Spindrift, 36' Catalina Mark I three month trip in the Keys

22 April 2008 | NEW SMYRNA
15 March 2008


22 April 2008 | NEW SMYRNA
Getting ready for this 2 month lifestyle change was an ongoing effort over a couple of months. However with most things, the actual push to get it all done was accomplished in the last week. March 15 had been a target date - something to plan for and hopefully the fronts would slow down or become less severe and the travel would be easy. Yeah right!

I spent most of the week moving food from the home cupboards on-board. I noticed that Dave didn't "harass" me about the amount of food I was bringing this time (like he still does regarding the Abacos trip). Mostly because he doesn't want to eat out much and the more food on board - the less chance he'll have to spring for a meal!! Clothes were laid out all over the bed as I tried to pare down what I was going to bring. Have the cruising shirts that I would not be caught dead off the boat clothes///the shower at the dock and sitting on the boat clothes (a small improvement over the former)//the going to town clothes (casual but presentable)///yacht club clothes -definitely a step up and the bathing suites and coverups for in the keys.

Spindrift is very roomy and has lots of storage space. I have a complete inventory (I hope) of where we put everything. Of course - something will turn up "missing" for the trip to be found upon our return!

Dave put the dinghy together the day before departure only to discover the seam had given way and the dinghy was unusable. He called the Zodiac repair place in Cocoa but they had a week's backlog of stuff. It was an option - use the kayaks and dock the boat for Snoopy and then drive back up to Cocoa to pick up the dinghy when it's done (postponing departure was not an option). However, having the boat at the yacht club where sailboaters have the accessories but mainly race their boats and don't cruise - we were offered two dinghys to use. One was small and didn't have a valid registration but usable with oars - the second one is a Caribe a foot shorter than our Zoom and had a valid registration. God Bless John Alden! The dinghy is hanging off our davits now.

Friday night (3/14/08) we loaded the freezer with lots of steaks, chicken, pork, sausage, spaghetti sauce, etc. and had dinner in the Club. Said our last goodbyes and went home to bed!


Saturday morning (3/15/08) was a beautiful morning. Dave went to breakfast with the "guys" and I picked up Alex to take him to breakfast and get my last "Alex fix" before I left. I will really miss my little guy.

As we headed to the boat with the final load of stuff I realized I had left my very favorite shorts - the ones that you wear ALL THE TIME, and want to die in! So, dropped Dave and the stuff off at the boat and went back home to get the shorts and while there picked up a few more cruising but wouldn't be caught dead in off the boat shirts.

Stopped by Publix to get a roasted chicken and a few fresh foods and headed back to the boat. It was about noon. Walked down the dock with my arms full of clothes when the shorts slipped through my arm and down off the dock into the water. As I watched the pockets fill up with water, I grabbed the boat pole but , alas, could not catch my very favorite khacki shorts! Dave jumped onto Ariel in hopes of raking the bottom to find them but they were plastered deep into the mud of the slip.

I gave up a sigh and said "I can't worry about it - I'm on vacation". Guy Mariande who was helping with groceries said, "You are not on vacation..." and I said "Right, I'm in a new lifestyle. Can't worry about the old stuff!" However, I will surely miss those old pants. Out with the old, in with the new!

Finally around 1:00 PM we were ready to push off. Had a strong WSW wind 10-15 kts. Frank Spalla, Christine Meeks, Guy & Judy (Reiker)Mariande were there to help with the lines. Judy said "Betsy, this is your dream" and she was right. This had been my dream and goal since we purchased Island Time a 24' Starwind over five years and two boats ago! This is why I retired. Yahoooooo!

Of course, backing out of the slip was less than graceful. The Precisions were coming out for their race and Dave didn't see one coming down the waterway. Fortunately they came about so that Dave could continue but we got sideways to the wind which was pretty strong and it's not wide or deep behind our boat. With lots of instruction from the dock, the boat got turned around and we were OFF!!! Waved as we went by the Tiki. Barring unforeseen problems - we won't be back until June.

Trip down the ICW was great. It was a beautiful day - fortunately warm because we had 15-20 kts on the nose and salt spray coming over the bow. We've done this trip before - similar wind but colder temps and it can be miserable. Some gusts were up to 30 kts.

Going down Haulover Canal with the wind and the current, we were making 3 kts. Haulover is so beautiful. Had considered anchoring in the boatramp area but there were so many boats on the water, we figured it would be a very busy place come 7 o'clock with the boats coming into the ramp so kept on going to Titusville.

Haulover Canal was Dave's "point of departure" - the place where the trip ceases to be a "day sail" and is stretched into a longer trip. Making that crossing of the Indian River and then heading south was wet and windy, but fortunately warm.

Arrived Titusville at 7PM. Since we were experiencing 25-30 kts on the nose, the trip took several hours longer than in the past. We took a slip at the Municipal so that we could get Snoopy to shore without hassle. Had a good supper of roasted chicken from Publix and mashed potatoes. Went to bed at 9:30 pm.

TITUSVILLE - EAU GALLE 3/16/08 (Sunday)

Met our "neighbor" on Velevonkiel a 47' ketch. They are heading for Miami. We exchanged a movie to add to our movies to be seen collection.

Morning was beautiful. Manatees burped their way down the waterway. On the way to the showers I saw a sailboat called Adios - Captain was on board. Asked whether he sailed the Lipton's Cup last year as I remembered something about that boat = the name stuck with me. He did and planned to again this spring. We won't be back for that race. Always nice to be part of the "boating community".

SNOOPY'S STORY: Trip down to Titusville was fun. Mommy and Daddy always within 3 feet of me. Every now and then I'd get some snack - always knew where everyone was. On Sunday as we were leaving Titusville marina, I walked up to the bow to watch Daddy untie lines and Mommy was on the dock. The front of the boat was slippery from the salt spray and I slid right down the side and ended up under the kayaks. At least I didn't fall off the boat. I could not get back up to the top of the boat - I kept sliding backwards. Daddy reached down and put me back up on the top and Mommy told me to go back to the cockpit. I was afraid to go the last of the way so Mommy reached down and picked me up and put me in the cockpit. She said I had to STAY in the cockpit ..... and that I was a good boy. I'll watch everything from the cockpit.

Cleared Titusville bridge around 9:35 AM and put the headsail up. Winds were 15 kts out of the NW. Running the boat at 2400 RPM we were making 6 kts. Morning was overcast and cool - great day on the water - isn't everyday like that?

Around 11:30 we cut the power and went strictly under sail. We had 15 kts and 7 kts boat speed. However as the afternoon went on the wind died down and we were eventually making around 3 kts under sail. Dave wrapped up the head sail and we were under the mainsail drifting along. All of a sudden there was 15 kts out of the east - wind shifted around completely taking us by surprise. The temperature went down about 10-15 degrees and we were flying. E 15-20 kts continued all the way to Eau Galley YC. Arrived at Eau Galle at 3:40 PM.

Picking Thru Pots: Coming into Dragon Point there must be at least 100 crab pots with varying types of bouys attached that you have to pick your way through. Because of the strong easterly we had white caps on the water and the birds were hunkered down floating on the water. It was difficult to pick out a bouy from a bird head from a white cap. At one point I saw what could have been a "flock of pots" or a "flock of birds". When the flock flew off, I was able to confirm they were BIRDS. Somehow we made it through without getting caught up in a crab pot.

SNOOPY'S STORY: I didn't see no birds. I must have been busy licking my parts.

Venus and Charlie y and Steve and Debbie came over from their marina to visit. I hadn't seen Venus for about 3 months and Debbie for over a year. It was great seeing them again. Venus and Charlie have a 34 Catalina Veri Lee and Debbie and Steve have a 36 Catalina Air Force. Debbie and Steve are leaving for the Bahamas in about two weeks. They stayed for about an hour - we hashed out all the news. Venus just left LM for the third time on Friday. This time it's for good. Charlie still at LM - Steve and Debbie retired although Debbie is in early 50's. We love being us!

Looking out at the anchorage on the Banana River (Dragon Point) was beautiful. It was a gorgeous night and the boats anchored made the skyline so pretty.

EAU GALLE - VERO, 3/17/08 - (Monday)

Another beautiful day. Cool with clear skies. Can hear the wind whistling through the rigging of the boats. Cest' Le Vie , a 47 motor trawler was docked at the end of the dock. Couple have lived on that boat for 15 years and are out of the Florida YC in Jacksonville. They are heading up to New Smyrna where they would like to find a slip and live for a while. Wish them luck.

Dave stepped into the dinghy to reinflate and some water came in because the plug was out. When he was finished he emptied the water from the dinghy and a manatee swam over to drink the water that poured out. They are so neat to watch - very prehistoric looking.

10:00AM - Successful launch away from the dock and we are, once again, on our way. Under reefed main and 20 kts of wind out of the East we sailed down the ICW. The wind was almost on our nose and we weren't making that much better time than without. HOWEVER, about 1 mile from Vero the sail ripped at the reefing point. We quickly put the sail down and wrapped it up. The trip down was cooler - almost cold with the strong easterly and wetter than it had been before. We got into Eau Galle at 5 PM. These are LONG days. Had sausage, onions and peppers for dinner. Relaxed for the night.


15 March 2008
Boat Dog Snoppy ready to go! Maybe.....
Is she getting something to eat down there????
Vessel Name: Spindrift
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Spindrift's Photos -