Monday, June 27, 2011

St. Thomas to Florida

Looks like I may be working for a bit longer so decided to move the boat from Water Island, USVI to Yankeetown, Florida. Figured with average winds in the 10 knot range, about an eight day run.

Larry Johnson (LJ) and I left Water Island on the 6th of June and it took eleven full days to arrive. That is a sailing distance of 1347 miles. So the trip was very slow. The first day out 97L was brewing around Jamaica and had a enormous area of convection and clouds that covered this end of the island chain. It was not forecast to go tropical so we set out. All the models seem to point to a westward track away from us if it did go tropical so good time to leave. The first couple of days we had good wind in the 10-15 range with a period of 20 knots during a spectacular lightening storm. LJ had never seen anything like it. Wish I could say the same.

After 97L dissipated it left a wind hole. Nothing!! I had studied the weather before we left and expected a couple of days of calm weather. Did not expect it to last for five days though! We rarely saw more than 7 knots. I had a spinnaker but was unable to fly it as wind angle never even got close. We motor sailed with full main and head sail when we could. 116,118, 122 mile days. Best day 148. Not good for a catamaran.

The motoring was not great as two days out the port motor packed it in. Took me two days  working about eight hours each day to get the motor going. Did I mention it was bloody hot with no wind and stuck in the engine room. I think the pick up tube in the fuel tank has a problem but not 100% sure yet. Still working thru that issue. When we finally got the motor going we ended up with a jerry can in the bilge with a hose running to motor. Worked OK after we tweaked the arrangement.

 One of the few boats we encountered. This is Allure of the Seas. Second largest cruise ship ever built.
 While off Cuba the pigeons spent the night. They had leg bands so on a mission I guess. We were 40 miles off at this point.Put out a bowl of water and have never seen birds so thirsty. They drank three of the blue bowls in the picture.
 This one was from a different coop.
 The water stayed like this for 3 DAYS!!
 Lobster Island. At this point we were 100 miles from the nearest country.
 LJ described the water as looking like mercury.
It was so hot and calm we stopped for swim call a couple of times along the way. While off Cuba we went by some islets before we entered the Straits of Florida that had a number of boats lobster fishing. If it was not hurricane season it would have been a great place to hang waiting for wind and eating lobster.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cedar Key, Florida

About 25 miles North of Crystal River is the historic town of Cedar Key. Cedar Key has been around since the Revolutionary War and was indispensable for getting supplies past blockades in that war and the Civil War. On the west coast of Florida it was difficult for the blockaders to control as the water in these parts is extremely shallow and reefs abound.

Those with local knowledge were able to slip by the blockades and into the many Keys and shallow inlets. As the East Coast was effectively closede down by the blockade Cedar Key was quite important. Eventually the British captured the area. The Union did the same almost a century later.

The downtown was preserved with numerous old structures
 The fishing pier

Yours truly, I am the guy in the back
 One big alligator
Vat used to boil down sugar cane

The name Cedar Key is appropriate because the area abounds in cedar of a quality to make pencils. For many years the prominent industry was supplying the cedar for the Eberhard Pencil Company!

New Toy

Probably going to be in Florida for an extended period so purchased new mode of transport.