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Old 27-04-2010, 19:32   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: W Florida
Boat: The Jon boat still, plus a 2007 SeaCat.
Posts: 6,894
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Well, Here Is Our Trip from April

This is just a copy of what I sent out.
We don't have a blog or anything so this is pretty much it.



Hi everybody,
This is a mass mailing as I am not capable of doing individual mailings from onboard. Just too much work and all. I may answer some questions too but may not get to some of it. I will apologize in advance. If you don’t want to get more junk from me just let me know and I will stop.




Well, here we are in Boot Key Harbor (Marathon Municipal Marina) so we made it to the keys. It took longer than it was supposed to but then it is a sailboat so it is supposed to be that way.

3-28-10 Sunday 25.5 Miles
We left the dock at 0806 and out into a 20 knot NW wind with the chop the Gulf of Mexico is known for. We came into Three Rooker Island in the squall line with all that thunder and lightning stuff and anchored around 1400. At 1730 the wind veered, went to 25-30 and the anchor dragged. We moved a couple of miles and spent the night with only one swing and reset.

3-29-10 Monday 30 Miles
Off the hook at 0900. Sailing on southerly course by 1000 in the same lovely chop with NW wind at 15-20. Aiming for John’s Pass, but wait; it is under construction and may not be able to open for us. Enter modern electronics again and we goggled the number for the bridge and sure enough they will not open till Thursday. So, into Clearwater pass for two reasons. Well maybe three. 1) Debby was feeling ill – a first, well second, as the last was 30 or so years ago. 2) It was still rough and uncomfortable with the winds building still. 3) If we stayed out then we would have to go at least to Pass-A-grille, a very long way in the conditions present. So into Clearwater pass we went and motored south to a nice place (someone’s back yard) along the intracoastal. The wind was now 25+ and it was sooo cold. Reason #4 for coming inside. I forgot to mention yesterday it was pretty cold too. Man was it cold.

3-30-10 Tuesday 21.4 Miles

Not off the hook till 1015. Sure can’t make time going south by sleeping in huh? We did have a pretty easy time getting to Longboat pass by slipping inside Egmont for that little calm period. Wind NW at 15 or so still. Still too cold too. We anchored at 1615 and went out to dinner at Mar Vista. Wonderful food. All food is wonderful when physically active all day. Just sitting upright in a boat for the day is demanding.

3-31-10 Wednesday 22.9 Miles

Up anchor at 0730. Now that is up-and-at-em huh? Wind NNW at 5 so we are sailing slowly. I called M. whom I have met online on cruisers forum to say sorry we are going to pass them by (Sarasota) in our effort to get south ASAP – haha, getting up late and going slowly. Well, he and K were just loading the boat so they came south and we rafted up in Venice. Amazing who you can meet on the internet. We and both of them have many life parallels as it turns out. Not just the “getting old” and “kids in college” stuff either. Oh yea, I trolled a diving plug all day and not even a clump of grass did I catch. Note: We seem to be using about 10 gallons of water a day.

4-1-10 Thursday 26 Miles

April fools but we don’t pull stuff on each other so are safe for the day. Up anchor at 0910. Wind NE 2-4 so off we motor saying good bye to M and K. At 1000 K called and said they wanted to stay out another day and so she found someone to cover for her and they are catching up. Light winds kept us motoring all the way to Boca Grande where Millers Marina gave us fuel and they lunch. Motoring all day is busy work with all the crab traps to avoid. Hundreds of them we have to dodge so the rope and float do not get wound up in the propeller. When we sail we don’t worry about them as they just get hung a little on the centerboard and slip off. If they hook the rudder and stay we just release the rudder hold down, it swings up and releases it and we mentally wave it goodbye. By 1800 we were anchored in Pelican Bay and the company was, like last evening, a pleasure. So interesting a couple. Like us. I guess that makes us interesting in my mind huh? Anyway they worked to gain another evening with us so….ummmm… wellll………..ummmm……maybe it was just the Gemini they wanted to see.

4-2-10 Friday 34Miles

Off hook at 0805. Said good bye to M and K being pretty sure they would not follow us further south though they said they would want to go to the keys too. Doesn’t everybody want to go to the keys? Especially since it is probably warmer down there, or at least it should be, from all that I hear and read. We are getting 6 knots of boat speed motor sailing since the true wind is about 2-3knots. Can’t even beat a tide at that speed. 1230 found us at the SW tip of Sanibel where there were lots of boats about. It is amazing how much chop can be created by all the boats. There is not enough wind to create much of a ripple on the water but there is a 1-2foot chop that is wholly, and ever so irritatingly, 1foot and sometimes more , and just random. Agonizingly silly random pushes and slaps – augh!! By 1430 we are on a mooring at the Ft. Myers municipal mooring field. We could call the boys to drive over and take us to Publix for supplies in exchange for dinner out since they are both at college in Ft. Myers but, NOT, as they have both gone home (Land O Lakes) for the weekend. Hah! So off to Publix for some groceries. Now some may not be aware of the method when one is not simply to hop in the car and drive on over. Our car is the dingy so hop in it we do. A 5 min. run to the dingy dock and then a 15 minute walk to the “trollee” stop. Trollee is the name of a cute (hard wooden seats like in the olden days ya know) bus that runs the loop on Estero Island (Lee County – get it?). So here it comes and dang if there aren’t a lot of people around, mostly young. I being unaware of most things around me have to be told (again) that it is Spring Break. OH…………I see………….that helps explain the throngs and the fact that the Trollee is full and we will have to wait for the next one. OK, people watch. Thankfully the next Trollee lets us aboard and we idle down the street as the only road on the island is two lane and looks like the “strip”. Debby did a count of license plates and half at least were from some other state, and full of teens it seems, mostly burnt, and otherwise toasted. So one of the stops is at the Publix – how convenient. It was pretty jammed but the locals that work there are used to spring break even though they cannot wait for it to be over too. Some of them told me that. One told me that the population of Estero Island goes from 5k to 50k for this period of time. Seem like a lot but too look around there seem an awful lot of folks (red) around. One would think there was going to be some sort of Injun bash this night and all were applying the make-up.
Anyway, we loaded up in the Publix and caught the next Trollee north. It only took 1 hour and 40 minutes to get back to the dingy dock what with all those injuns in the out of state cars blocking the way back.

Later we went back to do the laundry and watch and listen to the injuns on the war (love) path in the streets.

4-3-10 Saturday 39.2 miles

Off the mooring ball at 0830 with SE winds enough to sail a little. This lasted a little while but motor sailing was to be the order of the day. Anything below 3.5 knots and we feel we can’t make enough head way. At 1220 wind was SW at 3 = motoring on. 1500 into Gordon pass. This stretch of the intracoastal is reported to be gorgeous and it would have been and really was but for all the Injuns in boats. I don’t know if there were more down here or they all came from Ft. Myers for the day. There were a surprising number going by at planeing speed. And a surprising number of large ones that leave large wakes. Anyway, we were anchored in Collier Bay Inlet 2 (yep, that is what was on the chart) at 1725. This is right at the entrance to the pass at Marco Island.

4-4-10 Sunday 56.7 miles

0715 sees the anchor up and heading out of the pass we see another Gemini. As it turns out it is B whom I also met on Cruisers forum a few years ago. He let me come over and see his Gemini one day. He and his wife and daughter were making the jump to Boot Key that day. Our courses diverged not too long after that as we are only day sailing and our destination was Shark River, a desolate place of Florida swamp that is gorgeous. We started out sailing well with ESE at 12 allowing 5 knots of boat speed but after clearing the shoals south of the cape we could not continue a reasonable course without motor help. By noon we could not even keep the sails from luffing so went to motor only. The last 4-5 hours was uncomfortable bashing against the notorious short chop of the Florida Bay. I trolled a pink squid most of the day with the same luck as the diving plug a couple of days ago. Shallow water and only 10-15 knots of wind makes for not much fun. 1835 with anchor down in tannin stained clear water. Really pretty, true Florida swamp land. We didn’t step in/on it. We just looked at it. And put up the screen enclosure around the cockpit too, haha.

These days have been tiring. 8-11 hours on a moving boat is pretty physical and we are not really used to that much “work”. We feel good though.

4-5-10 Monday 47 miles

0730 anchor up and away. We skirted the cape in two places to see if we could see a Chickee – no not the bunny kind – the kind used to sleep on when traversing the parts of the everglades trail where one simply does not sleep on the ground. We could not spy one so continued toward the keys, this being our last leg. We had E winds at around 12 giving us boat speed of 6-7knots. Same bay chop as yesterday but today it was abeam and so not uncomfortable. The water was a murky green for the first half of the day and cleared perceptibly the last half even though the water depth went from 11’ to 8’. Don’t know why that was. We made the 7-mile bridge at 1400 and picked up a mooring ball (Q7) at 1505.
WE MADE IT TO THE KEYS!!!!
Right after hooking up to the ball and being secure SMJ another person from the cruisers forum dingyed over to say hi. He must have been watching me hook up to my second mooring ball in 20 or so years. Yes it was benign conditions in the harbor and Debby drove the boat spot-on up to it so it was pretty smooth an operation. He said he put 2 and 2 together – a Gemini, name of Therapy. Well, 1 and 1 anyway. He and the wife are cruising – duh!
So, we checked in, scoped out the showers, and ordered a pizza to take back to the boat with us. What, you thought we left the planet? Not yet. This is still the USA and Poppa John delivers to “the tree” at Marathon Municipal Marina. HAH!

4-6-10 Tuesday Miles 0.0
Just hanging out writing this note to catch up those that are interested. I

was so tired at the end of each day that I did not even start anything till now. We shall see how I keep you bored in the future. I will now try to get some pics up. There have been few taken really as we look at stuff and ooh and ahh as we go by and after say “Hey, we should have taken a picture of that.” Sorry.









4-7-10
Wednesday Miles 0.0 unless one considers dingy miles here and there about the harbor. Lots of (5) Gems in the anchorage. We went on a “Gem hunt” and talked to the folks aboard on all but one. Sort of a cult us Gem owners. Things in common and all that jazz.
Just hanging out and looking about doing small chores. Debby of course had to put in a couple of hours at “the office” but that did not hurt me much – haha.
While in the cabin the pump-out boat came up, tied off and pumped us out without us being aware. A very stealthy pump out boat for sure. For those that don’t know about pump-outs it is a small boat with a large tank that hooks up to the anchored boats and pumps out the black water tanks. Much more civilized in a crowded anchorage than having all that waste pumped directly overboard, Ewwww!!
We went to a Meet-and-Greet pot luck and ate a great variety of dishes and met several other boats crews. This is a mobile community with some that have done it for years and meet up over and over again along the East coast US, Bahamas and Caribbean. Sort of a sub culture.

4-8-10 0.0 miles
Up with the sun……..well, slightly after, Heh.
Went in and paid for two more nights since the wind is from the southeast and that is the general direction of Key West. We took the dinghy to the beach on Three Sisters Key and on the way back went up the sisters to look at the houses, nay mansions, estates even. Holy samolian mackerel andys!! Also met a nice gentleman that gave advice on anchorages on the way to KW. Wonderful breeze and in the 80s.

4-9-10 Friday
0845 off the mooring well after the sunrise. Dang, missed another one – heh! 1006 Arrived Sombrero light/key for some snorkeling in 85 deg. Water. It felt cold but there were the variety of fishes to be expected with all the colors brilliant and the water pretty clear considering the week of SE winds to stir up Hawk Channel. Way cool. The afternoon was work I am telling you. Got some diesel on the way in and dropped Debby at the marina Laundromat. So many years since we have used a Laundromat. I started the 1.5 mile hoof to Publix for the groceries but did not get out of the parking lot when a cruiser that has a car stopped to ask which way I was going. Saved that hoof trek I’ll tell ya! Got a cab for the return since there is no way I can carry all that beer! So, a huge steak dinner from the grill with all the sides and clean sheets. Great sunset but no pics of it. Too busy gawking, sorry.

4-10-10 Saturday 18.4 miles
0814 off the mooring ball headed for KW which should take two days. Remember that bit about it being a sailboat and it does not go real fast? Well the NOAA predictions for today were wrong for the first time since we left and we are so happy about that. We had wind from behind at about 6knots which would give us boat speed of about 2.5-3 so we just motored along toward our 18mile away proposed anchorage. On the way we went way out into Hawks Channel to get to clear water so the watermaker could be run. It likes cleaner water so the filters don’t get all fouled so I try to treat it right. Anyway, being so far out and it being such a short run we stayed out and went to look at Looe Key. Really great water clarity. Easily make out fishies on the bottom in 25 feet of water. Oh yea! There is a nice “protection zone” around it and mooring balls on a first come first serve basis. Most were empty. We picked one up and if the winds stay calm or switch to the N or NE like they were supposed to we will just hang here tonight. Absolutely gorgeous here with commercial and private dive boats coming and going. 100 shades of blue, maybe more. Yowzers it has been so long since I (sorry, WE) have seen the clear water. We tossed some bread to the Yellowtail that come up under the boat shade and they are to it before the bread hits the water. Must be the constant training they get from tourists like us. We are just looking around like a couple of gawking Snowbirds I tell ya. Just silly cruising tourists taking pictures and all.
So that is where we are now and I will add a couple of pics and maybe another email with some since the size limit is too small for much.


4-11-10 Sunday
0740 we sailed off the mooring ball, the night having been a rock and roll night. The wind right after dark went from 5 or so to 15 to 18. I chose a ball that kept the wind on the other side of the reef but the wind decided to move a little East and not stay where it was supposed to. So the night was spent rocking our baby sort of like an overzealous teenage baby sitter. We slept on and off listening to the splashes and rigging noises created by those seas and winds. No real bother though.

So it was an easy down wind sail to Key West that put us on our anchor at 1425 in Fleming Key Cut. Just north of the Coast Guard station. We are so very safe. And are feeling good about the expensive anchor that held just fine when the wind went NE to a little over 20knots. Not much really but then we have not had much of that experience…..yet. Lots of dingys running out to their boats when the wind piped up. A wet ride for most of them. I counted 140 boats from where I stood on deck. There were a few more, probably behind an island over yonder.

4-12-10 0.0 miles

Up after the sun again – heh! Around 10 we went into Key West and wandered around in our obviously touristy clothes, looked at the other tourists and some natives and had lunch. The afternoon was spent on board with reading and lounging. A little wind piping and a sprinkle to keep one awake. No biggie since we now have that sort under our belt. There is this story (true) that I read about a couple with no sailing experience who ran from up north to Ft. Lauderdale bought a boat and sailed it around the world, never experiencing more that 35 knots of wind. Then they came back to the same area in Lauderdale and got to experience one of our afternoon thunder storms – 50+knots for a little while. I have seen 40+ a couple of times. Better to be “inside” when that is about.

Just this minute there was a bunch of huffing just astern. Only 20ft or so. It kept happening so I got up to watch with Debby a group of dolphin, say 6. There was a bunch of general cavorting around and all with some very deep breaths taken. Watching for a while it was noted that they would come up in pairs and then one would dive with a tail fin high before submerging……twice. Then they would be at on the surface with a whole lot of splashing and general ruckus going on for a short half minute. Then it would start all over again. I don’t know how they paired up or who was watching who but we were watching them. We know what they were up to though because it was not yet dark enough not to see some very private pink parts amid all the splashes and jostling and all.

So now it is dark and time for us to turn in heh!

Tomorrow we will begin the passage to the Dry Tortugas where there is the old fort and some really…wait………..

Debby says the dolphin are still out there huffing around in the dark. Do you suppose they thought it was dark enough a little while ago?

Anyway, The Tortugas is way out there (for us anyway) and we shall see what we shall see. There are no cell signals out there I am pretty sure so you may not hear from us for a week or more. That should be a relief to some of you I know.


4-13-10 Tuesday 16 miles

So we left Key West today and sailed to Boca Grande Key which is almost to the Marquesas of Jimmy Buffett fame. We made way nicely too with a following breeze of 15-20 knots – that is force 4-5, pretty nautical sounding huh? The first reef recommended for this boat is 20 knots and we had two in the main and one in the jib, good enough for 25 or so and were comfortable at 5.5-7 knots of boat speed. This was a short hop to lessen the distance to the Tortugas tomorrow. It will be 10-12 hrs solid tomorrow with predicted winds 23-25 so we will have some seas to contend with.

We got here around 11ish and so wiled away the rest of the day doing almost nothing but gawking and reading. Well, I serviced the anchor winch which took all of half an hour or so. Such is life aboard. But like I said, tomorrow will poke at us a little with the wind building.

This key is a pretty open roadstead with a wicked tide rip that makes for a cross swell that has us rolling a little but not like it was at Looe Key a few days ago. More wind though.

We saw some dolphins off the stern again just after sunset and before dark but no high-tailing it with the ruckus from last night. That stuff last night is just something they don’t show you at Sea World huh?


4-14-10 50 miles
Off toward Dry Tortugas at 0715 with a double reefed main and double reefed jib. This is more reefing than the wind calls for, it being only high teens to 20 but it is more comfortable with speeds averaging around 6 knots or a little better. By noon we have had winds in the mid 20s and the highest boat speed was 12.2 knots surfing down a wave. Pretty dang exciting to novices like us. We saw a small shark, a few turtles and some dolphin. The dolphin were behaving normally, as in diving under the bows and eyeing us.

Earlier in the day an egret of some sort landed aboard and looked pretty tired. He stayed with us till anchored in the Tortugas and then still did not want to leave. I pushed him away and he now has a new home. He only pooped in the cockpit one time and that was when he got in the way during a jibe. Poor thing must have been pretty dehydrated.

The water is beautiful getting a deeper, darker blue with more depth. Some areas we crossed like The Quicksands were only 15 feet or so but in some places it was 85ft. Magnificent color. I hope it shows up in the pics.

We had the anchor down at 1545 after one try where it did not grab. Wind 23-26 knots. Man that feels strong. You all know that the force of the wind is the square of the speed so a 20 knot wind feels four times stronger than a 10 knot wind right? Well, that is sort of like the “feels like” temperature one hears on the “tube” or nowadays I should say the “screen” for you young”uns. So when the wind goes to 30 like it did this evening, well, like wow man! Hard to stand on deck in that for sure. Then add the rocking and all and, well, like wow!

There were 7 boats here and the anchorage is not big but there seems to be enough room for all. It is not like we are going to swing much with the wind so high. By 1625 the wind was in the high 20s and the young, overzealous teenager was giving us another vigerous version of Rock-A-By-Baby.

The sunset was blocked by clouds to the west but the view was still pretty spectacular with the old fort there.

Early bed for me tonight since a solid 8 hours of sailing those winds and seas is tiring for an old sissy like me. That is why we are planning our hops in a “day sailing” mode.

Oh yea, the seas built to about 6ft in some places. Others it was lower but the period was much shorter also – that is the distance from crest to crest and how often the boat feels them.







4-15-10 0.0 miles

Well it was a boisterous night for sure. I was up once and saw winds over 30 knots. When we got up I noted that the anchor had lost grip and then reset after about 40 feet. This was lucky (the reset not the losing grip part) I guess as it did not set off my anchor alarm, which was set for 50 feet, thus preventing a Chinese fire drill and a whole bunch of anxiousness in the middle of the dang night. This anchor has pulled and reset within feet before and then held for a long time afterward. Tide and wind changing the direction of pull will make an anchor have to reset itself. I noted that the direction of pull was not much different this morning though.

So, on that note I took out one of the extra anchors, the big one, and tied it off on the bow. I then carefully put it in the dingy and very carefully flaked down the rode so it would pay out nicely. You may notice I have said how carefully I took care of the rode because once this 9 foot dingy with it’s little motor is away from the boat in this 27 knot, choppy anchorage there is no messing about with hung up rope. Sure, you guessed it, like in a cheap, poorly written novel, it fouled at the very end. By the time I cleared the foul wrap on the anchor I was blown down to the boat already with the line around the prop. What a nincompoop amature move that was. Sheesh! Pure stupid butt-head dumb is all I can say. So while fending off the boat I got the wrap off and re-coiled all the rode and set out again. This time I got the anchor over the side without mishap and now the boat is hanging off of two anchors, theoretically able to handle 60+ knots of wind. Yea sure. I am sure the single anchor would hold after it’s reset but I am not the lucky sort and must expend more energies on more details. I am comfortable with our safety now.

So it is now past noon and we are sitting here admiring the anchorage. The fort will have to wait as the wind will help us get there in the dingy but it may be so strong that we would have great difficulty getting off the beach with it.

The speedy cats from Key West did not come over today. There was just too much wind and high seas for them to consider it safe I guess.


4-16-10 Friday 0.0 miles

The night was not too bad with the wind only in the mid to upper 20s. Now it is just the high teens we are seeing so tomorrow or the next day will be good for our north run to the mainland.

We got up well after the sun again – heh – and had coffee and breakfast and took off for the fort at around 0945. Landing in the dingy was easy since the wind and waves were with us we just drove it up on the beach and stepped out dry except for feet. Easy peasy. We walked around the fort and did the tourist thing for a couple of hours. Wonderful views of gorgeous water. It appears so clear to us even though for here it is pretty turbid from all the wind lately. Have I mentioned the wind before? The speedy cats from Key West came in and unloaded the hoards so we returned to the boat for lunch and a rest. Leaving the beach was easy since we did not do what all the others we have seen do. I was starting to though and Debby read me a sign on their most southern dock that said public use for 15 minutes or less. Ho ho thought I. I just pushed the dingy over there and Debby held it long enough for me to hop in and have the prop clear of the bottom while I started the motor and we were off. That took all of 45 seconds so when one of you visit there is an extra 14 minutes and 15 seconds you can use, on me of course. I don’t know why everyone else is not taking advantage of that dock. We met a couple of guys on another boat here and they broke a shear pin yesterday trying to get off the beach. Maybe they needed a female with them to help out with identifying things like signs on docks as I did huh?

Those two guys also told us that the rangers told them that the winds on the night of Wednesday the 14th (yea, I have mentioned the winds before, maybe once or twice) were recorded at the fort to be as high as 43 knots for 45 minutes. I don’t know how high their measuring vane is but that helps explain what we were feeling out here in the anchorage that night.

So right now it is after lunch, clear sky except for high sirrus, lots of sun, and the water maker is running to fill our tanks for our decadent (for a sail boat) use of fresh water aboard. With nothing but the fridge running along with the water maker we are drawing only 1.5 amps from the battery. The rest is all coming from the single solar panel. Pretty cool. Now that I turned on this lap top we are drawing 4.5 amps. What a power hog it is! For shame!








4-17-10 Saturday 60 miles

Today we leave the Dry Tortugas for the 90 odd miles to Marco Island. This should be through the night putting us near land some time the middle of the next day. The wind is from the ENE but supposed to go SE later in the day so that should make the course close hauled to a close reach for the first day. That is the plan so that we can make our easting since the DT are so far west in the gulf. More on that later.

We were up with the sun this day and started up the motor after the coffee was made and…………no water output. Oh yea, Yesterday I cleaned out the raw water strainer and forgot to open the seacock afterwards. Open it up and yep, no water. Oh well. Changing the impeller at anchor is a lot easier than the last time, last year, when I did it out 20 miles in the gulf! So off we go 45 minutes later. Hey, the last time I had to get out the manual and look at the pictures and all to get the job done. Figuring out the rotation is key you know and that took a while too as different motors have the pumps mounted differently and you don’t want to put the fins in folded the wrong way. No sireee bob! So, not problem as I looked at what was left of the fins and their orientation before I took it out. Smart huh? Kinda like lookin’ at the odd body part that has to be put back in at some point later. Ya just don’t want to put it in backward or something ya know?

So off we go beating to windward waiting for the wind change that I know you all already know never happens. So about mid day this oh-so-observant sailor decides “we ain’t goin’ the right way” and decides to use the motor to help things along and allow another 20 degrees or so of windward performance. It is called motor sailing and is quite common as the usual course one has set and needs to follow is into the wind doncha know. So now instead of only being able to make a course of roughly north, which means in 2 or 3(or frickin’ 4) days we could make Tampa, we can sort of make toward Ft Myers. Did I mention we changed propane tanks a few days ago and thus have two more weeks of refridgeration? Not now we don’t! When I changed the impeller (pretty lucky that happened) I noticed the tank was about empty. The cause? Yep, operator error and not tight enough so it is leaking overboard. Now only a day or two left of refridgeration. That sucks as the beer ran out yesterday too.

Now where were we. Oh yea. The wind is now from the NE just about almost exactly, directly, from Marco. Oh the sailing life! So after 12 hours of bashing, some green water over the bows, realizing that I did not close off two vents that need closing when the green water comes aboard and being generally really tired we just hove to for the night. The bashing stopped and only the regular splashing occurred as we slept and made a sedately 13 miles NW through the short, loud, bumpy night. NW is not the direction we want to go (Texas) but dang if SE would be much better especially since there are towers out there to run into in the dark. Yes, towers and yes DARK. Thin moon and clouds equals pretty frickin’ dark 50 miles off the coast. And there are a bunch of towers, one being not too far off. Now, I don’t know what they are there for but the chart says “Tower” and also something about Navy training area or some such thing. I suppose they are there so if a plane loses it’s way it can fly by, grab a gander and figure out which way to go next. Same for the subs and ships I suppose. We just did not want to bump into one in the middle of the night. Yes we were well out of the shipping channels and I am, after all typing and boring you with this stuff.



4-18-10 Sunday 50.7 miles

Up and at-em at sunrise. Oh so the wind is still being blown directly from Marco or nearly so huh? Yep. Great. Only 47.9 miles, per the GPS to Marco Island. Sufice it to say that for today we motorsailed all day (7-5:30) with no breaks and constant on and off storms coming off shore at us. I ran the boat hard with turns for 6 knots and barely making 4.5 and when a 3-series of waves hit 1-2-3 the boat speed would go to 2. Then it would slowly pick back up before more green water etc. But you know about a bad day of sailing and work and all that stuff right?

Well, at 1730 we were tied up to a T-dock at a nice place with flat water. We walked to a resteraunt called The Snook Inn here on Marco Island. You all should know of the place I am sure because it has it’s own seprate out building that is a gift shop where a cute sweatshirt costs only $65.00. Sorry I could not get you all one. In fact no one got one. Feel better?


4-19-10 Monday 0.0 milers

Wow! The first night in 7 we have slept without a bunch of slapping, banging or crashing. Felt good. We spent the day relaxing, reading, doing laundry, grocery shopping and getting propane for the fridge. A great relaxing day. This place is called Marina At Factory Bay and I can recommend it. The showers are spectacularly clean and the laundry machines are gratis (no quarters). It is quiet and the manager drove us to Ace (propane) and Publix. That saved 4 miles of hoofin’ it I will say. Hoofing all that beer would have been tough! Not to mention two tanks of propane to add to the load. Whew! Thanks Curtiss. A real help and a nice guy, with 16 years of living on a boat under his belt. Everything we had to say he has done 5 or a hundred times already.

All the huge homes and very lavish condos here have very well manicured grounds and as we walked to the resteraunt we noted all in bloom with most wonderful colors. It made me wonder for a sec how high my grass is right now. Heh! I don’t care, really.

So it is bed time and we leave tomorrow to motor north since I think the winds will still be mostly from the north.

4-20-10 Tuesday 35 miles

Last night was quiet. We walked a couple of blocks and got a pizza. Such luxury!

Today it was a motor north. The winds were NW at 5 or so and at times it was flat calm. NNW was the course so even motor sailing did not give us a lift. In the middle of the day the wind instrument that tells us wind speed and direction quit so I fiddled with all the connections and got it back up but it had lost it’s sense of direction. Good thing we didn’t really need it. We can actually do without it but life is easier with it.

While I was forward in the cabin making connections and testing wires while Debby was watching the display we were surprised by the Coast Guard that had snuck up behind us. I wonder what they thought as we were testing the unit by altering course 30-50 degrees with no pattern while seeing the effects on the wind instrument. Must have been a hoot for them. Anyway, they boarded for an inspection and were on board for all of 7 or 8 minutes checking the usual documentation, ID, life jackets, flares, fire extinguishers, etc. They left with only a small smear on the port aft side while trying to heave off. Young men with boots and all sorts of guns and things on their belts. Blue beetle sunglasses too!


So we motored to Ft. Myers and picked up a mooring ball for the night. Easy peasy and another sure mooring to insure an easy shower and a no hassle night. Splurging again. 15 bucks. No doubt subsidised by my tax dollars. Cool huh?


4-21-10 28.5 miles

Another day of motoring with the winds still NNW. Not much to say but we came up on the inside of Sanibel, past Captiva Island and into Pelican Bay. This is a small bay that has nearly 360 degree protection and so with the anchor down and predicted winds of 10 knots or less we will sleep tight again. Grilled steak, salad and potatoes is on the menu for tonight. What, you thought we just ate canned gruel? No way!



PS I am sorry about the lack of pictures but we are not really taking many and the email service only allows 5 per email and they are so large (in case I want to edit later) they take a long time to load and so I lose my patience and go on deck and gawk some more. What is new there huh?


4-22-10 Thursday 50.4 miles

So today the winds were from the NW but only 5-9 and the way north has no inside section from Boca Grande to Naples. We wanted to go outside though so it worked out well as we ran the water maker and dumped the holding tank. Phew! The ocean (3 mile limit) is our septic tank.

We motor sailed to Venice and then went inside and motor sailed from there. The water is pretty clear and the dolphin are always stopping by a few times during the day to say hello. One even did a show jump today, clear out of the water and a great big splash. No pics of that one as I just happened to be looking in the right direction for the show. Go to Sea World and look at it and superimpose it on a thought of being on Therapy. There, now you are feeling good I am sure.

So now we have had a nice barbeque chicken dinner in a nice little protected anchorage we have been to before. Mar Vista, and there are two restaurants one being the Mar Vista…duh. We ate there on the way down south and just the shrimp appetizer is humongous. Stop there if you get a chance.

Tomorrow the winds are predicted to be from the E and the SE. That would be nice since we have essentially motored from the Dry Tortugas up to now. Remember that a course to be sailed is always to windward. Well, maybe not tomorrow. Here is hoping.

Lovely sunset too.




4-23-10 Friday 50 miles

0855 sees us out of Longboat Key and into the Gulf with light SE to S to SW. Called light and variable and so it is. Slow going but perfect to be talking to Garmin support for the chart plotter. Seems it has a glitch or two but no worries since we are just off the coast and can navigate by sight with ease.

A lazy couple of hours and more drop in wind so on comes the motor again. Motor sailing toward home.

We saw a couple of really big turtles but they are shy and as soon as we are in camera distance they dive. So sorry again about the pics. We have also played dodge-em with the countless crab traps too. Great sport deciding if going into neutral is needed so as to not foul the prop. We won!

Well we made it all the way to Anclote key and there is nice hard sand for the anchor to hold in so it should be an easy night.







4-24-10 Saturday 13.3 miles

Up with the sun and a two hour run with the wind on the quarter moving us at up to 7 knots. Perfect kind of sailing for the last day.

Two hours saw us outside our home channel and the dock.


A couple of hours of packing and clean up and the Son is here to pick us up for the ride home.

An eventful cruise and chance of a lifetime that we were lucky enough to experience.
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Old 28-04-2010, 02:38   #2
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I love those 0.0 mile days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Old 28-04-2010, 05:19   #3
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Congrats Therapy on a really successful cruise! Green with envy here, I assure you. Your descriptions brought back a lot of memories. Thanks for a great post!
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Old 28-04-2010, 05:44   #4
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It all sounds wonderful. Enjoy what it has to offer. Even the difficult times will be looked on as fun once you survive..........i2f
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Old 29-04-2010, 13:51   #5
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I love those 0.0 mile days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Mark,
You are the KING of 0.0 we know.

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Old 29-04-2010, 13:51   #6
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Congrats Therapy on a really successful cruise! Green with envy here, I assure you. Your descriptions brought back a lot of memories. Thanks for a great post!
Don't envy that two day beat.

Whew!
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Old 29-04-2010, 13:55   #7
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It all sounds wonderful. Enjoy what it has to offer. Even the difficult times will be looked on as fun once you survive..........i2f
Already some are fading.

As you can tell we did too many miles on some days and not enough of the 0.0s.

I learned that.

I was bushed many a day.

8 to 12 hrs at the helm is loooonnnngggg.

My idea for next was to reserve two months to see some of the Bahamas for the first time. NOT.

Now it will be 3 months minimum.
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Old 29-04-2010, 14:28   #8
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Don't envy that two day beat.

Whew!
You obviously dont do what I do for a living...

BTW, make it 6 months and take as many 0.0s as you need!
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Old 29-04-2010, 15:02   #9
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10k miles on the cat, and we have only touched the wheel to dock, or make a 180* turn.........i2f
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Old 29-04-2010, 16:53   #10
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10k miles on the cat, and we have only touched the wheel to dock, or make a 180* turn.........i2f
By "at the helm" I mean up watching, alert, etc.

Motor sailing with multitudes of crab traps around means a constant, close vigilance.

Otto was flawless with only two adjustments early on. Some how the belt on this unit seems to learn how to get tighter all by itself. I have loosened it three times in a year. (Autohelm wheel pilot)
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Old 12-05-2010, 09:20   #11
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Nice write up

Glad it was a fun trip. We sure enjoyed our spontaneous raftup for a couple days.
Stay in touch, Mike and Kelli
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Old 13-05-2010, 12:10   #12
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Glad it was a fun trip. We sure enjoyed our spontaneous raftup for a couple days.
Stay in touch, Mike and Kelli
I gotta tell ya that meeting you two were the highlight of the trip!.

Lookin' at Gems yet?
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Old 13-05-2010, 15:30   #13
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welcome back

I'm honored, we certainly enjoyed your company. Can't quite cram a Gem into my budget. I think we've decided to keep our little 260. I'll rebuild the V-berth/table, add some canvas, spinnaker and possibly look at a small water maker. Ice would be my biggest loss for remote extended weekends but I'm rarely more than 2days from civilization anyway. I may have an RV in the future and could take a road trip with the boat which trailers and sets up very easily too.

Lets go sailing before the heat sets in. Yours, mine our both. Call(you have it) or email soling42 "at" hotmail so I can send some shots of your sea sled. Cya Mike & Kelli
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