God Two

I must follow up what Jim wrote about last night. He basically was stating that God is in all that we see around us more so than in a building visited perhaps once a week. Today I saw God!
We finally left Marathon, that in itself constitutes a miracle. Jim had me motor us out of the harbor (whew, I did it.) I then motor sailed (main sail up and using the motor) across the ocean towards Bahia Honda State Park. He was going to have me motor all the way through but I chickened out at the last minute. We had to go between bridges and I just didn’t have the ” vision” enough to see how that was going to work. He took over and voila there it was another piece of God’s Creation. Nestled in between these two bridges was a little cove. There was plenty of room to anchor between the original Flagler train bridge and the new US 1 bridge. Thue two bridges come to a V at one end and at the other end is a swimming area, another little hidden cove with docks, a nice snack bar, gift shop (which I’m hitting up tomorrow) and Harbor Master. After checking in with the Harbor Master we took Kaelin over to the beach.
Now up to this point this is just the usual vacation drivel. Where does God come in? Well, I saw God when my little boy looked at his daddy as he helped him swim. There was so much love from both of them. It was beautiful. We are truly blessed to love each other so much. Then there was the excitement in our little boy’s eyes as he realized he could play in the water, including lifting his feet (he had his life jacket on so he could get use to it) and that he was relatively safe. He had so much fun that he was completely wore out when we got back. This is going to sound strange but God is surrounding us when we take our cockpit showers. We work together to shower and so it has become a family event and it really is one of the most important parts of the day.
Then to not be outdone, God decided to put on a show to beat all shows: the sunset. It truly was one of the most amazing sights I’ve ever seen.

Oh, Its good to be back!

Oh its good to be back on the boat again! That tropical bitch Debby was depressing us with her constant rain, and dreary attitude so we left the boat at Marathon and went home to ocala for 5 days. Don’t get me wrong, it rained like hell in Ocala but at least I could set in air conditioned comfort and watch my T.V. (yes, 25 channels with absolutly nothing of value on). I did succeed in mowing the grass between rain storms and once or twice I did take a shower and shave my hairy face. When we are on the boat the whole world to us is 26 feet long, 8 feet wide and carries 3 people safetly. We really don’t care about politics or hollywood meglomaniacs. The best life has to offer is all around us; the clear sky, warm water, the palm trees swaying in the breeze, is whats important. Its funny, in Ocala there is a church on every corner. People scramble on sunday mornings to a building with 4 walls so they can profess to know and love an ominipotent being (God). Then they go back home to their homes. On the way they curse about the crazy drivers, speed their cars over the speed limit and set in front of their tv’s watching other people live exciting lives (hollywood stars, sports heroes, politicians spending the tax money on lavish vacations and parties). They claim to be of some specific religious demonination and eventually they claim to know(?) God.

On a boat, living the way we do. We see God’s work everyday. We hear him in the wind. We sense his hand in the creation of this fantastic planet. The beauty and magic that exists where the land meets the water could have only occured through design, or guidance. As a person who loves science and firmly believes in Darwin’s Theory of Evolution; I also have to concede to a sense of Omnipotent Design after being on the boat for a while. No church, synagog, or temple can come close to representing or conveying the meaning of life.

Getting off my soap box; This weekend, instead of going to church and listening to someone else tell you about the Allmighty, go to the beach or a lake, or the mountains and listen. God is a cool guy (or Gal (if she’s a girl she’s probably hot!)) and he talks all the time. As my grandfather once said to me “God talks to everyone, The question is “are you willing to listen?”

Rain, Rain, Rain

Its raining. Its still raining. Its still raining and is continuing to rain. When its not raining it is threatening to rain. (Can you tell we’re getting a lot of rain?)

We are stuck here in Marathon, waiting to see what the weather is going to do. apparently, there is a low front over Mexico’s Yucatan (sp?) and another over the lower Florida peninsula that they are watching to see if they combine into a tropical depression. In the mean time we are in the middle of both and the weather doesn’t know what it wants to do. Occasionally a small patch of blue sky forms just long enough to give us hope, but then disappears like a bad joke leaving rain.

One of the nice things about a sailboat is that its like a cocoon, in that the weather can be nasty outside but inside you are safe and warm steamy hot. It slowly cooks you until you finally don’t care if its raining, frustrated you go outside anyway to get cooled off. (Oops, Cabin fever must be setting in!) We have decided to hangout here until we get a couple of good days and can head to Key West.  Kaelin has been having a good time. yesterday we visited the Turtle Hospital and he got to see the turtles up close and feed them. Today we ventured to Tilden’s Dive shop where I purchased a new dive mask and fins. While we were out, the Hurricane Bar and Restaurant seemed an apropos location to have lunch and wait out ….more rain.  Lunch ws pretty good and it rained like crazy. Lesa and I figured the weather gods must have decided to live up to the Hurricane name since we were in the Hurricane Bar.

When we returned to the dinghy to go to the boat, the Dinky Dan had gallons of water in him, so he had to be bailed out. It may not sound like much of a job, but you try emptying your bathtub one cupfull at a time and see how it feels!

Wish us luck, and please do a rain dance where ever you are (hopefully it will pull the rain clouds away from here!) 

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Restaraunt Reviews

Part of sailing is, of course, visiting nearby land and exploring. We go ashore every couple of days for supplies, sometimes showers and laundry, and the occasional restaurannt meal. I dedicate this section to those places we eat a meal different from boat fare.

***** = best ever $ =$15-25 for all 3 of us to eat, $$ = 25-35, $$$ = 35-45, $$$$ = over 45

Fresh Market / Dinner Key: Panini sandwiches mine was an italian, Jim’s was roast beef, and Kaelin had a turkey. They were very large on a toasted italian or cuban type bread. We were starving so it made sense to eat there before getting groceries. The store had an immense selection of premade foods; like I’ve never seen before. You would think they would have an area inside to eat at, but no we had to go back outside under a canopy. The sandwiches were okay. Bread was hard for me to chew due to recent dental work. Kaeliat his inside out but thats what 3yr olds do. Jim liked his. The left overs werenot good the next day, became fish chum. Our rating 3 stars ***$$
Hobo’s Cafe / Key Largo: Again heading to get groceries. On the way I saw Hobos and suggested we eat. As it was already past lunch time and we had not had breakfast (very common on the boat) Jim was all for it. It was very crowded, nice waitresses, but honestly food was not good. Jim and I both had fish sandwiches. Thhe fish was grey and very strange tasting. It was also on toasted whole wheat bread which I find doesnt go well with fish. I love tarter sauce and theirs tasted weird. Jim said they probably make their own sauce to hide the taste of bad food. Kaelin had spaghetti (way too much for little guy!) Kaelins was
good but what he enjoyed more was a video of ocean life playing on the t.v. we give it a *** only because it was airconditioned and the video was cool.$$$
Roccos Dockside Bar and Grill / Boot Key Harbour Marathon: Jim treated us to this meal after
a tiring 5hr sail on rocky rolly waves. At first I was a little disappointed as it was outside but
it turned out to be my favorite so far. Jim had blackened fish on linguine. I had a taste of it
and was sorry I didnt order it. It was delicious. Kaelin was given a neat goody bag and juice box to go with his hot dog and fries. I had delicious fish and chips (fries). The fish was white, mild and lightly breaded. Excellent meal. To top it off I had 3 rum runners. They were more rum than runner but very refreshing and needless to say I was rather “happy”. I think Jim gets a kick out of seeing me tipsy. They also had a gentleman playing 70’s music on a guitar and singing. He was pretty good and Kaelin enjoyed bouncing his head to the tunes. ****$$$$
Hurricane / Marathon: this was a welcome relief from the rain. Very air conditioned. It had an awesome Lego display of Miami Beach that Kaelin looked at for a long time. The food was okay, better than Hobo’s but not as good as Docksides. Jim had a fish sandwich, Kaelin had pasta and I had an Oriental stir fry. Mine was not great. the rice was quick cook rice and that just goes against all I believe in. Jim said his was okay and Kaelin liked his. *** $$$

Dinner at Rocco’s Dockside Bar and Grill


Cracked Conch Cafe / Marathon: This is an old favorite for Jim. He has been waiting for some time to revisit this place. I love it when Jim gets the “man” mode going and orders for us both. He ordered the Cracked Conch Cafe burger plate. I had never eaten this before so it was a new experience. The conch is beaten, breaded and fried then eaten on a bun like a burger. It had a decent flavor, didnt taste like fish. I did have trouble eating it as it is chewy and again my teeth arent being nice to me. For me it was good but not great. Jim loved it! Kaelin had a nice plate of pasta with butter and garlic and a side order of veges which Jim and I kept pilfering. We all shared a piece of keylime pie. It was good but not tart at all. Jim said the resteraunt has changed since he was there, more run down, less Keysey. **** the one waitress was cranky just like reviews on their website said. To funny. $$$

McConnells Irish Pub /Key West:  after walking all over Duval Street , tired and sweaty Jim decided we would head back to this gem of a restraurant.  We looked at the menu for awhile unsure what to order as everything looked good.  Jim wanted the lamb kabobs but then he also wanted the corned beef and cabbage so I suggested we share the two that way he and I could try both.  Both dishes were delicious, especially the corned beef and cabbage.  i miss having cabbage and it was cooked perfectly, not cooked to mush.  Kaelin had mini corn dogs if memory serves me.  He also ate a lot of our veges.  Jim had a Guinees then switched to a lighter beer.  I started off with  a rum runner (I’m comparing the different ones( and then at the suggestion of our waitress, Maria, had a Key West Sunset.  Both drinks were the best I hsve had so far this trip.  I really like the sunset drink, yummy.  We of course also shared a slice of Key Lime pie.  Our waitress was not Irish, but was very sweet and patient.  This was by far our favorite and would recommend it to anyone looking for some wonderful Irish food. *****$$$$


Strange Things Seen on the Water in One Day

Key Biscayne Bay – life preserver ring on the waters bottom (yes the water is that clear). Didn’t do someone much good.
Tire including rim floating on top of water.
Balloon bouncing in tne water obviously tethered to something under the water.
No dead bodies thrown in by Dexter.

Lignun Vitae Key – a barge. Okay not so strange. EXCEPT for the huge tree sitting in the middle of the barge. It was quite amazing. We did get pictures which can be found on flicker. As soon as i figure out the issues with transfering pictures straight to the blog I’ll update here.

Hawks Channel – 3 miles out in the ocean — a loan flipflop

LigmunVitae to Marathon Sleigh Ride

A sleigh ride it was today. We pulled anchors around 10 this morning headed out of the anchorage at lignumVitae; the wind was still cranking 20ish out of the east/northeast and gusting. The waves werent bad but the gusting wind made me want to try the ocean side for the trip to marathon. I should have know what kind of day it was going to b because we passed a barge carying a huge tree. I can’t really explain it, it was just a barge pushed by a tug boat; and on the barge was a huge tree. It must have been planted in the largest flower pot in the world because the tree was (for the third time) HUGE! (pictures will be posted soon). We continued to Channel 5 bridge and passed to the ocean side of the keys. In Hawkes Channel the wind was much more stable and so were the waves. The only issue was the wind was stronger and the waves were bigger. The wind was easily 20+ and the waves were 3-5ft. The boat did great, surfing down the wave fronts and holding a steady speed of 6+ by the gps. We entered Sisters Creek and Marathon right at 3pm. I would classify it as one hell of a ride. What really impresed me was how well the boat handeled the conditions; we never took water over the deck, no extreme or uncontrolled broaching, just a nice (but very bumpy) ride. Remember the boat is only 26 ft long, 8 ft wide. After sliding into Boot key harbor we grabbed one of the thousand mooring setup by the county to keep out the riff-raff and headed to Dockside for dinner. The place is really nice now. And yes, I say that with a certain amount of sadness. Dockside was where the real boat people hung out. No mega rich dudes and their fake girlfriends (notice I didnt say wives); No, Dockside was always a place where sailor jim could get a beer all coated with suntan lotion and smelling of sweat and drink and eat in the company of friends. There were some local boaters belly up to the bar, but the clientel they are catering to is now the yacht club types; all prim and proper. In fairness I have to say, the food was great and Lesa had 3 rum runners and is a BAD GIRL!

It looks like we will be stuck here for a couple of days because the wind is picking up even more (27 at Sombrero Reef) and will be increasing or steady at that for the next few days. This is good though; we need to do laundry, eat at the Cracked Conch Cafe and get Kaelin to the Turtle Hosspital. I will post pictures  and video tomorrow on the Flickr page, so click on the link on the right side to see those. 3bje, 3rrlb.

Rock n’ Roll Hoochie Koo

The anchorage spot we chose for last night turned out to not be the best choice. The wind switched to the north east and it put us once again on a leee shore but this time with a continued high wind. The fetch from across the bay allowed the waves to grow to the 2 foot range and it was steady. We ended up getting rocked pretty well all night; nothing to worry about, but bothersome no the less. Early this morning we headed up Jewfish creek and entered another world. The creek it selfis a cut in the mangrove trees where boats pass through. The birds and wildlife seemed uninterested in our passing becuse they did’nt seen to take any notice of us. Once we passed through the mile long channel we were welcomed to the keys lifestyle with bar and liquor signs, and unfortunatly junk boats galore. My heart sank when we came across not one, but two Chrysler 26’s totally trashed. One had no mast or rigging of any sort and the other was pushed up into the mangroves with its rigging broken and the mast at a 45degree angle leaning in the tree branches.

We continued on to Tarpon Basin about 10 miles farther down and anchored near the Monroe County Governmental complex where there is a dinghy dock and a nearby Publix Supermarket.We took advantage of both and finished or day with a cool wind blowing out of the east (yes, I’m going to sleep with a blanket tonight…..thats COLD!). Tomarrow we plan to head towards Islamorada and possibly Shell or Ligmun Vitae (sp?) Key. I’m torn which gets priority; Shell and Ligmun Vitae Key are State Parks so they are educational, but Islamorada is near Holiday Isle and fantastic Rum Rummers. Oh, What to choose? 4bje,2blb

Where are we?

Humm… Good question. Well, we’re parked (anchored) alongside a road, in water shallow enough to walk to dry land and 15 minutes from that good old american favorite, McDonalds (million and one served). Really we are east of uS1 north of the entrance to Jewfish creek at Key Largo. Right now it is raining lightly, no wind and a comfortable temperature. Even though we’re trapped inside the boat it’s really nice and relaxing.

Out our “back” door. Near Jewfish Creek Bridge, in Barnes Sound, near Key Largo

quik catchup from Dinner Key.

The marina at Dinner Key is really nice but it’s a boat cruisers sucker hole. Its one of those places you go to and it seems to suck the dollars right out of your wallet. We were very glad to leave there yesterday around noon and head for Elliot Key 16 miles south. After an excellent dinner the weather turned for the worse and started to blow in from the south west putting us anchored on a lee shore. In boating terms, thats BAD! On a lee shore the wind and waves come at you from across the open water and have time to build and become nasty. With two anchors set we nervously weathered the first storm only to have a second front come smack us from the opposit direction. The boat a crew did fine and finally got to sleep around midnight. We woke today to a fantastically beautiful day. The temperature was perfect, and the water was crystal clear. I could’nt resist; I jumped in naked as a jaybird. Not to be outdone Lesa jumped in ‘al’natural. The water was perfect temperature and we had very little waves which made for great skinny dippin’.

The bathing festivities end around noon and we sailed from the anchorage south west towards Crad Sound and ultimatly Jewfish Creek. The sail was great,a beam reach all the way with 10-15 kt winds pushing the boat at 6. We ended up anchoring at our current position because years ago the roadstead use to be lined with beaches. Now its all gone; filled in with rocks for the road widening. Such is progress. We’ll stay here tonight then mve on to an anchorage on the north side of Key Largo tomorrow where Lesa and Kaelin can go ashore and streach their legs. many,many  bje, 3blb.

From Rough to Righteous

I had a rough day today due to not sleeping last night. On our first day motoring from Jensen Beach to Boca Raton I forgot to apply sunscreen until too late. It does not make for great sleeping two days later. Fortunately, I have my new dress I made, which covers my back and is very airy. I made sure to wear it today. Lack of sleep can be quite problematic as it makes me grouchy and ten times more sensitive than normal. Jim says this happens on the boat sometimes, change of routine, heat exhaustion, and not enough water to drink. I plan on buying extra water and Gatorade while on shore tomorrow. I’m going to get Kaelin pedialyte too. Poor guy he has heat rash but it doesn’t seem to deter him. He by the way has stayed dry at night each night. Woohoo!
All has not been bad today though. We all took naps today. Mine was in the cockpit with cool breezes and gentle boat rocking. Try that at home my dear friends. Also I realized one of my favorite times on the boat is just right after sunset when the boats are silouhetted against the water and the not quite darkened sky. Where we have been last night and tonight has also offered up beautiful twinkling skylines from all the sky scrapers. It is a sight worthy of a painting. I wish I could take a picture, however my cameras won’t take it correctly at night. You will just have to take me word for it.

Dinner Key at Coconut Grove

Another  tireing day. Starting this morningI transformed the HotDot from a stink potter to a blow boat. Lesa and Kaelin hid inside while I worked and raised the mast. When I started raising the mast alone years ago it was always a very stressfull experience, now it just takes time and patience. The act of sorting out the lines and shrouds; carefully walking the mast back over the stern without dropping it in the water or injuring myself is the most difficult. Once that is done all I have to do is attach the bridle and raise it up in place. Its about 3 hours of work. After a short nap (we’re on vacation remember) I put on the sails and and we were ready to go. And go we did. Lesa sailed us away from the anchorage while I raised the anchors and worked the lines. With a fantastic following sea we sailed to Dinner Key. The boat did great, she hummed along at 6 like a race horse just released from the gates. Unfortunatly we were at our destination in about 30 minutes. Not even enough time to finish a cold refreshing adult beverage. The weather has been hot but beautiful, with a nice easterly 10-15  kt breeze. Its such a diffrent feeling to be traveling under sail; not having that constant noise from the motor. We will probably stay here for 2 nights because we need supplies and to stretch our legs. One other interesting thing happened today, I finally had to take out the charts and do some navigation. 3.5bje 1blb