Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Daytona Beach, FL Wednesday November 13, 2013

It's been awhile since my last entry. We are in Daytona Beach and I will attempt to cover this past week in small doses as we continue to our goal of reaching Vero Beach.  Lots of good things have happened to Fiu and us.  I'll start back on Tuesday, November 5 when Fiu was fixed.  Ray installed the vent loop valve which breaks the siphon of sea water entering the engine.  We started the engine and decided to leave the dock and travel as far south on the ICW as possible the rest of the day.   Believe me when I say we motored as far as we had originally traveled on October 30th when the engine failed to start. The anchorage in the  South Edisto River near Watts Cut became a familiar place. The engine ran like new with good oil pressure, temp gauge in green and no idling or power issues!  We were able to travel so far due to catching the tidal currents just right.  We were running with the current most of the way and when 5.5 to 7 kts is normal for Fiu, this day we ran between 6.2 and 8.9 kts!  The 28 miles were fun and our adventure was finally underway with abundant sunshine and a warm breeze.

Entering Watts Cut was a concern at low tide  since 7.2' is alot less than desirable with as ship that requires deeper water and carries a 5' draft with the centerboard up.  Needless to say much of the 3/4 mile dredged cut saw plenty of engine idling and lateral moves to find the deepest water.  The magenta line on the GPS is not always as accurate as we would like due to shoaling.  A light misty rain developed as we began our anchoring sequence.

We lack a firm schedule when sailing since I believe it creates a climate of "poor decision making."  We were a week behind our original broad plan to head to warmer climates.  We decided to travel a long day and get as far south as possible with the good weather which included many clouds but warm temps.  Even the Coosaw River was fairly flat (a first time ever) and a tidal current in our favor.  Beaufort, SC was our next stop with a generous bridge tender at the Ladys Island Bridge who held it open extra long for Fiu to slide through comfortably with only a slight increase in throttle speed. The Downtown City Marina was our noon time stop for diesel and pump out. We spend much less on diesel fuel for Fiu all winter than gas for our hybrid car in just a short summer of driving.

Skull Creek and the Hilton Head Marina  were early afternoon passages with a New River anchorage at 4:30pm.  Emails and texts were sent while dinner was being prepared.

Capt Sid

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Saturday, November 2, 2013

While we are still in Charleston we are being well cared for by Karen, Bon's college roommate.  It's important to know why we are still here.  Mud dobbers plugged the vented loop through hull.  Since the marine diesel is cooled by sea water it is important to limit the amount of water coming in to the engine.  As I understand it, the vented loop valve lets air in to break the siphon and stop water from coming in when the engine is shut down.  If the through hull is plugged then air will not get in to break the siphon.  This caused water to fill up the exhaust and eventually fill the cylinders. Usually no damage is done until the water is pumped out which lets in air to begin the corrosion process.  We (I assisted Ray the mechanic) started the engine right away and it is running as before!  The other potential problem besides corrosion is water doesn't compress.  If I had continually tried to start the engine with water in the cylinders then rods and bearings could be permanently damaged! Near miss! A new 62 horse diesel is around $15,000 installed!  Yikes is right!
Today we walked downtown from the Battery to the Customs House.  Near there is the Pavilion 225 Grill.  We enjoyed a cold drink in the glassed in roof top restaurant. 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

January 31, 2013 Boot Key Harbor Marathon, FL 33050

It's been almost three weeks since my last entry, but I have to say the time "evaporates" here where every day is a good day!  I also want to have something interesting to write about.  I guess I'm beginning to understand "Island Time!"

Dinner with friends
Jonathon has kept us informed about Max the Cat and the house and property.  Apparently the temps at home are in the single digits both above and below zero!  I don't miss the upstate NY winter weather.  For the most part our temps here range between 62 and 89 degrees.  The night-time lows are great for sleeping, but even then it's not a drastic change from day to night-time temps compared to Averill Park.

We have been out sailing a couple of times.  We had little wind one day and we used the time to fill up with diesel and raise the sails.  In checking the sails and running rigging one batton pocket has a slight tear and I will need to stitch it closed.  Another day we were out in 15-18 kt winds steady from the NNE.  Even with those little creatures living on the hull, we moved right along at 6+ kts.  We will have a local diver scrape the hull before we leave for the Dry Tortugas and the Gulf Coast!  It's amazing how a few barnacles can create drag!
Yasmine and Roy

We have a couple of weekly routines that help to keep us busy, have some fun and keep us in touch with our friends and buddy boats.  One is the 25 cent wings and discounted drafts at Hurricanes just up US1 a short distance from the marina and park entrance.  Another is "Guys Lunch Out" which is obviously a counter to the "Ladies Shopping, Lunch, Time Away and We might be home for Dinner Day Out!"

The most difficult part of our time here in Marathon is crossing US1.  Well, I can say that traffic will not stop for me!  However, it has stopped for Yasmine on the catamaran "Yasmine Ann."  While waiting for the bus to Key West and the "Lobster Fest," one has to cross US1 to get to the bus stop.  There are four lanes of traffic to negotiate.  I say negotiate but I really mean "good luck with that!"  Well, Roy made it across but Yasmine was indecisive and waited.  She soon walked to the center line with little or no gap in traffic.  Immediately a pickup truck in the fast lane stopped and motioned her to cross.  In a flash both lanes stopped and Yasmine safely completed the crossing!

A funny story regarding the cleaning of our dinghy a few days ago involved a potential "Life Insurance" claim.  West Marine has a two-step process to clean the barnacles and algae off the bottom and protect it from future buildup.  I'll just say that we followed the directions and cleaned and applied the protectorant to the bottom.  Let me tell you it just shined! It was clear from the instructions we were to apply the protectorant to the entire dinghy bottom and top side.  We had the cleanest and shiniest dinghy in the Marathon mooring field.  As it turns out the protectorant has the same characteristics as Armour All (the very shiny and slippery coating for vinyl etc).  We could barely maneuver sitting or standing and on the way back from Sombrero Beach, where we cleaned the dinghy. Bon slipped while sitting on the side tube and nearly went overboard!  We had to crawl back onto Fiu.  My next visit to West Marine will include a suggestion to not apply it to the topside to avoid the time consuming scrubbing to remove it!
Eric Stone

Sunset from Fiu
We spent one Saturday night at the "Salty Dog" listening to Eric Stone and his bass player, Steve, play at the Tiki bar.  Steve is on a sailboat one row over from us.  The music is island music and we enjoyed ourselves listening, dancing and talking with our friends.

Captain Sid

Sunday, January 6, 2013

January 6, 2013 Sunday Marathon, FL

It's been awhile and much has happened since my last entry November 18, 2012!  Bonnie flew home to work at the Country Trunk for the holiday season.  She was quite busy from Black Friday through Christmas Eve.  I stayed with Fiu and tried to work on projects we identified as important!  Important is a relative term!  In any event, The head hoses were replaced.  Even the best of plastic plumbing absorbs odor.  There were immediate results!  I cleaned Fiu and tried to make it a pleasant place to revisit in January.  Lines were rinsed, sorted and stowed.  Fenders were cleaned along with the engine bilge!  An oil and filter change helped to insure the diesel was still happy!

We spent Christmas Day at home with our nephew,Brett. Later in the day our neighbors Mike and Becky and her co-worker and her family from Africa came down to a turkey dinner we prepared to celebrate Christmas and Becky's birthday.  She is the only person I know born on Christmas day.  The conversation was at times difficult since everyone else except Bon and I spoke French.  Oui, my two years of high school French was only slightly helpful.  Si says Bonnie our resident Spanish teacher.

Our Neighborhood Christmas Party was postponed one week due to a windstorm that took down huge trees and power lines.  Some roads near us were closed to traffic.  We had another well attended party and as always it's good to see our neighbors and catch up on the kids and grand kids.

Bonnie and I each got new phones with real keyboards in order for us to learn to text.  Our plan includes unlimited texting and calling so we have one more tool to use to keep in touch with family and friends.  I have been told that texting does not necessarily require a response like a phone message.

New Year's Day was great fun for us.  We boarded the "St. Sacrament," a steamship on Lake George, for a brunch cruise to the narrows and back.  This is our second trip in as many years and the food continues to be the best!  It's as real temptation to over indulge.  Omelettes, fruit, meats, juices and coffee are all cooked to perfection!  The annual Polar Bear Club swim (or should I say "dip and run" for a warm dry towel) took place on Million Dollar Beach just before our return to the docks nearby!  What's wrong with those people!
Tom and Barb, Roberto, Dave and Cindy and Bonnie and I had a great time together!  We look forward to next year.

Our 11:30a flight from Albany to West Palm Beach was uneventful with just the right amount of lay over in Baltimore to get a crab cake lunch.  The connecting flight to West Palm was interesting.  I sat next to a man who was eighty but looked like late sixties.  He was interesting to talk to and he led quite a life.  His girlfriend was picking him up at the baggage claim.

Once on the ground we loaded the rental car and headed south to Marathon.  The one-way car rental sure is handy.  The return was located at the Marathon airport just a few miles from Fiu and a short bike ride back to the dinghy dock.  It seemed like only yesterday I left Fiu for the holidays.  The Damp Rid did its job and there were no problems with mildew or the like!

Friday was a day to clean and freshen Fiu with nice weather we took the bikes ashore and went to our favorite grocery store- Publix!  We filled the new fridge/freezer with fresh food and set the temp to 35 degrees.  The air was calm so the wind generators were slow on output, however, the batteries were fully charged and they supplied enough power to keep things going until Saturday morning.  The temps were in the 80's with high humidity.  These are types of days where it quickly becomes a (3) tee shirt day!

Saturday afternoon we rode bikes to the Sunset Tiki pub and enjoyed beer and wings.  Our new friends we met through Pat and Walt accompanied us and we enjoyed getting to know one another.  Roy and Yazmin have a new 40' catamaran and are hardy sailors.

Bonnie and I went to the Methodist Church in Marathon today.  It's a friendly church and much of the service is singing! People are friendly.

Time to go.
Captain Sid

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday, November 18, 2012 Vero Beach, FL

Ken and Marie
Today the winds are kicking up with some whitecaps in the mooring field and speeds between the constant 10 kts to 20+ kts.  The gusts can be unforgiving and everything not lashed down or taken below has a high risk of being blown into the water!  We are using today to hunker down and complete some of the items on our "To Do Lists"!  Bonnie continues to be an avid reader and keeps Fiu spotless!  I have spent time with minor electrical and dinghy issues and overall maintenance of Fiu. 

Mooring Field
This past week here at Vero Beach the weather has been in the 70's with sun and a mix of rain spats!  I'll call them spats because they appear with the wind even on a mostly sunny day.  They keep us alert to the current weather but don't stop us from riding bikes or getting to cross errands off our lists.  We, however, would like to get to the beach more often.  The breezes are uncomfortable at 15+ kts while at the beach.  The winds do make a dinghy ride to the docks a little, shall we say, adventurous!

Near by Housing
We had dinner at the Sunset Cafe on the water near our mooring field with Walt and Lynn, and Ken and Marie last Wednesday.  We managed to get the "Happy Hour" specials and some draft beer for a very affordable night out!  It was bittersweet in that we celebrated all being together , but also Ken and Marie were leaving to get to Ft. Lauderdale for the Thanksgiving dinner with family from out of town.  From there they cross over to the Bahamas later in January for an extended sail to the Exumas!  We expect to meet up again in Florida sometime in April.
Surf's Up!

Other news includes a "no pain" tooth crown falling out with an "E trip" to the local dentist for re-gluing! The bike ride was about 3.5 miles on sidewalks and side streets for a safer trip.  The dentist could be a model and she was interested in sailing stories and consequently, I had no pain while being treated! 
Beach Erosion from Sandy

Summer Weather in Vero Beach
Rafting with Tempest at Mooring
Bonnie leaves from Palm Beach airport for a flight home this Tuesday, November 20th.  She will work at the "Country Trunk" Black Friday and through the Christmas holidays!  I will return December 11 after hopefully completing most of an extended list of "Honey Do's"!
Partial Double Rainbow
Tonight we dine with Lynn and Walt.  Ed and Patty Ann will also drive from Ormond Beach to join us.  We feel fortunate to have met so many friendly and thoughtful sailors during our trips while sailing Fiu.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Captain Sid

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday, November 9, 2012 Vero Beach, FL

Following Tempest
For the last couple of days we have traveled with a string of sailboats south on the ICW!  It seems we all leave our anchorage at dawn.  The power boats like the trawlers can pass easily.  However, with sailboats it is much more difficult to execute a quick pass if not impossible.  Since we all cruise at about 5-7 knots it can take a mile or more to pass and when the channel narrows it gets tricky since we need to allow room for northbound boats!  I try to move right and cut my speed that way the pass happens more quickly.

IOLAR (Walt & Bob)
Overnight if we have winds constant at 12-15 plus knots then the two wind generators will supply all the boat's power needs.  However, if the wind is less than 12 kts then the draw on the batteries from the freezer, fridge and lights is more than the wind generators can keep up with.  Therefore, the batteries are drawn down and sometimes they get borderline.
Coronado Bridge
Flagger Beach
The anchor came up easily and it was a cool float with a NNW breeze at about 10-14kts.  We saw plenty of dolphins feeding in the Indian River where the ICW is located.  As we passed Melbourne I called Erik and left a message.  The winds kicked up and with the gusting winds and sharply winding river the sail came down near the Wabasso Beach fixed bridge.  Overall it was a great sunny day for traveling down the ICW.

Great sailing
We arrived at Vero Beach a little passed 2PM.  We will stay here for a least a month maybe I'll leave Fiu here through Christmas and come back to Vero Beach January 3!

Captain Sid

Sunday, November 11, 2012

November 7, 2012 Coca, FL Anchorage

Fiu and Tempest traveled 67 miles together today.  We are at ICW mile marker 898!  Today's weather was windy and cold.  Even though we are in Florida the morning temps can be in the 40's.  That's okay, but being in the wind on the water, it can be very uncomfortable!

We quickly met up with Ken and Marie a short time later as they turned from their R44 anchorage and we followed Tempest  the rest of the day.  We were part of a 7 sailboat "congo line" of sailboats, sails up, keeping pace and passing through the Coronado Bridge (bascule) in New Smyrna Beach!

We are getting close to Vero Beach which is our first major milestone. Ken called ahead for reservations for tomorrow.  The plan is to share a mooring ball by rafting together.  What happens here is that Fiu puts a port and a starboard line through the ring at the top of the buoy and fastens them to the deck cleats.  Tempest then ties up to Fiu with docking fenders between the boats.  Then Tempest puts a port and a starboard line through the ring as well.  This way either boat can leave without disturbing the other boat's lines.  These buoys are constructed for as many as three boats to raft together!

Back to the day trip.  We had our sails up again today through Mosquito Lagoon.  The entire day we saw dolphins.  And as usual, there are no pics of the 'breathe-holding" creatures.  They are beautiful to watch and next to impossible to snap a pic of them (I have tons of pics of water with no dolphins to be seen)!  We made our cut through the Haulover Canal which takes us to the Indian River and away from Cape Canaveral.  The building used to house the space shuttle can be seen from miles and miles away!

Immediately after turning to port to stay in the channel we came up to the Jay Jay railroad bridge which has always been open every time we have passed by.  Today a railroad worker was sitting in his open-air rail car and waited for all of the sailboats to pass through then closed the bridge.  We watched him cross the bridge then reopen it once he moved to the other side.

We anchored just south of the Cocoa bridge in 10 feet of water!

Captain Sid