Tuesday, March 30, 2010

New Plan

After receiving reports that a couple of the boats from Boca Chica Marina had come to untimely ends in the Bahamas I have concluded that going offshore without insurance is a really bad idea.  This will set back my planned departure for Mexico about a week.  Then I realized that the Blue Angels will be doing their Air Show here at Boca Chica on April 10th weekend so I have decided to stay for that and plan my departure for the first subsequent weather window.

We had another wedding here - long term cruisers Julie and Hammer.  Hammer provides sailing services to the Boy Scout Adventure Camp here in the Keys.  Like most people my age I have been to my fair share of weddings.  There is something very special about the cruising community just all pitching in to create a reception worth remembering.  The most amazing comment was by the bride to the assembled 75 or so cruisers - "I didn't think anyone would come."  They came, they decorated, they partied. Best wishes to Julie and Hammer.

I took some pictures at the setup and wedding.  You can find them at  http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=160745&id=746726870&l=1781b7f829

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Blue Heaven

I grew up in the New York City area and did a great deal of business travel and entertaining.  When I get to a new place I generally try to find the best resturants - not necessarly the most expensive but the best tasting food.  Given my background I have dined in a lot of truly wonderful places.  I was surprized to find one of my most memorable dining experiences in Key West.  I find myself drawn back again and again to Blue Heaven.  My advice, if you only have one evening in Key West make Blue Heaven your dinner destination.

I understand that the Sunday Brunch is excellent, I have yet to make it.  I have at this point only one Sunday left before I intend to depart for Mexico, perhaps I will be able to get up in time to enjoy what I understand is a wonderful menu.

Click on the link above to go visit their web site, or better yet go visit the resturant!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fair Winds and Following Seas

After 4 months of buddy boating Maury and Ginger have finally pointed Gypsysails in a direction that I will not follow in the short term - back to Norfolk VA.  Fair winds and following seas, we will catch up with you again.  It has been great fun!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Dry Tortugas National Park

Captain Steve and I took the high speed ferry to visit the Dry Tortugas National Park yesterday.  What a neat trip.  Wandering around Fort Jefferson was a hoot.  We decided, given both the water and air temperature to skip the snorkeling event.  Here are a couple of pictures:
This is one of the places that the Cuban's who don't believe Michael Moore's description of Cuba as paradise end up when they escape to the United States.  Here is one of the home made craft used to transit the 120 plus miles across the Gulf Stream to get to the United States.  These vessels usually carry 12 to 14 people.

The Lovely Lady

The lovely lady at left is art - a composite created by the webmistress of the Shadow Raven Clan.  Both Trevor and Spencer got me involved in World of Warcraft, a MMORPG.  The game is impossible to play successfully without the support of others, hence the existence of "clans", players who join together online to participate in and win the game.  I am a former (current?) member of Shadow Raven but since I don't have high speed internet can no longer participate in playing WOW.  However, Enchant's work is still magnificent and I am blessed that she is my friend on Facebook so that I can keep up to date on her efforts.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Eat your hearts out!

It finally happened.  Several nice weather days in Key West.

  1. It’s SPRING BREAK and the town is inundated with beautiful young women.  Even we old guys appreciate beautiful young women, particularly when they adopt you and take you partying.  Not to mention the bars have instituted the “all you can drink from 8 PM to 11 PM for $10 rule.”  It makes for pretty good partying.
  2. Captain Steve (USN – ret.) came to visit.  Who knew he is a babe magnet.  One moment I am sitting quietly at the bar at Ricks, the next moment I see him on the dance floor surrounded by 8 or 9 cute young girls, then I am being lead out to the dance floor by their friends…  Quality!
  3. A group of us – Ed and Claudia (Door into Summer), Ginger (Gypsysails) and Ron (Last Dance) and of course my guest Captain Steve took Reboot sailing.  Just sailing.  No transit, no move, no reason to be out other than to enjoy the weather and the company.  We even got the chance to rig and sail the Asym – such a pretty sail.
  4. With Steve’s help I got a couple of more projects done on Reboot and also helped some of the other cruisers get some things fixed on their boats.  It is nice to enjoy the spirit of community.
  5. We did celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  Not only were we all stained green but we got to watch the serious partiers set out to wade to the island.  This worked out quite well until they hit the part of the channel where the water is 9 feet deep.  All hands were safe.
  6. We also participated in a wedding at the Marina on St. Pats.  The bride and groom invited us (the entire Navigator Bar crowd, including those dripping wet from the island wade) to participate – green paint and all.  It was really very nice and their wedding pictures will be something special to share for many years to come.  Click on this to see the pictures!   You will never forgive yourself if you don't look at these pictures.



Friday, March 12, 2010

Sun and Fun


It is a good week.  I spent some time with the MAST folks.  We took a schooner ride and then had some dinner.  It was great to catch up.  The weather has warmed up to the point where I am sweating in the daytime.  It is a very nice change.

I finally got my outboard motor back yesterday.  It runs very nicely.  Of course my sons will have to work several years to pay off the debt from the repairs.  While I was picking up the motor I saw the J-World instructors who are teaching my MAST friends.  They were holding a boom that had a serious kink in it.  Upon closer inspection it had a big crack in the aluminum too!  Apparently it decided to bend over double – or near double – with my friends on the boat.  I can’t wait to hear that story.

I am starting to feel the pressure of getting ready to leave Boca Chica.  That is actually a good thing as I have been sitting on my butt and getting fat most of the time the last couple of months.  It is time for a change.  It has been motivating me to finish various boat projects.



Warm Days - portent of things to come?

It has been a fun last couple of days.  First, Glyn, Jim, Micki and other MAST racers arrived in Key West for a J-World sail racing class. I got a chance to have a quick tour of Key West and dinner with them.  We are planning an activity for Wednesday night.  It will be fun to catch up.

I finished my dive training so I am now a PADI certified open water diver.  I discovered that Glyn had done the same training in Jamaica at Christmas so we have a new experience to share.  I also found out that he honeymooned in Belize.  Of course the major motivation for taking the SCUBA training was because I had planned to go to Belize and it is supposed to be one of the finest dive sites in the world.
I also made a lot of progress on my boat projects.  I now have three out of four solar panels mounted and generating.  What a difference it makes to the battery charge.

Finally, and I do mean finally, the weather has started to warm up with even warmer temperatures forecast for later in the week.  Perhaps it will finally feel like paradise.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Good work day

It has dawned on me that with friends from Milwaukee coming down next week and Steve, my former Navy CO coming down the following week I need to get on the stick if I am going to be ready to depart for Mexico at the end of the month.

On the family side I got the taxes done for everyone (myself, Trevor and Spencer) so that is off the list. What a time consuming project.

I have been working on the frame for the solar panels today. It is a bit of a pain with the cool wind but I need to get it done. Of course each morning I head for West Marine to find the parts I didn't think I needed. Today, after being proud that I drilled and ran the wires thru the tubing I realized that I have to move the stern lamp and GPS so I need to take some of my work apart again to drill more holes. Ugh.

Hopefully tomorrow I will get at least two of the four panels mounted and wired. Otherwise I am going to have to run the engine for several hours to cool down the refrigerator and charge the batteries.

More tomorrow.