridges on our way to Ft Lauderdale. But I left my credit card at West Marine yesterday when we stopped there to return a part. No biggie, I pull my bike out and ride on over. It’s a short 15 minute ride and I’m able to get my card and get back to the boat in time to get underway at 0930. It’s a long day on the waterway with lots of weekend boaters already out and about. We take a mooring ball at the Las Olas Marina in Ft Lauderdale about 3:30. We have a difficult time with the mooring ball this time, the pendant is jammed in the ball and we can’t get it with our boat hook. After about 10 minutes, we finally get settled. Time for a refreshing beverage! We plan on being here through Monday. We’ll have the boat’s hull cleaned under the waterline and have our zinc changed. I had planned on having done those items myself by now in the clear waters of the Bahamas. Tomorrow we’re looking forward to getting the bikes ashore and exploring Ft Lauderdale.