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

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 Dec 16 - We had more and more time stocking food. Not the food to the right, rather cans and cans and cans of food. This may seem routine, however, it really is a challenge for us to pack. It seems you could just cram it all into one of our back rooms, however, then the weight would be all wrong. What we decided to do instead is to move light things elsewhere and then pack all the cans in the middle of the boat. We'll have pictures later but that is primarily what we've been up to. I think our next big shopping trip will be on Tuesday.

Christmas is just around the corner and the Boot Key Sailors Association held their annual Christmas party on Saturday night. This is one of the big events held here in Marathon. Everyone was to bring a plate to share and, as in all of these events, there was plenty of food to go around and around and around!

In addition to the food from the various boats and other people in the association, they must have also purchased food because there was just way too much food. Regardless, we gave it our best shot at eating a few bites.


 What Christmas party would be appropriate without Santa Claus. Deb, of course, went right to Santa and was telling him what she wants for Christmas. I think she's asking that I cut my hair!

Since this is a sailing club and the Keys have that somewhat questionable reputation from the old day, we also had some of the local pirates show up. They even had their own Winch. No, I'm not talking about Deb, I'm talking about the other woman......

After all the food was set, the gorging began. Food everywhere and also people.

 I mentioned people, yes, there were more people in one place than I've seen at the marina so far.

Of course, not only were all the other people trying to get something to eat, the people from our boats were in line too. You can see Bill and Christy below and Deb is on the right trying to get the great food from the main centerpiece.

I have to say, the different tastes at an event like this are wonderful. I just wanted to talk to everyone about their recipes.


 For those not familiar with the Keys, dog friendly is a term used widely in the area. This goes for the local bars and of course in the Marina too. Tonight, several dogs were in attendance and the one to the left and lower left must have been really hungry. The owner had the dog on the leash and he didn't get to eat but boy was he trying to beg and get some help getting his share of the food.

People were eating for about 2 hours and there was still food left at the end. What a wonderful experience. We met lots of people and are starting to recognize various people. It is easy to see how people can stick around the harbor for months at a time.

 Also, two days ago, s/v Hearts Desire came into the harbor. Tom and Deb are from our old home cruising area of Kentucky Lake. We saw them last year when we were moving through Marathon and heading north. After the winter, they went back to Kentucky Lake to spend hurricane season and are now back in Marathon.

It seems they are going to go on to the Bahamas in February for some time and then off for the "Loop." We've been catching up with lunch yesterday and of course at the party last night. Hopefully, some of our old friends at Kentucky Lake will see this picture and see they are doing great.


In addition to being Pirates, the people below were also having a great time entertaining us with a number of Pirate songs. The last one was the 12 days of a Pirates Christmas - Something like a brand new wooden knew, 2 golden earrings, 6 winches, 10 sets of sails, and many more that I've forgotten.

Why is this man counting money and why am I taking pictures of it?

It seems they had a 50/50 drawing and it just felt right that when I was approached that I should buy 2 tickets instead of one. Really, I just wanted to give them the donation, poor one at that, but something because I was sure they put out lots of money for this party.

It ended up, they drew my number and guess what? It was the second number that won. I don't know if it was Tom and Debbie or Bill and Christy that were buying numbers after me but sorry.

Again, we had a great time and are now sitting on the boat with the rain coming down. It just happens the remains from Olga have combined with a cold front coming from the north and we will get rained on all day then tomorrow the high should be in the upper 60's. Cold for us!

 Dec 17 - We left on Monday morning for Key West. For those who haven't been to Key West, you have to go to our December 2006 to April 2007 logs to see everything about the place that you could want to do. It is just a great place to hang out. So, when we arrived today, the only picture that I could take that would say Key West is the one to the right. Rosters walking down Duval Street. If that isn't Key West well, I would have to take pictures of cross dressers.

We had a great time getting lunch at Margaritaville because it was too cold to go to Caroline's. Then we were off Tee Shirt shopping. I picked up 4 Tee Shirts for 10.99 in April so I wanted the same deal this time. I actually found them. Now you are thinking to yourselves, what is he throwing away? I've got 4 Tee Shirts that are now destined for covering gas cans. Yes, covers for gas cans. You have to think that in the southern climates the red gas cans swell when they are out in the sun. I was going to sew some covers but when I figured it would cost me 45 bucks for material I listened to Bill who said, "Use Tee shirts." That is a great idea, so I bought 4 new ones to replace the 4 I will use to cover the gas cans.


I just had to go out and take this picture of our old anchorage. In fact, it looks more crowded than it did last year. I hope everyone out there is doing fine. The winds today are out of the Northwest which means the anchorage was getting beat up a bit. It didn't look like they were getting the big waves we got last year but that is because the winds were light, only about 15-20 knots. The big winds come later and then they will really be having fun. At that time, we will be in the Bahamas and hiding behind an island, any island, and protected from the waves.

I love having a great windless on our boat. The windless uses no electricity and all I have to do is give Deb the right signals and pull the chain and anchor up with my hands. I'm sure we will be doing that about twice a week when we get over in the Bahamas and we should have been doing that in Key West last year.

So we arrived in Key West and searched out all of the places where my friend George should have been playing. He wasn't to be found. So, I went to Dante's and found some friends and ultimately gave George a call. George said, "Jim, I'll be there in a few minutes Mon." You have to understand that George is one of THE BEST guitar players I have ever heard. In addition, he has great vocals too.

George showed up just a bit later with his granddaughter with him. She quickly became a friend too as we went out to feed the birds. George had a surprise for me, he gave me a prerelease Christmas CD that he is working on. (We got home and played it and it is great!)

We planed on getting together on Saturday afternoon to do some more work on his website and I am looking forward to getting it done for him.

We met quite a few people at what was then Monte's and then became Dante's. I didn't get a picture of Bethany but we did get the one of Jack and Chris. Jack brought his boat down the east coast and gave us lots of tips for the trip up while we were in Key West. He also told us about, and then we met, his wife Chris. This was a cool love story where they had dated for six weeks and quickly figured out they were made for each other and got married. They are still having the time of their lives and came over to see us after Drew, the manager of Dante's, called Jack to say we were there. I was absolutely amazed at the reception we received. Thanks to all of our friends we have made in Key West.

We are looking forward to spending some time at both Dante's with Jack and hopefully at Schooners with Chris on Saturday. You just have to love Key West and after this cold front moves through, we will love it even more.

Thanks to everyone. See you this weekend.

 Dec 24 - Christmas Eve. What a great day. Here we are in shorts and tee shirts sorting out stuff we purchased to go to the Bahamas. I think that our Christmas present to each other, no, I know our Christmas present to each other is 3 months worth of food and 4 months worth of paper products. I'll get into this more later but can you imagine, yes you have to, just imagine how many bike rides it will take for you to get 3 months worth of food and 4 months worth of toilet paper back to your residence. Ok, it is good exercise but I have to say, this is more like work than I'm used to doing.

However, as usual when I'm behind in my web blog, I'm ahead of myself.

Once again, we were able to meet up with some wonderful people who also own a Gemini 105. Meet Donna and Patrick on the left of Deb and me (Jim). We got together for lunch and of course about 3 hours of conversation about Gemini's. They have a house and dock down on Big Pine Key and drove up to see us. Again, I am always humbled when we are able to meet other people who have taken the time to come up and see us or invite us to stop by. It turns out that  Patrick and Donna have been to the Bahamas and gave us a number of tips. In addition, we have some projects planned that are similar that we were able to swap ideas about. In addition, we may actually see them in the Bahamas this year. Thanks again for taking time out to see us and we wish you fair winds and following seas.



There is a story here! We saw this guy leaving the day before this picture was taken. He ran aground 3 times leaving this harbor. I don't know about you but if I ran aground 3 times getting out, I think I would take a day or two off to rethink my sailing abilities. The next day, he came back with his mast broken, and everything cut off by the Coast Guard who had the big cutters. Can you imagine being offshore, probably with too much sail up and then getting knocked down. (For the non-sailing people, that means being 90 degrees to the water or in other words, saying Oh S...) Next the sails fill up with water, all that junk you have on board coupled with the fact that the rigging wasn't set up right and now you have a problem. Or should I say, you had a problem before you left the dock. Anyway, the mast snaps and then you have to call the Coast Guard because you have things hitting your hull trying to put a hole in it. Of course when they show up, they simply come aboard and take two hours with their big cutters cutting off all the cables so the parts don't punch a hole in your hull. So it goes in the life of ill prepared sailors or very unlucky ones.

Just in case you didn't know, I've been going over everything getting ready for our trip.

to the left you can see another picture of the overloaded boat with allot of BAD luck.

Guess who showed up two days ago. We were getting ready to go to Key West and we heard a call from Makeitso. Ok, you have to be Star Trek fans to get it but Captain Picard would always say, "Make it so." Next the crew would go off and save another Galaxy. Of course you might be of the previous generation and say "Live long and prosper." Regardless, Rick and Pat came into the anchorage just as we were leaving for Key West. They caught the next bus down and we all got together for lunch at Dante's. In addition, we surprised some other Lagoon 420 owners who we had met in Annapolis. What a great gathering and later we were able to go back to their boat for a drink too. As you know, I just love meeting up with people we've seen before.

Yesterday, the moon was full and I got this great picture of someone's cat with the full moon rising before the sun was completely down. I have to take this over to them before they leave too. Wow, what a great moon rise. It was just absolutely beautiful.

Below, you can see a bunch of pictures of Deb and I provisioning. The first two pictures show us with two carts full of food that we purchased. On this day, we walked the mile up to the grocery store, shopped for an hour and a half and then caught a taxi back to the dinghy dock. We didn't sink the dingy but we did try. To the right of that you can see our list. Now I have to be honest. When you have things like 24 cans of mushrooms, 60 rolls of toilet paper, 24 cans of tomatoes, etc, etc. it takes time and $$$$$ to buy all this stuff. We have actually been surprised that we have found a place to hide most of it. Of course the real reason we've been able to do this is that our great friends Steve and Linda have already received 2 boxes of stuff from us and will get our bikes too before we leave. Without that space and loss of weight, we couldn't do this trip in the way we have planned.

As you scan down you can see a couple of pictures that show the food lined up. This isn't all of it. We've had several more trips with just as much canned food. Of course, we've also had quite a bit of wine delivered too that isn't shown.

When you have to store 60 rolls of toilet paper, 10 boxes of tissue, 600 paper plates and 500 paper napkins, you have to be resourceful in space. I usually don't want any weight forward but how much can fluffed up paper weigh? I removed a covering board forward and put all the paper products in our starboard forward hull. (That is the right one for the non-boating people.)

We took things out of their packaging and then repackaged it into 2 gallon plastic ziplock bags. After all, you would hate to loose toilet paper to mold when it will cost you one dollar a roll when you get to the Bahamas. I found it on sale this morning with 2 - 12 double roll packages for 10 bucks. To me, 24 rolls of Deb's favorite paper for 10 bucks is a pretty good deal. If we were to get it in the Bahamas it would cost us 24 bucks. Pretty good savings.

Who knows if we are over packing or not. I guess being newbees at this we are going overboard in the typical "Jim" planning but in the end, we won't starve or have to wipe on leaves.

By the way, we've talked to people in the last few days who have been stuck at an island for a month because the winds were running 35 up to 60 knots. I guess it is also a good thing we upgraded our anchor too.

HAIR, Long Beautiful Hair. I can't control the top of my head. I've tried with every hair product in the world but I can't control it. Therefore, we cut it. Don't get too excited, to the right Deb is working on it but she couldn't get the clippers through it. Therefore, I took over and made up my own hairstyle. Ends up, it has been invented before. I just couldn't let my loyal, voting, readers down by cutting it all. So, I just cut the sides and the top some. The back is still growing.

For everyone up north, you can see we are still in the lovely tee shirts (not all of us) and shorts. It has been beautiful weather and I'm looking forward to the trip across to some of the most beautiful water in the world.

Back to the hair. I've found this new thing is easier to control but still, possibly, get that pony tail before we end our trip to the Bahamas. Pictures will soon follow.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and you also try to appreciate the one you are with more than any other day during the year.

Merry Christmas from Jim and Deb on s/v Freedom.

Dec 25 - I can't believe this is the second Christmas we have celebrated on our boat. I have to tell you that the lack of snow, ice, cold, winter coats, gloves, slop, heaters, scraping windows, sliding around in cars on the way to work - oops sorry about the 4 letter word, these things just haven't been the same since we left. Oh, I almost forgot, we didn't have them!!!!! When you are celebrating Christmas in shorts and a dress up shirt, which means one with a collar, then life is just pretty darn good. Last year we were able to celebrate on our boat with our friends Garry and Shirlene along with Rick and Pat. This was a milestone because we were having withdraw symptoms with our family back in St. Louis.

This year, we still had those feelings about being away from family but we were able to celebrate again with our friends Bill and Christy, Rick and Linda, along with Tom and Debbie on the "island of" Makeitso. Yes, we celebrated on the floating island of Rick and Linda's boat Makeitso. Now, you just have to back up a bit because they came in and we didn't know they would be in Marathon. The other six of us had planned Christmas on our boat but once they came in, it was my job to twist their arm, kick them, threaten to drill holes in their hull, short out their electric boat OR I came up with the idea of trading massage's (Christy is a massage therapist) for moving Christmas to the s/v Makeitso. Of course I didn't tell Christy that I traded her services until after we had the deal clinched. Oops, but she is paying off which is good because Rick really needed it since he is having trouble with an arm.

To the right is the graphic for s/v Makeitso. Don't you think you just passed into warp speed?


We started out the day thinking we would go out to the reef and snorkel, however, we quickly changed our minds when there was weather and rain offshore. Therefore, we punted and moved dinner to 1 pm. Of course, being the prompt sailor people we are, we all arrived right on time with dinghy's coming from all directions. We started with appetizers which really could have fed us all but after all, it is Christmas and what Christmas would it be if we didn't stuff ourselves?

People were inside and outside the island of Makeitso having a great time. I think the guys all talked about boat stuff and the women talked about boat stuff too - yea right, I'm sure they were talking about how stupid we were talking about boat stuff.

Regardless, after a few glasses of wine and great food, we were having a wonderful time and we were all getting into that Christmas spirit.

I looked over, and down, on our boat s/v Freedom thinking that we weren't doing too bad with all the junk we have put on board. Just think, food for 3 months and we haven't sunk the boat yet. As a matter of fact, you can actually still see our waterline which means we are really doing good. Of course, we still have that frozen meat and about 35 gallons of diesel to put on board. I guess there is still room to sink it yet.

By the way, Rick and Linda also have another guest aboard. Meet Kirby the wonder dog. Now if you are a mulithull aficionado, then you might actually recognize Kirby. I'm actually surprised he didn't charge me for taking this picture. He is the cover dog, or should I just say he is the dog on the cover with Rick and Linda's boat in the background of this month's Multihull magazine. It is always cool to meet a celebrity even if he walks on 4 paws and drools on you once in a while.

You can always tell when things are going well at a party, the volume goes up and somehow the table gets set. I don't know how that all happens but it's Christmas and somebody is looking out after us.

We were all seated and of course we had way too much food to eat. I think we threatened to stay until it was all gone but Rick and Linda said that we would have to sleep in our dinghy's so we gave up on the idea of a real long term eat in.

I'm sure they were also thinking about the fact that with 8 people aboard that we would quickly have a holding tank problem too but I'll leave out that part since we are about to go out and see the ocean on Christmas Day.

Yes, Rick said, "lets drop the lines and go see the ocean." Of course, being the salty sailors that we are we said "sure." And off we went through the bridge and into the ocean heading for Sombrero light.

Everyone gathered on the front deck and Rick was driving with his wireless remote control while everyone else was looking out at the clouds that were missing us in the Atlantic.

Now with nobody at the wheel, I just had to get back and weasel my way into the drivers seat. Of course a right elbow into Tom, left on into Bill and pleading with Rick put me into the seat of the Captain of a Hybrid 420 Lagoon. This is a boat with electric engines and a generator that charges TONS of batteries. Besides, you have lots of other cool toys too.

Below left you can almost make out that we are drawing 75 amps on both the port and starboard electric motors. We are moving along at about 6 knots which is the same speed that we, Freedom, go.

Deb just couldn't wait to take a picture of the smiling face of "Captain" Jim behind the wheel. It was my job to miss the reef. Ok, I didn't have that much wine! Well, maybe I did but I did miss the reef and got us to a mooring ball without killing the ball or running aground. Isn't Christmas great!

As soon as we tied up to the mooring ball on the reef, the ladies were feeding the fish. The splash to the right isn't the food, it is a fish coming out of the water getting the crackers they were throwing in.

Isn't it just great having clear water, fish everywhere and of course we are doing this little boat trip after a great meal on Christmas day in shorts and tee shirts. I know, I'm bragging. Sorry!

It was pretty cool though.

I really think Kirby the Wonder Dog or should I say Cover Dog was having a pretty good time too.

As we came back in, I cleverly got back behind the wheel and pushed the on button. Everything powered up and we pulled away from the mooring without running over the one behind us. Ok, not rocket science but it was fun anyway.

The sunset was absolutely beautiful. This had to be because of all of the moisture in the air but this is really exactly the way it looked. The colors were just amazing.

Again, what a Christmas day.

You can always tell when things might have gone too far. I'm not sure if Deb is trying to get another piece of delicious pie or if she is just trying to reach another glass of wine. However, it was getting dark and ....... well, I'll just say I'm not sure what she was trying to reach.

We all departed the island of Makeitso for our own boats after a wonderful Christmas Day. I was able to make a few calls this morning, received a call during the trip, and made a number of them afterwards to friends and family. I'm sure everyone else did the same making sure they have shared their holiday spirits with all of their loved ones too.

All we can say is we hope you've had a wonderful Christmas season and we truly appreciate all of your love and support as we live our dream.

Right now it looks like we are leaving on Sunday afternoon for the Bahamas. So, you can start getting excited about much more interesting activities about Freedom. No more stocking of food. Instead, crossings, VERY clear water, and of course wonderful deserted islands are in our future.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and continue to have a great holiday season.

 Dec 27 - Ok, I'm about over the good and bad news of yesterday. It took all day to get over the bad but that news is coming.  

I picked up the mail yesterday morning and along with the many Christmas cards, thank you very much, we also received our fax from the Bahamas regarding our import and export permits for Jimmy Buffett. Ho Raa! Now to read the fine print, yes there is fine print. Something nobody has told us, nor is on the website that we've found for importing a bird to the Bahamas, is you need a Cites permit. This is most disturbing because we never knew that we needed it. Now there is a light at the end of this tunnel and that is that we've already applied for the Cites permit. As a matter of fact we have been trying to apply for it for eight months. However, only after we sent my Aunt Sandy to the breeders home did we get results. Have you ever heard of a Pit Bull named Aunt Sandy? She finally was able to get the birth certificate for our bird, sent it to us, and we got everything sent off in early December. After an email from the Fish and Wildlife Service 1st week of December we then responded and they answered back, "Mr. Faughn, thank you for your response, I will contact you if there is anything else that we might need. I will try to get the permit issued as soon as possible." So that gives us a positive outlook, however, their letter says it could take 60 to 90 days. That is a pain!

In my past work, I've always been able to arrive at a solution. You know, you have the power, the money control, and of course you also have the human resources to solve problems. In this case we are talking about the Government and of course they have their own processes that must be followed. Of course, this is for everyone's protection and I actually understand the rationale. Since the advent of bird flu, then you should have a procedure to deal with it. The frustrating part is we just didn't know it and if we would have we would have sent in Pit Bull Sandy two months earlier! Oh well, after being upset yesterday, I've taken back control of our lives. Now we are making contingency plans for the next month in case we have to wait that long. We have both a call and email into the Fish and Wildlife Service hoping they will tell us how long it will take. Unfortunately, I think they are all on vacation this week.

Once we find out about timing, our contingency plan is to head to Key West for two weeks and then start back up the Keys to Key Largo to snorkel and scuba dive at Pennekamp State park. Then we will head for the Bahamas. Of course, who knows when the passport will come in and where we will get it. So as usual, our plans are made in Jello. We could still leave next week but somehow I really doubt it. Life happens and we are adapting and getting ready to have a good time regardless! After all, we are in Paradise living our dream instead of dreaming how to live. Stay tuned for more fun!

 Dec 29 - Have I mentioned Jello? Yes, plans change quickly when you are sailing especially when you are thinking about taking a bird to a foreign country! Jimmy Buffett appreciates our efforts, or at least I think he does. He keeps saying Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy. We spent the day working on the part we lost off of the dinghy bottom. A rivet broke on a protective strip on our Port-a-Boat and we lost the black thing that protects one of the seams. Well, I thought that would be an easy fix. Right!!! First you have to find a material that will work, cut it and then after about a week of that work, you then get to find out that it is VERY hard to get it on the bottom of the boat. After I took a tool and modified it to make a tool that I needed, I was able to begin to get this thing on the bottom of the boat. After three hours of sweating, I finally got that project finished. Now I'm ready for a real project. Jimmy Buffett. I called the Federal Fish and Wildlife people again and was once again transferred to an answering machine. So, I left my message and then called back. There just had to be a way to talk to someone! I have to tell you that I am not at all upset with these peoples performance. Instead, I am upset at our birds breeder for not providing us the birth certificate 6 months ago when he should have. Regardless, I finally got to an automated message that finally got me to a person. I explained to Michael that I wasn't upset with them, rather it was our problem. All I wanted was to know when we might get our passport for our bird. Michael was great and got me the extension of the person that was helping us about 3 weeks ago. So he transferred us and guess what. The person is out of the office until January 8th. So, being the person that I am (taking control of my life), I left him a message and called Michael back. Michael answered and I once again told him that it wasn't their problem but the person was going to be out of the office until January 8th and we are on a boat ready to leave now. GUESS WHAT? Michael said he would try to find the file!!!! In an hour he called back and had our file. The problem was that we said we wanted to leave from Marathon and of course, we didn't know this, you can't leave from there. You have to leave, after you get your birds passport stamped, from Miami or New Orleans or even New York. Well, we aren't going to New York or New Orleans so I said we will be happy to go to Miami. He said great, he could send this out in a couple of days. Now I thought, I wonder if they could send it quicker? He said, "Sure." So now I"m giving an person my credit card number and potentially we will have the bird passport by Wednesday! Ho Raa! Oops, there is more to this story. Now we may have to go to Miami. Is that by boat or can we go by car? He didn't know and we have to call the people who are in the packet for the bird passport. Can you actually believe that there is this much to getting a bird in and out of the country? This bird will never leave our boat which really means he never leaves US soil. Since that is the case, he really never left the country. Don't get too excited, Deb says. All we are waiting for is the numbers to call and then we will either take our boat to Miami, rent a car and take our bird to Miami (just like you would to take your cow, pig, goat, farrot, or whatever) so they can stamp Jimmy Buffet as leaving the country.

Without thinking through the details of why we don't just have Jimmy Buffett as a side dish for breakfast instead of all these hassles, you just have to figure that he is a pretty cool bird who has put his entire life in our hands. Leaving him with our wonderful bird breeder friend in Norfolk seems a very good option except the boat just wouldn't be the same. More of this store is coming soon so stay tuned!

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