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

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Day at the Hathaway Bridge

Last night Tin and I hosted the girls to a shrimp dinner.  Basically the same dinner from when Wee Happy came to the boat as the first dinner guests at Boot Key Harbor.  I was able to test out a new smaller grill that takes up less space on the aft deck.  Boo, Tin's sister decided to take a splash off the dock clothing and all! Must be growing pains.

Today Tin and I went to the Hathaway bridge fishing today hoping for a "Big Red".  But no, there were little pin fish stealing bait, Lizard fish cutting fingers, and puffer fish well, just puffing up!  Puffer fish put a real hurting on Gulp shrimp.  Those rat like teeth cut chunks out.

No sheep's head no red fish, we did hook up lunch, dinner,breakfast and some more lunch and dinner.  Using a "New Penny" Gulp shrimp I hooked up the Penn 4000 to a monster.  The drag spun for about half the line.  I was expecting to get spooled but the fish slowly turned.  I was So hoping it was a Red Fish and had no clue until a fin showed after about 5 minutes.  It wasn't a Red but what was it.  It wasn't one of the dolphins that had been swimming in the area earlier.  At the moment the fin cut the water Tin yelled "shark!"  It was still almost to the first bridge truss so at this point it could be...  After about another 10 minutes it was close enough to see it was a Cobia!  We had dinner if it didn't pull free.  So for about 25 minutes on the lightweight tackle I walked the Cobia back and forth under the bridge.  Without a gaff I needed to get him to the beach on the south side.  He had a couple more runs as we closed the distance to the sand.   Wading in trying to cut the distance he was finally in the breaking surf and beached.

Now the hard part carrying a Cobia to boat from here, 1/4 mile! I was glad to be at the dock and find a cart.  It was not just any Cobia but a 41" to the fork. That made for a great dinner.

41" fork lenght
Gulp New Penny shrimp with a fish head jig.
Key lime Cobia for dinner.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

It's The End Of The World As We Know It...

Tin and I sit here on the dock of the bay, (pause) ♫ ♪ ♫...(sorry had to youtube Otis to keep the thought going).  Well the beginning of the End of the World starts today.  Quetzalcoatl or Chicken Little?  

It takes skill to land a fish that size on a hook that big

With all the headlines saying The End of the World this week I thought I would post but chose not to put it all in the blog.  After all it is a sailing blog not a sarcasm opinion blog.  If you really want it go here

Caught on a Bass Spinner Bait

Have a great day FISH ON!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Feeding the dolphins on Mother's Day

Well I finally got the girls out on the boat.  Tin Man runs around now like he has it under control.  Trying his best to anticipate and be helpful.  The winds were light and the seas over sized for the conditions.  Just what all new sailors want: Rock and Roll.  

We headed out through the pass, dodging all the dredge operation.  It is amazing how much space a pump boat and some pipe actually take.  I learned way back at Apalachicola you must follow the biggest boat you can find. Today was a little simpler as there were light winds and a lot of traffic.
This is MY SPOT and don't take my picture with this stupid orange life vest on!

We did a little trolling for dinner down the grand strand of Thomas Drive.  I turned 180 when I expected the "lunch" questions to start.  Sure enough about 10 minutes later.  "When's do we eat?"  That was the moment the  drag on the port rod started to sing a little.  I expected this rod to out fish all the rest by a long shot because it was rigged with a Spanish Mack rig (4 tube flies and a spoon).  Tin called my attention and hoping he could reel it in, but after all it was Mother's Day.  So... "Fish on!"... as I motioned for Dana to come and handle the fish.  By the time Dana came from her sunning on the bow to the take the rod and find a spot to reel the fish in, as it was a bit of a battle.  I think she made a half dozen cranks or so then all hell broke loose.  There was a sudden flash of silver or white out behind the dinghy and a huge pull on the reel.  I reached to help and was unable to stop the run.  Then as I saw the fin break the water I knew...
"My poor fish!"

That big flash of white was the underside of a dolphin.  He (or she, after all it is mother's day)...  seems she (we'll go with that) wanted the mackerel more than we did.  The dolphin continued to roll over as the remaining members of the pod played right along.  All rolling and diving.  I kept thinking "Damn, I'm going to have to call and get help to unhook a protected species!"  Well after a few seconds all went calm.  I reeled in 4 tube flies, a spoon and a mackerel head.  No signs of issues with the dolphin.  No need to call dolphin rescue.  I was glad to see all the lures at the end of the line!
Every dinghy needs a little TLC mud (sand) bath to clear the growth.

After lunch we went for a splash to cool off.  While the kids played in the water I started cleaning the hull on Boo Boo Tin Tin and the girls helped out a bunch!  I had anchored at the point on Shell Island's inner corner.  All was good until the tide started to flow out and we stayed a little too long.  Try pulling two anchors up with 3 knots of current pushing the boat sideways.  LOL.  If I was alone this would have been a 3 hour wait until the tide slacked!  (Good news is both anchors held fast!)
Tin with the last micro fish of the day

We had a little wind to sail us back and shiver those that were tired and sunburned.  Another wonderful day on the boat.


Monday, May 2, 2011

Quest for Shell Island Treasure

Here I sit on a Wednesday night watching 3,908 day old TV, Magnum PI.  Trying to give enough thought into the upcoming days itinerary.  Tin and I (the "Tin Tin" in the Boo Boo Tin Tin name of my dinghy) are going on our first expedition and adventure aboard Gemini Dreams.  It must be fun while passing the "mommy" test.  Which is why he is not here tonight, 30+ knots with squall lines tonight.  I have found there is "treasure" on the island.  So tomorrow morning the adventure begins,,,   "X" marks the spot!

Tin came to the Marina around 8am toting his backpack and a huge smile.  The storm from the night before was now only a "cool morning breeze" and a power outage at the dock.  After stowing the cooler and his gear we caught a ride to Hel-mart for a PFD for him.  I had put off the purchase due to growing kids.  We grabbed some breakfast and a bus ride back to the marina.  After a quick lesson in charts we headed out into the bay.
Getting a grip on charts

After a few minutes on charts, we went over the departure check list, which with his new life jacket was complete.  We managed to get some ice at the marina even without the power restored.  It was time to cast off for the island now.
Taking the helm for his first time with a little heal.

We spent the first part of the cruise trying to tack underneath the bridge.  But the current and light winds made if more trouble than I could put the inspiring captain through.  We fell off and headed to the island.  On the way there you pass a small rock pile man made island called bird island "Audubon Island on the charts".  This is where we passed one of the Navy training ships which actually hailed us and gave us a compliment on the "nice looking little sloop".  He also asked about our destination.  I explained it was my son's Tin's first voyage and we were spending the next four days at shell island.  Later I heard him hail another sailboat.  He must have been dreaming of being out himself.   We continued down wind in the light winds doing my favorite thing, wing and wing, NOT. 
Standing watch
You really need to be there when you kids experience dolphins in the wild.  

It was a thrilling trip to get the few miles across the bay but we finally had the anchor down and ready for the little man to brave the 25 knots coming later in the night.  Just for info he slept through the whole thing and really handles the boating life like a sailor. LOL   Do you remember my post from Bahia Honda about the 25+ knots and dragging anchor?

He seemed to enjoy the days with dad...
He played with the stars, he caught a lady, He was almost swallowed by the sea, He talked to crabs, and took a break.  
Taking a break while hunting the secret treasure of Shell Island. We took a walk from the anchorage to the park docks.  This is quite a hike!  I was hoping for redfish and trout but it turned out to be a crab hole for Tin.  We also got within a mile of the buried treasure before the Principe de Pirata decided to turn around and head back.   The next day we moved to a new anchorage and tried again, crossing crab infested tidal grasses and palmetto palm thickets.  Once again we turned around for a better approach.  So the treasure remains out of our reach for now, but with two of three routes marked off we are indeed closer than before.
This sandwich is good.... was that a fish? What kind of fish? Can I cast over there? Can we go?
Wading the flats
The catching didn't stop when he was aboard Gemini Dreams
One of the blue crabs "reeled" in this weekend
It's HOT!
Going dinghy!
Ahhh that is better!   It'sssss cooooold!
He just couldn't get enough
The only issue we had was a little sunburn when he left his hat on the dinghy and didn't wear his glasses.  This put a damper on his last day as we watched James Bond and Merlin instead of fishing in the sun.  But as the sun went down on Sunday...

Tomorrow it is back to school with bragging rights!  We caught around 25 fish and crabs between us.  

Even though we didn't find the "treasure" we will always treasure this time.  He did leave asking when are we going to the Bahamas?  What an awesome 4 days.  Thanks Ayrton my "Tin Man"


May 1st 1994

Some thing in life impact today, some impact tomorrow and some impact forever after.