Friday, April 26, 2013

Back north

It was a long trip north.
The Oriental area was filled with flower

We left from early summer down in NC: leafs on the trees, bushes filled with flowers up to the frozen north. It’s 30 degs this morning; no leafs on the trees or bushes and the only flowers are the occasional spring crocus or daffodils, (that is if they are on a sunny south slope). Oh, and sunshine? No, we drove thru torrential cold rain instead.

 Ah, Michigan, I now remember why I spent all of those years building the Snow Goose. Anyway, after a day of work, the house is up and running again and they say in a few days it should get up to the high 60’s!!!! Going from the 80’s and living in shorts and no shoes to the 60’s isn’t that cheerful. Hope that your summer is starting off warmer than ours is.
Our front yard, dismal.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


We made it back to Deaton's marine but not before one last little bit of trouble and more things breaking. While negotiating the shallows around the Bouge Inlet I ran the boat hard aground (of course the tide was going out). It was a good solid grounding and I had to get the dingy down and the motor installed so I could kedge out an anchor.

 Well, the small rope that holds the drain plug to the dinghy broke (almost lost the plug), then the shackle release pin to the dinghy lifting pulley broke so I couldn't release the dinghy from the lifting davits. I swear, at that moment if one more thing had given way I’d have taken the Goose out and sunk her. 

 We got her off the bottom just as Towboat US arrived. (ruined their day). This year has been one long, maintenance filled winter and I think that both Snow Goose and myself need some down time. 

 And for anyone that interested about motoring up the coast from Fl, it took about 100 hr at the wheel and about 75 gallons of fuel.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Auto pilot woes


It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. I have to admit I’ve been a bit on the blue side and just haven’t had it in me to post. So, time to climb back in the boat and sail again… so to speak (did you like that metaphor to horses?).

The aft mast is a mess but after free climbing it and tying the busted parts back together I figured that we had it in good enough shape to head off shore and finish the trip up the coast.
 3 days max and we would be home in NC. That’s when I heard a terrible grinding sound, (nothing that you ever want to hear on a boat). I turned out to be our auto pilot.
 The plastic gears in the control unit had worn out after 20 years. This is almost as bad as no engine. The Goose is a big boat and I rely on the auto pilot. So, offshore was out of the picture, and we became a motor boat. I had vowed to NEVER motor thru Georgia, and this year I had to eat my words as we wound our way thru the swamps and saw grass flats of that state.
 After running out of diesel and havining to bleed the engine to get it to run again we were on our way.
 I tell you, it’s miles and miles of nothing but grass, serpentine water ways and big tides. I finally hooked a bungee cord to the wheel to offset the natural ‘turn to port’ that the goose has under power.
 With Edie's help, I managed to keep a good lookout and stear the boat for the last 500 miles. It’s been a very long, boring week and I’ll be glad to get back to Deaton Marine tomorrow.  

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Disaster strikes again

Catchy title to a blog post.

The short story, we lost the back mast.


The long story. With a very strong following wind and an out going tide we approached the Crescent Beach bridge. The bridge tender told us to “keep it coming he would have the bridge open for us but one of the spans is down for repair and only the west span would be opened”. Well, he didn’t open it in time and I didn’t judge our speed properly and the current set us to the right at the last minute since I had slowed us down because the bridge opened late. The result was a near miss for the front mast but I caught a wire of the aft mast on the bridge and it tore the mast apart. Needless to say I was not happy. I pulled the mast back to gether and the next day. I “free hand” climbed the mast and rigged ropes to stabilize it for the rest of the trip up north.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Leaving Boot Key Harbor

It’s been a full week getting ready to leave the harbor. Lots of last minute projects (paint and varnish) and many people to say goodbye to. We had the family from Madison Lynn Scott (that's their boat's name) over for dinner and I'm not sure what they thought of the upside down cake!

 Anna had several gals that she needed to give haircuts to and of course last minute trips to the store.
 Finally, the water tanks were fill, the bikes folded and put away and Edie ran ashore for the last time. That's when I found this little gecko waiting for his picture to be taken.

We had one nice day during that last week so we took 2 other couples out to Looe Key reef to do a bit of snorkeling.

There was a bit of excitement when I heard our boat name shouted out, it was Sun Dancer drifting by. His shift to his transmission had broken and he was adrift in the mooring field. I caught a line from his boat and tied him up to the back side of Snow Goose. In 10 min he had it fixed and was off for a sail.

 One final sunset and it was time for us to leave the harbor.

Then it was out to the Atlantic side of the Keys and with a left turn we headed north. We didn’t pass very many boats on the first day due to the fact that a huge thunderstorm system was due in the evening.  

The sailing was great and we made it to the anchorage just as the wind picked up and the temp dropped ahead of the storm. We plan to stay here in Angelfish Creek for a couple of days to let the cold front pass by before we head back out on the Atlantic to continue north.

Monday, April 1, 2013

New style of airplane

There’s one other picture of the air show that I wanted to show you and I forgot to post it. This is the new Blue Angle jet. It has wheels on both the top of the plane and the bottom of the plane (just incase the pilot has to make an emergency upside-down landing) but it also has two pilots, one above and one below to better spot enemy aircraft.