03 February 2010
Anchored out in Key West Florida having just sailed the length of the Keys in a small enginless boat many things are running through my mind. I will try and relate a few of these by posting scraps from my logbook and adding another small gallery for the Keys. The premise of this trip was to find a small boat in the tropics for next to nothing, fly there, sail it as far as made sense, offload it and fly home. Basically a cruise on my own schedule without the hassles of long term boat ownership or short term chartering, an attempt to experience sailing without the planning or boat systems that conventional cruising seems to require. Instead I found that ingenuity, synchronicity, practiced trance states, friendship, and the physics of uncertainty are dependable systems of the seafaring life. Infact I would venture to say that becoming familiar with these, the substance of the experience, is more important to a successful cruise than familiarity with stuff that is for sale, whether it be ideas or gear.
The Kittiwake 23 was tied to the dock as it had been for years. No one can remember exactly how long it had been there, 25-27 years at least. During that time many changes have occured in the small universe that is this boat, and I can't help feeling a little like Jesus come to resurrect the dead. A few months ago the boat had sank at the dock and there is still evidence of water intrusion as the bulkheads and bunks continue to dry out and carry on rotting. Luckily the hull has no core and was built in a time when builders kept things simple and stout, so even though the foredeck is rotted and houses a large colony of ants, the lizards and I can still get underway. After tearing out wiring, hoses, head, and lights i dove into the channel to plug all the thruhulls with underwater epoxie and scrape the bottom. Luckily the rig was still standing, although barely. Spreaders were attached with a single drywall screw per side, stays were missing, turnbuckles were cracked. To these problems and many others I applied a little Wharramism and now find myself sitting on the hook waiting for the wind to veer so I can run down Dusenbury Creek, into Tarpon Basin, and beyond. The bilge smells like there's something dead down there and its starting to get dark.. it looks like rain and northerlies are on the way.