Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Punta Gorda to Key West

We left Punta Gorda on January 24th and arrived in Key West February 2nd.
Suffice it to say we took our time doing our first 200 or so mile sail.  A distance that could have been driven in a little over 5 hours or sailed in a full day by someone that isn't afraid to sail after dark.  We're not there yet.

We experienced rain, fog, thunder, and lightening.  Large waves and heavy wind that were scary, I won't lie.  We were forced to move a couple of times from anchorages that became exposed to wind and waves (see #3).  We've gotten really good at handling the anchor and we're still married.

We learned a lot on the way:
1. This is hard
2. This isn't easy
3. You can't trust any of the weather forecasts
4. The paper charts and even the electronic ones aren't trustworthy either
5. There's a lot of random stuff randomly floating about (or just under the surface)
6. Florida waters, at least on the West coast, are SHALLOW
7. Wings is very forgiving and we're so glad she only drafts 3.5 feet...

We are now safely docked in Stock Island Marina, taking a break, and enjoying our time in Key West.  We'll be doing boat maintenance, provisioning, and deciding where to go next.

Please enjoy some photos from the cruise!

Angie at the helm with first mate KP

We love our candy cane sail!

Our dinghy is not up to the task...

If I'd known about all the math I might not have done this.  The other fun math is estimating our diesel fuel consumption with our goofy fuel gauge.  We're getting pretty good at using the hour gauge like an odometer but it's not a perfect science.

Kipper napping underway.
He actually likes to sail and prefers it over running the engine.

We had some great days!

But some grey ones too.

We hunkered down in the Everglades for a couple of days waiting out some bad weather.

But a little rain doesn't keep us out of the dinghy!

It really doesn't matter if it rains because our dinghy is always a wet ride...

Anchored at Shark River.  Our first sunset, at anchor, without any land in the way.
Too cloudy for a green flash but we'll have plenty more chances.

We must have passed a thousand of these crab trap buoys, no joke, there was a mine field of these things almost everywhere we went.  We got pretty good at adjusting our course to avoid them...

But we didn't miss them all!
This one got wrapped up in our prop and we had another one get caught in the rudder when we were under sail.
Good times

Anchored at Turkey Key.  This was a good one.  Well protected with a beach nearby for KP.

The underpass at 7 Mile Bridge.  We made it!

More to come...

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


Most of our family and friends are aware that we've been looking at boats.  It was our goal when we left Austin to find a safe, capable, cruising sailboat on a budget.  We decided early on not to be too chatty about it since we don't have a clue what we're doing.  We've done extensive research, looked at dozens over the last few months, from Florida to the Chesapeake Bay, and it's been challenging.

All the while travelling around, camping occasionally, but mostly inflicting ourselves on unsuspecting family and friends who have graciously opened their homes, fridges, and liquor cabinets to us.

We started off wanting a catamaran for the living space and stability but quickly discovered that everything in our price range was low quality, a project (or both), and we were even discouraged from buying a couple by their sellers, stating that they just didn't sail that well.

So we looked at monohulls.  Many more options in our budget and we even saw a couple that would have been fine but nothing inspired us.

Then we stumbled on a third option...
a sort of hybrid of mono-hull and catamaran... 


This is our boat:

The deal is done!
Couldn't have purchased her from nicer people.
Thanks Dave and Dottie!

Of course, you're all wondering how Kipper is adjusting.  No worries, he's adapting just fine.

More to come...

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Camping and kayaking in western Virginia

August 23, 2105

We broke away from the Chesapeake area for some quality time with other family members, further inland to the west. 

First up, camping with my brother Vince and sister-in-law Ramsey at Hungry Mother State Park in western Virginia. They were in the area for a wedding and took the opportunity to go on a 2-week camping/B&B tour of the area. 

The campground was very nice and was our first chance to actually camp! The Mystery Machine did very well, even providing some shelter during the frequent rains.  Fortunately, Vince is a wizard at making camp fires, managing to keep it lit for dinner and warmth. 

 We hiked up to Molly's Knob. It was quite a hike, not too long, but very steep. Here we are, resting before our descent. The view was worth it!

After saying goodbye to V & R (thanks for a great visit, y'all!), we headed just a short ways south to Greg's cousin's house near Independence, VA, on the North Carolina border. Steve has quite a spread on some land overlooking the New River. He's grows all he can eat plus some, has some chickens, and leads a very satisfying life in a very beautiful place. 

He showed us around the area and took us on 5-hour kayak ride on the New River. It's truly one of the prettiest and friendliest rivers I've ever seen. It's one of the oldest rivers in the world and is clear, cool, and shallow.  We had a great time!

We left Steve's laden down with tomatoes, herbs, homemade goodies, and our promise to return.  Thanks Steve!