Friday, January 28, 2011

Cycling Up - Transit to Mexico

Hobo II (Jim) and I cleared out with Customs and Border Protection for departure early AM tomorrow morning for Isla Mujeres, Mexico.  I expect the transit will take three to four days.  I will keep you posted.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Walkway LED lights

I have finally given in after several nights of going back to REBOOT in the dark. I would turn on the deck lights, hang flashlights from the boom, and do anything else I could think of to light the boat at night.  Of course everyone else in the mooring field had already solved this problem.  The solution - the LED lights that are sold to put along your front door path at night.  I went to Home Depot and purchased a couple for the grand price of $2.88 each.  They drop nicely into the fishing rod holders and do provide a beacon back to the boat.

The Curse of Ed King

Ed and Kristen are down visiting me in Key West.  Just before their arrival I borrowed the battery testing equipment from West Marine and discovered that my house batteries were in need of replacement.  I have gotten 5 years out of them and for a cruiser that is not bad.  But I started to laugh as I was lugging the 110 lb batteries around.  The last time I had to do this Ed helped me replace them.  So maybe I should not let Ed visit for another 5 years.
I changed out the three 4D batteries for six 6 volt golf cart batteries.  I have gained more power than another 4D would have provided in less space with less weight.  No wonder so many cruisers go to golf cart batteries.

Black Swan

I have always had a great love of ballet so the other night I went to see Black Swan.  Since the last movie I saw was Avatar you can see that this was somewhat of an event.  I didn't expect the dancing to hold up to what I have seen in professional companies but it was good enough for the story to work.  I particularly enjoyed being taken back to New York City and Lincoln Center, places I know well and love.  There were some pretty good moments but in retrospect I found it only OK.  Maybe next year's movie will be better.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Key West Race Week 2011

The weather over the past few days has been quite windy making travel on the dinghy to shore a bit of a mess unless you don't care about getting sopped from head to toe.  But Sunday we decided to take Reboot out on the ocean to see a little bit of the action for Key West Race Week.

There was still about 15 to 20 knots of wind and the waves were still at about 2 to 3 feet so as a spectator it was not idea.  The racers on the other hand were having a great time of it.

Since I was at the helm most of the time I did not get as many pictures as I would have hoped but I did get the opportunity to enjoy some beautiful boats.  The best, I think was watching 5 racers round the final mark no more than a couple of boat lengths apart,  They all had the high tech sails so I am sure they were pretty serious competitors.  Then the middle boat had a major fail trying to get up the spinnaker.  So then there were 4...  Great fun (if you were not on the middle boat.)

I am getting cycled up for both Ed and Kristen's visit next week and the departure for Mexico the week after.  Today it is actually warm out for the first time in a number of days so I will go over the deck fitting to make sure they are all tight and ready for the next offshore experience.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Western Sambos

Spencer, Jim and I took REBOOT to the Western Sambos reef yesterday for a snorkling trip. We left Garrison Bight at about 8 AM. We motored the entire way as winds were light to nonexistant. We arrived in late morning which was perfect for the sun to light the water and the reef. The Sambos are just south of Boca Chica Key on the south side of the Hawk Channel.
We made two trips from the boat to the reef with a rest break in between. We had a nice time and saw some pretty fish and coral. Unfortunately this area is one that has seen quite a bit of damage so a "Blue Planet" experience will have to wait for a different location.
We made lunch in bright sunshine and 80 degree temperatures but as we headed back the clouds came in followed by thick fog. By the time we made it back to the mooring field visibility was down to under 100 feet. We got tied up safely and the fog lifted enough for Jim to get back to his boat. We went over later for a great dinner. We left early as the wind was starting to rise.
This morning we are seeing winds gusting to 30 knots and waves at 1 to 2 feet so our plan to go downtown will have to wait.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Key West with Spencer

I finally made it to Key West on New Years Eve. As I sailed my into Boca Chica (Key West Naval Air Station) I heard a hail from the service dock. It was my friend Maury on Gypsysails. Since I needed to check in I went over and rafted up. The good news was that I got to see many old friends. The bad news was that although there were quite a few empty mooring balls the marina would only rent them at the daily rate. Since I intended to stay for a month it was well out of my price range.
I took a slip for New Year's Eve. In the early evening I went over to the Navigator Bar and had a couple of beers with old friends. Since I had just sailed for 52 hours I excused myself and said I would be back for the midnight festivities. I went back to Reboot, took a nap, and returned to the bar just before midnight only to discover that everyone else had gone home to bed. Ah, the wild life of sailors.
I relocated Reboot to Garrison Bight Marina where I was able to rent a mooring ball for the month. Jim (of HOBO II) was already here so we said hi.
Jim had a friend from Canada visiting so we went to dinner at Blue Heaven. We had planned to go to Key West NAS but Jim was stopped at the gate and refused entry since he was Canadian. Quite a change from the last time I was here.
Jim accompanied me to Miami International to pick up Spencer and we had a great political argument all the way back. As we got out Spencer said "that was a great way to pass the time quickly, lets not do it again." Jim and I laughed and agreed. It was about 1AM as we set out in our dinghies for the boats which were a 25 minute run in the dark. It was the first time Spencer had ever had to find a boat in the dark. He was a great assistant trying to highlight the channel markers with the flashlight having only a vague idea of where they were.
The last few days have been great fun with Spencer here. We have been swimming off the stern and I have used the opportunity to do some needed cleaning of the waterline. We have had a couple of fun times with Jim but most of all just enjoyed great Dad and Son quality time. I am looking forward to the rest of his stay.

Bawran, Indonesia

At anchor. Pretty bay. All OK.