Sunday, March 27, 2016

On the "road" again

It’s time to head north again. We have a good 3 day window to head north on the outside (IE: in the ocean instead of the intercostal) and so, we started out early and by the afternoon we had made it to John Pennekemp (under water) State Park just off from Key Largo. Since we were in the area and the day was fairly calm we picked up a mooring ball and went for a swim.


This was full of live coral and brilliant fish, lobster, sea urchins... now, next to nothing
I went to this park and swam the reefs back in the mid 1970’s (bell bottom jeans and long hair) and the reef was just indescribable; fantastic coral, brilliant fish and the reef was alive with life and color. Now, jump to the present, the reef is almost dead. It was enough to make me want to cry into my mask. The bottom is littered with the remains of dead coral. Allmost all of the fish and abundant life that resided there is gone. What has man done to one of God’s greatest creations? I’m so sad.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Time to leave

Well, this winter hasn’t quite been the winter that we had planed. What with the death in Anna’s family, Anna’s health issues and our inability to leave Boot Key Harbor has resulted in our winter being a “Keys” winter instead of the planned trip up the west coast of Fl. The highlight of the winter has been a renewal of the long friendships that we have made over the years and the creation of some new friendships. I’ve been busy the last few weeks rebuilding the deck under the hard dodger (cutting out the old rubber and putting in new) and putting new varnish on this deck and the instrament panel.

The "working" tools used to remove the old rubber

Afterwards, you pound in the cotton

When the groves are sanded, you tape it all off
Squirt in the rubber and let it set up

off comes the tape leaving the gaps filled and water tight

Then you scrap off the old varnish and...

Start the process over again. Oh, lord, I know why you build fiberglass boats!
Now, the winter’s work is done and it’s time to start north. See ya in Oriental NC.!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

A trip to Key West

With Anna doing better we and another couple from Southern Star, (Jack and Alois) decided to take the bus down island to Key West for the day. It was a long bus trip that turned into a great day of shops, food, entertainment and people watching.
First, we had to consult the marina sign post for directions!
A stop at the Helling's house Museum
Small print but an interesting house
Key West is the last island in the Fl. Keys that is accessible by car. It has a deep water port so many of the cruise ships make a stop there too. So, as you can guess the place is filled with “tourist” type stores and hucksters looking to get a buck from all of this willing traffic. We wandered Duvall St. (the main drag) and watched street performers and ‘drag queens’ strutting about. We went into many art galleries and
 tourist shops.
Three brass monkeys sitting on a park bench... about $20,000

Wanted to buy this charcoal but didn't have the $10,000... could anyone help?
nice banyan tree
Chickens wander loose all over Key West... dinner on the hoof, if you can catch them!
Later in the day we wandered out on to Mallory Square to watch the many street performers do their acts. One performer said that he had been doing this for 12 years!

12 years doing this stunt. He is on a 10 foot high unicycle!
This gymnastics routine pulled in several bucks.

Finally, at sunset, the schooners sail across the sun set.
One of them up close.
It was a long bus ride but well worth it.









Sunday, March 13, 2016

Transportation in Marathon

Life without a car may seem like a real bummer but actually it’s not. Sometimes it’s a bit challenging but in a good way, if you know what I mean. Down here in the marina the normal method of transportation is by bike. Lot’s of bikes.
Ready to roll

The hardest part is trying to find a place to park when the "parking lot" is full.
The sidewalks are filled with bikes and every store has a bike rack out in front. It’s a lifestyle that forces you to slow down and take the time to see things along the way, to stop and chat with friends or to break up a long ride with a stop at a store that you have never visited before. When you need to go to another island or for a longer distance there is always the Bus.
Waiting for the bus to Key West
Sometimes you also see a island resident with a car that you’d never see up in your “normal” lives.
I loved this car!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Anchoring in Book Key Harbor

Boot Key Harbor is a great place to stay for a day or several months in the winter.

This is where we have spent the winter down in the Florida Keys.
With it’s 360 deg. protection from storms and a well laid out mooring field the harbor is a very safe place to stay. It wasn’t always like this, many years ago this harbor was the “wild west” of the keys. Before the city took over governance of the harbor and installed moorings it was a wide open place to anchor with many of the anchored boats being the "3-D's"... ‘drugs,  drunks & derelicts’ who occuping the harbor (think the 70’s generation). The result of this “freedom” is a harbor bottom that was littered with trash and sunken boats. Over the years, most of the wrecks have been cleaned up but there are still a few hiding on the bottom and our friends found one the other day.

The Yellow is the anchorage and the Red dot is where the houseboat is on the bottom.
Good friends of ours live on “Waves of Grace” (a Catalina 42) and they had anchored a short distance from us only, just by the ‘luck of the draw’ they happened to drop their anchor right into an old house boat that is on the bottom. After a couple of strong cold fronts that came roaring thru the area their anchor chain had “sawn” threw the cabin top of the house boat, trapping their anchor inside. A diver was called in.
After half of an hour up came a part of the houseboat.

After a half-an-hour of work Walt was able to raise their anchor only to find that a chunk of the houseboat had come up with the anchor! After several more tries, the piece was knocked loose and the anchor came up with a minimum of debris stuck to it and they moved to a mooring. All in all, an interesting way to spend an afternoon.
So, if your anchor is stuck, give diver Chris a call!