Sunday, January 31, 2010
First stop was the "cowboy bar." I don't remember the name, but its claim to fame is topless bull riding. This apparently only happens on Wednesday nights for two hours during which the women drink for free. Since it wasn't Wednesday night the place was pretty empty.
We then headed to "The Green Parrot." Great music from a eclectic band - several percussionists, a trombone player, a sax player, and a vocalist who doubled on accordion. I know it sounds a bit weird but the music (sort of Jazz - Cuban fusion) was very dance friendly.
On to Ricks/Dirty Harry's, a collection of several different theme bars and dance floors under one roof. Since one of the bands was playing metal I felt compelled to call Spencer. Of course it was 2:30 AM EST. He is a college student and it was only 1:30 AM in Madison so of course he answered right away! If I was with a larger group of people this would be my bar of choice, if you got tired of one theme there were lots of other choices.
Then on to the Hemingway Bar across the street. I was so unimpressed I have forgotten its name. We stuck our heads in a few other places but nothing memorable.
After a total of about 2 hours of bar crawling we old guys called it a night and headed back to Boca Chica.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Friday, January 22, 2010
It will be hot today and I expect to focus on boat projects.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
What happens is that something goes wrong and you discover that you need to spend money. Examples:
1. If you travel the ICW without towing insurance you are nuts. The average tow is going to be $500 to $1500. With the shoaling the likelihood that you will run aground is very high. One day I heard over 10 boats requesting a tow.
2. Ground tackle - having dragged, and having watched Gypsysails drag resulted in the purchase of another 150 feet of anchor chain. Thank goodness Gypsysails had towing insurance (see #1 above) and got pulled off the shallows without significant expense.
3. For only the second time since my departure from Milwaukee I am sitting on a mooring ball. Having now shredded two mooring lines on the rusted shackle on the mooring ball and finding just how difficult it is to pick up a mooring ball that does not have a pendent while single handing I have invested in a large snap shackle. Of course I now also have to replace the shredded mooring lines.
The above examples do not take into account the other (capital) costs of moving to the cruising life. I am writing how I have changed Reboot three times: from a casual family cruiser to a long distance racer to a long term cruiser and home. I expected that the significant expenses converting from a family cruiser to racer would set me up for long term cruising. How wrong I was.
Since on am filing on SSB the much longer post on the costs of the cruising life will get filed the next time I have Internet.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
I feel a bit like the teenager who just got his driver's license. Presuming it keeps running I can now travel on my own schedule.
The weather forecast for today is quite warm. I am looking forward to it. I did not expect the constant high levels of humidity on Reboot, everything seems soggy most of the time. Warm sunshine is a break, everything dries out.
I am still in Boca Chica Key listening to the "Sound of freedom." Last night they did night ops - but fortunately it ended by midnight.
Monday, January 18, 2010
I am currently in Boca Chica Key, one of several keys owned by the United States Navy. This is in fact the place where the Naval Air Facility Key West has their hangers and runways. I am sitting on a mooring ball in the marina which is quite well protected and has an interesting history. During World War II the Navy started building a submarine base here. They dredged out the sub "pens" and some of the channel and then the war ended so they stopped. They dredged enough to create an area that was later turned into a military marina.
So this morning I finally got my dinghy pieces to shore and got it assembled. I sat under a straw (or whatever they use for Tiki Bars) roof, drank a rum and coke, waded in the water, and basked in the sun. Then I went back to Reboot and did projects. Of course, every project at some point required something I did not have to continue so I ended the day with 5 partially finished projects. But that is pretty much the way it goes.
Ace was planning on flying down but the enroute weather is not good so I don't think he will make it. The sailboat racers are in town, perhaps when I go ashore tomorrow morning for parts I will see some of them.
No internet so I am back to SSB radio to file my reports.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Today was another day of very below normal temperatures for
The second problem is that Reboot, like most boats, has no insulation. It takes less than 15 minutes after you turn off the heat for the boat to revert back to the ambient temperature. Since it is also sitting in a big bathtub of water the water temperature has a big impact on the temperature inside the boat too. Of course, with this extended cold snap the water temperature has been dropping like a stone.
A second (and third, I suppose) rule of boats is that all projects have some glitch that stops them dead, and that all projects take at least 4 times as long as estimated. Today Maury hoisted me up to the top of the mast to do a number of items: replace the Windex, run wires for the Windex light, run the control cable for the Garmin wind sensor, and replace the bulb in the anchor light. Score: the Windex mount is frozen – I can’t get it unscrewed, the Windex and Garmin wind sensor wires are down the mast but we can’t get them out of the bottom, and given that once up on top the wind freshened to about 25 very cold knots I completely forgot to put the new bulb in the anchor light. And so it goes…
The winds will shift eventually. When they shift to the South we will get a blast of very warm and damp air from the Caribbean and
Of course next week is forecast to be quite calm and nice. That is why next week is Key West Race Week, one of the largest international sailing regattas. So they can come down and bob around with no wind. LOL! But Ace is planning on coming down, and after that I am taking Reboot to the
With all my complaining above I should point out that I am very fortunate that I did not go to the
Sunday, January 10, 2010
I reported some time ago that I had moved from the North side of
Today has been windy, constant rain and temperatures in the high 50’s. If you think of such conditions on a camping trip you can determine that today has not been much fun. I have been occupying my time reading, first The Fair Tax and then various cruising guides to the
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
We anchored at the far end of the cut, almost at the Sigsbee causeway. Little did we know that we were going to become a cause of consternation. Soon after dark we were visited by Navy security. They told us that we could not stay anchored as this was a Navy base. We said that was good since we were Navy. We identified ourselves to the security staff and returned to the boats.
Yesterday continued to be cold making working on the deck unpleasant. However, the water was flat and the wind very light, much improved over the north side.
Saturday, January 2, 2010
This morning the sky is clear and bright but the winds have turned cold. Cold here is 60 degrees lol. It was 25 gusts to 30+ this morning but it has moderated to 20 gusts to 25. Still, not fun to be out on deck, I get cold right away as I am still in shorts.
I have made a great deal of progress on boat projects the last couple of days and expect to spend the rest of today on running the permanent power cables for the radar and water maker.
Friday, January 1, 2010
New Years Day dawned glassy calm. I made the necessary poetry entry in the ships log and went to work on the chart table area. I have been installing some outlets (12 and 110 volt), a bilge pump counter, and completing the install of several components that have been bread-boarded together.
This afternoon the weather changed dramatically. A front is passing thru. The winds have clocked 180 degrees and gotten nasty with gusts in the 35+ range. As I was in the process of writing this Gypsysails dragged her anchor. Fortunately it caught again before they went aground, but they are in 0.2 feet of water with the engine running to take some of the strain.
I took the opportunity to throw my Fortress anchor over the side. It isn't doing anything now as it is under the boat but if the plow starts to drag the Fortress will hopefully also dig in. At that point I can also choose how much rode to put out. it will be a long night, as least until the winds abate to the 15 to 20 knot level that is usual for this anchorage.
I have not had much access to the internet so these reports are being filed by SSB radio.
Went to the dentist this morning. Second day in a row and not done. On the way home Hamido (my driver, helper, and in general all around goo...
I was invited by Nick to help him move his Swan 46 from Key West to Galveston TX a distance across the Gulf of Mexico of about 7500 nau...
There has always been a great interest in knowing how much to budget for the cruising life. The answer is always "it depends." I t...
I had a great conversation with Jerome "Jerry" Sullivan today to bring me up to speed on Merlin's future racing plans. Merl...