December 15 - 31 - Cruising Log for S/V Freedom - a Gemini 105 - Jim and Deb Faughn

December 15 - Ever Made Friends With a Dolphin?

Jim and I made a stop over at Marco Island before our crossing to Key West. After lunch we decided to get in the dinghy and troll for some fish. We didn't’t need to leave until 4:30 or so…. Well, we ran into a school of fish and started catching them – in fact Jim and I both had one on at the same time. Since we are still “green” as to which fish are “good” – we went back to the boat to get our book so we could identify them. We finally decided that they were Ladyfish and not good to eat and threw them back. We went back and again began to catch these very large fish. Except this time, what we thought was a shark came right up to the dingy. I’ve been known to exaggerate, but this was a huge fish next to the dingy and I thought about the movie and how Jaws swallowed dinghy's whole. We looked again and it was a dolphin waiting for us to throw the fish back – he even looked at us as if to say, “Could you put a rush on that order?” We held it to the water and he came up and Jim gave it to him. We were excited and thought it was a one time deal. However, the dolphin kept his distance and followed us. Each time we caught a fish, he would come to the boat and wait patiently until Jim took the fish off the hook and gave it to the dolphin. I have to say, it was one of the most extraordinary experiences I have had. The dolphin actually looked at us close and personal. Well, we quit when the fish stopped running and our friend went to sea – very full I would think….

December 15th continued - Crossing from Marco Island to Key West - We were anticipating the crossing to Key West for many reasons. First, we really didn't enjoy the first crossing as much as we should have with the confused seas. Second, this was our first major destination in our loose plan. I think we looked at the crossing tonight with anticipation which was both good although we had questions in our minds.

We began preparation by disassembling the dingy. We first hoist it on the bow of the boat and then remove the seats and transom, clean out the bottom and finally fold up the shell. Once we put all of it away we then begin the remainder of the projects to ensure the boat is ready. In a way, this makes us ready as well. We had already listened to the weather over the last few days and the seas were to be 2-3 feet which would make for a nice ride. However, there were also possible thunderstorms in the forecast and within them can be imbedded higher winds. The winds could of course change the seas. So we wanted to make sure the boat was ready before we left rather than having things fall underway. I worked on the outside taking up one of the two anchors and stowing it. Next installing the jackline from the bow around the mast and back to the stern just in case I needed to go forward in the night. Also, I put away everything from our little fishing trip. While I was doing this, Deb had done her work on the inside stowing all of the items which can fall over, securing the TV and making a couple of sandwiches for the evening watches. It was then I realized we were beginning to work as a team. Each of us knows what we need to do to get ready and we both simply did the work. This crossing was starting out pretty good.

We pulled the last anchor at 4:40 pm and started motoring out to the gulf. We had a crossing of only 91 miles and we were going to have to motor the entire way because winds were forecast for 5-10 knots on our nose. Our main issue, we hoped, was not arriving to the channel for Key West too early. Since the sun sets at 5:30 and rises at 7:00 then we would need to adjust our speed to arrive when we can see the channel markers as we make our way into the channel. We motored out of the channel for Marco Island and began working our way around crab pots. Another reason to leave when there was daylight. As we left Marco Island channel it began to sprinkle and it was quickly becoming dark. I hoped we would be past the last of the crab traps before it was totally dark. I set up the dodgers I had made to keep the rain out of the cockpit. In addition, the dodgers will also help keep the wind out so it would be a nice night in the cockpit.

We agreed after the last crossing that six hours for a watch was too much even on short crossings so this would be our first time to try three hours on and three hours off. After I made the turn from a point offshore of Marco Island which I previously programmed into the GPS, I was able to adjust our course for Key West. Time for Deb's first watch. While she kept an eye out for boats and on our course, I was able to get about two hours of sleep and then it was my turn for watch. It had sprinkled throughout Deb's watch and with the clouds completely covering the sky I figured it would rain the rest of the night as well. I wasn't disappointed. You could see lightning in the distance but Deb was the only one who actually saw the lights from a boat. Once we were offshore you could no longer see the lights of Marco Island and it was dark. I mean it was DARK. You really couldn't see anything. Every ten minutes the person on watch would go to the back of the boat and stand up outside the dodgers (yes we are harnessed in) and look 360 degrees for lights indicative of another boat. Then we would set the timer for another ten minutes. So goes a watch, eighteen checks, or more to make you feel good, for other ships and ensuring the boat stays on course. Deb took back over at midnight.

When it came my time for watch at 3 am, Deb let me know the rain had subsided and she actually saw a few stars. She also thought she could see dawn in the distance. I knew we were on a course of 190 degrees so I figured it couldn't be the sun. Rather, you could just start to see the glow of the lights from Key West. Oops, I thought, we are going to arrive too early so I had to slow the boat down to five knots to delay our arrival for daylight outside the channel. Since Deb wanted to talk, I decided I would also prepare a breakfast casserole to bake later in the morning. I was able to finish that just as she got into bed. Doing the preparation is actually kind of fun when you are running out and buckling in every ten minutes to check for boats and then back down to finish sauteing the veggies for the casserole. My watch was probably one of the prettiest since the moon showed itself for awhile and there were a few stars in the sky. Ultimately it clouded over again and the wind picked up a bit and shifted direction but not enough for me to want to put up the sails for an hour or two.

As we were approaching the channel for Key West, there was a shoal that I was avoiding. It should have been easy since it had a 50 foot tower and was lighted. However, as we got closer I could see it on the GPS but no light. It was still a few miles off but I couldn't see the tower. Dawn had been coming up and I figured it was only minutes before I should see the tower with simply visible light. Ends up the GPS was right and I could make out the black tower as we passed it about a half mile to our port (left). I don't know what happened, either they turned off the electric because somebody didn't pay the bill or the bulb burned out. We made the rest of the trip in the light and you could make out the tall cruise ships at dock in Key West.

The view of Key West in our future...............The Gulf of Mexico we are leaving behind.....Key West is behind those Cruise Ships

We arrived in Key West at 9 am and had both anchors set at 9:25. I think we are out of the main tidal flow although we will still be affected by the currents which is why we use two anchors. Also, I'm sure we will see some good storms through here in the next few months so we might as well be ready.

Cruise Ships and Key West........................Another "small" Cat anchored next to us....The view from our boat back to Key West

We ate part of the casserole, took showers and went to bed for a nap. About 2 pm we had the dinghy put together and were ready to head into Key West to see if much had changed. I think in a nutshell it is the same place. The cruise liners bring in the people with the money, the shop keepers provide product for which to spend the money, and some of us just look at all the money flowing for entertainment. A great town. Things here are a bit more than other places since the land is limited and everything has to be brought in from Miami.

We ultimately found a great happy hour and had a glass of wine and listened to some music and then it was back to the boat for a good nights sleep.

December 16 - Today we awoke to rain. That isn't a bad thing because we need to wash the boat. On with the rain suit top and out with the brushes. I was able to clean up quite a bit of the boat and then give it a rinse with the water that collected in the dinghy. When the rain stopped for awhile, I went to town and took our trash and picked up 10 gallons of water. Now we are back on the boat typing this web log to catch up and watching it rain again.  

 December 19 - It is interesting, our lives have changed so much. Previously we got up early, showered, got dressed up and then went to work. Then we came home, decompressed, talked to a few friends, had dinner and got ready to go back to work again the next day. Now things are a bit different. If you ever watched little house on the prairie, you saw the real thing was simply surviving while taking care of family. Well, I think we are now on "Little Boat on the Ocean." Our entire lives center around finding food, doing laundry, taking care of the boat and of course, going to town to have some fun.

We will start with a little fun. As you see to the right, they figured out we had arrived in Key West so they had to have another boat parade for us.


 In addition, the town's children chorus came out to sing at Schooners Wharf just so we would get into the Christmas spirit. We had a fun time meeting up with some new friends who have invited us to a Christmas celebration. We are still a bit dubious if this will come off however we will give it a shot on Christmas morning.

More boats came by during the night as you will see below.

Yesterday we went shopping at the Winn Dixie for food and this morning I got into gear after purchasing all of the parts and put in our own mooring ball. Now I have to tell you, we priced staying at the marina and it ranged from "only" 1,800 to 2,800 bucks a month. Welcome to the prices of Key West. So we then priced staying on a city installed mooring ball. It was only 300 a month with tax. So I figured that being the innovative person that I am that for 200 bucks I could buy the rest of the stuff that I needed to put in my own mooring ball thus saving about 700 bucks over the next 3 months.

What you see to the left is a blown up ball connected with shackles to two lines we will use as a bridle, through a chain down to a swivel and into more shackles that will be used to connect to our two anchors. We got all of that installed this morning and were done by about 12:30. This is so good because now we can come and go by simply dropping the bridle lines. We can sail and fish and then come back to our mooring ball.

After lunch we then took in our laundry which took most of the afternoon. While waiting we didn't just sit around, we rode our bikes and found Customs. After being scanned and cleared in we then talked to them about coming and going from the country with our bird "Jimmy Buffett." They were so helpful. It ends up they didn't have all of the information but a wonderful lady called someone in another city in Florida and found out they did have the right information at the airport. She is going to pick that up and bring it back to the Customs office just for us. Isn't it great, our tax dollars at work. We then went back to fold our laundry and take it back to the boat.

Next we just had to go to Mallory Square and down to the pier for sunset. If you have never been to Key West, sunset at Mallory Square is an event. As you can see to the right, there are entertainers working for tips doing everything. The guy you see is juggling fire batons while riding a unicycle.

Of course there was also the obligatory one man band.

Then below you can see the trained cat jumping through a very small hoop. The cat actually did jump through the hoop. Who would have guessed you could actually train cats. I guess if they get hungry enough they will do anything.

After we took a picture of some other people they had to reciprocate and you actually get to see another picture of us. Looking pretty laid back now aren't we!


Of course we were joined with a few of our friends at the celebration of sunset.

There were many more entertainers and the guy below was the escape artist. He was put into a straight jacket and tied up with chains and then bound by his legs. I don't know about you but I think the audience who is participating is having way too much fun putting this guy in chains.

I hope they tipped well.


Of course at sunset everyone applauds which is a very motivating experience knowing that people are applauding mother nature as she shows off and beats out the street entertainers.

Now that we have our mooring ball installed we plan on being one of the sails in someone's picture within the next week.

The weather here is wonderful and after another day of chores we should be ready to start some sailing and fishing adventures.

We hope everyone is getting ready for a great Christmas and holiday season.


 December 20 - Today was a work day. Last night, we lost one of Deb's sandals and that was part of the adventure of finding new sandals. Well ultimately we did find them and she is happy again. We also bought a new pan for the boat which we needed along with some jigs to fish with from the dingy. We also ordered a fish bag. This is a bag which is essentially a cooler. It folds out to 60" x 18" and then folds back up. It is essentially a cooler which you can use to keep your fish in when you bring them back to your anchorage. This is a good deal because we don't have space for a large cooler on the boat to use when we keep fish. Oh and that brings up the point of why do you need to have something to keep fish in? Well, that is a great question. If you are catching fish, you better have something to put them in. Tonight, I went fishing from the dingy with the little chartreuse twin tail lures we bought today. That little adventure allowed me to catch a small spotted seatrout under the length limit along with the fish you see to the right which is a Crevalle Jack. They say you have to get rid of the dark red meat and the rest is pretty good to eat. I don't know, but we will see tomorrow. We are learning about catching the saltwater fish.

This was a fun fish to catch. It took me about 5 or so minutes to get it into the dinghy. It was a great fighter and went around the dinghy 6 or 7 times before I could get it up and in. I was using one of my old bass rods and reels so it was a fun time.

Tomorrow I am going in to pick up another anchor, my other two are in the water on the mooring ball and we need a good one on the boat for our adventures away from this anchorage as we take our day or overnight trips. Then we will ride our bikes to the other end of Duvall street where we found a place that lets you use their pool for 5 bucks a day. Sounds like a great day to us, swimming in fresh water and looking at the gulf to boot.


December 21 - A day in Key West - Deb

In Key West, either you’re a “Conch” or you’re a tourist or you’re one of those people on a boat staying as a charter (short time) or you will stay a while – like three for or four months. The ones staying for a while are sometimes considered “locals”….which has lots advantages. We were talking to some people at a happy hour that said at the Southern most tip of the island there was a hotel that offered a great deal…. All day at the heated pool, a free drink for each paid admission…. And it was 5.00 a person. Well, since I wanted to soak in a warm pool for awhile, this sounded like manna from heaven. What happened was the loveliest day I have had. We met a wonderful family from Czechoslovakia. The first son spoke English and was a mechanical engineer – the second son also spoke English and came to this country for all it had to offer but is still looking for his first "real" opportunity to show what he can accomplish. He married an American gal and this year, after three years of being married, they brought their family overseas to meet the in laws– they are all going to meet around Miami to have Christmas on Friday for the Czechoslovakia family which is their traditional time to celebrate and on Saturday, an American Christmas. To hear the stories and sacrifices that they (particularly the parents) went through to raise and educate their sons during the fall of the Soviet Union – it makes me want to get down on my knees and thank God that I have had such a fortunate life. Another learning experience for me….. I am blessed. Blessings to the family we met today and also to you…..

December 23 - Friday morning started with the rain letting up and this wonderful rainbow which had formed on the horizon. I spent the morning cleaning out the anchor locker up front and putting on length markers on the new anchor rode for the new anchor we purchased. Once that was all finished, I put the anchor in the roller and all of the chain and rode in the anchor locker. Next, I put together the same setup for a large danforth anchor we also carry. This whole project took most of the morning but now we are ready to leave our mooring ball and go off for some other trips as well with good anchors for the trip and our other good anchors already established here at our "home base" in Key West.  

 Remember this beautiful Cat which was anchored behind us a week ago? It left last Saturday and turned back up again Thursday. This time it was missing something.

As you can see below, the mast has collapsed. This is one of the bad things that can happen on a sailboat. In their case, they got into a squall and a side shroud broke and then the mast broke coming down on the boat and over the side. It took them a day at sea just to get all the stuff back on the boat so they could come back to Key West to clean up the mess. Ended up they had rigging work done about 3 months ago and obviously something was defective. There goes a couple of hundred thousand to fix the boat.

The other thing was the captain (owner) was up clearing a jammed roller furling two minutes before the collapse. The mast fell where he was working. In his case, he knows he was only two minutes away from death. Interesting how timing seems to count for a great deal in life.

Later in the day, we were off to the Turtle Races. Yep, we were participating with the wonderful people at Turtle Kraals where they have turtle races every Monday and Friday night. Ends up all you have to do is to sit down, order a drink and they give you a ticket with a number on it. There are six turtles doing the "racing" and I had number 5. Wouldn't you know it, my turtle won the "race." He was actually a quick little box turtle. You can see him below beating all other turtles across the finish line.

Also below you can see me pictured with all of the other number 5 winners. Now the games begin.

This is where the games start. You have to pick a key from 100 keys and if you are lucky enough, the key unlocks the chest which had today $325 in it. Of course there is always more to the story.

Here I am in the middle holding up old lucky 35 key. This is the key that should unlock the chest. I am with some new boating friends. Left to right they are, Gary & Shirlene, me with the silly grin and the key, and Rick and Pat. They are all anchored out in the same area we are.

Next comes the part where each person gets to try to open the "treasure chest." Of course only one key will work. To make it interesting, the announcer will sometimes try to make you a deal to trade your key for Turtle bucks which can be spent on tee shirts, food, or drink at Turtle Kraals

It came my turn and guess what. You're right, it didn't open. Surprise, Surprise.

Finally, the last two people who he had pulled out of the opening line and made sit down, came to try their keys. The first guy took the offer and when they tried his key, it didn't work. The second guy also took the offer. Of course everyone was yelling to take the deal. Our friends had never seen the box open so the logical thing was to take the deal. Wouldn't you know it, the second guys key opened the box. So goes life, you make decisions and live with them. In this case at least he won something verses the rest of us who were just part of the show and promotion.

Next we were off to the live nativity presentation at the Methodist Church. They had children playing all of the parts and a very good narrator. This was the closest thing we have gotten to Christmas spirit so far.

We sat across the street in the chairs they provided and listened and watched as the actors played their parts.

Today, Saturday, I picked up mail, thanks for the Christmas Cards. I also brought in water too so we would have enough for lots of showers. Tomorrow it looks like we will have a beautiful day and will probably go snorkeling on Christmas Eve day.

Deb with Gary and Shirlene.

 December 25 - MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!! We well start with yesterday because we need to keep up the old log. Yesterday morning we sailed out to Sand Key to snorkel. We were in our boat and Gary and Shirlene were in their boat. The sail out was a bit rough and we put out our head sail otherwise known as our genoa and motor sailed out to the reef. Problem was that we were hoping the waves had calmed down but they hadn't. We had 3 foot seas going out and once behind Sand Key it calmed some but not as much as would have happened before Wilma. The land part of the Key is now gone. Where there previously was a sand area, now is several feet of water and there isn't a good break in the seas. We snorkeled in 78 degree water with our thin skins and had 1-2 foot seas where we were snorkeling. We saw a number of fish and lots of lobster but you can't take the lobster because this is a protected area.  After snorkeling for about 45 minutes Deb was finished and ready to return. She hadn't snorkeled for awhile and forgot almost everything she knew. We were starting to board the boat when all of a sudden the boat was going one way, seas another and no horizon. With no warning, yep, I'm seasick and feeding the fish. I had no previous symptoms and now I'm producing fish food. What a way to loose weight. I was, to say it as kindly as I can, pissed. Well, my body isn't agreeing with my soul on this trip. I'm almost convinced that I will be calling the doctor for some patches. If Dennis Connor, Captain of many Americas Cup races, wears one I guess I could too, but it did make me think about what we were doing. Then again, I've overcome other things so why not this one. I see a challenge coming on. We sailed home and back to our mooring buoy. The mooring is working great because we can now come and go by only dropping or picking up two lines that are on floats in the water. (The picture below is our boat under sail taken by Gary from his boat. In the background of the first one is Key West.)

After we returned, Gary and Shirlene came by in their dingy and said they were going to town for lunch. Since I left my breakfast for the fish, it sounded like a great idea to me. We dinghy 'd into down and walked to Caroline's for salads. They do have a great salad. After some great conversation, they went off to shop for some food and we were walking back to the dinghy. All of a sudden I heard a guitar with a style I knew. Ended up it was a guy that we've listened to at another place and we had to stop in to listen again. This guy is great. We got there for his final few songs and then the set was over. I went up afterwards and overheard him talking to another person about wanting a web site. So, I have now volunteered to create his website, with his artwork, for some possible lessons. We will see if it all works out but this guy is one of the best guitar players I have heard and uses the neck like only a few people I have known. It would be cool to take a few lessons in exchange for a website. Otherwise I think I could only carry this guy's guitar. Have I told you he is good?

We then returned back to the boat to enjoy sunset looking out from the back of our boat. Of course as the sun was setting we were calling family and friends wishing them a Merry Christmas. What a life!

Christmas morning we slept in a bit and then started getting ready for Christmas dinner on our boat. Our new boating friends were coming over and in true cruising tradition, everyone was bringing a dish. We had everything you could want for a Christmas dinner and just like all of you, there was too much food.

We enjoyed the conversation and everyone started back to their boats a little earlier than planned because a BIG storm was coming. Yes we have now sat out our first storm at anchor and I'm pleased to say in 35 knot winds - 40 mph - that my anchors held just fine while the boat just north of us drug his anchor. Thank goodness the wind was from the west on this storm so he wasn't blowing into me. The good part of a storm is that your anchors set deeper and once set you are very comfortable about them holding in the next storm. Bottom line is we are now VERY comfortable.

It is now dark, raining, and all we can see is anchor lights. We are reflecting on the many Christmas's past with family and friends and looking at this Christmas as being different. We are missing our family and friends but we are also enjoying meeting new people. We are also enjoying the tee shirts and shorts part of it too.

Once again, thanks for all of the emails from the many people following our adventures. We have family and friends who have been faithful followers, friends from the KR world and there are also the 3-4 new people who email each week who have found our website and send us a message they are enjoying our cruise. I hope you enjoy the candor and honesty of the information. To all of you, thank you and we wish you a great holiday season.

December 27 - It was a day that the waters were calm and chores inland needed to be done. A “hum drum” day in paradise. Little did I know that soon I would be in the process of trying to save another Catamaran as my life passed in front of me. My dinghy, after hitting a wave and gust of wind, was vertical and ready flip on top of me. However, I am getting ahead of the story.

We had gone to Key West for a routine day of doing laundry and picking up a few more supplies. We loaded our laundry back into the dinghy and made our way to where we could also pick up 15 gallons of water for the boat. On the trip over I noticed the wind had picked up considerably while we were in town. We picked up our water and then went back to our boat pretty slowly because of the strong northwest winds and 2-3 foot seas. Upon reaching our boat we noticed a large blue water motor boat had been dragging his anchor. I got out the binoculars and was trying to see the phone number on the for sale sign on the side of the boat when I saw a person come out. I figured they would pull anchor and go someplace else since it was obvious their anchors wouldn’t hold in this wind. They sure didn’t have their signals worked out because the person at the wheel would first go up too far and then back too far for the guy up front to get the anchor out. I was also setting up our GPS at the time so it would set of the anchor alarm if we drug so I didn’t see everything this boat did next. Deb, on the other hand, saw him as he was leaving come very close to the catamaran anchored about 200 feet to the east of us. When I looked back I saw that the catamaran next to us was now drifting and I figured its anchor was dragging too. I told Deb, I have to help that boat. I didn’t think there was anyone on board but didn’t know for sure.

I jumped in our dinghy and motored in what were then 3 foot seas and 25-30 knot winds towards the cat. It wasn’t far but it took a couple of minutes to get there and then I secured the painter to a cleat and went on board hoping to reset their anchor, find another anchor or wake someone up. Everything was locked up and nobody was on board. I went forward and began pulling on the anchor line. I reached the small mushroom anchor which they had placed on the anchor line to keep the pull low and then there was no more resistance, only line. That meant the line had either broken or was cut rather than the anchor dragging. Looking around I couldn’t see another anchor so my only choice, I hoped, was to pull it with my dinghy until “hopefully” someone else came to help. I ran back to my dinghy which now was under the cat and pulled it out. The motor was still running as I had left it and I got in to go around and pick up their anchor line. As I made it around the cat, I encountered a gust of wind along with a higher than normal wave at the same time. It was at this point when the bow of the boat went vertical and I just knew it was coming over on top of me. I was able to throw my body forward during this event and stop it from coming over the top. However, when we came down the dinghy was filled with water, the gas tank was floating, and the water on the inside was within one inch of the top of the transom. (The only thing I could figure out was the dinghy was actually submerged in the rear at the time it went vertical and that was when I took on all of the water.) I stayed on my knees and the event turned into a different rescue mission. Now I couldn’t help the cat but instead had to keep our dinghy from completely filling with water or flipping over. As I knelt, I began using our plastic container with one hand which I use as a bailer and bailed like a man possessed with saving his own skin. It is amazing how much water you can bail with an old laundry detergent bottle with the handle on it and the top side cut out. I bailed for continuously with my right hand, kneeling as low and forward as possible while at the same time reaching back with my left hand trying to use the motor, which was still running, to keep the dinghy pointed into the waves. Between the bailing and steering I caught a couple of looks at the cat as it was drifting to the rocky shore. I was hoping Deb was using the radio to call for assistance but didn’t know. I was simply trying to stay afloat and get back to our boat where I could call for help if she hadn’t done so already.

It must have taken me 10 minutes of bailing and motoring to make the 200 or so yards to our boat. At end of the process I noticed a yellow boat and dinghy coming to the aid of the cat which at this point had hit shore. I thought, thank goodness, they will save the boat. When I reached our boat Deb wanted to help me but I asked her instead to start our diesel engine just in case we might drag. I was really worried someone else might drag into us and we would have to get out of there quickly. Then I went ahead and finished bailing out the dinghy and climbed aboard.

It was then I learned that Deb had been using the radio. She had made a general announcement on channel 16 requesting help from anyone on the channel. She told them the cat was drifting toward shore and her husband was trying to help but now bailing water in his dinghy and unable to help the cat. A person requested she switch to channel 17 and she did so. The lady told her they were Marine Assist. Deb gave her the precise location of the cat and she said they had a boat underway. While Deb was telling me her story and that she was happy I was still alive, I saw that the original boat who had been dragging it’s anchor and started this whole thing did find another place to anchor. Right in front of us! I thought I’ll have a sleepless night because I’ll have to stay up all night to keep an eye on him. Then I saw our new friends Gary and Shirlene on Zipadedoda leaving to anchor across from Christmas Tree Island which would be more protected. I called him on the radio and asked if there was room for one more and they responded that there was. The decision was quick, I’m not going to be behind the boat that makes the dominos start falling again. I dropped the lines to my temporary mooring ball and we are out of here. I also get to use my new anchor which I just put on the front of the boat for situations just like this. I left the two Bruce anchors in the water connected to our mooring ball for us to return to when the wind shifted again. We left and motored about 5 minutes and anchored out of the wind. After making sure everything was secure and setting the anchor drag alarm on the GPS, we dinghy’d over for a couple of drinks and story telling. It was definitely time to decompress.

Would I do it again? The answer is, yes I probably would. However, this time I think I would first put on my inflatable life jacket and throw a 5 gallon jug of water into the front of the dinghy. In addition, I will probably get a bigger bailing device so I can get two gallons out at a time rather than one and of course Deb will be standing by on the radio.

Should I say, just another day in Key West? Our adventures continue…

By the way, if you never read the quote by me on our main page, you might want to scroll down the bottom and read it. I wrote it back in September.

December 27 - Deb's addendum - Jim has recanted his version of almost drowning, and after some thought, I would like to add my perspective. As a novice sailor, or should I say “ sailoress,” it just hasn’t sunk in that there are some very serious aspects of sailing. The day in question actually started to be a calm, work day with laundry and errands to run. Coming back to the boat, it was obvious the winds had changed and picked up considerably. Jim, either not wanting to get me wet or the fresh laundry (hee, hee), went slowly and we got back to the boat. Another boat with very elderly people on it was circling the anchorage – strange in my mind for such rough water – and this is the first lesson: if you see something odd, don’t ignore it. The elderly couple came very close to the cat next to us and actually, close to our boat – I thought he was leaving. Suddenly, the cat began to move and Jim said he broke anchor and he had to save the boat. Jim jumped into the dinghy and started after the boat. As he got to the boat and jumped aboard, he frantically looked for another anchor, keys to start the boat – but nothing – so he thought he could tow it with the dinghy. As he started this process the wind and waves hit the dinghy so hard, the boat went vertical and I thought I lost my husband. I have a best friend who lost her husband and it hit me hard – what if he’s dead? I know we (wives) go on day by day taking their relationship for granted – complaining about insignificant crap that doesn’t amount to a hill of beans….I was on channel 16 hailing for help long before I saw Jim trying to save his life by bailing as fast as he could….help arrived for the boat drifting very fast, but it took Jim what seemed like forever to get back to our boat (short distance) and he was exhausted, exhilarated and scared. Lesson 2: In boating things happen fast. Lesson 3: Have your wits about you all of the time. Lesson 3: Know how to use the radio and star your engine. Lesson 4: Love your husband.

December 28 -  The rest of the story. The last two days have proved interesting. We have had chores to do which included laundry, shopping for food, and getting parts for the boat to solve a persistent very small leak. Of course we have also still been involved in the saving of the Cat which almost cost us our dinghy and motor. I've also been recovering a bit with bruises and a sore back which has been aching considerably. However, everyone who has emailed me wants to know is, how is the boat? We have now met the owners of the Cat and his name is Jeff and is very nice. He has dove on his boat and has found it has very little damage thanks to the quick rescue. He has thanked us numerous times and is quickly becoming a new friend. Also, we have found that there were a number of other witnesses that actually saw the boat I mentioned previously cut across him, get tied up a bit and then motor away followed by Jeff's boat starting to drift. Seems to me that there are lots of people that say the blue water boat cut the anchor line with his prop. I guess the Florida Marine Patrol will take statements, by the way they are looking for us, and then file them away for the insurance company or if necessary, lawyers to decide what happened with the help of a judge. Fortunately everyone is safe and the owner of the vessel that everyone thinks started it all left today. I was very happy to see him leave! Especially when he pulled up his anchor and it looked like it was the same size as mine . I have to tell you right now that he was on a 50-60 foot two story boat that had to weigh 50,000 plus pounds. He is trying to hold that with the same anchor or one size bigger than I am trying to hold a 9,000 pound boat fully loaded that is only 34 feet. Something is wrong here and it isn't with the anchor I carry. The thing that was right was that he had an anchor fouled with chain which evidently held him where he was. The question now is, is this Jeff's chain or was the guy lucky enough to hook another chain so he wouldn't drift? That question may or not be answered in the next few days.

The good part of the last two days is that we have re-provisioned, Deb has taken almost everything out of the boat to air out, we've done laundry, picked up sealers for the persistent leak and found, after 5 hours of cutting away sealers and taking pieces apart, what I hope is the root cause of our small but persistent leak. I also called my doctor who promptly called me back, by the way he is also a sailor and I've been with him next to forever, and I have the patch for me next time we go off-shore. Trust me, I'll let you know when I use it and if it works. At the same time, I'll probably experiment without it first to see if I can do without it. (I know, I'm a little hard headed.) I like the doctors code, do no harm and prescribe as little as it takes. On a boat, you better not take much more than you have to accomplish your duties.

Otherwise we are doing great. Key West is starting to get real crowded for New Years. We have had a number of Mega Yachts coming in. A sailing Mega Yacht just anchored near us and is probably 120 feet long with an 80 or more foot mast. It is amazing. Pictures will follow.

I hope everyone is having a great holiday and looking forward to a new year.

December 30- Deb and I have been busy. The last two days we stayed on the boat and accomplished projects. I had a persistent very small leak that I have been chasing since we bought the boat. I took the time to tear out all of the sealant between the bimini, removed the small side windows and then took out the screws that hold the front of the bimini down to the boat. It was then I think I found the root cause of the leak. It was those screws that weren't sealed. Next I resealed everything with Lifeseal especially the screw areas. Also creating a bit of a dam in front of the screws to ensure water just can't get in. Finally, I reinstalled the small windows with GE Silicone. Now we just need a good rain to prove I actually did it this time.

To the right you see the boat that started all of the commotion I've been talking about in my previous logs. Of interest here, if you can see it, is the size of his anchor. Or should I say, lack of size. I believe it is the same or perhaps one size larger than my anchor. It should be about twice, or more, as big as he has if he is anchoring out here with the winds in Key West.


 I want a bigger boat. Not just the boat but I want the money and crew to run it too. Well, I guess maybe that is just a joke but I have to say BIG Boats are showing up for the New Years Celebration. This thing is HUGE. The mast appears to be a hundred feet long and the boat is probably 100-120 feet long as well. It does look like a nice boat and I'll bet the Chef on board cooks some pretty fine meals too.

Speaking of chefs, I met a very nice lady yesterday who happens to be a freelance chief aboard yachts. She said she would email me with a great recipe and I said I would reciprocate with my Gumbo recipe. By the way, I will miss cooking that this year for the party. Then again, I might just do up a small pot for us.

One of the things you have to stop and enjoy when working in your swimsuit is the dolphins. They are running around this morning just behind our boat fishing. That means there are fish hanging out in the waters and it also means we get a great show every now and then. We just love seeing these fish effortlessly cruise about blowing the air out just as they reach the surface and then listening as they take in another breath before going down again.

Today we also moved our mooring. Deb consented that the spot we were in wasn't as protected as we would like. She really got mad when someone water skied right past the front of our boat in the old location. Gary came over and helped me take up and put back down our two anchors. I moved just a bit north so we weren't in the mouth of the bay and instead have the island in front of us. It is already calmer. In addition, I changed the perspective of the two anchors. Now that I have lived through a "clocking" of the wind. I know the strongest winds blow from the East most of the times and also from the West to Northwest when a front is passing which usually means storm. So, I put one anchor at about East Southeast and the second one West Northwest. Also we are now in 14 feet of water so we have more scope. We didn't move previously but this is still better I think. Regardless, when the storms come from the West, we will move and ride it out on one anchor behind Christmas Tree Island or the other side of Fleming Key.

We will be going downtown for New Years Eve just to see the show. They block off all of the streets and I'm sure Key West is a sight to be seen for New Years. Following that we are waiting for a wind shift to move up to Marathon for a day or two as Gary and Shirlene start north. They asked if we wanted to go along with them so they can show us all the places in Marathon. So, we will leave our mooring in here and head up there for a few days. We can pick our mooring up again when we return so all will be easy.


Web Page by Jim Faughn