February 15-28 - Cruising Log for S/V Freedom - a Gemini 105 - Jim and Deb Faughn

Previous Log - The most recent past log

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February 15 - As you know, my computer died, the computer store can't recover the data and shame on me because my backups, I thought, were from the end of November but I then found they weren't good either. Now, the latest usable backup I have on board is a year old. That means I don't have any email addresses or my contact information anymore not to mention that I don't have the pictures I took for our cruise or our budget information. Shame on me. By the way Vista is somewhat of a pain because many of the programs I have won't run. Examples include the one from Verizon that allows me to connect to the internet from our boat. That means we will be running to town for email and uploads. It also means I have to find other options for things like my Creative mp3 player because that software won't load either and of course neither will my high power external wi-fi adapter. Oh well, I guess I just have to take a lot more pictures. Thank goodness for the web site as the backup of our memories.

REQUEST - If you ever emailed me in the past, please email again so I can get your email address along with your phone number and mailing address. I don't have anything so I'm starting from scratch on contacts. We really don't want to lose contact with everyone.


 February 20 - I've spent the first part of last week working on computer issues. I have been downloading files to update drivers along with files for our navigation software. In addition, we also made the decision to have our old hard drive replaced so I will have two computers on board. The new one with Vista running our software for pictures and the web while the XP computer will run the software that won't run currently on Vista. That means two computers to backup. I have learned that if things aren't convenient then they sometimes get put aside. The external hard drive will be kept in a convenient place. Another thing I've found is having a web site is a great way to save data just in case. What might happen if we lost our boat by a fire or ??? I will also start a new couple of pages which will be the data portion of the sailing log showing times and distances along with another page of maintenance. After thinking about it, I thought some of this might be interesting to Gemini owners too so why not put it on the web.

Now for the more fun stuff.

 Early last week, we went to the Fort Zachary Taylor fort. This is where they were having a reenactment of a civil war battle where the sailing ships were attacking the forts. We didn't know what time it started but figured it must be mid to late afternoon. We rode our bikes over and just happened to arrive at the right time. I hope my luck is changing back again! As you can see in the picture above and ones below, they were having a great time with lots of cannon fire from the land, to the boats, and between the boats. We actually know the person who was the tail gunner on the boat you see in the picture above and to the right - Portside Tom.  

 I'll bet those ships are happy that the cannon to the right wasn't firing at them. think it could have done some serious damage. This fort looks in many ways like the one at the Dry Tortugas. Of course the arch's and the firing lines are similar which was the design construction of the day. However, this fort is much smaller than the one at the Dry Tortugas so if you are interested in forts, you must take the day trip out to the Dry Tortugas.

The other thing happening that day was we were able to walk with one of the re-enactors back to the fort. It was pretty interesting because they love this stuff. They aren't paid, they go to all of the re-enactments just so they can educate the kids and parents along with the fact they get to fire off their muskets and cannons.



Of course we had an absolutely beautiful sunset that night with calm water.

 Looking back at Key West the next day it was amazing that there just weren't any waves to be seen. You have to remember this picture because we have company coming and it seems that when company comes the weather decides to change.  
 We met Lee and Mary at the townhouse and always enjoyed their company. They were able to fly down and were planning on staying for the week on our boat. We heard the weather forecast and weather was going to change quickly. Therefore, as soon as we could the next morning after they arrived, we took off for Sand Key and a little snorkeling adventure. We left with little to no wind but it was forecast to build that afternoon and into the night.
 We were able to utilize our snorkeling equipment and they took about a 45 minute snorkel around the reef at Sand Key. They saw lots of fish and the barracuda was scary since it was about 3 feet long with big teeth. We headed back in as soon as they were done because they were feeling a bit woozy. If you aren't around boats, even the smallest swells will make you find out if you are prone to the dreaded seasickness.  

 We've found a great place to take visitors to see the dolphins. This we were able to do a few days later and you can see the fins coming towards us. We also went out to see the Legacy which you've heard about in our previous logs.

At one time we had 5 dolphins swimming near the boat. It looked like one of them was pretty small so I'm thinking one was a baby or a year old. I guess the sea is in me because I never get tired of seeing these beautiful creatures.


We just had to head down to Mallory Square that evening because it looked like it might be the only day with a good sunset. Of course the street performers were doing their thing which always draws a crowd.

Every sunset is different and the applause always happens when the sunsets. At anchorage they also blow the conch horns in recognition.

I mentioned that company brings a weather change. These seas were about 2 1/2 to 3 feet and of course they were banging on the bottom of the hull. At times you think the boat is coming apart. In Key West, unless you move everytime a storm comes, which isn't too bad of an idea, you will encounter waves regardless of where you anchor.

You can see from the two pictures below what happens if you happen to have a small monohull. These weren't the worst of what this boat experienced, it is simply what I captured on the camera.

Since both Lee and Mary are more prone to seasickness than I am, they decided they would move to shore and found a place for their last two nights. The plan was I would take them in on the dinghy. Well when the winds are blowing at 34 knots according to my gauge, which is about 40 mph, and gusting higher, we were officially in gale conditions. For the non-sailors, that isn't a good thing. Early afternoon after thinking how I was going to accomplish this feat, I decided it would be best to go in one at a time. I took Mary in first and since we were going with the wind it wasn't too bad until we got almost to the entrance to the marina. There the waves were about 3 feet and we had some ricocheting off of the concrete walls for the Coast Guard making the steerage very active. Small craft warnings were out and I guess a 10 foot boat equals a small craft. We made it fine but I knew coming back out would be quite a ride since I would have to motor into some fairly vertical 3 foot waves to start with. I made it back and only took on about 5 gallons of salt water with lots of spray. My confidence in the dinghy is now pretty high. After bailing out the water and changing pants then putting on my complete rainsuit, I was ready to go again. This time I went out further so we would have a straight shot to the harbor and we could surf more instead of having to cut across waves. It was a good decision and when I returned I went straight into the waves for quite a while crossing over to get behind an island and some exposed land because of the low tide. I only took on about 3 gallons of water this time and really my rainsuit and face was all that got wet. By the way, since the wind was blowing at 22-26 knots, everytime I went in I put 10 gallons of water into jugs and used it as ballast in front of the dinghy to keep it from flipping over on me. That worked well.

The wind kept up until about 10 pm and the rock and roll party began to end when they started shifting to the northeast and decreasing. We had a good nights sleep and today I worked on updating the web site just so I could get us back current and you could see what we are up to.

Again, if you haven't sent me your contact information, please do. Email me at jfaughn "at" socket.net - of course you have to replace the "at" with @.

 February 25 - Thanks to those who have sent me their contact information. We appreciate it very much. After our company left, we decided to go with some new cruisers we met over to the Southernmost House and use their pool. I think we have mentioned it before but it is a pretty good deal. They charge $5 for admission and then your first drink is free. As you can see in the picture to the right, this is an old original house and by the name you know it is in one of the most southern places in Key West.  

 They have a great pool which is heated and also has a great view too. Of course you can see that to the left. The view is to the south so with a bit of imagination, you can just see yourself on the next ship out to Cuba. About 6 miles off shore you would go through the reef and then another 15-20 miles later you would be into the Gulf Stream. All of that would be probably worth it because you are then only 60 miles from Cuba. Enough dreaming about things we can't do. American citizens can't go to Cuba.....yet.

Also at the Southernmost house, you can also see their collection of rabbits. They have a bunch of them and I was able to take pictures of these four.


We had our free drink before we left and enjoyed the company of some people we just met in the anchorage. To the right is Bob and Uta. They are from Canada and run their own business. It just happens the business is cyclical so they are able to take off during the winter and come down to cruise for three to four months. They their boat back to Fort Myers and keep it there while they return to Canada and take care of business. I'm sure they return refreshed.

We enjoyed their company and it is always fun to take new people to the pool with the view.

Our anchor light wasn't as bright as it should have been so we had made arrangements to have a new LED light installed. Problem was the one I wanted, which came highly recommended, was made up in Marathon. We called our friends Rick and Pat and made arrangements to go up their on Friday. We caught the Key West bus up to Sears and then the Key West Shuttle up to Marathon. Overall, it was a quick trip not to mention the great views riding up the Keys.  

 We arrived in Marathon and met up with Rick and Pat who then dinghy 'd us over to Dockside where we were able to meet up with Reynold who makes the LED anchor lights. (His contact info is on the maintenance page.)

The place where we anchored back in January is now empty! They are in the process of installing more mooring balls. Overall, I'm sure this is good but there are a number of people who want to stay on their own anchor to save money. I guess everything will sort itself out over time. The picture to the left is taken of the boat which is screwing the mooring units into the ground. I think these are certified for either 100 or 120 mph winds.

We ate lunch at Dockside while the anchor light was being modified and then headed back to Rick and Pat's boat.

On the way back I saw a boat that had the same name as a boat we knew from Kentucky who left to go cruising right after we did. We saw them once on the way down and guess what? Here they were in Marathon anchored.

The people on the left are Tom and Deb from Hearts Desire. We are in lower middle and then to the right is Rick and Pat.

We had a great visit with them and caught up on news of people back at Green Turtle Bay in Kentucky. Also, we found out about another cruisers boat problems who were still up having all the problems worked out at the factory. They had many problems with their boat (Hayride) and the only thing I could think of positive was the manufacturer was fixing it.

I also found out that some of my old dock mates were reading the website and we hope you are enjoying it.

We then went over to Rick and Pat's boat and finished off the afternoon before heading back to the bus stop and the ride back to Key West. Once again, it was a fairly quick trip.

Saturday we were into maintenance projects. I have to say I have always hated changing oil. I've used hand pumps, pumps with a reservoir on them, and recently bought a pump that attached to a drill. All of these are junk because the drill pump didn't work, the reservoir pump failed after a year not to mention it took up too much space, and the hand pump seems to take four hands so you end up with a mess to clean up everytime you change oil.

After getting mad from another mess, I went in and bought the pump you see to the left and below. This is about $130 at West Marine but at this point I could have cared less. I always change oil but hated it. Now I have to say it is EASY.

The picture to the lower left shows the means of adapting the hose to our hose which comes out of the drain plug. The unit will now screw directly to the oil change hose on the Westerbeke. If you don't have one, buy the parts and enjoy oil changes as much as you can.

The anchor light I had installed in Marathon is shown installed to the right. Of course to get it down or back up, you have to go up the mast. I made a set of climbing steps so I can go up and down by myself and you can see some of this below.

The climbing system works pretty good and as a result I've also been up several other people's mast here in Key West. I have to tell you that my legs are getting in better shape with all the mast climbing.

Last night was the first time we saw it on at night and we are both pleased with the performance. This was a good addition. As we returned to the boat after dark on Sunday night we were amazed at the intensity of the light since it only draws 160 ma. It was well worth the money and effort! If you are interested, there is more information about the light in our maintenance log.

Yes, that is me on top of the mast in the third picture and you can see that in the blow up just next to it. Are we having fun yet? Yes we are!

We had another beautiful sunset last night and I am sure it was meant to remind of us Dave Mott.

You will probably remember that I wrote about Dave and Betsy on board Prancer. (below left) Prancer is a steel boat which Dave built with his own hands and it was a big boat weighing 58,000 pounds. Dave and Betsy were the first people we really met cruising as we came down the Tenn Tom waterway. We went our own ways in Mobile as he was heading further south and we were arranging to meet up with my Father. Ultimately, we got back together in Tarpon Springs along with Dave's brother Ned. You can see a picture of all of our boats rafted up on the lower right.

While we were in Tarpon Springs, we ran around together during the days and shared dinners each evening. Following dinner, we would sit out by the campfire laughing and discussing our futures, dreams and plans. Dave always said, Deb makes me laugh. We knew we would be getting back together in a few years when Deb and I make our way back up the west coast of Florida.

As we progressed in our travels, we have met many people who have become our new cruising friends and we have held many of the same conversations with them that we had with Dave and Betsy, dreams and futures. In our conversations, we always share the experiences we had with Dave and Betsy, especially Dave's unique way of stopping in a lock.

Cruising is just like the rest of our lives because we have learned that there are Givers and there are Takers. We have found the people we enjoy are the Givers. Those people who regardless of the obstacle, try to figure out a positive solution. Those people who always say we can help rather than what can you do for me. Those people who you would really enjoy spending two or three weeks at sea with because they would always hold their own and if anything happened, they would always be there to help. Dave and Betsy were these types of people, Givers. They are the kind of people we would have enjoyed having aboard regardless of the time of the passage.

Yesterday, Saturday, we found out from Dave's youngest son that Dave passed away due to a brain tumor. I want to express our deepest sympathy to Betsy, Ned and their entire family. We will miss you Dave but you will never be forgotten. Thanks for being our first great cruising memory.


Web Page by Jim Faughn