Wednesday, February 26, 2014
We headed across the banks at night. It is an 80+ mile run where your option is to drop the hook in the middle of nowhere for the night or just plow on through. We've tried the dropping the hook and never liked it much so this time we opted to leave in the evening and just keep on going.
It was a good run. The winds were light but enough to keep us moving at 4-5 knots. When the wind dropped we motored until it picked up again. By mid-morning the wind had filled in and we were
cruising 7-7.5 knots into the Tongue of the Ocean. Given the great weather we decided to continue on. The Captain snagged the first fish of the season - a nice 41 inch Mahi. I have a new rod and reel this season bur no fish as yet - so I am jealous of his catch. I think I will take our friend Ken's advice and start spitting on the lure for luck
The cruising community is small - I figure 3, no more than 4, degrees of separation. So information is fairly widely known amongst all the cruisers. Things like the best places to anchor, what is new where, etc.
So when we headed north in the Bimini channel to find Bimini Bay we were surprised nobody had ever mentioned it before. Perhaps it is a cruiser secret. We dropped the hook off the resort and the dockmaster immediately hailed us on the radio and welcomed us to the area. We dined at the casino - probably the best meal we've ever had in the Bahamas. Then stopped at the pool for a dip.
This place is awesone! We will be back.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Well we're here. We're in Bimini, Bahamas. I'd love to tell you it was a spectacular crossing, but it wasn't. Instead it was quite sloppy. The SSE winds quickly turned back SE. The wind gusts up to 18 knots quickly became 18 knots sustained with gusts to 28. The 2 foot chop was much more than that. It was rather ugly, but hey 48 miles of ugly isn't so bad when the end result is the Bahamas.
We've tied up at Bimini Big Game Club and for the first time ever don't feel like we need to run from Bimini to get across the 80+ miles of the Bahama Bank. Instead we've spent the night and even bummed about town a bit. The views are definitely from soup to nuts.
Once leaving here, we are planning to go further north in the Bimini channel to check out territory we've never seen.
Stay tuned for more.
Friday, February 21, 2014
Our next stop was Key Biscayne and the Yacht Club where we met up with friends Steven, Kristen and their boys Edwin and Daniel.
The guys worked on boat projects together. I couldn't help but notice that the projects included a lot of socializing with other boaters on the docks. Before I knew it, Steven and Dave were onboard a 65 foot Rybovich headed out to sea.
Meanwhile, I was busy doing laundry. While I would tend to agree with those of you thinking that something didn't seem quite equitable in that, I could not complain as the laundry came with a great view of the docks, the bay and downtown Miami in the background.
Once the guys returned from their ride I couldn't help but notice that they strutted a bit more than usual, stuck their chests out a bit more and seemed to grunt more - you know like Tim the Tool Man. There only comment, "That 3600 horsepower is something!"
Continuing our Miami adventure, we popped into the powerboat and sailboat venues for the Miami Boat show. The powerboats were largely trailerable and open boats, whereas the sailboats have gotten big. The show included over 30 catamarans and they were huge. The 63 foot Prout we'd been docked next to in St.Augustine was there but it was dwarfed by a 75 foot Privlege which was dwarfed by a 78 foot Gunboat. Oh my!
In the evening we stayed for the Cruisers Outpost party and enjoyed music by the Eric Stone Band, pizza and beer before returning to the Breezer.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
We took a dinghy ride up the Miami River. We were surprised to find how quickly the downtown skyscrapers fell away to a community of shrimp boats which fell away to small businesses and residences. Along the way, we came across an iguana sunning himself on the fender of a bridge.
Back at the Breezer, we felt pretty small once we realized that behind the building was a Celebrity cruise ship. Its smokestack noted with the X.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
The most common question we receive from friends is "What do you do all day?' My answer is always, "I'm not sure, but we are never bored." So on our first morning in Miami - a rather brisk morning - I caught a shot of the Captain kicking back with a cup of cocoa enjoying the downtown Miami view. That in and of itself wasn't out of the ordinary. Then later that evening the Captain and I were out in the cockpit enjoying a glass of port while enjoying the skyline. Still not out of the ordinary, but I figure for those of you who think we sit around and drink all day, it is some pretty good ammunition.
No we don't sit around and drink all day, but sometimes when you have a million dollar view you can't help but sit back and take it all in.
Saturday, February 15, 2014
Sometimes you need to leave the boat to find entertainment. Then other times you can kick back, relax in the cockpit and let the entertainment come to you. That is exactly what happened one afternoon while anchored in Lake Sylvia.
The first attraction was the arrival of the day charter catamaran the Caribbean Spirit. The weather was a bit windy and didn't permit them to anchor and swim offshore so instead they dropped the hook right near us in Lake Sylvia and let people swim.
Not long after the Caribbean Spirit left jet skiers arrived to do some flyboarding. Flyboarding uses the exhaust from the jet ski to propel a person into the air. It was our first experience seeing it in action and looks pretty darn cool.
Friday, February 14, 2014
Our arrival in Ft. Lauderdale was a bit odd. Sure there were plenty of cruise ships in port, as usual. What was odd was that the number of mega yachts in Lauderdale was far less than normal. Not sure if the Miami Boat show has something to do with it or not.
Nonetheless, we found a spot in Lake Sylvia to drop the hook for the night. The next morning we immediately jumped into the first order of rather critical business. We'd had a minor failure of our laptop keyboard. The last several posts I'd completed were done absent the functionality of the left shift key, the Z, X, C and V keys. At first I'd thought it was not a big deal but very quickly realized that those few letters are pretty important. You can imagine that every time I tried to type .com it was suddenly .om and I needed to find a c to cut and paste in. Also Tropical Breeze suddenly became Tropial Breee. Amazing how important those few letters can be.
So we launched the dinghy and rode up to the Southport Raw Bar where we dock the dink and headed up to the shopping area. There we found an external keyboard at the local Office Depot to take care of our issue. With the work for the day complete we enjoyed lunch at the Raw Bar before heading back to the boat.
At least that was the plan. Unfortunately, the outboard was not going to cooperate and suddenly decided to not start. A local boater saw us attempting to row down the channel and was nice enough to give us a tow. Back at the Breezer Dave worked on the outboard and in short order had it purring again.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
After leaving Vero, we cruised down the waterway until reaching Jupiter Inlet where we slipped passed the lighthouse (photo 1) and into the Atlantic waters to begin a multi day hop down the coastline. From Jupiter we went to Lake Worth.
Then from Lake Worth we made another hop outside until we reached Ft. Lauderdale. Along the way we passed Boca Raton and there got a great shot of the lighthouse with the Goodyear blimp in the background. What are the odds?
Sunday, February 9, 2014
It was wonderful to get on the road. While we enjoy St. Augustine, 9 weeks there was just beginning to be too much.
Our first night on the ICW we spent off the channel at the old SeaRay Plant. Come morning we were greeted by a fabulous sunrise as we continued our journey.
Our next big stop would be Vero Beach. There we were expecting parts for the port engine. Unfortunately, we discovered issues with both the fresh water pump and the heat exchanger and we needed to change out both.
While the boat parts were unexpected, the stop in Vero was great. We rented a car for the weekend and visited friends in Stuart and stopped at some of our favorite shops.
For the Superbowl, we watched the painful game with the rest of the crew at Vero. Not only was the game bad, but I was rather disappointed that Calvin Klein opted out of the Superbowl commercials this year. The 2013 black and white ad is still a favorite of mine.
With the arrival of boat parts came the boat work. It was a rather long 3 hours to get all the old stuff out and the new parts installed. We thought we had it all set, turned the key and proceeded to spray antifreeze all over the engine room. The problem was a hole for a bolt in the new water pump. The hole is not used to connect a hose or a fitting it is just there and we did not realize that Yanmar's brilliant engineers opted to not included the bolt on the new pump and thus installed the pump without inserting the bolt and allowing antifreeze to leak everywhere. As you night imagine, the Captain was not happy and even I, who typically take these things in stride, had to admit that Yanmar got damn cheap with not including the bolt with the new pump. Obviously the engineers had the eye out for cost reduction and not the consumer on that one as lots of things had to be unconnected before we could access the hole for the stupid bolt. Fortunately with that complete, all seems to be working magnificently. Full credit goes to the Captain and zero to Yanmar.
From here we will begin a series of hops to Miami where we need to make some decisions as to where we are headed this season. The Bahamas? The West Coast? No decisions as yet so stay tuned.
Sunday, February 2, 2014
The day we had long awaited had arrived - FINALLY!!! It was time for the final (sort of) project to be completed. The hardtop rolled in on a trailer and while it weighs less than 100 lbs, it took 6-7 of us to get it on the boat because of its size. Once on the boat there was still plenty of work to do bolting it down, caulking, installing solar panels, installing lights and touch up painting. It took 3 more days to have the entire top reassembled but oh how beautiful it is!
I am happy to report that the top is on, the solar panels working and the batteries charging. With that the Captain and I are ready to say adios to St. Augustine in search of a warmer climate.
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