Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Capitain's View ... Mechanics View

Well it finally happened. Last week, the genset that was giving us trouble earlier in the trip finally kicked the bucket. We pulled it out and split off the generator from the genset motor. After several days of trouble shooting, NextGen sent us a new gernarator under warranty. One day later we had it put back together and dropped it back into its sound dampening case under Phil's bunk. It was a family ordeal. We pulled it using blocks and tackle hung from an eye-hook freshly mounted from the cabin's ceiling. High fives all around when it started up and was working again!

We docked the Adamo at the tiki bar marina again. I guess if you're going to be stuck somewhere, it's best to be stuck at the tiki bar!

The winds are due to finally shift to the SE tonight for 2 days, which will be the first weather window for crossing to the Bahamas since we reached south Florida 3 weeks ago. With any luck we'll be sailing Thanksgiving day to Bimini. No turkey this year. It'll be four cornish game hens with the traditional fixings. The stove just cannot accomodate a turkey. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Angel Fish Creek - Captain's View

We headed north to Angel Fish Creek to wait for a weather window from the north winds to cross to the Bahamas. We anchored at Pumpkin Key and dropped both dinghies in the water. Susan and I took the inflatable dinghy, now nick named by the boys "Rubber Ducky", to check the depth of the channel to see if we would be able to take the Adamo through it at high tide to enter the ocean. It was a successful trip. The channel will be deep enough for Amado's five foot draft.

Doug and Phil took their hard bottomed dinghy, which they nick named "Little Fish", to go snorkeling and fishing. The water was cool, so they donned their wetsuits and went in search of discovery. They found a ten by ten foot mangrove island full of snapper and lobster. The boys showed up with several snapper! Susan used the catch to make an amazing seafood chowder.

The next day I went snorkeling with the boys to their little island. It was crowed with fish and lobster. Quite a sight. Then we snorkeled through the mangroves. It was an incredible experience. The depth was about three to four feet. There were small narrow creeks running thought the groves which we followed into a large clearing. It was as if we were swimming though an underwater forest. The sun was shinning through the roots and casting shadows on the sandy bottom. We encountered many fish including a large tarpon and snook. The snook hovered at arms length before disappearing into the shadows among the mangrove roots.

Susan and I started a new tradition. At sunset we stop whatever we are doing and go on deck with a cocktail to watch the sun set. I'm liking this tradition and hope it continues!

Two days ago our gen-set quit producing power. We sailed south about 10 miles to dock at Gilbert's Resort and Marina in Key Largo to wait for a new capacitor. With any luck that is the problem. If not, I'll have to pull the generator and reinstall a new one. As we know from experience, "sailing into the sunset" includes the both ups and downs. But in the end, its all good! Stay posted for updates.

I spoke with a friend of ours today, who is sailing from Daytona to Key West. Due to the winds he stayed in the inter coastal. His mast height is 62 feet. Yesterday, he passed under a fixed bridge and hit the bridge's center light and knocked the light and his mast tip wind instruments, sending them crashing down on to the deck. For all you boaters, you know how things can go wrong in a hurry.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Key Largo - Captain's View

We are still waiting for a break in the weather. The north winds just do not seem to want to subside with cool front after cool front coming through. We are enjoying the change in the weather, however. It’s been dry and cool, so we can open up the boat and shut down the generator.

Adamo is anchored up in Buttonwood sound about one mile from shore. The water is shallow around here forcing us to anchor way out. The dinghy rides get pretty interesting when the wind and waves kick up. I’m still tweaking the boat with little improvements here and there that will make sailing easier and safer in heavy weather, while Sue and the boys have been fast tracking it on the home school. Trips to shore have included visits to West Marine, the hardware store, an internet cafĂ© called Key Largo Coffee and Cyber House, Dollar General and Snook’s the local waterfront tiki bar and restaurant.
After hoofing it here and there, we finally broke down and rented a car for a day. Today, we will visit Publix (We have never been so grateful to visit a grocery store!) and Kmart (We know….Kmart sucks, but it’s all you have here).

We met Harry, a fulltime live-aboard on his 28 foot Sea Ray. Harry looks like he just stepped of the set of Cheech and Chong, and is nuttier than a fruit cake. He told us where to dock the dinghy, put your trash and park your car if you have one. He also suggested not walking around with an open container: “they’ll pick you up for that one.”

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Key Largo

Having north winds, we have sailed down to Key Largo where we will wait for the wind to shift to the south so that we can cross the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas. In the meantime, Phillip and Doug have been diligently doing home school to get ahead so that when Andrew comes they can take a break. While we were in Miami, Matthew Pellar, a long time friend of Mike’s, met us out on the Adamo with his friends. We had a great time hanging out, relaxing, and enjoying Sunday afternoon.

The sail to Key Largo took two days. The conditions were perfect with following winds, no waves due to the shallow depth of Biscayne Bay, and plenty of sunshine with cool temperatures. The water cleared up well enough for Phil to see the bottom through the glass floor in the hull, our “window to the sea”. He saw several large lobsters, but since we were in a national park, all he could do was look. Man . . . he really wanted us to stop and catch them, and eat them! Maybe next week.

We were lucky today. When we motored to shore, we were in the center of Key Largo where everything is located! We docked up the dingy at Snook's Restaurant and will have lunch there when we return. We are at a local's Cafe..internet and all! It is very quaint!