Tag Archives: sailing

Never Set Sail On a Friday

Current Temperature : 82°
Current location : Columbia, SC
Current time : 10:30 am
Approximately 420 miles from home.
There is a belief in the sailing world that one should never set sail on a Friday.   “”That won’t apply to us. ” we said to ourselves.   We believed that since we were camping that the rule didn’t apply. In early morning coffee retrospection we decided that yes indeedy it did apply even in the camping world.
Think about it: yesterday we hit a terrible, blinding thunder storm with torrential rain near Jacksonville.   It was all Jim could do to keep going.   He said it was very difficult to see.   I’m very proud of him, as he handled it way better than I ever would have.   Note: new tires or at least good tires are a must and nerves of steel.
Then when we stopped at a Walmart for the night I fell going into the camper.   I hit the settee pretty hard,  but I’m tough and am better today.  Lesson- use the flashlight that resides in your purse.
Jim bought me a new key ring today that has a mini flashlight on it and an extra camper and truck key.
Why an extra key you ask; because when you lock your truck keys in the truck at 10 o’clock at night you decide an extra might be a great idea.   Lesson: have a spare and thank God for AAA.
So,  next year we will wait until Saturday, even it it is 12:01 midnight.
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boat for sale

A beautiful picture of Hot Dot. Chrysler 26
A beautiful picture of Hot Dot. Chrysler 26

Apparently I’m not real good at including a link in my blog. I’m going to try to just type it in here and see what happens. If not please feel free to copy and paste it in the url window.
To view the website go to: http://www.sailboathotdot.com
Remember it is still under construction.

Marquesas to Dry Tortugas

The Marquesas Keys are very remote and primitive. The waters are shallow with a shifting sand bottom. Being to science guy that I am, I did some research on the Marquesas and found that they form the only “Atoll” in the caribbean. During the Prozoic (?) Era, they formed a beach resort for the creepy crawly creatures of the time. Our sail from the southwest side near Moody harbor was rocky and rolly. The wind was 10-15 out of the east, blowing right down Hawkes Channel off of the gulf stream. The wind and waves were not complimentary to each other, meaning, waves to big, wind to little. Additionally the wind was directly behind us, so I could fight with a wing/wing sail or drop the main and run under jib alone. The jib alone was the most comfortable and least hassle. One of the things I noticed was the amount of current that ran along the area known as the “Quicksands”. It was much more pronounced than I had expected and I can see why the depths and sand bars are always moving and therefore are not accuratly charted. We arrived at Fort Jefferson late in the day (6:30ish) and chose an anchoring spot that seemed best for our boat. In retrospect, it may not have been the best choice.

The Marquesas Keys

English: Map of Marquesas Keys, Florida.
English: Map of Marquesas Keys, Florida. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After leaving Key West we headed to the Marquesas Keys.  This gem of an island is worth the day trip.  It was a little unnerving at first due to getting around the shallows (also known as the quicksands).  We came upon the west side which was absolutely beautiful, however it was so shallow that anchorage would have been impossible.  The water was so crystal clear that you could watch the blades of grass sway with the current.  A turtle was spotted not far from our boat, a sight always worth seeing.  Unfortunately we had to move to the south side of the island.  I say unfortunately but truthfully that side was just as gorgeous.  Again it was somewhat shallow but not as bad as the west side.  There was another boat (a power boat) anchored near the shore.  A bunch of young guys were enjoying the clear water and the cool evening.  After they left we were the only humans there.  Jim figured it was a good spot to anchor.

The boat floated just at the surface of the grass, rocking gently on the soft ground.  Jim was not concerned because once we were ready to leave he would simply bring up the center board,start the motor and go.  ( It did work by the way.)  The gentle rocking was a different feeling then we normally feel and made for great sleep.

The scenery was amazing.  It surprised us with its size.  Much bigger than we expected.  Also we call it a Key or an Island but it is made up of many little and bigger islands or land masses. Because it was late we didn’t dinghy to shore, but dreamed of meandering through the many channels.  One day perhaps.  We contented ourselves with watching the fish in the grasses below, the birds above,  and enjoying the immense quiet.  This is not a key like Key West but a tropical solitude.  This is where civilization ended for us and was not missed.

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. *****$$$$

 

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.
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