Monarch's Big Year

21 February 2021 | Marathon FL Boot Key Harbor
20 February 2021 | Marathon FL Boot Key Harbor
03 February 2021 | Marathon FL Boot Key Harbor
23 January 2021 | Bahia Honda Key Florida
20 January 2021 | Marathon FL Boot Key Harbor
01 January 2021 | Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, Florida
27 December 2020 | Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, Florida
26 December 2020 | Rodriquez Key FL
24 December 2020 | Miami Beach Between Hibiscus and Palm Islands
23 December 2020 | Miami Beach Between Hibiscus and Palm Islands
18 December 2020 | No Name Harbor, Key Biscayne Florida
17 December 2020 | No Name Harbor, Key Biscayne Florida
16 December 2020 | Dinner Key at Coconut Grove Florida
15 December 2020 | Dinner Key at Coconut Grove Florida
14 December 2020 | Lake Sylvia in Fort Lauderdale FL
13 December 2020
12 December 2020 | Fort Pierce Anchor Field
07 December 2020
06 December 2020 | Vero BeachFL

What Battery Issue?

21 February 2021 | Marathon FL Boot Key Harbor
February 21, 2021 Sunday

The winds blew strong all night and into the morning with temperatures in the sixties forcing us to put a blanket over us. The state of charge of the batteries barely went down so we started the day with over a half charge. We are still wondering why the batteries discharged 100% a on Friday evening.

Due to the high winds, we stayed put on the boat all day with me taking turns reading Buckley's book and reading Jimmy Cornell's World Voyage Planner. Sharon continued knitting a pair of socks.

For dinner Sharon made a chicken dinner with rice and peppers which was very good. We watched a movie we had no idea what to expect, The Bullet Proof Monk, and while not our usual fare it was a fun action movie.

Gremlins in the Battery Bank

20 February 2021 | Marathon FL Boot Key Harbor
Our friends on Luckiest shared this with us. It makes Sharon laugh every time she looks at it.

February 20, 2021 Saturday Marathon

We awoke to find that the house bank of batteries, 3-4D Gel Batteries, had been discharged and the voltage was down to 11.2V with the battery monitor showing a low voltage alarm. This type of discharge had never happen since we installed the new batteries two years ago, we hadn't done anything different last night than any of the other 45 days we had been in the mooring field. What had happened?

I tried all day to fill the batteries back up but once they got to around fifty percent full, they stopped taking more than seven amps so getting another hundred amp-hours in was going to be challenging. I did a lot of tests on the various main circuits and I couldn't figure out what was going on. Tomorrow I will test the batteries to see if one of them failed but if a failure had happened why was the Balmar SG200 battery monitor still indicating the State of Health was 89% and not indicating the additional loss of capacity?

We went into the marina in the afternoon and took a long bike ride first stopping at the coffee shop for a muffin, coffee, a newspaper and some used paperback books. The we rode out around the local golf course and then down to Sombrero Beach stopping on the way home for some groceries.

After dinner of a vegetable medley, we listen to some downloaded pod casts and read. The wind picked up during the night making for a rocking evening. I am reading a book by William F Buckley, A Sentimental Journey, about his sailing adventures and it reminds me of my family's sailing trips when I was a kid with lots of adventures and always a strong cocktail at the end of the day.

We turned off the main refrigerator to save power for the night.

Fishing, Paddleboarding, Projects, and Yoga

19 February 2021
We never remember to take pictures of the fish. Use your imagination!

February 19, 2021 Friday

We have settled in a little here. Some more friends have arrived from the Dry Tortugas, so Sharon has more friends to join her in the morning yoga classes at the outdoor amphitheater. I have started and completed a few more projects. And we have been going out to dinghy drift and fish with Luckiest, Windweaver, and Dancing on the Edge. The guys fish and women paddleboard and chat. We caught a few random fish and I caught a Spanish mackerel that I kept for dinner for dinner one night, good eating with a fresh herb filling and a couple others another night that the fish book described as good but rarely eaten. Those we made into fish tacos.

Marathon Winter Winds

03 February 2021 | Marathon FL Boot Key Harbor
February 3, 2021

As so much goes these days... due to covid, we decided to hang out a while longer in Marathon.... and take a vacation. That means fewer boat projects and a little more playing.
Last weekend while our friends and family up north were getting snow, we were feeling the same front in the form of wind.
Sunday 1/31/21

The wind was blowing strong, twenty five from the north-west, so we decided to stay aboard and read books and relax.

Monday 2/1/21

The morning started with lots of panic on the VHF radio as a squall came through and some of the boats began dragging their anchors. It was impressive to hear on the radio as the boats worked together to move the drifting boats and get them secure. One boat was an old heavy ferro-concrete boat that they moved onto mooring ball to get it out of trouble and it must have been something to watch all those small dinghies dragging the big heavy boat into the wind moving it back from the other end of the harbor.
All day and night the wind was blowing at speeds of mid-twenty knots and the temperatures stayed in the low sixties. We were rocking and rolling.

Bahai Honda

23 January 2021 | Bahia Honda Key Florida
1/23/21 Saturday

After three weeks on the mooring ball, we took a couple nights break and anchored north of Bahia Honda State Park. On Thursday, we headed out of Marathon Harbor and it felt good to be out on the open water headed west. We turned north at the channel to go under the seven-mile bridge and continued again toward the west across the shallow banks of the bay side of the keys. After a couple of hours, we arrived off of Bahia Honda Key and anchored in eight feet of water off the mangroves all by ourselves.

The breeze was still blowing around eight knots but there was only a mild chop on the water. As the evening came on, we had a beautiful sunset and the wind set down and it was a very calm night. Sharon made a beet pasta for dinner and we relaxed reading and listening music.

On Friday, Sharon made us a picnic lunch and we loaded up the dinghy and while I rowed, she paddled on her paddle board. There was still a breeze from the east and the water had a small chop. The weather was beautiful with wispy clouds here and there and temperatures in the low seventies.

We traveled along the mangrove swamp and a beach with a boater enjoying the beach. We entered an old quarry that had been dug for rock to build route 1 and was left open to the bay, creating a small very deep harbor. We tied the dinghy and board to a guard rail. There were a few camp sites around the quarry and we talk to one family to confirm it was ok to leave our boat; they didn’t know but didn’t see a problem with leaving it there.

We walked to the Bahia Honda State Park entrance and after paying $5 we continued into the park along the beach on the Atlantic side of the island. We found a shaded picnic table to eat our lunch by the small marina. We walked up the old Route 1 that had been built out onto the top of the old railroad bridge in an interesting reuse of the cast iron spans.

Next, we stopped at the beach and waded out into the cool calm water. The beach is narrow and there were other people enjoying the day with several fishing along the ocean edge of the beach.

After ice cream cones at the gift shop, a key lime and a mango, we took the long walk back to the quarry and used the motor back to Monarch where we took a nap. It had been a busy day in the bright sun.

This morning we returned to the mooring ball in Marathon so we could use the marina’s wifi to watch the livestream of our niece’s wedding.

Marathon Projects

20 January 2021 | Marathon FL Boot Key Harbor
1/20/21 Wednesday

We are about 3 weeks into our stay in Marathon. It’s been good to get some projects done and be at one address long enough to order parts, get mail, and some things for the galley, and various odds and ends.

We’ve replanted our small herb garden, and I replaced the drinking water piping and added a hot water mixing valve, and completed some maintenance on the generator. One of the bigger projects was updating the Raymarine Network, which I am happy to report seems to be making a big difference in the interactions of the AIS and the chart plotter. I finished several sewing projects that have been on my list with some help from Sharon including new fender covers, winch covers, a paddleboard cover, a lee cloth, and repairs to the sail cover. I have done several dives on the bottom to clean and inspect.

The last big thing is to replace the steering cables but after reviewing the process I saw they recommend replacing the bearings and shivs at the same time. So that means ordering some more parts and waiting for their delivery before I tackling that project. Luckily it is working fine now, I just like to be proactive.

We haven’t met as many people here as last time. Everyone is keeping more to themselves. But I have been out almost daily rowing and Sharon’s paddle boarding balancing has improved a lot. It’s been a good break from constantly planning the next day’s travel.
Vessel Name: Monarch
Vessel Make/Model: Hunter Legend 40 1988
Hailing Port: Mayo Maryland
Crew: Mike & Sharon Crothers
About: We left our jobs and have headed out to explore, starting with the East Coast of the US in our sailboat.
Extra: We are looking forward to exploring towns we have never been to or seeing familiar places in new ways, having conversations with strangers and making new friends, seeing natural and man-made beauty, history, and life.
Monarch's Photos - Main
20 Photos
Created 15 January 2015
Coast of Maine, Islands, Towns, Acadia, Bar Harbor
No Photos
Created 27 August 2014
20 Photos
Created 1 May 2014
Leaving, Galesville, Wye River, St. Michaels, Solomons Island, Reedville, VA, Put-In Creek off Mobjack, Norfolk, Dismal Swamp
14 Photos
Created 1 May 2014