April 15-30 - Cruising Log for S/V Freedom - a Gemini 105 - Jim and Deb Faughn

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April 16 - In the last log you saw many pictures of the manatees. Deb wrote up the following for you to also enjoy an experience we had with the manatees.

A Break from the Routine

Many of my friends ask me, “What do you do all day on the boat?” Well, some of it is definitely routine. In the morning I fix breakfast, get our bird Jimmy Buffet ready for the day, vacuum, clean the boat and hopefully get ready for the day by about 11:00 a.m. On this day in Titusville, it was definitely different – and one of those life time moments never forgotten. We were anchored out and decided to dinghy in to shore for a look at the landscape and get a feel for services, etc. As we passed a large boat tied up, as boaters often do, the captain started up a conversation and we talked about the area and the marina. He said it was heavily inhabited by Manatees, so be very careful when running the boat. Just about that time, a Manatee – larger than our dingy pulled up right by us. I instinctively petted its back and he seemed to love it. He slowly rolled over to have his belly rubbed. Then turning back, I thought he would move on, but he just stayed there, so I rubbed his back. He then rolled over again and again. This love fest went on for at least 15 minutes before he slowly moved on, I suppose to find the next person or Manatee that would love and rub the sand like skin. We went on to a local eatery and picked up a brochure on Manatees. Technically what I did was considered harassment. I understand gender harassment, racial harassment, and the litany of harassment that happens continually, but if Jim wanted to rub my back and belly, I would find that pleasurable – like the Manatee. I found it unusual that one of God’s creatures would lie in a prone position and allow a human to rub his belly. It was a truly extraordinary experience that will be in my memory forever.


In addition to enjoying the area and the manatees, we also took the opportunity to do a bit more boat maintenance. I found the rudder down lines were frayed so I replaced them on both sides, tightened the clamps which hold the steering rods, and I also adjusted the outdrive reverse. We had lost our reverse off and on coming into the dock with Steve and Linda and I found what was wrong with it and fixed it. (Note: this was the first time I really had this problem.) And finally, the big project was to put in another starting battery so I could place all of the Optima batteries in parallel to use as our "house bank." For those who aren't sailors, this means I wanted more power available at anchor when we aren't plugged into shore power or the generator isn't running. For more information on what I did, saving space and weight, you can see this project on our projects page.

The top left picture is taken of the line which was frayed.

The bottom left picture is of the rudder assembly. The line I replaced is the light colored one with the blue markers.

 We went to Sun n Fun on Tuesday and I was hoping to see a few KR's, which was the type of plane I built. (See my Other Page.) I did see one. This belongs to Bill Clapp. I've known Bill for at least 5 years and he is a good builder along with supporter of the KR. Bill is a very encouraging person to other builders. We spent some time talking about drag reduction along with the next airplane he is going to build.

I also walked around on some of the rest of the flight line looking at all kinds of experimental aircraft. I found that I really liked Sun n Fun because it is smaller than Oshkosh. I only now wish I would have been able to fly my airplane down at some point. I guess there is always later when I get the plane back when we are finished cruising. I've already started a list in my mind of alterations I would like to make to also reduce drag and increase the speed.

 Of course the reason we went over to the airshow was to see Steve and Linda again. The girls took the booth for about an hour so Steve and I could walk around the buildings and see what was there and then they took off to the campground to start happy hour while Steve and I worked until 5 pm. It was fun again talking airplanes and the VW engines. Steve has new aluminum cylinders for the engine which are the easiest way to loose 10.2 pounds I've ever seen. In addition, they provide better cooling. If he would have had them while I had the plane, I would have them on right now. Also, as I mentioned he is also carrying a gel cell battery. This is lighter than the lead acid one I had in my plane and all together I could have lost 14-15 pounds on the airplane. For people who know airplanes, being able to loose almost 15 pounds on a 625 pound airplane is a challenge and this way it is an easy one.

 After we finished working, we went back to their camper where Linda had prepared appetizers and we had a happy hour before they began cooking and then served dinner. Grilled fish and shrimp along with all the trimmings. What a great meal with great people. We sat and ate well while watching airplanes leave the fly-in.

Deb and I got into our rental car at about 8:15 pm and made the 2 hour drive back to the boat arriving at about 10:15. We were using our Microsoft Streets and Trips with GPS so getting around was easy. I have to tell you however, it took a bit of getting used to with all the traffic around again. Everyone is in a hurry.

We made it back fine and the bird, Jimmy Buffett, was doing just fine. Wednesday morning he was a bit mad at us because he was alone all day. He does show his emotions.

I have spent the day today, Wednesday, washing the boat, pumping out, getting diesel, and taking on water for our next trip. We are leaving for St Augustine tomorrow about 8 or so. I'm sure we will take showers before we leave just so we don't use as much water on the boat.


 Speaking of water on the boat, Deb was able to catch this picture of a manatee drinking runoff water as I was washing the boat and putting water in our water tanks. It is illegal to give these guys water but you have no choice when you are washing off sand and bugs from your boat. I hope they can distinguish the difference between the clean water and the soapy water.

I'm still waiting on Verizon to update their driver so I can update our website with the cell phone on our new computer. Until then, I will be stuck finding free wi-fi sites to update the site with. Thanks for your patience.

 April 22 - We have arrived in St. Augustine. We left Titusville and anchored in New Smyrna Beach. We found that the scenery was quickly changing. On the way we began seeing Palm trees growing wild along the banks. In addition, we passed areas where the pine trees were very thick with long pine needles. Of course we are quite a ways from an inlet so the water is murky but on the trip to New Smyrna there wasn't much current either.

When we arrived in New Smyrna, we put together our dinghy and went into the municipal marina where we could tie up the dinghy and walk around town. We liked New Smyrna better than Titusville. There was a nice area in town with some shops and restaurants along with a nice park. The person at the marina was a great emissary for the town too. I am finding these municipal marinas are my salvation to where to get our dinghy into shore. They have a vested interest in promoting the town whereas the private marinas really want to take care of their customers rather than those of us who choose to anchor out.


One might wonder why we like to anchor so much. First it is much better on our cruising budget and second we find our boat stays cleaner and we are much cooler during the day with the winds on the water. Overall, we are able to experience the world much better.

In addition to the changes on shore, we are now in an area where you want to ensure you don't drive the boat where the birds are walking.

The water is shallow outside the waterway and there are many opportunities to go aground. We have heard several boats on the radio asking about the next high tide because they went aground. More than likely, these are the monohull's with a 6 foot keel. Of course we only draw about 3 1/2 feet with our rudders and engine down so we don't have as much opportunity to get stuck as others do. In addition, we can always pull things up until we only draw 18 inches.

We stopped in Daytona Beach the next day which was only a 3 hour trip from New Smyrna. We anchored across from Halifax Harbor and then took the dinghy in to the public launch ramp and tied up on one of the finger piers. We found out about this by calling the marina office who, again being a city marina, were very helpful.

We went to the West Marine and then walked around Daytona Beach. We went to happy hour at a restaurant on the harbor and then rain came. We hadn't brought our rainsuit's so Deb suggested that we improvise. Of course since it was her idea, she was the one who got to model the new rainsuit when we got back to the boat.

 Again, we found the landscape different than what we had experienced in the lower Keys. I'm guessing this is similar to what it looks like in the everglades with the shallow water and the grasses everywhere. I'm sure it would be allot of fun to run around here in an airboat although we haven't seen any along the waterway.

 We arrived in St Augustine and were greeted by the historic Bridge of Lions. Because of the historic nature of this bridge they elected to restore the bridge, opening structure and the lifting mechanism. The bridge you see behind the historic structure is temporary! Yes, they built another bridge and installed a lift structure to use while the old bridge is being rebuilt. I believe they will then tear down the temporary bridge when they are finished.

 Who was standing on the bridge waiting for us? Yes, that is a shot of Gary and Shirline. They knew we should arrive at about 3 so they decided to walk out on the bridge and see us in. Gary had also scouted the anchorage and picked a good spot for me from his high "perch."

 As soon as we had the two anchors set we were off to meet up with Gary and Shirline and see the town. It had been since January since we had seen them and it was good getting together again. They took us on a walking tour of St Augustine and we have fallen in love with this place. There is quite a bit to do along with the wonderful architecture. You will see much more about the town as we see more of it throughout the week.

We walked over to the fort and got a picture of where our boat was anchored and while we were there, they were firing the cannon on the invading pirates. We had heard this while setting the anchor and I almost jumped out of my skin. I actually started waving a white flag which I found out later that they cannon guys saw and were having a good laugh over.


We ended up at Scarlett O'Hara's and ate dinner on the front porch. Of course the conversation wondered from St Augustine to boats to their home sale and move to what they are building today to, of course, the arm twisting to get us to go to Mexico with them next year. Gary actually understands that I want to pick up some more experience before we head off to Mexico but he still keeps asking. It looks like we might go down with them the following year and stay a year in the area.

Below you can see a picture of the Bilge Rats singing at one of the local establishments. It is common to see people in period costumes and they really enjoy doing this. We were entertained with the type of songs you would have heard on the old square rigger sailing ships. Think of the crew in the moving Master and Commander singing and you will know what we were listening to in the evening.

We made plans to see some more of the town tomorrow and then we were back to the boat to get some sleep. It was a great first day.


 April 26 - We have been writing an article for Latitudes and Attitudes, which is a sailing magazine, and I sent it to the editor on Tuesday. I wrote about how to make pizzas using a Tortilla as the crust. For the article, I made some simple pizzas, took pictures and documented the process for the submission. I really like to make even more complex pizzas but found they get to be too complex in the explanation and would probably dissuade people from making them. Instead, I gave a list of other ingredients you can use in addition to the ones in the samples. I haven't heard back from the editor but hopefully they will publish the article. It has been quite a while since I've had something published so it will be fun if it happens. I also have a number of other recipes I've developed that I will submit if they like my work. When you submit an article, they request that you also send a picture of yourself. I decided a family portrait would be best so I figured I would put it here too. (Jimmy Buffett was getting jealous because he hadn't been on our website in awhile.) The Fort in the background is where we are planning on going today so you will see pictures of it in our next update.

Overall we are really enjoying St Augustine and it is on our list to spend a week at everytime we pass this area. The dinghy dock is expensive at $60 per week but the town is great so that is the way life goes sometimes. Also, the showers are great too - something you always take for granted when you live on land.


 We took our bikes to shore to be able to start getting out from the old town and seeing other things. We decided the first place we would visit on Tuesday would be the Alligator farm. We rode over the temporary bridge you saw in the previous pictures and stopped to take this picture from the bridge. Our boat is the furthest one back.

The St Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park was founded in 1893 and is one of the oldest zoos in the country. This is the only place in the world that displays all 23 living species of crocodilians from the Americas, Australia, Africa and Asia. In addition, they have a great collection of birds, mammals and reptiles.

I guess we should have taken more pictures of the alligator's but it seemed we took more of the birds. I guess that tells you where our interests are.

As you entered there was a cage with Toucans in it. They are a cool looking bird with the bright colored beak.

As I said, alligators were everywhere and I thought I would show how brave I was with the biggest alligator which was in captivity. Well you already have figured that it must have been stuffed and it was. I took a picture of Deb doing the same thing but she told me not to use it. I kept thinking that I wish there was a remote control so I could get the jaws to start closing. That would have been pretty funny but I'll bet it would give someone a heart attack.

We went to one of the shows and they explained about various lizards and then snakes. The one to the lower left is a rattle snake and she was keeping her distance as she put it back into its box. I'm thinking I'll let her do the venomous snake handling. Next she brought out a big python and then we got to go up and pet it. This was as close as I could get Deb to the snake but she did pet it. She thought it felt smooth. They feed these guys rabbits so I think Deb was ok.

We went through and saw lots of alligators. The one in the tank is about 13 feet long and is a BIG alligator. There were many ponds with alligators and all of the different species.

Below you can see the Egrets nesting. These birds are wild and use this area to nest because it is a natural protected area for them. There plumage grows this time of the year so the males look attractive to the females. Below right you can see a picture that explains why the birds like to nest here. The alligators will take care of the predators from the ground so the birds don't have to worry about their baby's being harmed.


 There were Egrets everywhere and some other birds too. To the lower left if you look real close you can see the mother turning the eggs so she can sit back on them again. I noticed they were very careful when moving their eggs around. I'm sure there is a time for them to rotate them or it may just be when they swap places with the male or female to go out and look for food.

They also had a number of parrots on display too. This Red and Blue Macaw is from South America.



April 28 - Wednesday we rode our bikes out for routine things like prescriptions, going to the Sailors Exchange and then I brought Deb back to the boat and then went back in to ride to NAPA for more oil filters. Overall I rode about 15-16 miles and got to see quite a bit more of St. Augustine.

Thursday we decided to explore more of the historic aspect of St Augustine. We were planning on starting at the Fort and then moving to the Lightner Museum. On the way in we noticed they were raising a sunken boat in the anchorage. It looks here like they may have it but that wasn't the case. Ultimately it took most of the day to get the straps right and get the remains of this boat out of the anchorage.


We started the day at the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. On Fridays through Sunday reinactors will fire the cannons to the crowds enjoyment. I must say however that I have raised a white flag on the boat and want to surrender. You have to imagine that you may be doing some maintenance or anything else and all of a sudden - BOOM - the cannon goes off and you jump out of your skin when the percussion literally hits you. I'm never ready for it and neither is our bird Jimmy Buffett.

I had an idea that I need a small cannon so I can fire at them. I think it would be pretty good if I took the first shot, they fired with their big cannon and then I raise the white flag. Knowing my luck, they would probably put in a real shell and it would be me the crane would be lifting off of the bottom of the anchorage.

I've really enjoyed learning more about the history of our this area. I'll share some of it from the brochure from the Park Service. In 1513, sailing from Puerto Rico, Spanish explorers discovered Florida. Although Spain claimed Florida, France gained the first foothold there establishing Fort Caroline on the St. Johns River in 1564. Of course the King of Spain saw this as a challenge and a menace to their treasure fleets bringing gold out of Mexico using the gulf stream and trade winds. Therefore, King Philip II sent an expedition under Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles to eliminate the French threat. Menendez was unable to board the French ships so he went further south and established the St. Augustine as a base for further operations. The French fleet sailed south to attack him but were caught in a storm and wrecked. Menendez correctly figured their Fort would be lightly guarded and the Spaniards marched north, captured the Fort and executed most of the inhabitants. They then captured and killed the survivors from the French fleet. These actions are what gave the name to the bay Mantanzas, Spanish for "slaughters. It is said that during the executions the bay was red from the blood and now the bay is called Mantanzas Bay. The Spanish recognized the importance of a strong base along the route for ships returning from Mexico to provide safe harbor for reprovisioning and repairs before the ships returned to Spain. In 1672 ground was broken for the new fort. The Spanish were able to complete the Fort in 1695 and it was said it was a breakthrough in Fort design. Over time the Fort was occupied by the Spanish, British and finally the United States and it was updated to meet the changing needs as time passed.

As we went into the Fort, we passed over the area that at one time was the drawbridge. This bridge would take 15 minutes to raise so you needed to keep a good watch to spot surprise attacks. You can see in the picture to the left, they created a very heavy timbered wall with holes in it to shoot through while the bridge was being raised. I'm thinking that the people outside raising the bridge were probably on the lower end of the rank structure. The picture to the right just shows the drawbridge on the far left side.

Just as you came through the entrance, which by the way was the only entrance to the Fort, you encounter the room where the guards would sleep when they weren't working. They tried to keep people near that entrance just in case of attack. In addition, further back was the jail.

Lower left is a carving of the Spanish Royal Coat of Arms which was brought to this Fort in 1762.

Of course it isn't just today that people have to carve their names into something. Alex Carter carved this one in 1883.

During the period the British held the Fort, they decided they needed more space. Therefore they created second floors in the arched rooms to provide additional living area. Of course this reminds me of the loft style apartments and condos which are currently constructed from old warehouses.

On top of the Fort we had some great views. We feel it is a mandate to take the picture of our boat whenever we see a good one. To the right you see some of the intricate castings on the cannon. It seemed the spanish had a real flare for intricate details and design.

The picture to the right gives you an idea of the area surrounding the Fort. It was very important there were many lines of defense. These lines essentially are made up by larger and larger circles which are staffed by militia. If you get past the cannons and mortars, then you come on the guns of the militia who only have their heads and guns above the walls and mounds in front of them.

Below left you can see the cannon which isn't aimed at our boat but aimed across the bay. This cannon can fire 1.2 miles in a fairly straight trajectory. To the right you can see one of the cannons aimed into the town area and below that you can see two different mortars. These fire in a more vertical trajectory and then explode on impact. The different sizes were used for the different distances.

Once again, we saw a picture we just had to use with our boat centered in the small window used for the lookouts.

Below left is an example of the architecture and to the right is a picture of the inlet which we plan on using on Monday morning on our way to Savannah, GA.


 Next we went to the Lightner Museum and took this picture on the upper floor. Mr. Lightner traveled the world and collected many different items. He ultimately bought this old hotel then moved his collection to be displayed within it. He ultimately donated it to the City of St. Augustine in the 30's.

Below left is a picture of the glass collection. I particularly liked the chandelier and the view from above. To the right was the old steam room and I'm sure the hotel guests enjoyed sitting in here probably rejuvenating themselves or making deals. It reminds me of many of the old movies where the criminal bosses were making deals and deciding who had control of what or deciding which gang needed to be eliminated.

 This Chickering Grand Piano was made in the 1870's and was owned by the opera singer Amelita Galli. She performed in Traini Italy and then Rome. She also performed in Egypt, Russia, Spain and South America. One of more notable performances was when she performed in Madam Butterfly.

In addition, the museum had a large collection of player pianos along with other automated musical instruments you see below. We particularly enjoyed the 2 p.m. performance of these instruments. They all had different sounds which were the best of the day. Of course today we simply play a CD or an MP3 but in those days the automated music was from drums with pins, cardboard with slots, metal discs with holes and of course rolled paper also with holes.

The museum has a person who keeps these instruments in working condition and they are played twice a day. Some have motors retrofitted so a person doesn't have to pump or crank them. Others are original and must be cranked.

Friday we spent on the boat because we were expecting rain which did show up. In addition, I also did quite a bit of maintenance to prepare for the crossing. On Saturday, we picked up a few more provisions in preparation for leaving Monday and spent time going through many of the shops in St. Augustine. Tomorrow we will go to the Cathedral Basilica which is the oldest church in North America and then I will put on my wetsuit to clean the bottom of the boats hull.

Monday, we will pull and clean the anchors and chain and then go to the dock to pick up diesel. We expect to leave the inlet at about 10 am arriving in Savannah on Tuesday around 1 pm. This is a 135 mile crossing with a 1 knot adverse current and right now the weather looks perfect for us. I must say I am really excited about getting back into the ocean and sailing rather than motoring in the intercoastal waterway. Hopefully the weather will hold and the next update you read will be next month after we complete the crossing. We expect to anchor out on Tuesday and then work our way to Savannah on Wednesday where we should be able to update the website.

I also heard back from Latitudes and Attitudes, the magazine I submitted the article to on my special Pizza. They liked the article and it should be published in the near future. Of course given all the things that go into publishing, that probably means in about six months. Regardless, I've already decided on two other recipes we will write up for them to submit. Yum

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