Monday, February 23, 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

We arrived in Marathon on Wednesday, February18th. We anchored in Boot Key Harbor for two days before we were given a mooring ball for our stay here. There are so many boats (sail & trawlers) here. It is a pretty sight at night with all the anchor lights on. It looks like stars in the sky. There are probably more than 300 boats on moorings, not counting the ones that are anchored. Nelson went to the Marina to check us in after we got anchored and found out that they were having a potluck dinner that night. I quickly threw a salad together to carry and we went in on the dinghy. There were dinghies everywhere. However, they are equipped to handle them here. They have many floating dinghy docks here. We had a delicious dinner and met a lot of nice and friendly people. Some of whom we had seen before in St. Mary’s at Thanksgiving. Thursday and Friday, we spent time getting laundry done and bringing water back to the boat as our tanks were getting very low. Nelson has bought several five gallon water jugs and we already had an eight gallon one on the boat. He takes the empty ones to the marina fills them and brings them back to the boat and then we pour them into our water tanks. This is much easier when you can steer the sailboat to the docks and fill the tanks with a hose. With all the traffic of dinghies here, it is almost impossible to get to the water hose with the sailboat. But, we did do it Saturday. Our sewage tank was full and we had to take the boat over to have a pump out as they will not come to your boat on the weekends. Our regular pump out date is not until Wednesdays and we could not make it until then. They have two pump out boats that come to your boat and pump out your tank once a week. We had to have a lot of help to get the boat out of the small area and back into the regular harbor as the wind was not in our favor. But, we made it without hitting another boat or dock.
Saturday, we and several others from our harbor walked a mile down to the Publix bus stop and caught a bus to take us to the Boaters Flea market in Islamorada which was about a 45 minute ride from here. We had a great time and yes, spent some money, but not a lot. On Sunday, we took the bus south to the government base near Key West to visit our friends Bud & Brenda from Jordan Creek, NC. They are keeping their sailboat here for a year and drive down very often. We enjoyed getting to see them. We drove their car to Key West where we found a neat little Bar & Grill, called, Hog Fish and had a delicious shrimp lunch. There was a chartered fishing boat that came in as we were leaving the grill and they had caught about 12 large containers of red snapper. Boy, did they look good!
Today, Nelson and Ray, a friend who has the same boat as we, are putting new mast lights on both boats. Nelson is smaller, so he is getting a ride up the mast. Ray is doing the hard labor by wrenching Nelson up to the top of the mast. Ours is done, and now Nelson is at the top of Ray’s mast. I know he will be glad to get finished as the wind is blowing about l0 knots here today. The winds makes it a bit chilly but not cold here today. We are really enjoying our stay here and do not know just when we will leave to go west. We are planning a dive trip with Bud and Brenda one day this week to the Dry Tortugas on a Catamaran sailing vessel. We haven’t made our reservations yet because we are waiting to see which day the wind will not be blowing very hard. This will cost us extra money, but Bud can get us a reduce rate since he is retired military. We are excited to do this as we had talked about going there with our boat but time would not allow it.
Take care and know that we are still enjoying our trip very much and also like keeping you informed of our adventures but sometimes, we are just too busy to stop and use the computer. We are looking forward to seeing everyone when we return.
Nelson & Ondra

Pictures of our Trip in Miami

1- Chris & Marie's boat, Spirit undersail on our ocean voyage
2-Holocaust Memorial in Miami
3-Cape Florida Lighthouse on No Name Harbor where we anchored one night-Nelson, Chris and Marie went up to the top but my legs asked me not to do it
4-This picture is what you see all around Miami, buildings everywhere and very tall
5-This snake man was everywhere we went-always on the streets and at the beach trying to get people to hold the snake or scaring someone with his snake-no, we did not hold it
6-On Lincoln Street, there is shops and outside cafes up and down the street-no through traffic and people everywhere-a nice place to visit and eat
7-Venetian Causeway-where we were anchored while in Miami-this little bridge was only for dinghy entry-we went to the grocery store under it and to enter the Collins canal which lead out toward the ocean-we traveled through here daily
Being on boat we have decided is the best way to see Miami-11days is too long to stay there-we were glad to move on to another area
Hope you enjoy the pictures!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I apologize for taking so long to get something posted of our adventures for the past two weeks.
We arrived in Miami on Wednesday, February 3 and stayed until Saturday, February 14. We had not planned to stay there so long, but we thought the boat show was the first weekend that we arrived and it did not begin until Thursday, February13th. So, we decided to stay and go to the show on Friday, February 13th. We stayed anchored at the same place for the entire 11 days because it was convenient to places we needed to go and we found many good places to see and visit while there.
Our first visit to the beach was quite different from going to the beach at home. Most guys, including Nelson would enjoy going to this beach as there was a lady sunning with nothing but her bathing suit bottom on. Thank goodness, she was the only one we saw.
Their beaches are so large and they have a very wide strand. Before the beach, is a row of many shops and outside dining. Then, you have a two way street with traffic everywhere. I would not want to drive there because people on skates, skateboards, or bicycle are running in and out of the cars trying to get down the street, and the people going to and from the beach are crossing the street constantly also. If you choose to sit on the beach, you have to rent chairs from the beach service. No, you do not bring your own chair. The water was a beautiful blue-green color and very clear. No, we did not go swimming.
Another day, we walked down the street until we came to a mall area which went for miles with shops and outside dinning up and down both sides and no thru traffic. People were everywhere. There were fountains, places to stop and rest and just interesting things and people to see everywhere. Nelson and I celebrated our 43 year of marriage on Feb. 11. We went to a neat place to eat down in the mall area at a neat place called, Maya with our friends Chris & Marie who are aboard the sailboat Spirit. It was a delicious meal for all of us. Nelson had a shrimp dish and I had grouper. We anchored in the same area as our friends Dean & Susan on Autumn Borne who we met in St Mary’s and then were on the same mooring ball with in Vero Beach. While there, we also ran into two other boats that we had met in other places. On our third day there, we got a pink slip from the police saying that we could not stay any longer than seven days anchored in Miami waters and we would have to leave by Feb. 15. Yes, we were going to leave the day before the 15th. Everyone anchored got the same notice. We were anchored right beside the police station on the water and used their boat ramp dock which was sometimes too high for Marie and me to climb on or off the dinghy when the tide was very low.
We did a lot of touring Miami by our dinghies. We went to the grocery store on the dinghy. For three days, we would get in the dinghy and just ride around. We saw the three places where the boats were docked for the boat show. One day, we found the motor trawlers. The next day, we found where the motor boats and trawlers were and also the sailboats. We could not get on them but we did get to see them real well. On Friday, we walked to the Convention Center to the vender part of the boat show. We were there all day. I was so tired of walking. We bought a few things but nothing big or exciting.
When we got back to the dinghy, the water was so low that I could not get back into the dinghy. I had to ask another motor boat who came in if I could get into their boat and then into our dinghy from their boat. They were nice and let Marie and I use their boat which was high to get back into our dinghy.
We pulled anchor on Friday morning for the first time in eleven days and set sails for South to the Florida Keys. We went out into the Ocean and had a wonderful all day sail with enough wind to sail but not make the waters rough. It was a beautiful day on the ocean waters and the weather was great. We stopped south of Rodriquez Key and for the night. The winds blew and the boat rocked and I got very little sleep. There was too much boat movement for me to feel comfortable. The next day, we pulled anchor and sailed all day and finally made it to Marathon Key late afternoon. The oceans were not calm and the sailing was not comfortable like the first day. Nelson and I both liked Friday’s sailing much better. We had to fight the waves and water coming across the boat all day. We were exhausted when we arrived, but glad to be there. What a trip! This was our longest time traveling on the ocean.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Ondra caught two fish while we were sailing on the ocean to Miami. One was a bonita and the other was a spanish mackeral. I lost the biggest one, naturally. We did not keep them as we were not prepared to clean and dress them. It was fun catching them, though. They were a good size and it was fun reeling them in.

This was just the pictures we saw of condos and hotels all the way from Ft Lauderdale to Miami. We were about 5 miles off the coast so we saw land for the whole trip. The waves were not bad and it really was a pleasant trip. First time we really got to do some real sailing.

The cruise ship, Coral Princess was docked at Ft Lauderdale. We passed it as we were leaving going out the inlet into the ocean on Tuesday morning. It was huge as you can see. There were six of them docked in the same area that morning. I took the closeup trying to get the name to show.
Steering the boat in the following sea was quite different than on the ICW. Nelson wanted me to have the practice so I would know what it was like when it was my trun to take over. You get tired in a hurry as it is in constant motion and you are turning the wheel all the time.
Hope you enjoy the pictures, they are hard and time consuming to get on this blog.
Nelson & Ondra

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thursday, Februaqry 5, 2009

Monday, February 1, Nelson and I stayed on the boat all day. The weather was stormy looking; however, it never rained until late afternoon. We took the day to do some cleaning in land outside of the boat. I held the dinghy close to the hull and Nelson washed it using a brush and scraper to get under the bottom. He later dove under the boat to check out the zinc and prop for barnacles. He said there weren’t any but he did have to tighten the zinc on th4e prop. Yes, he said the water was freezing cold. As you can see, on the last day at Vero, Nelson Chris, and Marie went swimming at the beach. I was still getting well, so I had a good excuse not to get in the water. It was very cold and they did not stay in long. We had a couple who are from Key West and were anchored next to us on a catamaran over for afternoon cocktails. It was nice talking to them about Miami and the Keys as they frequent these areas most frequently. We watched some of the Super Bowl after they left and fell asleep so did not see the best part of the game.
Tuesday, February 2, we left the mooring ball and Ft. Lauderdale and headed out to the ocean inlet and into the ocean for a sail down to Miami. The weather was beautiful, the winds were 10-20 knots, and the sun was shining bright. Yes, we did wear light weight jackets. It was a wonderful trip as we sailed all the way. There were tall condos from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami. No, we did not get out of sight of land. We were out five miles from the beach. This was our longest ocean trip and we liked it there was a bridge that we could not get under so we had no other choice than to travel the ocean.
It was a calm day to be in the open seas.
We arrived in Miami around 3:00 that afternoon and found a good anchorage and realized that Dean and Susan on Autumn Bourne were already here where we anchored and we also had Spirit still with us. Marie and Chris had us all over for a delicious dinner of roasted chicken on their boat that night.
Since Autumn Bourne had been here for several days, they told us how to take our dinghies over to another canal close to the shopping areas. We all went downtown yesterday and had a great time just walking around a neat outside shopping center and eating area. We ate lunch at a McDonalds. No, Nelson did not choose the place. But, the other couple who we were with, wanted to eat at a cheap place.
Chris said he did not believe he came all the way to Miami and ate at Mickey Ds. We went over to the beach and there was a girl lying in the sun with no top on. The boys were excited to see such a sight. I am sure we will be going back when the weather gets warmer. The weather here today is very cold. I think it was in the 30s when we got up this morning. It may only get to the 60s today.
As you can see, there are many people here who have so much money, the big yachts, and huge homes on the waterway are unbelievable. Some homes also have the huge boats out in front of their homes. I understand you are having colder weather than us. I hope we all see warmer temps soon. Stay warm!
Nelson & Ondra

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sunday, Februaqry 1, 2009

On Thursday, after breakfast, we were going into town. When Nelson and I were ready to go, we went out of the sailboat to get into the dinghy, but there was no dinghy. It was floating away from the boat at a rapid speed. Yes, Ondra had not tied it very good evidently and it came loose. We called Chris on Spirit and he retrieved it in his dinghy for us. Thanks goodness, he was available. Nelson could have never swam that fast. He said he had to teach me how to tie a better knot. We picked Chris and Marie up and took them over to the same place where we had tied the dinghy yesterday and locked it to the fence. We met a couple who had just come in from kayaking and asked them how to get to town. After talking with them, we found out we had a ways to walk before getting into the busy areas. So, we started walking. After a short spell, the same lady came by in her car and took us there. She said she realized it was too far for us to walk so she gave us a ride. We were glad to see her. We walked around for a while and then, caught the City Trolley for several rounds until we decided where we wanted to go. Palm Beach has a really nice downtown area and a pretty waterfront. We ate lunch at a Greek restaurant in a really neat area above other store tops. We climbed 3 flights of stairs to get to the top where they had a beautiful theater and many other restaurants and shops. We took the city bus back to Southern Blvd. but still had a long walk back to where our dinghy was tied. Later, we grilled pork chops on Last Boat and had Chris and Marie for dinner. What a busy day! The weather was great! We had our short pants and short sleeve shirts on all day.
On Friday, we pulled the anchor around 9:00 and headed south toward Ft. Lauderdale. We stopped about 1:00 in Delray Beach at a city dock and walked across the park to an Irish Pub for delicious Fish & Chips lunch. This was a nice break from a morning of foggy and cooler weather. The sun did break through every now and then. It was a day to break out the long pants and jackets again. We went through so many bridges all the way today. We did make it to Ft. Lauderdale, but anchored at Lighthouse Point in Pompano Beach for the night around 5:30. Not a good anchorage but it will have to do as it is getting dark. Motorboats keep coming by very fast and rock our boat every time.
We ate chili and cheese Quesada’s for dinner at Chris and Marie’s boat. I made chocolate chip cookies and took them. Everything was good.
Today, we pulled anchor about 9:00 and motored south about 12 miles and pulled into Ft. Lauderdale for the weekend. What a big place with lots of big buildings. We are anchored in an area called Sylvia Lake across the road from the beach. We are staying on the boat today, just resting, reading, working puzzles, and using the computer. It is nice to have a day of doing nothing. This is nice quiet anchorage.
Sunday, Chris called us about 7:30am to let us know that a boat had left the mooring ball and he had his dinghy there holding a place for us. We threw our clothes on and headed north for about 10 minutes to get to the mooring ball before another boat would get there. We made it and now it will be a lot shorter run on the dinghy to get to places that we need to go. We plan to get some groceries today and just see what is available here at Ft. Lauderdale. I like the mooring ball much better than putting out the anchor even though we have to pay $30.00 a day to stay here. I think Nelson likes it too! I hope to send some pictures this afternoon. Must close this down and get ready to go with Nelson into town.
Nelson & Ondra
Nelson & I walked over to the beach this afternoon and had a late lunch across from the beach. Yes, I had a Mango Margarita and it was great! The beach is beautiful here and people are everywhere. They have nice concrete short walls at the beach front. We enjoyed sitting there and watching the people and the oceanfront. We like it here!