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

Monday, January 30, 2012

Blue Water Adventures

We left Apalachicola with hopes of a two day sail to Tampa.  Good thing we are flexible on our plan.  Three days at sea...

We really didn't get too much fun in this trip.  We were only getting a 2-3 day window of "acceptable" conditions this week.  So the choice was hang around in Apalachicola and Caribell or take the small "acceptable" window.

The Fisher King's first sunset at sea

First we left on the tail end of a front that tossed the seas the night before.  This made the Fisher King a little green.  So with a little help from his Bonine he slept most of the next 24 hours.  Just in case I got a little green also I took one.  Funny thing about Bonine it turn me into a zombie.  After about 10-12 hours I can't stay awake and I can't go to sleep.   Too tired to stay at the helm I put Gemini Dreams in the typical hove to position.  I then set the alarm just in case and stretched out hoping to sleep it off.  Well remember... I can't go to sleep.  I go out and shake my head, no way I can focus to sail and I don't want to motor.  Back down below.  Needless to say it was an unproductive night.  Note to self stay away from the Bonine on crossings!  Morning came and I was at the helm when Tin finally woke up.

Our biggest adventures of the trip both happened on day two.  While motoring

First:   Tin came popping up out of the companion way yelling, "you got a fish, you got a fish".  Seems in my slightly tired, mostly deaf condition I hadn't heard the clicker on the Penn.  When I tried to pick up the reel it was obviously a large fish. Possibly a Wahoo or King since it stayed down low.  By the time I got the rod and reel around to the Fisher King he started to reel it in.  This seemed odd as I expected it to be WAY more than he could handle.  But there he was steadily reeling this large fish toward the boat.  Then the last of the brain cells kicked in and i reached for the line and gave it a jerk.  No fish just a large swivel pulling against the reel and a long leader that is obviously two sizes too small.  Too bad as this was obviously the largest fish all year long!

Spotted dolphins oh my!

Second was the first of 3 pods of spotted dolphins.  This pod was large!  I do not know how many were actually around the boat.  Best guess is 30-40 as they were at all corners.  Chasing and crossing our path.  We have a couple of short Videos we can post but the HD video just overpowers our power frugal computers.  I am so glad that he got to experience this.  All strapped in on the bow trying to pet one.  He did end up with a little spray from one in his face. lol

the Fisher King playing with dolphins

Later in the evening the wind a seas didn't like our intended direction.  So we spent another night hove to as I was another day tired.   This was a tiring night as the seas were changing from one direction to another and seas were crossing and all mixed up and over 5 feet.  Massive chop in other words.

Sunrise in blue water

Sunday morning was a good change.  The winds were 15 knots from the north and the seas were only 5 feet and getting into sync.  This made the last 47 miles a broad reach and a great sail.  I started the motor less than a mile from Clearwater channel and motored into the Belleview Island Anchorage.  AND A GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP!


Apalachicola Florida

Well it came time to leave this picturesque little place and head to the small town of Apalachicola, FL

Typical views along the Gulf Waterway

Sunrise leaving White City Park,  yes we love sunset but sometimes you just have to be up to make the next port. 

This is the second "NEW" home we have passed, is the economy better or worse?  Is this an upgrade or downsize?  For reference the first one was less than 1/2 the square footage.

Old rotating railway bridge

I stayed here last spring at the Water Street Hotel due to a strong storm passing by.  That is a great little motel that one of the townsmen just informed us that may be going bankrupt.  For some reason they negotiated a deal at building that they would not go condo,  to preserve the little town, but since all the tourists have become accustom to condos that may be it's undoing.  But that is their politics and not ours.  

The Seafood Grill has the best burgers in town and the other items I tried now and in the spring were good also.  They also have free WIFI and only two blocks from the Park.  (just ask for the pass code)   The restaurant at Cipio Creek Dock was also good last spring.   Now the downside of Apalachicola is IT IS OYSTER TOWN!  Why can I get oysters from Apalachicola in other places for as low as $1.99 a dozen and the price here is ridiculous?   You will not be happy at Boss Oyster

One dozen raw from the closes place to the oysters.  Boss Oysters

You would expect that for $10.95 they would not be full of grit or shell chips!

We spent two nights at the City Park Free dock.  One our last afternoon we spoke to the manager of the City Park and talked sailboats for a while.  Once he realized that we were on an Albin Vega we had more to talk about our our short list of boats to compare.  He asked if we know Espin (s/v Mini Pearl) and that just proves how small a world it can be. We talked about the house we were near as it was once Jimmy Buffets and some issues with Barbara Mandrell's visit.  He inquired if the "Port Master" had been by to see us.  And didn't seem surprised when we said no.  I asked if we should move to the anchorage across the river and he said that he would stay on the dock.   So here we sit in Apalachicola waiting out another storm just as my last visit.

Waiting one more day for the storm to pass.  Front arriving with fury!

Friday we filed the float plan with family and headed out across the bay to Government Cut.  The bay got more choppy as we closed in on the cut as we were now on the windward side of the shore.   We arrived at slack tide which is much better than my first pass through this small channel in the spring.  Listening to the radio and looking at the windfinder charts everything was still a go as the small craft advisory had just been lifted 37 minutes before we entered the "cut".   We left with 4-6 foot seas weakening over the next two days and winds from the NW becoming N.

Blue water here we come!


White City Park

Well Jason came on removed the carb for a recleaning.  We added two more filters in line so there are 3 filters on my little outboard.  The next morning we are off with the engine idling fine.

 Very foggy on departure, Bird Island is the last land we see until the Tyndal Bridge and this is in the Intercoastal Waterway
Dolphin escort

The hope was to get to White City Park along the Intercoastal from Panama City to Apalachicola.  We decided to stop not far after Wetapppo Creek, anchoring in the channel but far enough out of the way just in case one of the barges came through.  The fishing was no bueno! Again!  In the morning we started the motor and it died,  on the next try it started and idled while we undid the Bahamian Mooring.  

Just before White City at the intersection of the two waterways was our second pair of Bald Eagles
Entrance by road

It was fairly early when we got to White City Park.  We tried to idle into the docks but... Yes you guessed it!  The damn engine wouldn't idle.  So with slack tide and mostly still water I just rowed over in the dinghy and tied us up.  Arrrrg!  Three filters and still trash in the carb.   Pulled the #2 filter and no more black stuff as on the very first day.  Checked the clear #3 filter and nothing.  Must be more corrosion inside the rebuilt carb that keeps doing it.  So saving 250+ vs buying the completely new Mercury carb just sucks now.  When I get a chance I will pull it off and clean it out.  AGAIN!  It runs good except at idle.

Tin serving up the Sheephead Sushi our first night at White City

Sushi and a Movie

When we got tied up we met a quite aged man in a little red truck.  We asked about a convenient store with a hysterical answer.  "Well the store that has been here for 84 years closed two days ago.  We're trying to get it open again soon."  He informed us that he was raised just across the channel and gave us a short story of the 3 barge outfit that used to own the dock and how it was passed from Federal to State to County and then the dock became part of White City.  There is Water, 110 electric, a great little fishing rail and other pic-nic style actives here. We talked with several fishermen that had loads of "One time..." stories but most seemed to be there to catch Croakers by the 5 gallon bucket fulls. They also seemed to catch the local pelicans often.  We did manage to catch some Specks that were undersize but never got any of our own "One time..." stories.   We also met a family on a catamaran headed to Tampa area.  We also watched the local Otters bobbing their heads up occasionally.

One of the otters,  shhhh!  They are the first thing Tin has not named!

 One of the barges cruising the narrow channel,  I needed two photos from my angle it was so big

s/v Gemini Dreams from overhead at White City Park

Also there is no AT&T phone service at White City so the Mommy Alarm was ringing.  We even tried walking on the bridge to gain height but no service.  Then on our last morning as we were untying the lines we had service.  Barely one bar so I tried a text that said failed.  A few moments later the phone rang and we checked in just before we had no service again.

 Note:  You need citronella and screens here at night!


Friday, January 20, 2012

Waterboarding at Watappo Creek

We settled in last night after aggravating motor day. Dinner was Roast Beef with mashed potatoes and corn and BUGS. The most annoying little gnats. I had forgotten posting about more bugs here than anywhere in the Keys! As we hid below to eat there must have been 1.7 million gnats on every surface of the boat.

Legend of Boggy Creek fog seeping through the companionway boards

We have most of the boats electrical toys back on just the solar and inverters allowing us to finish the last couple episodes of House Season One. After an eventful day we crashed early hoping to get up and catch some red fish here in the tidal creeks and flats. WTF! 2:30am! WTF! My pillow is wet? Turn on light. It is raining inside the cabin! The condensation is SO bad that there must be 10 drops a second falling. I checked outside and the boat was surrounded by movie perfect fog and a thick layer or water drops. Not just damp but beading, standing water pellets. My head touched the sail cover and it felt like a shower, a 42 degree shower! I returned to the cabin leaving more ventilation open and wiped down the walls and roof. WTF! 3:15am it is raining again! Wiped it all down and turned on the fans in 40 degree weather. WTF! 4:00 wiped it down and re arranged fan. Okay 4:30 then fan just makes the drops let go sooner and are thus smaller. To hell with this, flip pillow and pull up covers. Alarm goes off at 6:00 am. Cancel that baby! Second alarm goes off at 6:30 am. That one too. Tin wakes up at 8 and wants to fish, not long after he comes back in cold and wet from the mist covered boat. I drag my tired but up and debate the engine idle issue.

A pair of Bald Eagles watched the whole thing this morning
Second anchor now exposed with the low tide, with the BUG factory right behind it!

I tossed the rode from the second anchor in the water. Then I tighten the the chain on the primary to vertical. I had to take the dinghy to the shore and retrieve the second anchor. After wading to pull the embedded fortress out of the mud and retrieving the rode I row back to the boat. I pull the cord and Vrro.. almost! Pull way too many more times and sometime around 50 it goes Vroooommm! And idles after about 10 minutes I think good. I double check the anchor chain is tight, leaving anchor embedded (quick pull up when motor goes into gear). Go put motor into gear, dummmpa. Pull on too many more times. Get mad and pull the cockpit sole, wire up electric start, it has only been on board for a year. Play around with it a little and finally Vrooom! Go pull anchor, run and shift into gear and dummmpa, again! Go drop anchor before the tide pushes us on the shallows. Restart motor and put in gear THEN try to pull anchor. Boat turns to bar, leave anchor down and try to put engine in neutral again. Dummpa. Get it restarted, pull anchor and run to the motor again and voila finally in gear making head way. Pull on the intercoastal and have one of those moments when you rethink the validity of what you are doing. Make a 180 degree turn and head back to PC to have the motor worked on again!

The fish were not biting so the Fisher King takes a break
 The bay was starting to glass over on the way back and Tin was bored to sleep
The hammock is way more comfortable

It was a calm day. No fish! Against the tide all the way back to the marina. Afraid to turn it off.  We managed to get tied off at sunset. Anyone want to donate a Beta conversion?

Day seven down and we are in PC again!


Thursday, January 19, 2012

An almost lovely day sailing...

Day six of the 2012 cruise..  okay it is seven weeks after day one.

the Fisher King preparing for a nap in the cold cockpit 

The motor was a little temperamental this morning but not too bad. Too bad since I just spent too much on getting it fixed. I left the motor running, better to test it all out while close to help. The wind was great and most of the days sail was a broad reach. This made great time with the tide and motor assist.
There is this really great looking place at Wetappo Creek where the old creek bed USED to flow. You know long before the inter coastal was cut. Whe depth should be about 7 feed inside but the problem was the previous dredging has made the edge of the inter coastal have a sand bar before the pocket. We went Bummmp, and we have found the bottom. Good thing we tested the depth sounder and it passed, -.2 feet is touching bottom. The motor did it's thing and went from forward to reverse and pulled us off. Then it died. Pull, Pull, Pull, and finally it was on it's way again. I chose to stop just inside Wetappo Creek incase there were issues. After getting all anchored we tried fishing. BUGS! Millions! We gave up and made dinner, then hid below for the rest of the evening.

Sunset at Wetappo Creek

Leaving Emerald City!

"Close your eyes and tap you heels together three times, And think to yourself, there's no place like home."
Gateway to the Emerald City, metaphor for "Emerald Coast"

If you read this blog often you would be surprised that the Wizard of Oz is not my favorite movie.  Over 70 years ago (1939 movie, 1900 book) a masterpiece was created that would alter society far beyond the 101 minutes it took to watch the movie.  Quotes, references and cliche's Oh My!  Just for reference Ferris Bueller's Day Off may be my favorite of all time.  He wasn't the only one the be chased down by school personnel for skipping school or being mischievousness. Right Guys?

Get your motor running, head out on the inter coastal,
Looking for adventure in whatever comes our way.

Yeah, Tin Man, gonna make it happen,
take the world in a lovely embrace.
Fire all of your guns at once and explode into space.

I like smoke and lightning, heavy metal thunder,
racing with the wind and the feeling that I'm under.
Yeah, Tin Man gonna make it happen.

Like a true nature child we were born, bon to be wild.
We can climb so high, I never wanna die.
Born to be wild, born to be wild.
Get your motor running, head out on the inter coastal,
Yeah, Tin Man, gonna make it happen,

Like a true nature child we were born, bon to be wild.
We can climb so high, I never wanna die.
Born to be wild, born to be wild.

Well our motor is finally running, and I am going out to untie and head in to the inter coastal.  I will try to post some when we get to Apalachicola or Carabelle.

Last sunset in PC

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Well as adventures go this one keeps kicking our ass...

From puppy dog eyes hoping for a delay keeping us at the dock until Christmas to Mercury the dark black money sucking hole we still have not left!  We were to leave on January 1st according to our updated updated updated itinerary.  All we needed to do was grab some fresh produce and a couple of sodas to enjoy between here and the Keys.  But as things would be...  Life sucks at the moment.  Our slip is randomly pounded by wakes from passing sport fishers and of course the NSA Panama City.  We also get hit from SW winds pretty hard.  Oh and the growth from oysters and other creatures has been a battle.  Scraping the hull and foot every month have not been enough.  Staying here is like sitting in alien laden acid with arms that keep reaching up to claim you.  If the salt corrosion doesn't dissolve every part of your boat the growth eats you seal by seal.   We have had several boats in the anchorage wash ashore during heavy winds due to the anchor lines cutting themselves from the oyster growth.  We thought about going to anchor and saving the $300 a month but after the first summer storm and seeing the possibilities we remained tied here within the box.  Well being stern to for so long may have been just as bad financially.   Cost of current engine repairs has totaled...$888.81

Being at the marina you gain real restrooms, a shower, and step off the boat to land.  You also get power (we were here for 3 months before we cared to plug in), cable tv (still never plugged in to cable) and internet (could get it from the anchorage maybe).   But it has cost us $4000 over the stay!  During that time we have also had a $600 bicycle stolen (Tin's was stolen too but a little before I got to town)!  So the price of staying in this little hole?  Over 4 grand with the engine work!   If we have to come back to PC we will look for other arrangements for a location to stay.  Maybe Massilina Bayou where s/v Raindrop and s/v Mini Pearl have been staying.

Just to compare pine cones and key limes the same amount of time in the Keys would have been less than $1000 or so and I would still have my bike! (maybe?)   The City Marina in Marathon is only $147 a month if anchored for better facilities. You are closer to Publix and Home Depot.  The "community" is all about living aboard and voyaging.  The fishing is better, the water is better and the barnacle growth in the keys was WAY less.  Oh and you are in the Florida Keys!

Hope to be here by mid February

Current modified once again plan is to make it to Marathon stock up with fresh produce and take the first weather window to the Bahamas!    Now if only the rest of family will move to the keys while we are in the Bahamas.

After The Fisher King's birthday we are out of here!  I hope! Please?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Panama City Hospitality strikes again...

I have been coming to PC for about 25 years,  over that time I have realized that PC has two faces.  The first face is all smiles and pretentious.  The second face is money grabbing greed to hell with you.  Other than beautiful beaches except in the summer sea weed season there is little to keep the blue collar person here.  The City itself is guilty repression, long political ramble.  As an example the pay here compared to NC is 30% less for the same company doing the same job.  I used to love this place when I spent all my free time diving and on the beach.  Now I can't wait to leave.

Josh, which has been touring the Great Loop and is currently about 25% of the way around, has been in several publications.  He is becoming known by cruising community, with the AGLCA, with the Kayak community, the fishing and pretty much with anyone seeking adventure here on the east coast and further.  He has a following in other words.  You would think that a marina would try to capitalize on some free publicity and cut him some slack when the wind blows and the rain comes down.  Well not in PC!  He seems to have been kicked out of town so to speak.  Without a 45 footer to suck up a nightly transient cost this town doesn't want him.  If I spent time on the hook instead of paying the transient slip price I would probably have been ran out too.  There must be fine print under the sign "Welcome to the World's Most Beautiful Beaches"  that says deposit $100 or get the F#*! out!


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Milestone 10,000

 s/v Gemini Dreams has reached a milestone yesterday.  Ten thousand (10,000) margaritas since coming aboard. No just kidding but we did hit 10,000 page views on the blog.  Yes for some unknown reason there seems to be a following of people interested in my pessimistic optimism sarcastic point of view.  Maybe it is just all about the Fisher King catching fish and the story of a young boy enjoying life in this current society.  Maybe it is all the links to other Vega blogs or misc stuff posted in the margins.

Over the last year we have ventured and lie captive at a dock.  We have lost 5 pair of sunglasses overboard one pot lid, three or four cans of food, fishing pole (luckily caught the next day), flip flops, and a hat.  We have lost 3,546 fishing lures and used 20 pounds of Gulp or at least it feels that way.  There has been the lost of two net-books, one cell phone and something else expensive I just can't remember right now.   We have met new friends and try to keep in touch with old ones.  We have seen family for the first time and missed family of old.  We have crossed paths with old friends from high school and past lives.  It has been a wonderful not to be in the "American Dream" so stereotyped by the masses.

It may be possible to actually anchor in Key West this year, or at least make a few more attempts.  (If you have been reading since early March you know the joke)


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Kayak the Great Loop

Just to offer something interesting for the moment how about reading about someone else.  I just walked the dock and in the middle of the path was strung a hammock. The young guy in the hammock was Josh Tart.
Way back in another place and time I remember Ricky talking about Kayak Kevin and paddling the inter-coastal from Pensacola to Chesapeake Bay.  But Josh has about twice as far to go doing the Great Loop.

Josh Tart on Facebook pic borrowed from Trident

Keep up with him on the below links




Friday, January 6, 2012

Go Matt, Go!

Matt Rutherford is about to round the Horn!  s/v St Breandan

"It’s taken me 208 days and 18,341 miles to get to Cape Horn, but finally I’m here. It’s an honor to be here. I think all blue water sailors dream of rounding the Horn. It’s a special place and it’s a privilege to sail these waters. 208 days is a long time to be cooped up on a 27 foot boat, I can’t even stand up without hitting my head. It’s been a long trip from the top of the planet down to the bottom. Heck, it was a long trip just to get to the place north of Alaska (Point Barrow) where I could finally turn south. I think I had grand tour of the open Pacific. Originally when I left Annapolis I estimated that I would round the Horn on January 16th so I’m 11 days ahead of schedule. I’m also only 1,000 miles from South Georgia (Island). How tempting is that? In 10 days from now I could be on South Georgia, standing next to Shackletons grave toasting “the boss” with my last glass of whiskey. It’s a nice idea but I’ve come too far to stop now. Now I can start thinking about my ultimate destination, the finish line at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay and my first landfall in Annapolis."  Continued here:  s/v St Breandan


It is a new year you know, the end of the world according to...

Polar shifts, ice ages, near misses with meteors, stone tablets, global warming, ancient calendars  My oh my what a wonderful year to come.  If we as a society actually worked to make the world a better place we would welcome evolution and not fear our kids may be taught it.  We would have explored the 6th sense and not burned those we called witches. Through out time we have persecuted those that have taken us to the next level and pampered those that have held us back, in the name of humanity!  So many search for the meaning of life but  what if they actually find it.  Will they be burned at the stake?  Why is it that antibiotics and narcotics are okay but gene splicing is not? The world and the World's Population will continue to evolve and those fears of today will become myths of tomorrow.  Sitting here in a foggy morning making "Lockness" cracks with a local spear fisherman would not have been taken so lightly in 1977 Scotland.  We have changed the course of Columbus, our history has been rewritten without apologies to those that came before.  If in 2236 we have tapped the ability to communicate with our minds do we acknowledge the witches of old as the predecessor?  If in 2273 cloning and gene splicing are the norm, no longer with cancer or colds, do exalt Hitler?

My point is we continue to change our minds on what is good and evil.  First we ban cannibus but allow tobacco now... We are trying to ban tobacco and allow cannibus.  Weapons are good...weapons are bad.  You get the point.  So for a new years resolution we all should open our minds that our point of view is not necessarily right but may not be wrong either.  Like these guys (Andromeda Council), should you burn them at the stake or hail them as a savior of humanity.  Maybe in a few year they will just fade away like the Moonies or Hare Chrishnas, but wait, they are still here, along with us Christians that have killed so many in the name of God.  Oh damn!  I'm rambling.  back to 2012

Okay here I am cracking on 2012 again.  Funny thing is I have stores of food and water, a mobile living space, self sufficient electricity,  my transportation is either human or wind powered,  I have redundant communication and even a flashlight.  Oh my I am going to die, the end is coming!  Wait, wait, wait!  We are just going cruising again.

It is a fight over the tithe

Just an analogy:  If Christopher Columbus discovered America but Didn't discover it first and there were already humans here. And we can't decide which of the 10 islands claim he landed there first.  And the Crown and the Church disagree on his voyage.  And Christopher Columbus is only his name by the Anglos.  But he was Italian no wait Purtegese, or maybe even Spanish.  So if we do not know where he is from...  we do not know where he went... and we are not alway positive where he is resting now.  How can anything ever be taken from fact that has been written with such BIAS?   Hey Zues