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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Bahia Honda State Park 2/28-3/02

I finally have a repair for the mast spreader and I am finally able to leave Boot Key Harbor. I spent over two weeks trying to get parts and help from Vega Spares in Bloody Ol' England but finally gave up and had a local prop shop machine new inner ends. They are "good enough" but of course myself and most of the followers of this blog could have done better!

The sail to the light marker outside of Bahia Honda was great. Then the approach became a down wind run and the roughening seas began to toss Gemini Dreams around. The winds were not enough to counter act the motion of the swells and the sheets would not stay full. With her tossing she also kept wanting to jibe with every wave! I finally tightened the boom and power sailed into the harbor at Bahia Honda.
As I approached to anchorage I could see s/v Wee Happy that left Boot Key on Friday as they needed a new adventure also. There was enough room to anchor a couple hundred feet to the south of Wee Happy. After the anchor was set and I remained on the bow watching the seas and making sure that Gemini Dreams didn't drag anchor, I wondered if it was always this rough. S/v Kin Folk arrived from Boot Key as I sat and pondered over the rocking. As I finally rowed in to check things out in the park I spoke to the captain of the boat on the opposite side of Wee Happy. I found out that Wee Happy had drug anchor about 8-9 times when they arrived. I love my Manson Supreme and at 35 pounds it better hold.
I found Capt “K” and Lala at the “office”. They had found electricity near one of the picnic tables under a shade tree. With a view of the beach, anchorage, both bridges, and all the areas around the lagoon.  Actually that is where I am typing this today.

After checking in with the Wee Happy crew and having another “Cheese Burger in Paradise” I down loaded the latest episode of Californication and headed back out to the boat for the evening. Capt “K” decided to go fishing, so of course, I took Boo Boo Tin Tin out for some also. First to the bridge with no luck than around to the jetty landing a small grouper (too small to keep) and a barracuda.
Once back on the boat it was time for day old TV. The night was rough and Gemini Dreams bounced and rolled all night.  I clocked one of the gusts at 29mph!  There were some short bursts that exceeded this by the sound of the rigging and the small flexible solar panels on the cabin roof.

I was up early the next morning and took the day as “Picture Day”
I made a new friend while wading.  A small hammerhead.
Principe del Pirata would love this as a pet.  I call him "Big Fred". 
s/v Gemini Dreams and s/v Wee Happy
Watch your step Capt “K”! especially after the coffee incident.
The concrete supporting this bridge is 100 years old and is in better shape than all the "modern" bridges
s/v Gemini Dreams all alone ready to brave the 30mph winds
After a long walk checking out this end of the key out I ran into Capt “K” and Lala trying to get some last minute things done before they sailed back to Boot Key Harbor (There are strong northwest winds forecast) before the weather arrived. Not wanting to back track all the way to Boot Key I chose to anchor off the south side of Bahia Honda. Since I wouldn't need to do that until just before the end of the day I continued with my exploration. Grabbing a quick tow back out...
We found out you can't tow a dinghy with a dinghy tied to the port side.
I stuffed the snorkeling gear in Boo Boo Tin Tin and headed for the island. As I rowed out to sea I could see s/v Wee Happy ready for the trip with her spinnaker pre-hung. I could also see storm clouds building. I thought about going back and closing the hatches on Gemini Dreams but chose to continue on. I had already reached the island and was checking out the sea life as they passed by. Finding very little of interest I rowed back in for lunch. When I looked up Wee Happy was sitting back in the anchorage waiting for the big black clouds to leave. After lunch I pulled anchor and headed to the south anchorage. It is only a mile, but in the keys a mile by air is more like 5 miles by sailboat. I took Gemini Dreams in a far as I felt comfortable (still in 6 feet of water and ½ mile from shore). There were a couple hours of light left and after an exhausting day of carrying around a camera I was ready for a cat nap. Just before sunset I stood up noticing a 38' catamaran had anchored only 100 feet or so away. I pulled out the light weight tackle and made a couple of casts as sunset neared. I caught my first bonita.  If you are fishing the Atlantic side of the keys you must buy a black and gold Yo-Zuri minnow in 5".  If you only bring one lure....bring this or something similar!  I gave Capt "K" on Wee Happy one, complete with teeth marks.  His fishing success should increase dramatically. One has been donated to Poseidon with a "Zing" of the drag a huge bend in the rod... then dead silence.  note to self: increase the leader size on the trolling rod or go to stainless steel.
 I don't know why all the sailors say they never catch fish.  I read over and over "I've been thousands of miles and only caught two fish" or "one" and even "none".
Currently : Yo-Zuri minnow = 34 , Three tackle boxes full of other stuff = 0
Sunset at the Bahia Honda south anchorage with 20-25mph winds.
The anchorage here was much calmer until about 6:30 am. That's when the "East" word started showing up in the wind forcast.  I decided to move back to the first anchorage and spend the next few days here at Bahia Honda.   Actually that is when I decided to spend one more day here and the NOW 9' SEAS in Hawk Channel are keeping me here.

To be continued...

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