If time is money and you have more time, Do you need more money?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Little white ear buds

Well it seems that no mater how much you try to protect your electronics from the harsh environment of the sailing world, salt water will find a way.  During the cruises of s/v Gemini Dreams I have managed to loose most of the controls on my cell phone and various difficulties are showing on my netbook.

First I will deal with the cell phone.  I had arranged to lessen the cost by lessening my phone capabilities and this has worked for several months but now dealing with daily activities and the kids I needed to up the ante back to where I was before the shake down cruise.

During the course of the trip I found a serious need for "offline" information.  Things like how far is it to a specific anchorage! Is it any good?  Where is the marina? do they have fuel?  And the paper guides are only as up to date as when the author edited it, then printed it, distributed, sold, sitting in the boat....you get the idea.  Well there is a marvelous source for up to date, cruiser opinionated, information.  That is ActiveCaptain!  One little problem...it is an online source.  You need to be online to access it.  But if you go online to Active Captain and read newsletter number 39 (the link to the newsletters is at the bottom of the home page) you will find out about Navimatics Charts and Tides.  This iphone and ipad app (you get both for the price on one) allows you to store all the information off line!  So in other words when you are in the everglades you have all the active captain data at your disposal.  When you are in the Dry Tortugas you have all the information. This is one big reason to step up to an iphone. By no means do I think I can navigate with an iphone but the information from Active Captain and the Tide information are worth the cost of the app and phone.  I actually have to thank Capt "K" of s/v Wee Happy who had this on his ipad and informed me as I didn't read newsletter 39 either.

Then during my idle time I was looking for something fun to do with the kids when we went to Shell Island.  One of the google'd pages listed a couple of Geochaches on the island.   looking deeper into the activity and trying it out to see if they are interested went over well with the crew.  They are eager to "treasure hunt" on land and sea.  When looking over the Geocaching.com site it had the same limiting issue as Active Captain.  But they also had the same "work around" in the form of an iphone app.

So with 3 reasons (broken phone,charts and tides, geocaching) the iphone was looking like the leading contender.  Then the $49.95 nailed the proverbial coffin shut.  So here I am stuck with another 2 year contract with the overbearing overcharging lousy service phone monster that should have as many bars as they think they do and I will often have to remind myself of why I did it.  Now I need to buy the way over sized not very sleek, down right fugly otterbox case and then stick it in a zip lock when leaving port case.

Okay so now onto replacing the netbook, 

Hmmm?  (Wheels turning)  At this point there seems no justification for getting an iPad.  Even though I now have a set of those little white ear buds that have been on commercials for the last 10 years.  They came with the iPhone. I have also been forced to due the iTunes thing to get the apps.  Until now I have avoided the iAssimilation.  Do you remember the episode of Next Generation when the Borg say "You will be Assimilated!" and "resistance is futile".  I think they talking about apple.  They do a superior job of assimilating knowledge from those they encounter implementing it into their collective and making people think this is what "you" wanted.  Continually improving the base with new apps (at a cost to you of course)  but always holding out on the prime directive;  only sell what we need to and hold the rest of the cards until next year. Seriously why doesn't the iPhone or iPad play flash?  Why can you not upload photos to a blog without buying an app? The only people more in control of the human population than those behind the "conspiracy theories" are Steve and the boys.  Yes there will still be outlaws on Window based systems modifying and upgrading, pirating bites of information, and worrying about "contact".  Think of the internet...Now think of the internet in your hand...Now think of the internet implanted within...Now think of Terminator the movie...You should be afraid!  Apple is making the internet personal!  The next step is interconnectivity to ones nerves, no key pads, no volumes, no batteries.  All human powered.  Just pause and think... Where were computers when you were born?  Where were computers that many years before you were born...Subtract you age again and the same question.  Silicon chips..they control the world.  What will be the next step in evolution? Bio?  We are only at the beginning of the bell shaped curve.  Intelligence is exponential and uncontrollable?  So I guess I will get an iPad when I get the funds.  After all it is better to not know.

Seriously click the photo above

I want an iCar... you know basic transportation that only goes so fast, only hold so many people, pretends to be green as it burns its gas, and has a whole crap load of options and upgrades on the market.  Oh wait Daimler already did that with the Smart in Europe.  Bet it would have sold better over here as an iCar with little white ear buds and clip on body panels you change with your mood.  

Damn, I'm going sailing 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Missing the Eagles on the panhandle and TENNIS

Since I missed the eagles on the ICW from Apalachicola to Panama City a friend hooked me up.  He then wrote back to give me a heads up on Tennis.

 Of course there is an add to watch first and beware your volume

Denver couple Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore sold most of their possessions, bought a sailboat and spent much of the next year traversing the Atlantic Ocean. Though their story sounds as though it was plucked from one of our winter fantasies, the husband-and-wife duo had been carefully planning the voyage ever since they met in college. But what they didn't foresee was that the trip would rekindle their love of music and fuel their careers in the indie-rock band Tennis.

Both Riley and Moore had been musicians in various unsuccessful bands throughout the years, but had since stowed away their instruments in dusty closets. As their seven-month voyage carried them 2,500 miles across the Atlantic, they found joy in the simplicity of their unregulated lifestyle. "I think we had both put our music equipment away pretty much forever, thinking we would never approach playing music as a lifestyle again until we went sailing," says Riley.

Hear the band perform songs from its debut and talk with World Cafe host David Dye about how the couple met, the open seas and Tennis' new album, Cape Dory. - World Cafe


Got to love those that dump it all and go sailing
thanks Rick

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Fishing From A Sailboat...top 10 lists

I have added a "Fishing From A Sailboat" page to this blog. Scott & Wendy Bannerot wrote a whole book and that is your first item if you are serious about adding fish to the table!

So with all that information, all I have to do is make a little page of what works for me.  A simplified version consisting of the top 10 items for each category. This is a perpetual page and updates will be regular as new items go on the page and old items fall off. Every time I find or learn something new I will Update the appropriate top 10 lists.

Space on a small sailboat is premium so I will address this also with the selections for gear and storage.  I will cover specific lures that work for me, like Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnows in gold!  I will try my best to give   Costs are another concern for sailors living aboard, I will try to give the best places to save money when buying your gear and the best options of gear to save money.

There will be random techniques and tips scattered through out the blog.  I will try to put a link at the bottom of the "Fishing From A Sailboat" page for any significant information.   These items could be a simple as here are the GPS numbers for a great spot to how far behind MY boat a certain lure works.

As far as general technique goes, you are on your own! you can go to online sites, locals, magazines etc.  I do not have the patience or experience to write a book or make a DVD.  There are better alternatives.
Florida Sportsman is a great place to start

Yes that is me

  1. They have the Magazine
  2. They have a TV Show
  3. They have online videos
  4. They have a radio show
  5. They have fishing 4casts by region
  6. They have condensed DVDs  complete with books
  7. They have fishing charts for your a
  8. They have way too much!  So if you are just starting or needing to fine tune give them a try!

These are some of the other guys.  There is more information than anyone could ever need!  Most of it is free thanks to the internet.  You can help keep this Blog and "Fishing From A Sailboat" going please click the sponsors when you visit.  Six clicks a visit will help to buy a video camera to increase the impact of the blog.  You can also do flat donations with the PayPal link in the upper right corner.


Friday, April 15, 2011

ICW Apalachicola to Panama City...4-5-11

So calm this morning after the storm a couple nights ago.

s/v Gemini Dreams still at Water Street Hotel and Marina waiting to shove off
A shrimp boat passing into the sun by toward the bay

Wow!  What a contrast to the ICW of both south east and south west Florida!

 The above are photos from Floridas South East Coast

 The above pictures are between Apalachicola and Panama City

The only bridge on this stretch you may have to deal with.

I never did find a Bald Eagle or Alligator in this section.  The chill from the north must have kept the gators hiding.  The trip was peaceful except for the motor have to run the whole distance!  I kept calculating time of arrival. Trying to decide if I should go to the marina or anchor out one last time.  The bay was getting big as I crossed in front of the "cut".  I actually turned to go to the park and spend the night but the waves were more than I wanted to deal with.  I was thinking safe in a slip and peaceful.  LOL  That is a joke at Sun Harbor!  The slips are exposed to too much traffic from the intercoastal, winds from the S, SW, W, NW, and N pretty much.  Being tied to the pylons facing the wrong way to the waves makes that windy night at Bahia Honda seem really calm.   I love being anchored out much more than here but sometimes you have to do what you have to do.  Over the next few weeks I will be upgrading and replacing what Gemini Dreams needs.

Don't worry as the whole crew is available for cruises around the Florida Panhandle.  There are thousands of fishing spots, hundreds of places to anchor and many islands to conquer with the Prince and Princess of Pirates.  Hang in there for some very fun times with the family before it is time to go to the Bahamas!

Panama City Camera

You would really hate to miss hurricane season, right?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Cutting Corners... day three

Okay, I slept a little late this morning after the long last two days.  By the time I pulled the anchor the bay was very choppy and the wind was strong from the south.  I had planed to stop at Miller Marine for fuel and to check out their transient slips before the storm.

Why can the simple things not be simple?

First getting to the 90 degree bend in the inter coastal was not bad.  Then there were all the missing markers NOT marking the channel.  I tried to hail Miller's on the radio without a good response, I actually ended up calling them on the phone because now I had WHITE markers in the center of the channel!  I just came from the Keys, white markers mean "shallow". "wreck below". or something similar.  But if they are in the middle which side do you go around and which side do you go aground.  Miller's response was "what white markers".  I had to ease up to them as best I could with a 20 knot wind now blowing me right on top of them.  Turns out they were marking an underground pipe and I was all good.  All good, except the missing and moved markers along the channel.  Finding "13" where "17" should be and no "15" or "17" among others.  No "10" or "14", you get the idea.  It is hard to play connect the dots if someone steals part of the dots!

As I get almost to the bridge (65 foot clearance, woo hoo) I see the whole channel blocked by a pipe and several tug boats.  I try hailing Miller's on the radio, I try hailing the work crew, NOTHING!  Here I am on another conveyor belt of waves, 20 knot winds and a narrow channel trying to hold ground in an under powered sailboat.  I end up calling Miller's again,  "what pipe? they should be done, they left yesterday...(yada yada yada)".   Well I finally decided to head into the wind and back to where I could have a little more room in the bay.

Nanny Granny from New Frontier, AL (Mobile Bay)

On the way out I passed a shrimp boat, m/v Nanny Granny, going in to the bridge,  I quickly turned and followed him through.  Seams when a big ass 55 foot shrimp boat says move people listen!  Also seems Nanny Granny based in Mobile, AL has been working Apalachicola a lot since the BP oil spill!

Water Street Motel and Marina on a calm day

Once I had enough fuel from Miller's I decided to try Water Street Hotel and Marina for the night!  I paid for two days.  (That is a big ouch to a guy that is used to anchoring out for free!)  But this gave me time to check out the town.  If you think oysters from Apalachicola should be cheap at Apalachicola think again!  While not the $13.95 from Fisherman's Wharf in Venice they were still $6.50 to $9.50 a dozen!  I met the crew from s/v Break Aweigh and went with them to get oysters at one of the $6.50 places, Papa Joe's at Scipio Creek Marina.

s/v Break Aweigh

Papa Joe's at Sciop Creek

fishing gear

The whole South Eastern USA was hit by the storm overnight.  Tornadoes, 90mph winds, power outages, broken trees, hail and other issues.  Now called "The Great Derecho of April 4-5,2011"  I slept well in the creek!
Map of severe storm reports 4-4-11

Biggest severe weather outbreak ever?

Lots of questions about this statement since this was the most reports ever received by the Storm Prediction Center. Due to the way technology & communication have advanced as well as population density it’s more likely that the numbers have been inflated. Either way this was the most reports received since 2000 and even after filtering repeat reports would likely put this #3 since 2000.

link to more info here

Apalachicola is a cool little town to spend a day in, after two days you think you have seen it all, on day three I left.


Cutting Corners...night two.

The glow entering the jetties as the waves were reduced to high chop by the out going tide!

Shortly after taking the sunset picture I turned Gemini Dreams hard 90 degrees.  The water dead ahead seamed to boil!  Okay brain work!  First was it me or the water?  Everything else made sense but the water didn't I looked like the waves were crossing an underwater jetties!  I used a light to check the paper chart, I checked the laptop and Fugawi.  Every thing agreed there was nothing there to hit.  Then I hit me...it was just the outgoing tide crashing into the waves being blown in from the south.  You always hear stories of how the water looked at some time or event, but this is the first time I have actually scene it appear to boil.  Must have been a perfect balance of tidal rush and wave strength!  At this point I was only one mile out of the "cut".  There was no way I wanted to stay outside for the night as the waves were already 3-4 feet and due -to be 5-7 by dawn, and 7-9 by midday  .  With only the glowing horizon to see by (and a bright LED flash light) I proceeded ahead.  The waves as I approached the jetties were very similar to the top end of Gasperson Sound the day I left Cayo Costa.  I seriously expected the GPS to say 7 plus knots from the way the waves held the boat escorting it into the bay.  The GPS actually said 2.3 knots meaning the out going current was around 3 knots!

The lingering glow guiding s/v Gemini Dreams to safety in the bay.

Going through the cut was more of "keeping it between the rocks".  Reminded me of trying to balance on top of fence posts when I was a kid. The waves held Gemini Dreams to match their speed. but it was up to me to stay off the rocks.  Then as I entered further into the channel the waves slowly disappeared.  Once passing the last markers on the leward side of St George Island the seas were almost flat.  I found a place to drop anchor and rest for the night just to starboard!  Seven miles to go before the storm gets here in 24 hours! I made the crossing with a day to spare!


PS the adventure continues in the morning!  You didn't think it would be this simple did you?

Cutting Corners... day two

Cutting corners day two...

Sunrise day two crossing from Tampa to Appalachacola

I was fairly well rested as sunrise came on day two.  Amazing the difference with and without an autopilot!  The dolphins from the day before were only a memory and the Sargasso grass was making trolling for fish a pain.  I finally gave up and reeled the lures in.  Today was only vast amounts of dark blue water with an emerald highlight.  This is only slightly different than the water at Los Tortugas which was the same dark blue but with a grayish sapphire highlight.  I finally came upon the first of several Air force Towers in this part of the Gulf.  

There were three of these within view of my path

Thirty four hours after I left I finally saw a shrimp boat on the panhandle coast.  This is the first boat I had seen in over 24 hours!  Yes over 24 hours... no boats... no land... not even an airplane!  Just three towers making terrible sounds!

My only companion for the two days

I spent most of my time listening to music from Putumayo and checking the position every couple hours or so.    I can see now how with someone else on board and an autopilot you can get caught up on so much!  
This is great music to just "get away" try it in your cubical!  

Sunset day two

I was doing well concidering I had been sailing now for 37 hours trying to make Government Cut on Apalachicola bay before sunset.  Guess what that picture above is from outside Government cut! Almost two miles outside!  All the excitement of the trip was about to happen between sunset and dark!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cutting Corners... night one

Night time 8 hours from the nearest land!  This would have been an ordeal I am sure except for the training I received going out to Los Tortugas.  Having a buddy boat always less than 2 miles away when you are out of sight of land is very reassuring.  Especially on your first voyage.  This would be another "first" my first solo crossing of any type.  Almost two hundred miles all alone.

Putting as much as I could from lessons learned going to the Tortugas made the night much better.

  1. I broke into the kitty to buy an autopilot.
  2. I dressed warmer sooner.
  3. I crossed referenced the GPS, heading and charts.
  4. Jack lines! the boat gets very wet after dark
  5. Snack better
  6. Nap lightly and check ofter, other boats may be asleep at the wheel.
  7. Let someone know your course and plan.
All went well! A very successful night! I was nowhere as tired thanks to the Autopilot.


Cutting corners...day one 4-2-11

Sunrise day one 

If you have been following along you may remember the crossing to the Dry Tortuas, that long very tiring day from Bahia Honda.  That trip was a total of about 115-120 miles.  As I left the anchorage today I was on the beginning of a 180 nautical mile journey!  Cutting across turns a 6-7 day journey into just 2 days, LONG DAYS!  For a novice sailor like me this is a little intimidating.  There is no "buddy boat" this time, Wee Happy is trying to get to the Bahamas

View Tampa to Appalachacola in a larger map

Google maps says the voyage is 197.99 miles.

 I tried so hard last night to stay in the narrow channel I must have forgotten today!  Reverse! Okay that one wasn't too bad.  If you focus for 30 seconds on something else, like a chart,  you may be aground here!  Once I was though Terre Verde Bridge (last bridge) and Pass-A-Grille channel I raised the sails!  The wind was good and at this rate I would be there by sunset tomorrow!  After a couple of hours I checked the location on the charts, all is good!  For the first few hours I saw other sailboats and fishing boats, all 5 or six of them.  On the next reference check it seemed that even though the boat was pointed in the right direction it was sidestepping the course and for the last hour I had only gone due west not northwest!  The wind was also getting light so it was time to use the motor for a while.  Did I mention I had to arrive before the storm or I would be faced with Force 6 winds and seas Monday night.  Eventually the winds died down to almost nothing and the seas began to calm.  Looked like I would be motoring for a long time!  

Before we parted ways, one thing I told Lala and Kristopher I had not seen,....

...I still had not seen the dolphins run the bow of the boat.  Tonight, about an hour before sunset, I got that experience.  They were not the typical bottle nose but spotted dolphins.  They hung out for about 30 minutes.

Sunset day one.  The last boat I saw was several hours ago.

all is good