Turtles Turtles Everywhere

27 02 2013

Turtles Turtles Everywhere

Marathon Florida is home to the Turtle Hospital. They rescue and rehabilitate sea turtles. http://www.turtlehospital.org/

The family took a tour to hear about the work the hospital does as well as viewing some of the turtles. They were so fun to watch, and made us all have a greater appreciation for sea turtles. If you ever go to Marathon, Florida we highly recommend the Turtle Hospital.

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Friday’s Top Five: Saves

22 02 2013

Capt’n was excited to hear about this Friday top five suggestion and it has taken him two weeks to come up with the perfect list. Since all of these have occurred under some sort of stressful condition, I did not think to take photos, so I don’t have any of the actual “save.” If I could find photos of the general area where the save occurred, I included them below.  So here we go….

5. Boats Collide, But in a Good Way

Capt’n took a dinghy ride at Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas in March 2012.  As he was coming back to the boat, he saw a grounded boat. But have no fear, Capt’n is here. Capt’n once again saved the day. The boaters were really stuck and weren’t sure how they were going to get into deeper water. Capt’n sped toward the boat and ran into it on the port side and kept revving the motor until the sailboat heeled over and found deeper water. Capt’n says, all in a day’s work!

4.  Shackles Anyone?

This save happened while we were on our friend’s catamaran, crossing the Gulf Stream for the first time in March 2012. We had been in Riviera Beach Florida for almost a week waiting for a weather window to cross the Gulf Stream. We had about a day and a half of good weather before the winds got too strong to cross. We left early in the morning, crossed the Gulf Stream and arrived in West End, Bahamas rather painlessly. We patted ourselves on the back as we were glad to be in the Bahamas as the storm picked up. We had a restful night’s sleep and woke up refreshed the next morning. We were going for a walk along the beach when we saw a catamaran slowly limping in to West End. They pulled in right behind us and Capt’n helped tie the lines to the dock. The boaters looked awful. They looked exhausted and frustrated. Capt’n asked how they did with the storm the night before. The boaters had an awful crossing getting caught in a storm with strong winds and huge waves. The boat had a self tending jib and the block and tackle got torn off the deck and destroyed in the storm. The boaters were happy just to make it to West End. They were not sure what they were going to do as there were no marine shops or mechanics for miles and miles…..except for Capt’n. Capt’n was more than happy to help. He used his excellent rope work skills and made a few soft shackles out of rope, gave them two blocks, and made a great temporary rig until they could get to a boat repair shop. We saw the boaters three weeks later and they were still using the temporary rig and said it was better than the original!

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3. Double Trouble

This save also occurred while we were on our friend’s catamaran but during October – December 2012. We had been in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for the international boat show and to wait out Hurricane Sandy and were leaving to sail down to Key West to haul the boat. The boat owner was in Barcelona on business, so it was Capt’n, Capt’n in Training, the boat owner’s inexperienced friend (who had never gone sailing before in his life), and me. It was early in the morning and we were quickly approaching Port Everglades. All of a sudden the boat started to “shiver and shake” on the port side. Capt’n stopped the boat and anchored right in the middle of the channel. He put the boat in reverse and something came to the surface. Capt’n took a boat hook to bring in the culprit. A black plastic contractor’s bag got caught in the port prop! The bag did not seem to damage the prop so we pulled anchor and continued on our way. Not five minutes later, the starboard engine alarm sounded, the alternator light went on, the temperature light went on and alarm sounded. Capt’n heard flapping and knew it was the fan belt. We pulled in to the shallows and anchored while Capt’n replaced the fan belt….and forty minutes later the same fan belt broke! Thank God we had enough spare fan belts. We were all traumatized at this point and were wondering what else would go wrong that day. FYI – other things did go wrong: one of the winches broke and we didn’t make clearance going under a bridge (by an inch!) and broke the anemometer.

2. Hell’s Gate is an Understatement

When we started sailing down the East Coast in November 2011, we couldn’t wait to sail through Hell’s Gate, in New York City. I have seen the East River plenty of times during my visits to the Big Apple, and was looking forward to sailing (or rather being swept up in the current) down the East River. We were buddy sailing with a friend from Connecticut to New York and spend the previous day looking at the charts and working out the currents. We had to leave early if we were to make it through Hell’s Gate with a flood current. It was early December 2011, cold, rainy, and foggy. Not ideal conditions for….well, anything. But nothing could take away from our excitement. When we began that day’s voyage, we were off to a great start. I took photos of everything (yes, in the fog – I was that excited). We were only about three to four weeks into our trip and we were still nervous about sailing next to large barges, tugs, etc…A tug towing a barge was approaching and I was getting nervous and Capt’n put the throttle on and tried to move to the starboard most side of the channel. However, when Capt’n turned up the throttle, the engine stuttered and Capt’n could not move to the side of the channel. The barge was getting closer and closer. Then to make matters worse, the engine stopped altogether. At this point I was convinced that the barge was going to hit us and the boat was going to sink. So I had created a mental escape plan, choosing what belongings were going to come with me as I swam to shore with Capt’n, Capt’n in Training and the three dogs….But while I was working on my escape plan, Capt’n ran down to the engine room to see what was wrong. I was trying to steer the boat the best I could, and at this point our friend turned around and motored next to us so he could help us avert any potential collisions. Capt’n discovered that our fuel filter was completely clogged, and switched the fuel filter within ten minutes. When he said he changed the filter in ten minutes, I said, no way, it was an hour! Well, it seemed like an eternity to me. After all, I was the one who could see all the boat traffic while all Capt’n could see was the boat engine. Needless to say, once Capt’n replaced the fuel filter, we had a great time going through Hell’s Gate, and spent about four nights anchored behind the Statue of Liberty.

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1. “Man (or toddler) Overboard!”

We helped a friend bring his catamaran over from the Bahamas to Florida in October – December 2012. Capt’n was getting the boat ready to cross the Gulf Stream. Capt’n was cleaning up the ropes at the base of the mast, and I was doing laundry. I remember specifically telling Capt’n that he had Capt’n in Training duty as I was going to be on and off the boat doing laundry. I came back from doing laundry and I saw Capt’n and Capt’n in Training in the water. I made some sort of joke about them taking a swimming break….and then I heard the real story. Capt’n was working on the ropes while Capt’n in Training was playing on the trampoline at the bow. Capt’n said everything was fine and he turned his head for one moment and then heard “splash!” Capt’n in Training got on one of the seats in the bow and lost his balance and fell overboard. Capt’n jumped right in and saved the day. Capt’n in Training was perfectly fine but now Capt’n and I have very specific rules about Capt’n in Training on deck and our responsibility when we supervise him on deck.

We hope that these top five saves encourage you if you had similar problems, or made you laugh at how we get ourselves in these predicaments. In any event, Happy Friday!





Disney World and Family Time

17 02 2013

One of the great things about staying in one port for a spell is that you are able to catch up with friends and family that may be headed down your way. We are currently in Indian Harbour Beach Florida and got to spend some time with Capt’n’s family. Capt’n niece has an internship at Disney and Capt’n’s sister and brother in law came up from Australia to see her and celebrate her 21st birthday.

They came over to Indian Harbour Beach for the afternoon and we took them for a sail around the Banana River. .

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When you are using your boat as a home and mode of transportation, you don’t always sit back and just enjoy sailing your boat. You are too focused on getting to point A and this time and point B at that time. So this afternoon sail was lovely. We got to put all the sails up, turn off the engine and enjoy the boat.

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We also got to take a side trip to Disney for the day where we went to Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. It was a long, but great day spending time with family and having fun at Walt Disney World.

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Friday’s Top Five: Marinas

8 02 2013

I decided that every Friday, or every other Friday…. I will post a top five list. This week’s top five list is a list of the best marinas that we have been to from Marion, Massachusetts to Satellite Beach, Florida. This list is purely our opinion based on the following factors: price, location, amenities, friendliness of staff and other boaters, and all around good vibe. So drum roll please……..here are our top five marinas, in no particular order….

 

  1. Newport Harbor Hotel and Marina, Newport Rhode Island http://www.thenewport-hotel.com/

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We arrived to this marina in November 2011 after facing 35 knot wind and 15 foot waves traveling from Cuttyhunk Island, MA to Newport, RI. Even though it was just the start of our trip, Capt’n and I were ready to end our adventure a mere 1.5 hrs (driving) from our house! The Newport Harbor Hotel and Marina was a paradise compared to the seas we had been facing. We arrived to Newport during the “off season,” where it is less crowded and less costly. We spent a week at Newport Hotel and Marina and loved every minute of it. For starters we loved the location of the marina. You literally walk outside of the hotel and marina property and you are in the middle of the Newport attractions. Newport is a walking friendly town and we were able to walk everywhere we needed to go. Also the people at the marina were great. The staff was friendly and low key, the liveaboards were some of the nicest people I have met. We really felt at home here. So much so that someone found Capt’n a full time job to try to coax us to stay! Since we were there during the off season, the rates were quite reasonable. Also since the marina is affiliated with the hotel, we were able to use the hotel sauna and heated pool. The hotel has a restaurant, Pier 49 and they served free coffee to marina guests each morning. All in all, we had a great time at this marina and were reluctant to leave.

  1. Marineland Marina, Marineland Florida http://www.marinelandmarina.com/

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This marina is probably one of the marinas that are freshest in our minds since we were just there a few weeks ago. Marineland Marina is owned by the town of Marineland and just underwent a major renovation. We had heard about this marina from a few couples from St. Augustine Municipal Marina. The $1.00/ft/night was the driving force to spend the night at this marina. And we are glad we did. We arrived there either at mid tide or low tide and although we draw a 5.5’ draft, we did touch ground as we were turning around in their turning basin. So a warning for those people with deep drafts. The staff here was also great – friendly and full of information. At the time they were having a special of 50% kayak eco tour if you docked at the marina. The laundry was free, which was great, but had two drawbacks. One was that the laundry closed at 5 pm, and two, there was only one washer and dryer so there could be a line to get clothes washed. Since we only spent one night here, we didn’t have a lot of time to check out the place, but we liked what we did get to see. The marina is right across the street from the dolphin center, and the ocean. We took a nice long walk and checked out both places. Marineland seemed to be occupied by Universities – they had many research labs in the area. Marineland Florida is the smallest town in America (as far as I know) with a population of eight full time residents. This marina is also very small so if you decide to go, make sure you call ahead to see if there are spots available. All in all, we really enjoyed this marina. Below is a photo on some information about Marineland. 

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  1. Miamogue Yacht Club, Bridgeport Connecticut http://www.miamogue.com

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We had heard about this Yacht Club from a Canadian friend who we met in Newport. As cruisers with a toddler and three dogs, we are always on the lookout for free or low cost dockage. Well Miamogue did not disappoint. This yacht club is very welcoming to transients, offering one free night of dockage (electricity, water, and bathrooms included). They also have a clubhouse that is open for drinks and food, so of course we went there for dinner. The food was good and reasonably priced. Everyone who was there was interested in hearing our story so we didn’t pay for a drink! We called ahead to let them know we were coming and a member went out on the dock to help us tie up. Before we left, the members wanted us to make sure that we told people that the Miamogue Yacht Club in Bridgeport, Connecticut offers one night of free dockage to transients. Call them if you are interested. (You can find their phone number on the website link I provided).

 

  1. Solomon’s Island Yacht Club, Solomon’s Island Maryland http://www.solomonsislandyc.com/

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We traveled through the Chesapeake in December 2011 and spent one night in Solomon’s Island Maryland. I don’t remember what brought us to this Yacht Club. I think the anchorage was full and we thought that perhaps the Solomon’s Island Yacht Club would reciprocate membership from other clubs. In any event, we pulled up and tied up to one of the docks and walked into the clubhouse to talk with someone. We were able to spend the night for a nominal fee which included internet, bathroom and showers and laundry. It just so happen to be the evening of a potluck so we were able to meet many members and had a great time. They were also celebrating everyone who had a December birthday and Capt’n in Training was born in December and was the youngest member at the pot luck. Everyone enjoyed playing with Capt’n in Training and I enjoyed his impromptu birthday party. I would say that the people at this yacht club are the reason why it has made our top five. We often look back at our night there and smile.

 

  1. St. Augustine Municipal Marina, St. Augustine Florida  http://www.staugustinegovernment.com/visitors/municipal-marina.cfm

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As we traveled South, we always planned on stopping at St. Augustine, and it did not disappoint. We were not going to dock, but rather use one of St. Augustine Municipal Marina’s mooring balls, which cost $20/night and included internet, bathroom and shower, water, pump out and access to coin laundry. What I didn’t know was that this marina also had a water taxi that would pick you up from your boat and take you to the dock. The shuttle runs from 10 – 5:30 making runs approximately every two hours. We spent four nights in St. Augustine (and only planned on spending two nights) and the weather was extremely windy, so I was very grateful that I did not need to take  our dinghy with Capt’n, Capt’n in Training, and the three dogs to shore, but was able to use the water taxi instead. Not only was the staff lovely, the city of St. Augustine is wonderful. We spent days taking self guided walking tours of the city, shopping, spending an afternoon at the Fort, going to A1A Brewery for some microbrew beer and root beer. Another thing we really liked was that there for four other Whitby 42 boats moored at this marina. That had never happened to us before. It was fun talking with the other Whitby owners.  We enjoyed St. Augustine and the marina so much that we have even talked about sailing North to spend a few months in St. Augustine. Time will tell.

So there is our Top Five Marina list.  If anyone has any suggestions on other Friday Top Five topics, we are all ears.

Happy Friday!





Kissing Manatees

7 02 2013

Kissing Manatees

One of my favorite things to do while on the boat is to look at the wildlife. I never grow tired of seeing dolphins or manatees swimming in the water. One day in Brunswick GA, we saw a group of about six manatees swimming around and eating the grass close to shore. We followed the manatees for about 45 minutes and I took about 100 photos! This photo is my favorite. Manatees may not be the most visually attractive animals, but this photo sure makes them look cute.