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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Bahamas Bound

 Docked at: Las Olas Marina,  Fort Dollardale

Another day of getting ready!

Garth hooked up more anchor chain, cleaned the bilges, pumped out the holding tanks, filled the water tank got the rental car and went to Boat Owners Warehouse. He bought yet another courtesy flag and a new bell! Seems silly to have a bell on a boat but it is a safety requirement and our clanger fell off the other day. I washed the deck and went grocery shopping . Tomorrow is Zekes day - vet check and a grooming appointment. While he is getting clipped we will go to immigration and check out of the USA.  Busy couple of days - all of the "fixing" we needed to get down has been completed - amazing.

Our first order of business tomorrow is to drive the boat under the Las Olas bridge to get diesel and our last order of business is a Bahamas Bound Boaters meeting at 5ish.  I think we will be leaving first thing Thursday morning. Our destination: West End, Grand Bahamas.

I received this picture today from my brother, he and his family are skiing in Quebec and came across a run named --- ALGONQUIN or en francais - L'ALGONQUIN !!  Helps reinforce that we made the right decision to run away from winter when you see them all bundled up.

I'm guessing it is Jane, Michie and Meg - I hope you guys did the double black and not the green!!

Once we are in the Bahamas our cell  phones will be turned off so we do not incur roaming charges. We will have internet when at a marina so will post as often as possible.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Waiting for Weather

 Docked at: Las Olas Marina

Well, we finally stopped celebrating! Just kidding.

 On Sunday we cleaned the boat and did laundry. Bud, the best carpet guy in South Florida came by to template the bathrooms and he is going to try and have them ready before we leave. We walked Zeke down on the strip and took in all the sites.  Had docktails at five, one boater had just returned from the Bahamas so we were all ears. About 8 we got a knock on the hull and it was Sid -  does anyone want to play euchre "YEP" - we grabbed a sandwich, opened up the table, got the cards ready and started playing. Evelyn and I cleaned their clocks!
Today, Dave came by to assess the fender holders, he will return them tomorrow with new name plates, the man came to fix the blind , Garth got the generator going, turns out there was another fuse up on the top that he did not know about. Bud called, the carpet was ready - he came by, installed them and they look great! We had another 5 pm docktail meeting and another boat came in today - so there will now be five boats going across. Probably will not all be together because we all run at different speeds but at least we will know that someone else is close by.

The weather has changed again , looks like we may be able to leave on Thursday -which means we have to get Zeke clipped, a vet check, do some grocery shopping, get cash, go to immigration and check out plus buy yet another US courtesy flag - this is number 4!! They keep blowing away!

Stay tuned - the weather may change again and we could still be sitting here this time next week.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fait Accompli - We crossed our wake!!

 Time traveled:    4 hours
 Nautical miles:    23.4 NM
 Docked at:         Las Olas City Marina

Bridges today - Lucky number 13!


Time:                     Thurs. April 7th, 2011 - Sat. February 25th, 2012 
Nautical Miles:     5420 nautical miles   that's     6233 statute miles
Cost:                      Priceless

We pulled out of Rickenbacker Marina this morning about 8 am. As we were leaving I saw a boat coming under the bridge - "I think that is Brown Eyed Girl" - out came the binoculars but I still couldn't make it out . Next thing I know another boat is coming through and with the binoculars I could see Something Special ! Although we have seen Sid and Evelyn along the way our boats have not been able to "talk" as Sid put it since Lake Ontario.

Our original plan - yes, we still plan - was to run outside up to Dollardale, but with Craig and Sid in the bay we decided to go inside. Besides the Las Olas Marina wouldn't have room for us until later in the day and it is always nice to travel with other boats.

Brown Eyed Girl - Craig & Ginny

Something Special - Sid & Evelyn
Seven Seas - Steven & Kate       (Spielberg)  

Jungle Queen  
Little kids & little sailboats going out to the ocean, really, we saw them out there when we were having lunch.

We arrived, secured the boat, checked in and all went over to the beach for lunch. Oh, Yeah - we also put up our gold flag that lets everyone know we have completed the loop.

Algonquin with a Gold Looper Flag

Check out the size of the drinks here!
Fish bowl drinks with a whale trying to escape! Spring Break?

Now, we wait for the weather to cooperate so we can head to the Bahamas, looks like later in the week .

Pictures entering Key Biscayne and Miami

Our pictures from yesterday - better late than never.

Stiltsville: a few of these are left in the bay, not a place you would want to be in a storm but they have survived this far!

Cape Florida Lighthouse - oldest structure in Miami-Dade County

This is one stressed out dog!

Miami skyline
 And this picture made the 2.5 hour docking nightmare worth while - kind of!

Miami skyline by night.

Life is good and boating is fun!! Sometimes.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Two and a half hours to dock a boat!!!!!

Time travelled:     10 hours
 Nautical miles:     about 10 hours worth so probably 100
 Docked at:          Rickenbacker Marina, Key Biscayne /Virginia Key
                            fuel dock
                            slip B 84
                             face dock in front of restaurant
                            back to the fuel dock

I believe that we just went full circle and it only took 2 and a half hours!! Just what we needed after a ten hour day.  If you read yesterdays blog I mentioned that we may have to anchor out. Well, this morning I called my list of marinas again just in case they had a cancellation. I called here and Jay had told me the first time that he might have a face dock available but otherwise everything else is off the stern and that does not work for us. So, this morning he said he had a slip with a finger pier - great - paid in advance and life was good!  We arrived about five and were told to pull up to the fuel dock - two very nice gentlemen got on the boat to take us to our slip. The slip was thirty five feet wide and the finger pier at the stern was about 4 feet long ......we tried to make it work but in reality it was impossible.  We left with the two men still on the boat - our plan was to drop them off at the fuel dock and go anchor out. Jay said - I have another slip but there is only 30 amp service - no problem we have a splitter - so off the four us go. Did I mention that these two lovely gentlemen spoke NO ENGLISH. So, we get into the next slip and reel out the power cord only to find out that the 30 amp service cannot be split - it only has one leg??? No, problemo (the extent of my Spanish) we will run the generator. Woops the generator starts but it is not pushing power. Humm, Garth called Jay and he was at the fuel dock - there is 50 amp power here but no problemo, we had filled the water tanks in Key West and i had already hosed down the boat. By this time it is dark one is around and we have six lines out holding us to this dock. Garth spotted a man over the way and asked him if he could throw us a line. He came over and stood there - I thought he was just going to wait and hand me the bow line last so I went and got one of the spring lines and Garth was off the boat getting the stern line.  The face dock only ran about 3/4 of the length of our boat so I did not want to haul that line in through the water..........before I could say una cerveza,por favor the man had untied both bow lines and the boat was leaving the dock with just Zeke and I. I nicely yelled at him to tie up the boat and I ran to the other side and pushed us off the pilon and Garth did the splits hurling himself onto the boat......OH VEY!!!!! We arrived back to the fuel dock and I threw the spring lines and asked them to cross them - luckily one of this crew spoke English but he did not want to cross the lines - I threw up my arms in exasperation and said just tie the boat up.

Our friends Peggy and Steve live on Key Biscayne and we had planned on going out for dinner --- well plans and a boat ---when the generator would not start I called Steve and cancelled dinner cause I could tell this night was headed in the wrong direction.

 So, now we have power - kind of (it flickers) - no water and are tied up to the fuel dock right at the base of the bridge. I asked Jay "how to we get to the restaurant from here? Oh, he says it is a long way - if you let me know what time you want to go I will send a golf cart over for you.   AHHHH   I am hot, sweaty,tired and hungry!!! Don;t worry about it I said...thinking to myself that a bowl of cereal sounded good. Garth on the other hand said I am going to call Steve back - so about forty minutes later Peggy and Steve showed up with  pizza and cookies. We had had toast this morning and that was it so we pretty much devoured the pizza and cookies. I have to mention the cookies - as I said earlier to Peggy they don't get much better - shortbread circles stuck together with caramel. Decant and delicious!! Thanks guys, it was truly appreciated!

Some pics of our day - mostly from the last hour. Actually I am too tired to post the pictures so I will ad them tomorrow. it's been a looong day!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

So Long Key West's been a slice!

 Docked at:               Marathon Marina and Boat Yard
 Distance Travelled:   48 NM
Time Travelled :         5 hours

First off, a few pics from our last day, not from my camera but from my phone. My camera is still in recovery mode and at this point it is not looking good.

 BIG Fish
These were just part of a days catch from the Eva Marie!

Sunset from ...the Sunset Grill

There he goes again - the Blue blur got away!
Our last day in Key West - we started our day with coffee and checking the weather. Garth kept humming and hawing about the weekend weather as it looks like Sunday is going to be miserable. We would only have a short run and could do it inside from Miami up to Dollardale or we could hustle and leave today. We choose the hustle. I took Zeke to the beach for one last swim and a little bit of exercise. Garth called marinas in Marathon to see if we could get a slip and I told John the dock master at the Galleon that we were heading out. Jim, our other next door neighbor boat (Casey one way and Jim the other) said - why not take my slip in Marathon - OK, we called the marina and it was available.  We left the dock at 11:30,  had a beautiful day outside the reef, very few crab pots and calm seas.
You know you are back on the east coast of Florida when you hear three Pan Pan's in one short day. (for our non-boating friends that is the call to the Coast Guard when the safety of a person or the ship is in jeopardy) At one point we heard the Coast Guard say to "Glory Days" that it was OK they could hear the captain in distress - then later the Coast Guard was calling Glory Days. We first met Glory Days (fellow loopers) way up in Panama City and they were one of the six boats that crossed the Gulf the same day we did.  I am sure Joe is OK he was probably just trying to help or to relay a message.  I think boaters have an extra "helper" gene on some random chromosome.  As is evident with Casey helping us retrieve the camera and Jim offering us his slip tonight.
We plan to be up at OH DARK THIRTY tomorrow and run all the way up to Miami or Key Biscayne. We have called several marinas and they are either full or do not have space for a boat our size......could be an interesting night. Plan A is call marinas again tomorrow while enroute and Plan B is to drop the anchor in No Name Bay! Either way on Saturday we will end up in Los Olas Marina where this journey first began Thursday April 7th, 2011.
Good bye Key West

This big boy was in town today!
Marathon Sunset
 Our month in Key West went all too fast, at first I thought I would go stir crazy spending a whole month there but in hindsight it is a really cool little place. There was always something happening and the people watching was fabulous. The local paper gave a weather report everyday and instead of always listing the temperature sometimes it just said "another awesome day".  I like Key West, it has character and  a joie de vivre!!
Our arrival into Marathon this time was uneventful - what a difference two engines and daylight make.

I will try to curtail my sunset pictures for a while.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Algonquin 2- Water Snakes 0 - Casey to the rescue!

 Docked at:  Galleon Marina Slip 77

We have had a busy week with visitors!

Craig & Ginny from Brown Eyed Girl along with Sid & Evelyn from Something Special drove to Key West last Wednesday, we all had lunch up at the Tiki Hut and discussed plans.  We have arranged to meet in Fort Dollardale aka Lauderdale on Sunday Feb 26th and cross over to the Bahamas together at the first weather window.
 Frank and Joie arrived that afternoon. They brought their bikes and covered a lot of territory with them.  Even though it was very hot and humid they managed to hit all the highlights of Key West. They saw first hand just how much attention Zeke gets on the street and by the end of their stay Frank was asking people for money to take a picture of him! Frank took us out to the grocery store and we stocked up on groceries .

The Golds, on the observation deck waiting for the sunset.
... Peggy and Steve arrived about five hours after the Golds left - just enough time to change the sheets and get dinner ready. We have been playing cards and walking around town for the past four days. We managed to make it back to Blue Heaven! Fabulous food and typical old time Key West atmosphere . We attended Pepes for the four o'clock Oyster Races - pot was $375.00 - no one won that day. Peggy and Steve ventured out in their kayak one morning.

Peggy and Steve going out with the big boys in Key West harbor!

 We keep trying to go to  karoke at the bar just up the street but honestly the participants are soooo bad it is hard to walk through the door. Perhaps tonight we will ply ourselves with rum and try again!

Algonquin 2 - Water snakes 0 - actually to be determined!

We have dropped two very expensive things into the water - first time was in Georgian Bay and we (Garth) dropped the handle from the contraption that raises and lowers the dingy - it was made in England and we were thinking of not only how expensive it would be to replace but also of how long it would take to get to us. Luckily, fellow boaters came to the rescue, Sharon on the boat across the dock requested a diver on her Facebook page - within a few hours we had our man -  Tom had to get air from the local Fire Department and he came by after work with his wife and twin boys. He found the handle on his second attempt!! YEAH TOM!! Yesterday as I was descending the stairs we (Kathy) dropped the camera into the water. It actually fell out of my pocket. It is hard to watch something just float down out of sight. Steve tried to hook it with his fishing rod but ended up loosing his hooks.  He asked Casey on the boat next to us how deep it was here and then explained why he wanted to know. Casey said that he was going to clean the bottom of his boat and that he would have a look for it. So yesterday Casey donned his wet suit and tanks - he cleaned the starboard side of his boat then came over to Algonquin. Within seconds he had my camera and a piece of tarp that was on the shaft!! YEAH and a big thanks to Casey aboard Serendipity II!!  I was able to get the pictures off the card and the camera is drying out. Although it is a waterproof camera the instructions clearly say that it is only waterproof for an hour - well, time will tell if 23 more hours make a difference.
Casey saves my camera!!
Today we are going to make it back over to Mallory Square for one last sunset. We will leave here Friday and head back to Marathon, spend one night there then head north to Key Biscayne and if we can't get a slip we will anchor out. The next day -Sunday- we will have a short run up to Dollardale.
That's all for now - off to soak up the sun and do a little last minute shopping! Some random pics from Key West!

Another beautiful sunset

Our favorite pirate - Captain Jack Sparrow on his way to work.

Our next boat -not!!

Oyster races at Pepe's

Roosters are everywhere.

The signs says it all.

Monday, February 13, 2012


 Docked at:  Galleon Marina 

One of many bars on Duval Street - this one has the best architecture!
                                                      The pink taxi fits right in!

Fish for dinner!

Retrieving palm branches - he even loves salt water.

Quite a name for a fishing charter!

A tortoise drumming up business for the aquarium.

Zeke and Garth chillin with an old captain.
The Blue Blur - this guy rides his decked out bike with a boom box up and down the streets every night. I have been trying for two weeks to get a picture of him. This is the best so far - I intend to keep trying!!

Well another week has just flown by. We did manage to get at least one thing accomplished this week. Garth replaced the wallpaper in the crew quarters head - it looks much brighter.  Humm, I just asked Garth "what did we do this week" his reply, we had cocktails and watched the boats coming and going. Well, yes we did that, but we also walked Zeke everyday and went out for dinner/lunch a few times.
The number one rated restaurant on Trip Adviser is "Garbos Grill" - believe it or not Garbos is a food cart. We tried it this week and it was very good, seating is on the coolers which hold the drinks. There is one umbrella and one wooden bar stool! The food was excellent and they are dog friendly to boot. Guess when you are sitting on a cooler in a parking lot nobody is going to complain about a dog!  We did later find out from Frank and Bobbie that there is a strategy to getting a seat - take your food across the street to the pepper store and they have seats - at the same time you can sample their pepper sauces on your food! Trouble being that now you feel obliged to buy their hot sauces!
 We also went to Blue Heaven . It has the old time Key West atmosphere - open air dining with roosters and cats walking around. Both the food and the company were great. Apparently, Oprah loves their Key Lime Pie!!  Last year we fell for the "Oprah eats hamburgers here" and we were not impressed, so we no longer use her as a bench mark for culinary treats. We opted for the flour less Belgium chocolate torte, delectable.
The best part of our week was the nightly stroll along Duval Street people watching and getting together with the other loopers here - Frank & Carrie and Carol & Rich.  Always entertaining and fun. The worst part of our week was bidding adieu to Frank and Carrie, they head north tomorrow, weather permitting.

Another shot of Duval Street

Nice home

I liked this one!

Note the gingerbread - it is gingerbread men!!

Love the wrap around upper balcony.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Key West Weekend

 Docked at: Galleon Marina, Key West

Terri and George arrived Friday. We strolled Duval Street in the afternoon, had dinner aboard Algonquin and then back to Duval Street to people watch at night. Even though it was only 8:30 a lot of people were in prime form! No, not us!!  Saturday, George drove us to the vet so that Zeke could get some updated blood work - looks good, we have sent it to Dr. Lerer and will hopefully hear from him this week. We came back collected Terri and the four of us went on the Conch Train Tour.  Even though Key West is only four miles long and one and a half miles wide they manage to wind through the streets for two hours. We indulged in chocolate covered Key Lime Pie on a stick during the ten minute stand & stretch, it was decadent.  We went over to Once Around for cocktails and met their friend Rob from California, had dinner on board and turned in early.
We woke up this morning to rain and it has not stopped all day!!  It let up once for about 20 minutes but it has been coming down pretty hard all day. We sloshed our way over to the A&B Oyster House for dinner then sloshed our way back to watch the Super Bowl! Check out the pic of the street at the bottom of the blog!  Stop laughing - at least we do not have to shovel it!!

A few pics from the last few days:

Do you remember last week when the boat hit the rocks - well here it is again, this time he was dead in the water.

A close up of the front of his boat - I do believe he has hit rocks before!

I hope no big waves hit him on the beam - perhaps a rock jumped in his way too!
How to get a free pump out, when the pump out boat goes over a line and yells for help you run out grab his line, tie him up and then provide the knife for him to cut the line away from his prop!!
Yes, it is a pirate, rowing into the dingy dock!
The Riff Raff that moved in today!  Black Gold - we are thinking oil!
Hanging out for supper.

And here is where the supper is coming from.
A view of Front Street tonight - get out the rubber boats & start lining up the animals!!