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Hello, Sequim

15 Jun

Andy’s brother and his family live in Sequim, Washington (pronounced Squim). Sequim is just across the Strait of Juan de Fuca in Washington state. We had thought to hit Port Townsend today (about 20 more miles east), but changed our minds halfway through the day. It worked out really well, and we had quite a lovely father’s day evening relaxing and laughing with family. This is why we moved back here.

Have we mentioned that we have spent the last year and a half in south Florida and the Bahamas? Different weather for sure. Well, it was C O L D on the water today!! We pulled out all our Chesapeake sailing gear and huddled together for warmth. Since it wasn’t much warmer inside, we all stayed outside looking for seals and orcas. No whale sightings, but we did see a few seals. At dock, Robin even pulled out the electric-oil radiator. Enough of the chilly put on more socks and another sweater business (it really is chilly…50 degrees…and please no laughing). We hope that either summer comes soon, or our bodies adjust.

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Moving on up

29 Apr

Yesterday was our last ten hour sail up the Atlantic from Fort Lauderdale to Palm Beach/Lake Worth. We left pre-dawn, since all the bridges on the New River are closed to boaters during rush hour. As Robin slipped on her shoes (left in the cockpit where they ALWAYS are), she felt a wiggling on her left toes. Bending down to investigate, a 2-inch cockroach fled out a side hole. Sorry to everyone in the marina who was cruelly awoken too early by my loud shriek. We have had a few of these big boys in the cockpit before, and it validates the time and effort we spent in covering all our hatches with screens. Okay, one last quick mental shudder at the memory of that crawling feeling.

Max also decided the dark provided a good cover to sneak off the boat, in a moment when we thought he was still sleeping with the girls. He made one last attempt to catch those cute ducklings. Robin wasn’t fast enough to snag him, and only one thing saved those babies…Max doesn’t like to swim. He loves being in the water, but only as far as he can wade around. Sorry momma duck, and so glad Max is a water wimp. Not sure what would have happened had the ducklings not hopped in the water so fast, but so glad we don’t have another feathery death.

The New River was peaceful and quiet, and we were the only folks on the water until we neared the channel to the Atlantic. As we rounded the corner to the inlet, we saw this cruise ship coming in. The small vessel just off our bow was the sheriff shepherding them in. We decided to give them the right of way.

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Our autopilot, Steve decided today was a good day to be glitchy, so we had to go old school today and keep our hands on the wheel.

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Madi was finally ready to take a full watch today, although with left eye bothering her, it looks like she’s driving blind

Today was the day for failures I guess, since we also lost our Raymarine paddle wheel sensor which feeds many of our instruments. It’s been acting up for a while, but we had hoped to make it last to the next haul out. Guess not. Will be a fun replacement, since it will require unplugging a through-hole while in the water. We’ll save that joy for another day though…

Too busy

25 Apr

File this one under “what was Robin thinking?”

We are staying up the New River at Cooleys Landing near the Science and Art museums (that’s why Robin picked this marina…plus it’s cheaper than the sister one on the ICW).

Coming in off the ocean, we turned left into the New River and were transported into a narrow canal with large power boats lining the shore and vessels in front and behind us. So narrow and busy and three bridge lifts on this snaky and winding road of water. In one spot, I fully expected us to scrape the concrete bulkhead to allow a paddlewheel tourist boat to pass our port side. Didn’t happen, thanks to Andy’s  mad captain skills, but it did raise our heart rates!

Our slip is just a parking space off this road, so we have watched the crazy traffic zipping up and down river. Many of the large power boats get towed through this section, probably because it is so narrow and windy.

We made it just fine, but both Andy and I prefer wide open waters to the zip and dash of the city.

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View from escape hatch

22 Apr

Here’s the view underway as seen from our escape hatches…a catamaran safety feature that I hope to never need. Actually, these things are more of a pain since the port hatch leaks in rough seas.

Night sailing

15 Apr

Why do we enjoy sailing at night? Here’s why. An added bonus last night was the lunar eclipse. Wish we had a better camera so we could have captured it.

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Sunrise

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I wanted to get a shot of our mast with the milky way above it, but it’s too dark and we move too much, so this sunrise shot will have to do

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Moonlight on the ocean

Leaving the Keys

14 Apr

As we prepare today for an overnight sail of roughly 100 miles back up to Miami, I thought I’d share my leaving list. Any time we plan on anything more that a day sail, we try to knock out as many of these items as possible. I know, it really is probably overkill for an overnighter, but I would much rather be over prepared for the unexpected than under prepared and wishing we had done xyz (as we run out of cooking fuel, drinking water, have nowhere to pee, and all shrivel up and die).

Checklist:

  • Fill up water tanks (girl chore)
  • Top off cooking propane…if a service like that exists near us
  • Pump out holding tank (not to gross you all out, but this isn’t a part of our Bahamas checklist as that service doesn’t exist except at Atlantis Marina)
  • Wash shore dirt off boat deck (girl chore)…depending on availability of fresh water
  • Clean galley area and stow all the nick-knacks that collect inside while we aren’t moving
  • Clean cockpit and stow all swimming gear and sun shades (girl chore)
  • Remove all drying laundry on lifelines (girl chore)…hate to see the jib sheet snag a favorite beach towel and donate it to Neptune
  • Run a few loads of laundry so crew have clean undies again…if we are fortunate to be near a laundry machine
  • Clean up anchor locker (where lines, hoses, fenders, bikes, inflatable kayaks, etc. all get stowed…we hate needing a boat hook or extra line and having to dig around to find it in a crunch…or having something snaked around the anchor rode while we are trying to run it out and set it)
  • Make a grocery run so we have fresh produce, sailing snacks, and things like eggs, butter, and milk
  • Charge up the spotlight (especially important when stuck in lobster trap land after dark)
  • Charge up the Spot check, so family can find us
  • Stow the rigid kayak on the davits
  • Make sure dinghy is hoisted and secure on davits, and won’t swing around too much. Those little repetitive bangy, squeaky noises make me want to poke my ears out after a few hours.
  • Make sure girls clean their rooms so their tiny things and glass bits don’t go flying
  • Hide the candy bowl in the microwave…nothing like stepping on chocolate or caramels when coming in from outside
  • Bungee the microwave, tea pot, cutting board, and swing arm TV
  • Wash and stow all dishes (I like to start with a clean galley when we leave dock)
  • Turn Steve on (our autopilot is still acting up and needs a few hours to warm up before the fluxgate compass settles out and cooperates)

I think that’s it…

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My bungee system...seems to work well even in 30 knot winds and 8 foot seas

Three Muskateers

8 Mar

Today we motor sailed 45 miles down to Marathon. Winds were light to nonexistence…but it did give us a chance to air out the genaker which had gotten wet last week when our AC condensation line clogged up.

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Our three muskateers enjoyed the sunshine

We spotted four sea turtles, one dolphin pod, cormorants galore, and some odd little fish that would skip and spin across the surface of the water to escape us (think wingless flying fish).

We were very glad to leave Tavernier, as our last marina wasn’t like the cruiser friendly world we have come to love. One notable exception was the great folks at the yacht sales center who know how to throw a party.

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Keys coastline

Arriving here in Marathon, within the first hour we were greeted by several folks with willing hands to grab lines, a tour walking to the office by a livaboard, a ride to the Seafood Fest (which had very yummy conch fritters!), and an offer to borrow a car for a grocery run. Very nice!

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We will stay here for a month or so for visitors, a milestone birthday in April (Miss Madi will be turning 13), and some leaky sail drive gasket repairs.

The Backyard

8 Feb

Today we sailed down the Atlantic, inside the Florida Reef and cut across to the Gulf of Mexico at Snake Creek towards Tavernier. We had to navigate a bascule bridge for Hwy 1, and met the cheeriest bridge tender in our hundreds of bridge lifts. She was so bubbly and sweet, and welcomed us to “the  backyard.” Guess the gulf side is the backyard of the Keys. Shallow, but beautiful and crystal clear.

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Goodbye, Miami

2 Feb

After a nice month in Coconut Grove, we left dock and headed towards John Pennekamp State Park. We had a great day sailing, and introduced Max to his life jacket, dolphins, and waves.

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Max sneering at danger

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Sunning on the trampoline

We decided to tackle the shallow creek leading to Largo Sound at high tide (which means waiting until Sun am), so we found a dock for the night. Only problem is today’s low tide was a negative low and the channel to the dock is also shallow.

We were doing fine, creeping along slowly until two things happened. The first thing was the powerboat jerk who decided to pass us in the channel at 25 knots, throwing up a wake that slammed us on the bottom (don’t worry we recovered quickly).

The second event involved finding the only rock in the marina channel with our port keel. We had just bumped when up behind us came a Towboat US guy coming back from an afternoon out with his family. He graciously offered to give us a quick pull off, and within two minutes we were back on track and headed for dock. Why does low tide have to inconveniently come at the end of a nice day of sailing?

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Tow time

Alls well tonight, after a lovely dinner by tiki torch with some friends of Andy’s. Tomorrow it’s creek tackling time.

Underway action

13 Jan

What do you do on those long and boring passages? Here are some of the Tango crew activities.

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Make puffy skirts for your dolls

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Hide from the sun with your book

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Make apple crisp in your solar oven

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Spin in the hammock

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Snuggle with your humans in the fresh air