Saturday, January 30, 2016

Bahia Honda State Park

This is a great place to stay or visit because of all the things to do. There is a beautiful Sandy beach.
A sand and sea nature center.
A butterfly and nature walk.
You can build your own sand castle.
And lastly, a bridge to nowhere.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Day For loafing

Do you ever get one of those days, where you loaf all day long? Isn't it wonderful? Not that you sit around all day long doing nothing. There is actually a lot i could have done: I could have done something, like row to shore and catch a bus to Marathon, run a few miles and get some exercise, go beach combing, tour the sand and sea nature center they have here at Bahia Honda. But no I decided to have a day on the boat. It was an absolute delight with blue skies and a gentle breeze with even time for an afternoon power nap. I got lots done too. The boat needed a good clean and I still had another inch or so of crab pot line wrapped around my prop. While I was down under the boat I cleared out some seaweed out of my raw water intake. The speed log too hadn't been working for a while, so I cleared the speed wheel of barnacles and slime. I caught up on a lot of reading, did emails and cooked myself a hot lunch.
One of the daily rituals of living on a boat that takes a wee bit longer than landlubbers are used to, is having a shower. If you look under the boom, in the photo above, you will see my solar shower hanging in the sun, which works surprisingly well. It just takes a bit of effort to do and it is not exactly luxurious but hey, I'm living the dream right?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Provisioning in Marathon

Dinghed ashore from my boat at anchor at Bahia Honda.
Caught the bus up to the farmers market in Marathon.
And here are my supplies for the next week.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Dry Tortuga's to Boca Grande Key

Beautiful little Sandy beach at Boca Key and I was the only one there. Here is the video....

Marathon to the Dry Tortuga's

Well on my way to the Caymans, I hit a crab pot South of the Marquesas and had to pull into the Dry Tortuga's to cut it off.
The weather forecast was not great so I decided to hunker down for a few days and check out Fort Jefferson while I was there.
Having lost my weather window, I decided to make for the Bahamas instead.
You can see clips of my voyage here.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Off to the Caymans

I left Marathon at noon today after provisioning and refueling. I hope to make it to the Cayman Islands this time next week. Here is the sunset just a little north of Key West.
Fortunately the wind has moderated somewhat from the 25 knots when I left.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Key West

From Marathon, it is an easy $1.50 bus ride down to Key West where Rob and I spent the day. We started the day at the crack of dawn rowing the half mile in from our Anchorage in Boot Key Harbor.
There are some quite interesting things to do and see in the most southern city in the USA including the vacation home for Harry Truman.
Unfortunately this is the end of the road for my crew who now will fly back to his home in New Zealand.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Fort Myers to Marathon via Shark River

Well we set off from Fort Myers in the early morning with chilly conditions and light winds.
All was great for the day and my crew served up a delicious lunch.

All was going well until we hit the bottom in the Cape Romano Shoals and my crew got seriously seasick.
So we headed into Little Shark River for some rest and relaxation.
After some medication we were once more underway and we made it into Marathon a little after midnight early this morning.
More importantly, we now have the Internet again!

Monday, January 11, 2016

LaBelle to Fort Meyers

Before we left civilization this morning, we had to join in with the Lottery fever that is gripping the country.
There were only two boats left at the docks when we pushed off at 10am.
We passed downtown Fort Meyers later in the afternoon.
Sundown was soon afterwards.
Tomorrow we hope to sail South to either Shark River or push on to Marathon, depending on the weather.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Moore Haven to LaBelle

Rained quite a bit on the way here and when we got here, all six of the spaces at the city dock were full. But wouldn't you know it, within minutes of us arriving, one of the sailboats up and left.
First destination was the BBQ restaurant about half a mile walk away.
On the way back to the boat, there were lots of beautiful live oaks sporting granddad's beard.
I needed to top up my water tanks so here is my setup for topping them up. The RV water filter can be bought at Ace Hardware for $20.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Mayaca Canal to Moore Haven

Well we made it! After all the worry about whether or not we would make it under the Mayaca Railway Bridge, we slid under it early this morning. It wasn't all "beer and skittles" though. The VHF antenna that I have on the top of the mast, bent right over as you can see in the video I took of our transit.
It was very foggy on our journey across Lake Okeechobee.
We went through a couple of locks today and here is my friend Rob helping us stay on the side.
We finally arrived in Moore Haven and headed out to the local eatery.
Even though they were closed, they opened up for us and we had some delicious burritos.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Stuart to Port Mayaca Canal

We drove the car to the storage yard this morning and wrapped it up with a tarp before heading back to the boat.
I looked at various locations for local car storage including Indiantown marina, which only charges $20 a month, but ended up at the same place that I used last year because of their good security.
Back at the boat we were off at 11am for our motor across the state.
Hook down at dusk just before the Mayaca lock in a beautiful Anchorage with lots of birds, gators and mosquitoes!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Measuring air draft

Tomorrow we hope to head across to the Gulf coast through the Okeechobee Waterway but there is the small matter of a railway bridge with a open height of 49 feet in the way ten miles west of Indiantown. Fellow Westsailers, Dick and Libby have gone under the bridge several times but my mast is not original so I had to check it's height.
It turns out that my mast is 44 feet high from the deck to about a foot above the top to allow for the tricolour and the VHF antenna.

Checking the height of the mast step above the water is a bit of a challenge too. We laid a pole horizontally on the deck and measured each end above the waterline and averaged them. Bottom line is that our air draft is a little bit over 48 feet so in theory we should be able to get under the bridge. Wahoo!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Big mistake!

Well after spending the holidays away from the boat, I arrived back yesterday to be greeted by this!
I should not have left my dinghy in the water while I was gone because it was coated with barnacles and took me a couple of hours to scrub and clean the resulting mess. Oh well. Live and learn.
Tomorrow it will be very windy again so we will be staying put before we push off for lake Okeechobee.