Heading East

As is normal with us, we spent much longer in Key West than we'd planned.  The weather was cold and windy for a lot of the time, preventing our sightseeing and deck lounging, but we managed to find some old and new friends that we wanted to hang out with.  We finally made the 45 mile run to Marathon on Friday and couldn't have picked a better day, well, maybe a warmer day, but the wind was awsome.  We had 10-15kts on the port beam and sailed the whole way. But just so you don't think it was too perfect, it was COLD.  Another multi layer clothing day.  We're thinking longingly of The Bahamas and all the snorkeling we'll be doing in a week or so.  We hope. Cold has a way of following us around.
One of the many 'Northers' that rolled through Key West.
We're now in the mooring field in Marathon.  Marathon is a pretty unique slice of cruising life.  They have an almost completely protected mooring field with 260 balls. They actually like boaters here as opposed to most of the rest of Florida. There are a lot of cruisers who come here to spend the whole winter because the facilities are great, the price is right and there's always someone new coming into the harbor.  I like to just putt around in the dinghy and check out all the other boats.  We're here waiting for water maker parts and by Wednesday or Thursday will head across to The Bahamas.
View of Marathon mooring field from the mizzen mast.

Posted by Picasa


It's Never Easy To Say GoodBye, part II

It's hard to be too depressed when this is my daily commute...
Posted by Picasa

In this case, I feel like it's my youth that I'm leaving.  Not that 50 is old, but I remember when I was a teen, the 50 year olds all seemed to have a good grasp of  being an adult and being reliable and responsible. Now that I'm here, I get the feeling that they were just pretending. Turning 50 seems to be a much bigger deal than 40.  I'm half way! (Oh, yeah, I never did turn 40, I've been 39 for the last 11 years and am now going directly from 39 to 50. No wonder it's such a big step!) I guess now I'll have to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I still want to be astronaut, and a rock star, and win Wimbledon.  I probably should pick something and start practicing, I only have 50 more years.  I think my 'second half of life' resolution will be to try to pay more attention to who and what's good in my life and get rid of the extraneous stuff.

and this is the end of my day.


On to Key West

    We left St Pete Friday evening for a cold, cold sail down the coast. We'd looked at the forecast temps and while the Key West highs weren't really higher, the lows were warmer by 15-20 degrees...and it was time to move on. We dressed in all our layers, pulled off the lines again, and headed south. While we already miss all our St Pete friends, our two nights off-shore closed with a special welcome to Key West once again.

    At 0630 this morning I sipped a fresh cup of coffee as the big genny dragged us south by the bow. The sky began to change from dark to blue, to gray, then light blue, red, orange, and every possible color between. Photo's never do it justice, but I grabbed the camera and shot away over the next hour stopping to take off layer after layer as Hjlmr pointed us toward the Northwest Channel.

    We closed by rolling onto the reef and down the channel under sail. We checked in in shorts, now sitting in the cockpit watching the sun set with a glass of wine thinking about updating the project list...awwww later....


Yet Again, More Stats

Thanks everyone for the comments and emails regarding provisioning.  I'm embarrassed to admit that the photos in the last blog were but a small quantity of what we brought aboard, but it's all stowed and thanks to Nancy, I may even be able to find some of it again.
I've been gathering my end of year stats and thought I'd share.  (I also like to give the Mr Mac crew a chance to brag about how they live on $2 a day and haven't been to the dock in 3 years.)
We started the year at the dock in Oriental and this info starts when we left there April 5.  Of the remaining 272 days we spent them:
   at anchor                         116 days
   on an overnight passage     12
   on a mooring  ($)               52
   on a mooring  (free)           59     (46 at Gary and Alex's, thanks!)
   at a dock ($)                     25
   at a dock (free)                   8
Our second year spending reflects the added days we spent at the dock and at moorings.  The dock days added up to $510 and moorings a whopping $1003.  While we didn't blow the budget, it's more time attached to land (well, you know, other than with an anchor) than we like and we plan to spend year 3 getting the 'at anchor' total back up. We spent time in 55 different cities and anchorages.
I also sent out 92 postcards.    



How much is enough?

Santa was very, very good to us this year.
Aside from our extensive socialising, we've been doing LOTS of boat projects (I'll let Steve do that blog, along with all the boring pictures) and trying to reprovision for our upcoming trip to the Bahamas and Caribbean.  We decided a long time ago that no matter where we go, the people who live there eat.  It may not be what we're used to, but we'll never starve. This I know, but... I do have a couple favorite things that I'm not willing to be without. JIF, creamy, reduced fat, for one. And Doritos.  And good chocolate.  And Close Up toothpaste. And a nice crisp glass of white at the end of the day.  And toilet paper.  We're talking quality of life here. So we've been trying to find out what will be available (and affordable) and what we need to really stock up on. I've been tracking our consumption of things for years now and have a pretty good idea of how fast we use things up.  But I still have a hard time buying 100 rolls of TP and an even harder time finding a place to put it.  Because that is the hardest part of all: putting it away and then finding it again. I have an great inventory of what we have, it's just not always so great as to where we have it.  At this point, the lockers and my back are both groaning, the credit card is smoking, it's time to go.  I can live with inferior peanut butter.
Posted by Picasa

A Convoluted Story

Gayle, Kitty, Lynn, Chuck, Greg, Bob and Steve
 A short time ago, I got an email from a guy named Chuck Snyder.  It started "You don't know me...".  It seems that Chuck is a friend of our friends, Bob and Kitty Bennett, of Equinox. Chuck follows the Equinox blog and on it found a link to here.  Upon reading our blog, he discovered that Steve was from Minnesota.  Not just Minnesota, but Arlington Minnesota.  Chuck is from Minnesota. Chuck has 7 brothers. One of Chuck's brothers, Marv, is married to Sheila Nieland from Arlington.  It turns out that Steve was in the same class as Sheila's sister and has known her family forever.  Chuck is a sailor and is the dock master at Pasadena Marina here in St Pete.  Chuck's other brother, Greg, and his wife Gayle, are also cruising sailors on Yoohoo, and we've been following their blog, Late Coffee Early Cocktails, for a long time through another link on Equinox. We saw their boat for the first time this fall as we were leaving Oriental and heading south. What does all this mean?  Just that last week we were all in the same place at the same time and we got the chance to meet all these great people for a long lunch and put faces to names, swap stories and laugh alot. As Chuck ended his first email "It's a small world".


It's Never Easy To Say GoodBye

My Bluemug and I have shared many thousands of mornings. For the first few years we just sat and quietly collected our thoughts for the work day, Steve and all his morning energy already out the door, the cat fed. Matt Lauer used to join us, back when we had a TV. Sometimes, when the paperboy could manage it, we'd read the news.  Always a nice calm beginning to my day, just my Bluemug and I.
These days we look out at the world from the cockpit and wonder what we'll find over the horizon today.  These days aren't so quiet, though.  Ominous cracking sounds are coming from my Bluemug, protesting the scalding coffee. A slight tang of plastic has crept into my coffee mate.  As hard as it is, it may be time to look for a replacement of the Bluemug.
Finding just the right new Bluemug will take time.  It has to have just the right hand appeal, the right color and heft and texture, the right rim.  It needs to bounce off the floor. I'll take my quest seriously, checking thrift shops, coffee shops and tourist shops alike. Ah, it's early in the morning and I already have a goal for the day.


It was cold in Florida at the end of the year, but that didn't stop us from getting out and seeing the sights. As we left St Pete very early one morning we all had to whip out our credit cards to scrape the heavy frost off the car before we could go.  I'm fairly sure there are no ice scrappers in the state. 
The Kennedy Space Center is an overload of space facts and information.  The IMAX movie about the Hubble telescope was fun and fascinating and the red 3-D glasses, very cool.
Hannah thought that everything looked like it was made of tin foil.
We also got down to Sarasota to the Ringling Bros. Museum.  Once again, it was very fun.  An insight into the workings of the big traveling circus.  Soooooo much work to put it all up and then take it all down at the end of the day and load it on the train and go on to the next city and start again.  They started taking the outer tents apart and loading them before the acts in the Big Top were even over. One of the buildings has a scale model of the entire operation, from the train yard to the Big Top and everything in between.  There was a commissary tent, medical, barber shop, private cars for the stars, all the animals, and in the Big Top the trapeze artists twirled.  It was amazing, 50 years of work by one man.

Posted by Picasa
As always, the time with the girls went way to fast, They are wonderful, active women with great imaginations and inquiring minds and we couldn't be prouder of them.