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Date:Fri, 29 Dec 2023 01:09:00 GMT

Getting ready to go

Lots to do yet.

    So, Sam and I have been working on the deck and the brightwork, We have purchased charts and have been planning the trip with world crusing routs and a gentleman's guide to passages south, the thornless path. Our friends have left Long Island for Rum Cay and Mayaguana. We have the import paperwork for Lilah and need one more vet visit. We also have to do all the check in paperwork for the Bahamas. We have been eating a lot of our food and so there is a restocking trip coming. We are still torn on Starlink. It would be very helpful for the youtube channel but it could delay us another week or two to get it installed properly. We're also considering whether to get a watermaker or not. We have lots of things to buy supply wise before we go away from the land of West Marine. Things like spare hose and 5200 and varnish and Mineral spirits. We need to change the oil on the generator and the engine and make sure we have hydraulic fluid and spare oil etc. We are having some other friends of ours fix up a sun cover for the doger so that we can keep the hatch open in the rain for air flow. It should be done next week ish.

     The last couple days have been filled with helping other boaters. climbing masts, putting in alternators and voltage regulators/chargers, getting hose and helping pump out a sinking boat. We've moved anchors and given people spare line. But now it's time to focus on our trip and start watching the weather closely.

     Our plan is to go to Bimini to check in, then on to Chub key and then around Andros island and down the inside of the exumas and over to Georgetown. From there following our friends to Maya Guana and Luperon.

     We had a wonderful christmas dinner with boaters at the marina. Turkey and stuffing and all the fixings. It was a great time. We are going to miss Boot Key and our friends here. Some of them will eventually be following us but not right away.
Date:Wed, 20 Dec 2023 03:57:00 GMT

Anchors Anchors Anchors

Ford vs Chevy

    Ok tonight our anchor dragged. After running 360 degrees at 205 foot diameter in 20-45 knot winds and then pulling it in to 75 feet and another 180 degrees we finally started dragging a little bit (40 feet over all over the course of an entire day) in 25g30. So I'm sure everyone is going to say well you should have a Mantis that would never happen. Why? Because that is the latest fad. You know what the latest fad used to be? A Bruce was the previous king. Then it was the Fortress. What_Ever...

    The bottom in this case is a grey sandy clay with lots of pieces of shell and it's very very sticky. Which anchor is best? Here are your choices: Mantis, Fortress, Bruce, Fisherman, CQR, Plow, Grapel, Mushroom. My answer a CQR or Plow.

    Everything is the right tool for the job. Except for the grapel or the Mushroom all anchors attempt to bury them selves. And all anchors need to be able to reset. Each has a reset method, but try this. Take a hoe and slam it in the ground... then take the handle and walk around in a circle. What will that do? It will dig a circular hole in the ground. Try that with a shovel and you'll get a circular hole in the ground. Put in a tent stake and spin it around and it will cut a hole in the ground. It doesn't matter what you put in the ground if you spin it, it will cut a hole.

    So now let's talk about different bottoms: If you are in soft mud the hole will refill. If you are in sand the hole will refill. If you are in small to medium rocks it will refill. If you are in grass it will cut a divot and not refil. If you are in clay it will not refill but a ball will form up on your anchor and then when it comes out of the hole it will roll across the ground and not cut back in again. If you are in large rocks you'll pop out and have to find a new crevas to hook on. Ultimately the only thing that will "shed" the clay ball or grass ball and re-dig is the plow. But because the plow will self clean/clear it does not grab as well as a claw type anchor or a danforth type anchor. An old Fisherman's anchor is also good in clay and grass and rock but not so good in soft mud or sand which is where a mantis or bruce shine.

     On Grace we have 1 of each. We have a bruce, a fortress, a CQR, and a fisherman's. They are each best in class for their family. I do not have a Mantis because I personally prefer the Bruce's claw's on the edges. It digs from the side better. If a Mantis is on it's side it sometimes will not dig in. Once it does it holds better than a fortress but I don't have room for one.

    Cruising sail boats have anchor rollers on the bow that are designed for anchors of a more modern design so it can be difficult to get a fisherman's anchor up and on the deck. But honestly I keep coming back to that design as being better all around than the more modern fad designs. It's bigger, heavier, more unweildy, less convenient but holds better in most situations. When it digs in it can be very difficult to get up without a line on the bottom to lift it up.

     Now I'm sure that my friends will say, you should have had a mantis and it wouldn't have dragged tonight. But I think that put in the same 360 degree situation in the same sticky mud bottom it would have gotten a ball on it just like the claw. And once up then how long to dig in again? Who knows. But neither anchor was going to dig in again while that ball of clay was jamming it up.

     Anyway so We started the engine did several loops around the anchorage in 20g25 out of the north east at 10pm and finally dropped the anchor less than 20 feet from it's original position and it dug in like a champ. But it was not fun trying to find our place at night in a tight anchorage and bad winds. But it does point out that it's important to always be ready to go. So you know what? the anchor was ready, the switches were easy to get, The motor started easily, the deck was clear and though there were hitches and we had to try twice it went pretty smoothly all considered. The brake on the windless got off track, the chain hung on the roller because we were sidewise of the chain a little bit. The wind and motor made it difficult to hear so Hannah was relaying commands to Sam. But we each knew our job and we got it done.
Date:Sat, 16 Dec 2023 02:26:00 GMT

The Storm is here...

It's a blustery day

    The last couple of days have been really quite windy; 25g35. But we still needed to get things done like take Lila to the vet as we prepare to got to the Bahamas, Or go to Roland's birthday party at Dockside, or take showers and each time of course we got totally soaked. The waves in the harbor arn't bad, 1-2 feet but in a dingy with 4 people that means we're completely wet by the time we get to shore, even if it's not raining. But of course by the time we get 1/2 way there it's raining too.

    This prompted us today to tag along with a friend to Key West and pick up dry bags for everyone and of course paper charts for the Bahamas and the Virigin Islands.

    Yesterday we took Lila to the vet. She was in her carrier with Hannah trying to protect her from the waves with her jacket. Poor cat was being so brave. By the time we got to the vet I think she was just too tired to even hiss. She got her shots and a chip which are required for the Bahamas and then we came back home again in the boat. The minute we got back on board she went into her box.
Lila in her box tired but keeping watch

    This morning Sam and I got up and removed the secondary anchor because tonight the winds are going to clock around a full 360 degrees and we didn't want to tangle the anchors. Also, the wind has subsided a little so I'm not as worried about dragging. The winds were supposed to be up to 45 but they never really got there. It was quite the chore pulling it up by hand. We had to add more chain to the main anchor so we could pull the boat over the secondary fortress and pull it up with the rope windlass and then the last 30 feet by hand. It's on the deck now but it started to rain so we ran below before we got drenched.
Pulling up the second anchor

    This afternoon we took the dinghy over again getting totally soaked and then went back a second time to pick up some friends who needed to go to Key West. Hannah and I went with them while Sam and Wanda stayed at the marina office and went to Friday Happy Hour to visit. We made it back to the boat safe and mostly dry and Hannah made shortbread and beans and rice for dinner. Now warm and dry with a full belly it's time for bed! Night Night all!
Date:Wed, 13 Dec 2023 03:19:00 GMT

A Storm is almost here...

Putting out a second anchor

    Today after the net Sam and I went with a couple other people to put some more line on Smiley's boat. It's a big red steel motor sailer that is only afloat because it's bilge is full of concrete to plug the holes. A couple of his mooring lines are almost broken and rather than winge about it breaking free I decided to put more line on it. I hope it holds because if it breaks free it will be a tank going through the harbor.

     Then we spent the rest of the morning putting out the Fortress as a second anchor. A boat that was next to us in the new location near Red18 moved giving us more room so we put out the Fortress to the north of the boat with 40 foot of 3/8 chain and 50 or so foot of rope at about 45 deg from our previous anchor. That Fortress dug in immediately and would not budge. We used a rubber bumper as a bouy to mark it and make it easier to pull up. We are not going to move in the winds that are coming.

    Later in the afternoon and evening we spent time at the Tiki with the Tuesday jam session. One of our friends brought a keyboard and box drum so both mom and I played a little piano for folks and then I played the box drum while various people sang and played guitar. We played till dark and then we came back to the boat and had grilled cheese and tomato soup for dinner. This harbor so so amazing! it's easy to get stuck here. There is so much to do and so many wonderful people.

    I'm a little worried about Sunday through Tuesday. The winds are going to clock around to the south and west and north west before coming back to the north east. This will twist my two anchors and the rode from one of them is going to get hung up on the keel so I think I'm going to need to move one of them as we turn around. Tomorrow Sam and I are going to get water and a load of fuel before it get's nasty on Thursday. On Sunday there is going to be a low form over Key west and move across Florida and into the atlantic where it will move north along the coast like a little hurricane. It will of course go right over us.

    We have a vet appointment on Thursday at 1500 for the cat and it's going to be a wet windy ride... Lilah is not going to be happy.
Date:Tue, 12 Dec 2023 03:46:00 GMT

A Storm is coming...

High winds and wind chill

     Today we fixed Sam's computer screen so we can get going on videos and did general organization. We also moved the boat anchorage from near red 16 to near red 18 for a better location for high winds. The winds are forcasted to be 25-35 knots tomorrow and rain begins Wednesday. Thursday winds are forcast for 45 with gusts perhaps to 60. We are going to put out a second anchor tomorrow just in case. But we are now in a position where no one can drag into us and we have enough room that we won't drag into anyone else. Today the winds are 25 knots so the anchor should be burrying its self deep into the mud. But with this wind it's quite chilly. The ambient temprature this evening is 68 but it feels like the 50's. I suppose this kind of wingering is lost on everyone who is in the cold north that we ran from but this is the Florida Keys! (ha ha)

     Sunday it looks like a little tropical storm is going to form an eye over Key west and it will turn into a huge storm after it crosses Florida and heads up the Atlantic coast. This is the third storm this fall that has formed there and run up the coast. We will be safe and sound in our boat. Sam and I tied down the sail covers put an extra line on the Dinghy and put it out behind the boat. We have been trying to silence the lines whipping the mast but it's not going so well.
Date:Mon, 11 Dec 2023 02:14:00 GMT

Boot Key Life

Feels like coming home!

     Yesterday was the boat parade and there were dozens of decorated boats going through the harbor in a parade! It was really cool. We had a great view by marker 16 as they all came right by our boat. People did a lot of work on their boats. My favorite was a little life boat from an old cruise ship that was decorated with a tree and had a passle of kids on board! It was difficult at night to get good pictures but here's hoping you at least get an idea.
Christmas Parade boats!
More Christmas Parade boats!

     Today we had a brunch and Hannah made Waffels. Other people made Quiche and grits, and eggs and muffins, Oh my it was yummy and we got to catch up with old friends. It really feels a little like coming home. So this evening I was sitting out on the deck watching the sunset over the bridge to nowhere. It feels a little like the calm before the storm as the winds are supposed to pick up next week into the 40's and rain. There is a storm coming tonight and we are closing the hatches as Hannah cooks potato pancakes and we are having dinner! Oh yummy!
A beautiful evening in Boot Key

Date:Mon, 04 Dec 2023 22:00:00 GMT

Ft. Pierce

Visiting friends.

     We arrived here safely on the 2nd and anchored south of the south bridge across the channel from the city marina. We spent the last couple days getting ready for our next off shore excursion to the Keys and visiting old friends. It was a wonderful time. It's always nice to re-new old friendships!

    We also visited ft. Pierce and went to their Christmas Parade yesterday. That was an unexpected treat! We were just there to hang out a bit and get off the boat and then found the Parade starting in an hour so we waitied. There were lots of amazing floats, trucks, bands, politicians and of course fire and police. There were little girls with batons and kids doing acrobatics. There were dance teams and churches. It was a lot of fun.

    Today we did wash, got water, planned our route, and cleaned up ourselves and the boat. Tomorrow AM we are off. We estimate Miami in 24 hours.
Date:Fri, 01 Dec 2023 23:53:00 GMT

Wakes and Bridges

Some people are worse than rude

     Today was a long day. We made a little over 60 miles and anchored just south of Coco. There were lots of bridges and two of them broken. The first one only one side would lift so we had to skinny through 1/2 of the bridge with only about 20 feet wide. The next one was under construction and we had to be guided through by a little tug. We had only about 30 feet. Most of the bridges we went through were 63 feet at the tide level we were at.

    There was one power boater in a big fishing trawler with a light blue hull. It was probably a Hatteras or a Jerret Bay and about 50 feet. He was flat out and passed us throwing a 4-5 foot wake at only about 20-30 feet off our starboard side. When we and our friends complained about being tossed about he said we better wear our life jackets. Our friends reported him to the coast guard. He did the same to other boats ahead of us.

    Other than that it was a wonderful sunny day with lots of wildlife and pretty houses. The morning was a little foggy and we saw a lighthouse sticking out of the mist. The birds were low over the water and the reflections in the calm water were like looking in a mirror. It was a beautiful morning.
Sunrise in Florida

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