27 February, 2015

Hola Mi Amigos,

The trip to Little Shark River was set against some pretty bizarre meteorological conditions.  Seas were flat calm, and it was a sunny 72 degrees around our little ships, while dark gray fog banks loomed all around us.  As we monitored our VHF radios, we found that other vessels were not as fortunate.  Several sailboats were dropping anchor due to the poor visibility, while other captains were talking about the dense fog.  As we entered the river, wisps were blowing in from the Gulf.  The anchor bit on the first try, but “Idyll Time’s” kept skipping across the bottom.  Jeff moved 150 yards upriver from us, and their hook grabbed right away.  Both boats played out plenty of chain, as the current was running around 2 knots, and would be reversing when the tide ran out in 7 more hours.  As if on cue, the dense fog rolled in.  Who’da thunk that we’d be in Florida in the middle of the afternoon having to sound our fog horns?  When it cleared a few hours later, there were 6 or 8 sailboats anchored in a bunch about ¾ of a mile downstream from us, where before there were none.  During the foggy afternoon, I had a chance to search out the origin of the clacketyclackin’ generator PTO.  Nuthin’ simple, looked like it was coming from the BRAND NEW clutch.  No cell phone service, so I shot a text via satellite to the Jedi Master of all things boat, Scottie, just to give him something to think about for the next few days.  It’s still working, albeit noisily, so there’s no way I’m taking it apart as it’s really not user serviceable.  I figured that if it cacked, I would drop the clutch and pump off, and still be able to use the generator.  As our daughter, Alison, says “Dad, what do you expect?  It’s a boat”.

When Jeff, Susie, Suz and I are cruising together, we usually pool our resources and marshall our efforts for dinners.  It was Susie’s night to shine, so she whipped up a chicken, black bean, cheese, tortilla, and other Mexican goodness casserole.  Suz contributed rice, fresh fruit salad, and fresh made guacamole.  Cervesas washed it all down.  The next day, it was time for a little exploring.  The fast current made kayaking inadvisable, so we cruised up the river for a few miles in the tenders, “Time Out” and “White Star”.  Along the way, we scoped out other anchorages for potential future trips.  Suzanne’s turn- cheeseburgers, corn on the cob, and homemade strawberry shortcake, accompanied by Susie’s spinach artichoke pasta salad were on the menu.  Losing weight may be off the program for a bit.  The third day in Shark was just spent boatdinkin’, fishin’ and readin’.  Jeff, (I think of him as the McGyver of boats) had cobbled a fix for a small hydraulic leak, but came over for a look at our hydraulic spares, and found a “just right” plug in case he had to go to “Plan B”.  That evening, it was garbage can dinner (empty out all leftovers) at Jeff and Susie’s and movie night at our place.  The mosquitoes were so thick outside that there would be at least five biting you at the same time.  Unlike the B-52’s that are endemic to the upper Great Lakes, you can’t even feel these little guys land.  Actually, I don’t think that they land on their feet, they just Kamikazee in and start drilling immediately.  A welt comes up before they’re even done.  (Yes, I was impressed).  I couldn’t imagine being on a boat with no screens, having to close the hatches on a hot, humid night to keep out the bugses.

After watching 3 sets of boats come and go in our little slice of heaven, this morning it was our turn.  Anchors up by 0630, we were on our way to Marathon, in the Keys.  It was a cloudy, 63 degree morning after several squalls had come through late last night.  The sun has been trying to pop out through the thin overcast all morning, and at 1045 it’s 67 degrees.  I can’t get over the fact that we’re five miles offshore, and it’s only 9.6’ deep.  The bottoms’ pretty much featureless, and we’ve seen no fishes on the finder.  We should be in Marathon by 1230, so I’ll sign off for now.  Hopefully, we’ll have some interweb soon, and be able to shoot a few logs up into space and get caught up.


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