Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Banks and Frazer's Hog ...

We left Bimini and motored over to Cat Cay for lunch.  From there we began the journey across the Banks.  We let the wind and sails carry us along until sunset where we opted to just drop the hook where we were in the middle of a vast desert of shallow water.  
About 2 am our pleasantness ended.  The winds had settled and the tides shifted and suddenly Tropical Breeze was being hit by waves broadside.  It happens and when it does the boat jerks about and is generally uncomfortable.  We'll take more wind any day to avoid the rocking the absence of wind causes.  
With our choices limited to stay and let the motion continue or move on, we opted to hoist the anchor and continue the trek across the Banks.  We motored and motored and motored (and a little sailing when the wind shifted south enough) until we finally reached Chub Cay.  We hid behind neighboring Mama Rhoda Rock for the evening for a pleasant nights rest.
But yet another wind shift was expected - and not in the direction which would enable us to get to Nassau.  So instead we motored up towards the shallows of Frazer's Hog Cay and found a place right near a beach to drop the hook.  We would hang out for the day in hopes of a wind shift that would take us to Nassau.
The Admiral

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Arrival Bimini ....

We departed No Name Harbor as the sun was setting, hoisted the sails and began the trek to Bimini.  The weather was beautiful with southerly winds 10-15 knots, rolling seas, a near full moon and 70 degrees all evening. 

We made quick work of the crossing arriving well ahead of sunrise.  Given the darkness we anchored off Turtle Rocks and caught some zzzzz's before entering Alicetown for Cusoms and Immigration clearance. 

We are currently tied up at Bimini Big Game Club but will be departing shortly to begin the trek across the banks.  Once on the banks fishing gear will come out and we will hope to catch a snapper for supper.   The southerly winds are expected to continue for several days so we look forward to a great journey to Nassau.

The Admiral

Friday, February 22, 2013

Strange Sightings Part 2 ...

So we started with the floating Fiat 500 - in a nice canary yellow.  From there the group swapped out cars and decided to give this red Fiat Abarth a test drive or should we say dive.  Yes, this version is a submersible.  From the looks of things it is still very much in test phase - but coming to a dealership near you - after a bit more testing.
As for me, I think I'll hold out for the Trifecta version which is able to travel by land, sea and air.  Its air capability will enable it to transform into a helicopter.  The Fiat team promised the Trifecta would be available in 2015. 
The Admiral
PS - Don't miss Strange Sightings Part 1 below.

Strange Sightings Part 1 ....


We left the Marine Stadium anchorage and headed a few miles south to Coconut Grove, a Miami suburb and home to the Dinner Key Mooring Field.  This would be our last opportunity to do laundry, grocery shop and get a great meal out before our departure so we opted to take full advantage.
On our stroll through town we sighted many unusual things.  The artsy community had lots of interesting shops including the first condom store we had ever seen.  After reviewing the stores website I can confirm that the merchandise is everything you'd expect - condoms, toys, lingerie and much more.  Also, as expected, the condom store was flanked by a piercing store on one side and a tattoo parlor a few stores down.  For enquiring minds the cigar shop was a block away.
Back at the marina we happened to find some strange stuff going on at the launch ramp.  Some people, not sure if they were from Fiat or not, were launching a Fiat 500.   Yep... a car.  But this wasn't just any car this was a floating car.  And while you may not want to believe the photos we can promise that, yes, the car exited the launch ramp and drove around the mooring basin.  If that wasn't enough they had a second car with its own unique abilities...but you will need to wait for part 2 of this adventure for the footage.
Back on land, another boater recommended we try Lokal for a great burger.  The burger decision was tough but we opted for the Fidy Fidy.  It is a burger of 1/2 organic ground beef and 1/2 bacon topped with monterey jack cheese and onion marmalade.  It is served with a 1/2 order of sweet potato fries and a 1/2 order of french fries.  Definitely tasty and whatsmore no guilt since the beef was organic. (Yeah, and at Dairy Queen we get our calcium requirement for the day =)
So much for justifying our diet....  
The Admiral

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Scenes from Miami...


Traveling by water always seems to offer something new.  For us something new would be arriving in Miami's commercial/cruise ship port of Government Cut.  We'd been through the waters north of the cut previously as well as spent a limited time south in Biscayne Bay, but never had we actually arrived in Miami via the Government Cut inlet. 

I expected it to be large and intimidating.  I expected it to rival Norfolk.  I would be wrong.  Sure it was expansive but it had much less commercial traffic than I expected and since it was not a port of call for the Navy, no Navy ships were present.  There were, however, several cruise ships in port.  All lined up and awaiting their next departure.

We cruised along bypassing the cruise ships and eventually arrived at an anchorage known as Marine Stadium.  The anchorage was actually a bay dredged deeper in the 1960's and a stadium for seating of 60,000 built on its south side.  The intention was for the stadium to feature boat races and while it was successful for many years, it was condemned following Hurricane Andrew.  While the stadium is now quite the eyesore, the views of downtown remain quite spectacular.

The Admiral

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ft. Lauderdale....

Ft. Lauderdale = Big Boats Yachts

Need we say more?

The Admiral

P.S.  The bridge pictured is 56 feet tall.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lake Sylvia....

Sitting on the hook awaiting weather can be a bit of a bore.  So we found ourselves surfing the web.  One of the websites we've discovered that is always fun to check out is  We sometimes use this to see what type of neighborhood we find oursrelves anchored in.

In the case of Lake Sylvia, we found ourselves in a pretty posh place.  We will start with the house behind us....currently available for a mere $5.8 million (refer to photo 1).  In front of us was a bit more exclusive residence.  The almost 23,000 square foot mansion could be yours for only $17.5 million (refer to photo 2). 

While I'm sure both are as lovely on the inside as on the outside, we think we will stick with Tropical Breeze.  After all, when we get tired of one location we just haul up the anchor and move on.

The Admiral

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Leaving Stuart...

Well, it had to happen sooner or later.  We finally left Stuart.  It gets hard dropping the comfort of the mooring leash after you've been in a spot for a while.  But as much as we like Stuart, we are really looking forward to some swimming in the pristine waters of the Bahamas.  So off we go.
So as a last photo of Stuart, I've selected one of my favorites.  Dave with lobster.  One of the benefits of having a car this season was we were able to go further afield.  So the New England Fish Market became a regular stop for us on our shopping tour.  Beyond the beautiful maine lobster, we enjoyed their crab cakes, scallops, shrimp, snapper, tuna and the list goes on and on.    We discovered a lot about fish this season and learned about what we like and what we don't.  We are hopeful that once in the Bahamas, the fish will be abundant.  Though we will need to catch and filet them before they can be enjoyed.  
We opted to go offshore despite the rainy weather that has been plaguing Florida.  The rain had beaten down the waves so while it was rainy on our first day out, the seas were comfortable.  A half dozen dolphin joined in our southerly pursuit and cruised along with us for a while. 
We came in at Lake Worth in the early afternoon and dropped the hook.  A neighboring boat complained that we were anchored too close and while we disagreed, we figured it was better to move than not.  It was a  good thing too because in the evening as the winds began to pick up to 25+ knots guess who dragged anchor.  Yep, you guessed it - the neighbor who had asked us to move dragged his hook about 80 feet when the winds picked up.  I guess it was nice of him to warn us.
Day 2 offshore was still dreary and rainy, but the winds had shifted a bit more east allowing rolly swells to build.  With the swells came a bit more wind and this enabled us to put the sails up for a while.  We cruised along past Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, and Hillsboro (pictured) before arriving at Ft. Lauderdale.
A bit of a blow is brewing so we will be hanging out in Ft. Lauderdale for a few days until the storm passes.
Stay tuned for more.
The Admiral    

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Gulf Coast...


I bet your thinking.... what the heck?  How'd they get all the way yo the Gulf Coast and what happened to all the interesting sightings along the way.  Well the truth is....there weren't any.  The other truth....we took a car. 

But before I tell you about our stay in St. Petersburg, let me tell you about the uneventful trip to get there.  I admit I've had this perception about Florida.  Traveling along the Atlantic Coast, I've assumed that the whole state is covered with very Florida style homes.  You know the ones....concrete block construction, tiled roofs and bright colors.  Well on our excursion into 'inner' Florida we discovered that this is not the case.  Once you get into the interior it is amazing how the scenery changes to farmland - cows, sod farms, orange groves - just like the rural midwest (well mostly).  The houses -  aluminum sided, shingles, salt box style - much like the rural midwest.  So it was an interesting learning for us that there is coastal Florida and then there is the rest of Florida.

Now about St. Petersburg - we probably should have arranged to stay longer, as we found downtown St. Pete to be very nice.  The community has lots of art museums and the Pier reminded us of a mini - Navy Pier with its own eclectic flair.  At the St. Pete beaches we found the sands much more pleasant than the rough sands of  Stuart and Ft. Lauderdale.  The beaches were filled with umbrellas much like South Beach but absent the Art Deco architecture.

All in all, our trip was a great primer and has us thinking that a season along the Gulf Coast is in our future.  But in the meantime, we are focusing on provisioning and all the last minute doings to drop the lines and get ourselves out of Stuart.

More soon.

The Admiral  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Springing Rod...

Our friend Rod had a hip replacement operation in January/  He had been in the VA hospital/rehab facility in West Palm Beach ever since.  We all went down to visit him periodically.  Pictured here is one such visit which included euchre and a a fast food lunch.
Then came the call that Rod was being released.  Dave and I got the pleasure of picking him up and making the big escape from the hospital.
Welcome home Rod!  It is great to have you back!
The Admiral

Monday, February 4, 2013

Play that Funky Music...

While most of the country has experienced lots of winter weather, we've been enjoying an unseasonably mild winter in Florida.  Some have suggested that temps have been about ten degrees higher than normal and we are not complaining.  Shorts and t-shirts have been the daily wardrobe with the occasionally lightweight fleece jacket to keep the morning/evening coolness at bay.

We took one such pleasant day and strolled into downtown Stuart to enjoy music by the Nouveaux Honkies.  A bit of country with a contemporary spin the band had us all grooving to the beat.  We bumped into friends Deb and John along the way - making more the merrier.

The Admiral