Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Southern Most Spectatular Air Show


Every few years the Naval Air Base just to the east of Key West opens it’s doors for a free air show which highlights the Blue Angles. The air show also includes WWII Airplanes, biplanes, stunt planes, an aerobatic hilliocopter and lots of static displays. To top it off the show is free and the day we went was a total blue sky day perfect for watching planes fly and for getting sunburned (which we did). Thousands of people showed up and it was a great day for all. Here’s a few pictures of the show, hope that you like them.

Ever hear of  Radio Free Cuba? This plane flys every day over the Florida Keys (every day) transmitting FM and TV signals to Cuba... your tax dollars at work.

The Budweiser Clydedales...
and their dog, brewer


WWII trainer

WWII Corsair on the ground and...

in the air!

Static displays

She needs to be carefull, that plane bites! 

After walking around the displays I started taking pictures of the air show in the sky.

These lazy loops were made by the glider below and the flying was set to clasical music.

He flew on his side, upside down and managed to flip this plane end over end in mid air!

Look at the top of the wing an you can see the woman doing wingwalking!

A heart produced by two planes
Then they anounced the Blue Angles would be flying and everyone found a good place to watch.

High powered takeoffs

precision fly bys

So many Gee's that the very air above the wings seperates into vapor!
A fast break away into ...


into a star burst!

The final pass after a sunburned day.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Rust (yet again)

One of my goals for this trip is to paint and seal up all of the rusty spots on this boat. Back in the Great Lakes rust wasn’t a problem (fresh water not salt water). Now though, it’s an insidious creeping enemy who, if you turn your back for a day, will bubble paint and send red streaks running down your new white paint.

It’s getting so that I’m thinking of repainting the white to a nice “rust” color paint that way the streaks would just blend in. At least I wouldn’t have to see the rust streaks. Anyway, I’ve managed to redo all but 3 of the chain plates and today’s project is the final 3. This required me to un-pin the top of the mast both forwards and aft to get to the offending rusty chain plates. When I’m done, the Goose should look like she just came out of the yard with fresh paint and no rust streaks.

Other than boat work, we had a lovely evening on Yellow Bird enjoying fresh made spring rolls and live music ala Mike from Queequek (look it up).
Tomorrow the Air Show!
This is Fat Albert, the support aircraft for the Blue Angles flying team.

Stearman biplane used during the wingwalking flight.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pump problems

Old impeller

New impeller
Maintenance on a boat is a constant thing and Murphy’s Law (if it can go wrong, it will go wrong) always prevails. This last week I had a good example of Murphy’s law when it came up and bite me on the butt. Up in the Everglades I noticed that the sound of the exhaust was a bit different and that I had reduced water flow out of the engine (an indication that your water pump isn't working right). I thought that I had changed the raw water pump impeller this last year but, alas, it was 2 years ago and one of the vanes had ripped off, jammed in the way and proceeded to rip off 5 others which clogged up the water runs reducing the water flow and heating up the engine. The real pain in the butt came when I had to disassemble the oil cooler to remove the missing rubber vanes from the impeller. 8 hours later (yes, count em, 8 hours) I finally had all of the missing parts accounted for and the engine running again. Lesson learned, keep up on preventive maintenance!

Sunday, March 17, 2013


A small problem occurred when we were traveling south, the speed readout went to zero. The goose has a speed meter that is mounted in the bottom of the boat and it uses a little paddle wheel to pick-up the movement of the water as it flows past the boat. Occasionally the wheel will pick up some debris and stick. (especially when your boat is stuck on a sand bar and you have to use full reverse to pull yourself off). When this happens it’s necessary to take the unit out of the bottom of the boat and clean it (spin it with your finger) then put it back. The only problem with doing this is it leaves a 1.5 inch hole in the bottom of your boat! (A LOT of water can come in a 1.5 inch hole). So, last year I bought a new type of paddle wheel that has a self closing “flapper” built into the housing. This limits the amount of water that flows into the boat. It made the chore of cleaning the wheel go from a harrowing, water spraying, “OMG were going to sink the boat!” experience into a routine job. Here’s how it’s done.
First you have to remove the rretaning pin that keeps the unit in place.
Then, as you pull the paddle wheel out, water starts to floww into the boat.
Here's the culprit, just spin the little wheen to clear it of what's got it stuck, Notice the water flowing into the boat?

Finally, push it back into the hole and re-pin it and your done!... What you don't see is that the boat is pitching and rolling a bit that's why I'm hanging on to the floor.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Marine consignment stores

We are in Punta Gorda, staying at the dock of our good friends for a few days. This morning, he walked out to the boat (as I was taking care of a small issue at the top of the mast) and invited us to a marine salvage store that he and his neighbor John were going to. Anna declined but I agreed and 20 minutes later we were ready for an adventure.

As a cruiser you are always looking for a deal on marine parts. A marine consignment store or a marine salvage business is just the ticket to that deal. These places are normally filled with all kinds of small (and sometimes large) items that make up a boat and it’s all at good price (when compared to new). That’s the good news, the bad is that they are also filled with piles of castoff bits and pieces of junk, some half a century old (if not more) and you sometimes half to wade thru bins and piles and buildings full of this junk to find the one small item that you might need. Well, that’s what we found when we arrived at Don’s Marine Salvage.
I have never seen so much stuff (most of it useless) in my life. Piles of masts, sheds full of propellers, trailers and racks filled with tanks, trailers full of bits and pieces of teak, used boat trailers piled on top of one another, fields of engines, buildings bursting with transmissions, racks filled with every type of aluminum extrusion conceivable, more SS tubing bent into boat bows than I believe there are boats and much, much more.


We spent several hours wading thru the acres of used parts yet didn’t find one thing that we couldn’t live without (this is a strange thing for a sailor to say). In the end, even though we found nothing that we couldn’t live without, it was an enjoyable trip there and back filled with good company and interesting conversations. For you see, sometimes it’s the journey and not the destination that makes the adventure and that’s what cruising is all about.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Farmers market

Every Saturday, just down the street from the anchorage is a farmers market so, Bruce and Jennie from Wind singer and Anna and I Headed over to there for a look.
It turns out that It’s a flea and farmers market which made the girls happy. The vegetables were great looking and in most cases cheaper than the local stores.
 The Flea side had a great selection of stuff and we found a stain glass window that will find it’s way into the Lake House when we make it back to Michigan.

Two happy girls at the market

 It's been a good stop in Cape Coral. The town is friendly and the anchorage is excellent, I would recommend it to anyone going by this area. We plan to leave here and head north to Charlotte Harbor before turning around and starting our way back south to the Keys. Then we round Fl and turn north back up the east coast for the summer.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Wooden Masts

There are good things about having wooden masts and bad things. One of the good things is it looks good and if it is damaged you can fix it whereas an aluminum mast is normally scrap if bent or dinged. The bad thing is the maintenance that they require. Up north in the great Lakes, one coat of varnish a year will do the job. Down here, one every 6 months is what you have to do. A month back I finished my varnish work on the boat but, while at the top of the mast, I found a couple of spots where the varnish has broken open and needed repair.
Hanging out at the top of the mast

the black is where the varnish broke through

This can let water in which will result in rot if not caught early. The trouble is that it’s near the top of the mast. So, I have to get out the boson chair, a scraper, some sand paper and my touch-up bottle of varnish.


This is a bottle of nail polish that I’ve removed the nail polish from the bottle, cleaned it out and refilled with varnish. The bottle (with it’s built in brush) is just right for touching up small spots without having to open up the big can just for a little job. Then, it’s up the mast to scrap, sand, and varnish the spot. Now, I have to repeat this 7 more times and I can call this repair good again.

You might wonder how I get up a 54 foot tall mast, well, I climb it.  Anna tails the rope around the winch as I climb the mast like some one would climb a palm tree to get coconuts. I draw up my feet and then push them against the mast while pulling up with my arms.

My legs do most of the lifting while my arms lift and hold me against the mast. Every time that I move up I call out “PULL” and Anna takes up the slack.

This way she isn’t lifting me she’s just keeping the rope snug as I climb the mast for safety. It takes about 60 sec to climb the mast and nobody has to slowly ‘crank’ me to the top. It’s a lot of work for a tiny nick in the varnish but necessary. On the pluse side, it's a great view!