Sea Fever Gulf 32

Sea Fever Gulf 32

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Yet another Lake Sylvia sunset, this one featuring Mindfulness

Sea Fever, Compass Rose and Mindfulness remain in Lake Sylvia waiting for that elusive 'weather window'. We have all taken advantage of the time to work on the boats and it still seems like Tuesday early morning may give us rhe calm seas on the Gulf Stream that we are looking for.

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Monday, March 26, 2012

And another Lake Sylvia sunset.

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After dinner and a few pitchers...

The race was on... Mindfulness vs Compass Rose... paddles..vs outboard... well a short race, anyway.

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R and R at the Southport Raw Bar

Well, today the crews from the Charleston fleet went ashore in Lauderdale to get some more gear and provisions and afterwards got together at Southports for some brews and dinner.  They have a dinghy dock that is convenient to shopping and charge $10 to dock. But that money goes toward anything we buy there when we return...pitchers..YES! and sandwiches, of course..

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Another sunset from Lake Sylvia.

Things got a little crazy here today, with a couple of dozen local boats anchoring all over the place, even on top of each other's anchor lines. But it is now very peaceful again.

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Back in Lake Sylvia.

Sea Fever, Compass Rose and Mindfulness made it back into Lake Sylvia this afternoon. About  10 minute trek.
Now we wait for the next weather window!

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Morning calm south of Las Olas Bridge, Fort Lauderdale

Well it is Sunday morning and Sea Fever, Compass Rose and Mindfulness will be heading back to the anchorage in Lake Sylvia by noon today after 3 days in the marina slips.  We all got a lot done on the boats wbile we were here and are now close to being ready for the crossing, hopefully sometime in the nezt week or so.

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Cruisers from everywhere

I keep seeing so many foreign flags on the cruising vessels we encounter on this trip, so I found a flag identifier website. Just since yesterday I've seen boats from Luxembourg, Belgium, the Marshal Islands, and Austrailia, England, and the Cayman Islands.

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Charleston 'fleet' at Las Olas Marina

Sea Fever, Mindfulness and Compass Rose all together at the Ft Lauderdale city marina. Sea fever got a though cleaning, i.side and out today while Mindfulness and Compass Rose had additional maintenance and upgrades done.
We plan to stay another 2 days here, its a real change and a treat  from being at anchor or on a mooring ball most of the trip!

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Sunrise from a new perspective

This morning from Las Olas marina, right next to the Bridge

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Ft Lauderdale Beach, Thurs 3/22

Sea Fever, Mindfulness and Compass Rose took a break from the anchorage in Lake Sylvia to spend a  couple of days at the Las Olas- City Marina. This is the first time Sea Fever has been on a dock since Jekyl Island!  We all got pumpouts, real showers and laundry done.
Thurs evening I joined Tom and Sara for a walk up the street to the beach and we enjoyed a couple of beers and a slice of pizza!

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Solar panel - back in place!

Yesterday Tom came over with his innovative mind, tool box and some "JB Weld", and we were able to get Sea Fever's solar panel back in place. Now I need to get some cables and turnbuckles to secure the ends of the dinghy davits to be sure they can't separate again, allowing the panel to fall.

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Jet-pack guy.

In case the short video click doesn't work, here is a picture of the guy buzzing around Lake Sylvia with a jet pack. most of the morning and still going.

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relative calm because this guy has been 'flying' around all the anchored boats for the last hour. Who would have thought=?UTF-8?B?Pw==?=

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St. Patricks day at Lake Sylvia

Mindfilness and Sea Fever met up with our cruisemates last night for dinner and beers at a local raw bar and are enjoying the relative calm in Lake Sylvia today.

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3.13-3.16 Track of Sea Fever and Mindfulness

Go to my spot adventure site to follow the path we took on our offshore trek from Boot Key Harbor to Lake Sylvia.

Friday 3.16.2012- Bill Bagg State Park to Lake Sylvia (Ft Lauderdale)

We woke up Friday still debating staying or leaving but about 8 decided we'd travel on. Another great start to the day with a sunrise from another totally new perspective:

On our way through the Cape Florida channel coming in Thurs. night we had a "Nantucket sleigh ride" with the building following seas tossing us all over the place as we tried to navigate the not-to-wide channel.  This morning was the opposite- we were again, heading into the rolling seas, but at least the winds hadn't build up.. yet.
Mindfulness pulled up her main and forced her way through while Sea Fever relied on the engine- then hoisted the main once we were safely through the cut... couldn't rely on 'auto' to safely steer through the seas while I went forward to pull up the sail until we were in wider territory.
Bill called it again... we had E winds, 15-20 mph which pushed us straight up the Miami coast on a single NE tack-- never had to change the sails.  Sea Fever had both sails flying and engine off for over half the trip, but as we approached Baker's haulover inlet and Mindfulness became smaller and smaller on the horizon, and Sea Fever's speed dropped from a steady 5.2-6 knots with lighter winds to about 4 knots, the old reliable engine had to kick in to give us a chance to catch up.  With the sails and the engine we were able close in, a bit... again.. Mindfulness is one FAST boat!

3-15-2012..continue to Bill Bagg State Park, or call it a day at Ceasar Creek?

These intrepid sailors opted to continue another 20+ miles... of course! Given the VERY narrow, sparsely marked channel and shoals all around Ceasar Creek... on we went to Bill Baggs, at the southern tip of Key Biscayne. It rained some more.. seemed like hail at times, and the winds continued relentlessly.  Can not believe how fast Mindfulness is, and how well Bill and Dee are able to keep her into the wind.  Sea Fever struggled to keep up, sails and engine combined!

Well, we made it to Bill Bagg SP- a total of 50 miles, including tacking, and dropped the anchor about 7:pm. just in time to see a great rainbow over Florida Light.

We debated staying here a second night, but by morning we were ready to head on to Lake Sylvia.

Winds were howling 22-24 plus gusts all day... and then

Seas were rough again winds were from ENE to NE- had to tack back and forth but were doing ok making head way until about 11:20, when another squall hit- raining so hard I could barely see Mindfulness and gusts were pushing 30 mph. Engine on, main up but reefed genny furled..couldn't keep up with them.  Must have been about an hour before rain let up...then we were becalmed so my engine brought me close to Mindfulness. We sat drifting a short time until wham. .. winds were on us again.

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Thursday 3-15; started out rough

and then got worse...
A bit after midnight a squall came through with rain and, it turns out a wind shift. The island no longer offered great wind and aea protection.  No worry, checked and all seemed well.  NOT... 02:30...clang! run up on deck -pouring rain heavy wind and my dinghy is about 5' off the bow of rhe boat that used to be beside me.. Qhat woke me up was my rudder slamming hard over after hitting  their anchor chain.  start engine move away... how do I get the anchor up without blowing back into thia guy?  oh oh...Mindfulness is way off from where they were.. quick call them... they were already moving to a new anchor spot and turns out had tried to call had gone to silent mode.  OK, took about half an hour but got reset and back to bed.
Surely after this we wouldn't be leaving for Bill Bagg state park at 7 a.m.  Or will we.... There was a beautiful sunrise... and away we went at 7:30..

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Final decision...Rodrigues Key...SW side

We pulled in to the anchorage at Tavernier and found it gave no real protection from the E to NE winds. Rodrigues key's south wesr corner was onlu 3 miles away.. so here we are.

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another beautiful but windy day

Mindfulness took full use of the winds today tacking smoothly, and as always heading up much better thna Sea Fever. We started out heading for Rodrigiues Key, bit after Sea Fever's solar panel was jarred lose  y the seas we decided on an anchorage about 5 miles closer.  Tavernier Key.

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It was a long day

We fought head winds all day, with Mindfilness a much beter job than Sea Fever. I had all sails out tacking pretty well for a few hours, then it was clear how much better into the wind Dee and Bill were pushing Mindfulness.  Sea Fever motored the direct route hoping to make the anchorage before dark.
We both made it to long key near the same time, just in time for another sunset.

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After watchong the manatees a while we got showers headed back tp the boats waito.g for a pumpout and by 10:30 were underway again. Out to Hawk Channel and Long Key Bight.

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Tuesday started out much better than monday..

We spotted a manatee and her baby at the marina dinghy docks. They just strolled from dock to dock and looked at us looking at them.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

One more Boot Key Sunset.

Well, Sea Fever and Mindfulness left Boot Key Harbor about 9 on Monday; stopped for fuel and headed out under reports of winds at 15-20 gusting to 25 knots. While we were still in the relative calm of the lee of Boot Key we hoisted our mains for a sail east to Long Key Bight.  Sea fever took a bit more time than Mindfulness but was finally able to get the main up and reefed and continue out...but wait... Mindfulness is pulling down the main..and now heading back in... Ok, I can do rhat too.  Turns out, once you got beyond the island you were facing steady 25's, gusting to 35 knots...we will wait for a bit less "breeze".  So one more day on the mooring.

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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunrise in Boot Key Harbor...well..almost

Woke up this morning, turned on the phone.. 6:45...time to catch the sun... Not... looked outside.. still pitch black... must have a problem with the phone.  off and on again...6:48...hmmm...ah...daylifht saviings ..sunrise shots won't be so early anymore..

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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Reunion day!

Mindfulness has rejoined Sea Fever and Hazel Ann at Boot Key aftee their solo venture all the way to Key West. They actually got to sail here about the entire way! Once rhey recover Sea Fever plans to join them on the outside route back to Miami and then on to Lauderdale. Hopefully the winds will cooperate.

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Sunrise, Boot Key Harbor, 3.10.12

A great start to another great Keys Day.
The annual seafood festival set up rigbt by the mari.a yesterday and we plan to check it out today!

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Another Boot Key sunset...This one from a mooring

While Linda and I were exploring the town and reprovisioning, the marina office called both Sea Fever and Hazel Ann to assign us mooring balls. We wound up just one ball apart. The mooring field had been totally full but with calmer seas and less wind many boats moved out.  We expect Mindfulness to rejoin us today and hopefully they'll get one of the two empty balls beside us.

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Proof... Sea Fever has made it this far from Charleston

Our little Charleston fleet are members of the Cruising Club of Charleston and one thing that the club does is reward mem ers who sail their own boats a certain distance to and from Charleston. Linda and I were out exploring yesterday and made it to the post office ro mail a post card with the Marathon stamp on it as proof. But I thought it wise to add this pic...

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Friday, March 9, 2012

Another Keys sunrise... Boot Key Harbor!

A few clouds around and had some light showers about 5 a.m. but should be another great Keys day.

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Sunset from Boot Key Harbor - Marathon!

We are at anchor here now and Friday will go to the marina office and get on the waiting list for a mooring.
Sea Fever will stay here until Mindfulness makes it back from Key West and then we two "deep draft" vessels will head back to Ft. Lauderdale on the "outside"...that's the plan...

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Just passed through Moser Channel into Hawks Channel

Well, the original plan for today was to leave Islamorada and make about 8 miles to Matecumbe  Bight. However, everything was going so well we decided to continue to an anchorage just prior to the the 7 mile bridge and the channel that crosses to Boot Key Harbor... then when we made it that far...why not go all the here we are, approaching the harbor entrance.

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Well, Sea Fever made it through both cuts with plenty of water!

Thanks to Hazel Ann for leading the way and calling out depths. Turns out it wasn't necessary but better safe then stuck!
This is one of the boundary markers to Everglades Park which covers much of Florida Bay.

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Sea Fever's final Islamorada sunrise

Yes, finally, the wi ds died down enough to move back out into Florida Bay. Again, the plan had been to retrace our route and head back to Lauderdale the way we had come down. But with a week of wind and locals reporting that usually blows the water out of the Bay, Sea Fever decided she'd "experienced"enough of the bottom and opted for the deeper route. This meant heading futher down the Keys (west) and out into the ocean. Instead of 4 hours of low water to worry about, this route provides plenty of depth, IF....we could make it through 2 very sbort but shallow cuts.

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

hopefully Sea Fever's last sunset at Islamorada

If the winds die down a bit overnight, the plan is for Sea Fever and Hazel Ann to move a bit further south, maybe to Matecumbe Bight, in the morning. Again, hoping high tide will keep Sea Fever off the  bottom at Steamboat Channel!

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Compass Rose heads out

This morning, Compass Rose headed north ro Tarpon Basin, Trying to get to Lake Sylvia by next Tuesday. I decided that Sea Fever stood a better chance of not becoming a permanent Keys fixture if we made our way south to Boot Key Harbor (Marathon) and worked our way north on the "outside" route (hopefully I won't ground out at Steamboat Channel)  The plan now is to follow Hazel Ann through the narrows and tben meet up with Mindfulness in Boot Key Harbor and run north with them up Hawks Channel.  At least that's the plan...

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Tuesday's sunset at Islamorada

Still stuck here with high winds but still can't beat the sunsets. Can't tell by them that conditions aren't that great.
This afternoon (Tuesday) I was working down below and heard a knock on my hull. Thought it was Tom checking in on me but it was a fella, Jeff, from a trawler I had been anchored near the first few days we were here. He had moved to the lee of one of the islands that surrounds the anchorage and was troubled watching me bouncing around in 3+ foot seas. So he got in his dinghy and came the 1.5 miles across rhe turmoil and told me it was calm over there, he knew I was alone, and if I wanted, he'd help me move.  Sounded great. I called Compass Rose and Hazel Ann and next thing, Jeff is helping me and the other 2 boats are right behind us. Sure made a difference... wind still blows but we aren't rockin n' rollin like we were. Cruisers look out for each other!

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Monday, March 5, 2012

Well we tried for Tarpon Basin today...but.

After checking the weather and realizing the winds were going to get even stronger over rhe next few days, Sea Fever and Compass Rose decided to make a run for Tarpon Basin today.  Sea Fever didn't get very far.... as my chartplotter shows I made a loop too close to the shallows and went hard aground. With encouragement from Compass Rose and Hazel Ann I was able to get my Genny out and heel over far enough to get off, move into deeper water to drop the anchor and...wait... the roller furler jammed..the genny is flying all over rhe place... drop the anchor...pull in the genny....decisions, decisions...ok let the anchor out til it holds then get the sail in...phew!!! done... with, of course, the help of "my hero", again.  as I'm letting out anchor and pulling in sail..comes an 'Annie, you alright?' Tom from Compass Rose had dinghied to the rescue again. We were able to get the furler fixed, at least temporarily and got the sail fully furled...
Thank you Tom and Sara.
I think we'll wait another day or so to head out again!

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This picture may not show it, but...

The anchorage is pretty rough, not to mention how it will be further from shore.
NWS says winds will likely continue in the 15-20 range the next few days but they are predicted to shift to out of the east instead of the north as they have been. If/when that happens we may get some protection from the islands so the seas may lay down a bit. At least we can hope!

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Another beautiful sunrise at Islamorada

we had planned on heading back toTarpon Basin this morning, beginning our move to Lake Sylvia where we plan to attend the giant Dania marine fleamarket and then wait for the weather window to cross to the Bahamas.
However, our weather window to leave Islamorada hasn't "opened" yet. Sun is shining bright but winds are still howling in the mid to upper 20s and seas are choppy to rough.

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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sky still looks threatening here at Islamorada

but the bad weather seems to be blowing SE and out to sea...and by 'blowing' I mean the wind is still kicking it up at 15-20 with higher gusts, but at least the seas here at anchor are only a foot or so compared to the 2-3 we saw earlier today.

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And the storm hits Islamorada anchorage!

We had strong winds through the nigbt last night but by late morning they got even stronger, and then... the squall hit! About 30 minutes of driving rain and the winds went from 15-20 to 25-30 with gusts approaching 40 mph! Boats that were anchored in grassy areas wound up moving to keep from dragging into shore or other boats.
Luckily, Sea Fever's anchor held fairly well. We aren't exactly where we were when we crashed last night, but close enough and not near any others.

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Saturday, March 3, 2012

and only in the keys

an Elvis driving through the harbor

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another Florida keys sunset

at the Lorelie Cabana agian.... and

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Friday, March 2, 2012

and.. another Keys' sunset!

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Another night at the Lorilei Cabana

A great place to listen to live music that you can actually listen to.
And... to watch tje sunset!
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Islamorada - The Keys

Even the egrets are served at the tiki bars here!

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

1 March 2012- Islamorada, Matecumbe Key

Well, we are now anchored off Islamorada which is the town that makes up the upper part of Matecumbe Key. We (Sea Fever, Compass Rose and Hazel Ann) left Elliott Key on the 26th, headed to a place called Thursday Cove, as a stop over as we headed further south.  We left there early the next day and made our way to Tarpon Basin.  That anchorage was very protected and we were able to work our way in fairly close to shore and the Monroe County Government center where there was a great dinghy dock.  Of course, Sea Fever was anchored further off than the others who draw 18" less water...
We took advantage of the local shopping area to reprovision and enjoyed food and beverages at the local VFW... reports have it that some 'enjoyed' more than others.  After 2 nights stay, and use of the county pumpout service the vagabound group headed further south, to Islamorada, where we are enjoying more fine Keys weather and sites. On the way we found our first really shallow water and without Hazel Ann and Compass Rose reading off the depths, Sea Fever surely would be stuck somewhere.  We also had the first rain while we were underway- a nice shower. and more during the night.
Some of the wildlife enroute
Last night we took advantage of Lorelie's restaurant and cabana bar- and enjoyed the sunset.
Today is laundry day for me- while the others are site seeing and exploring.
Not sure if Sea Fever will make it any further south- things get nothing but shallower from here on.