Apr 15-31, 2008 - Cruising Log for S/V Freedom - a Gemini 105 - Jim and Deb Faughn

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Apr 16 - We spent the day yesterday doing such mundane things as getting propane and then lunch and heading back to the boat. Speaking of the boat, we now have out three anchors. You read in our previous log about us dragging and I decided a few days ago with another front coming that we needed to put out the anchors to hold us in place. So, I have our Rocna in the worst holding and that is to the east. To the north, I have a danforth that I have at 10:1 scope and then to the west north west, I have our delta. This is a triangle of sorts in all of the worst wind areas. Since this was set up, we haven't moved even though we are exposed and the winds have been 20-25 knots for 2 days. We still have another anchor on the boat but I don't think we are going to need it. Hopefully we won't have too much of a mess when we pull up everything we do have out.

Winds are supposed to shift by midnight about 30 or so degrees to the north north east and if that occurs we will have some protection from Fleming Key. Hopefully, this will be the last big front that comes through. I guess we will see next week if anything else is coming this way.

By the way, a guy just to our south is resetting his anchor and putting out another one after dragging around. Thank goodness he was to the south of us. 

 Web Hosting Update - Ok, I spent 4 hours yesterday uploading our site to the new web host and I checked things today before transferring our name www.jfaughn.com to the new site. In addition, I also changed the links on our old sites first page to point to the new site. This way, you will have a few weeks to get your favorites changed to the new location. The easiest way to do this is to simply click here on www.jfaughn.com and then re-save the link. I'll try to keep the old page up-to-date on the first page for awhile and then I will take off the latest log link.

Sorry about the problems but as I told the people at Socket, they are simply overpriced for web hosting at this time. I gave them a solution but, of course, they couldn't do it right now. It is that policy thing that typically drives people to have less business when they don't adapt to market conditions. Hopefully they will rethink what they are doing because I was pleased with their service right up until I couldn't have as much content on my site as I wanted. Unfortunately, this will probably mean I will change my email address but in the end, it would be cheaper for me if I did. Like I said, it is their business decision and unfortunately they aren't adapting. However, that change is probably six months away when the new location gets found by the search engines.

One other little detail is that since I have so much space, I'm not compressing the pictures as much. As a result, you should see a better picture on the website.

Today we went to someplace we haven't been in Key West. The Butterfly House. If you ever come to Key West, this should be on your place to visit. Their website is www.keywestbutterfly.com and you can also pick up a 10 percent discount coupon from any visitors center on the island. The cost was 10 bucks per person so with the discount it cost us 18 bucks plus tax. We took about an hour to go through and could have spent another 20 minutes.

First you have to appreciate butterfly's. Once they lay their egg it takes about 6 days to become a caterpillar. It gets to eat like a crazy caterpillar for about 2 weeks then it hangs upside down for about a week and becomes a butterfly. Once a butterfly, it has about 10 days to live. I hope they have as much fun in those 10 days as we have been having cruising!

Now I'm going to hopefully entertain you with a bunch of overdue pictures.

  Yes they have more than butterfly's!

You have to be ready for the butterfly's to land on you. At times I had two of them on me. Deb was able to get a couple of pictures of the butterfly to the left who decided to explore my body. I really think he was eating the salt but who knows. We learned from the video that the butterfly tastes with their feet along with their tongue and antenna (I forgot what those things in the front are called.)

Regardless, it was a fun time and Deb's time is coming.

We got some great pictures of butterfly's as you can see to the right. They have scales, which is one reason they are fragile. Another thing we learned was their colors are designed to provide a short time of fright for the attacker so they can get away which explains the eyeball on the butterfly to the right.

Below you can see that Deb has a butterfly that has landed on her bracelet. Knowing that you might not be able to see that on the web, I took the picture to the lower right. She loved it and was holding her arms out hoping that more would land on her as we moved along the path.

I just happened to have one land on my nose and I have to tell you, it tickled. I was laughing and trying to not brush it off until Deb took the picture.

Some things just can't be repeated. I doubt I will ever have a butterfly thinking my nose tastes good again in my lifetime.

Below, you can see there were butterfly's flying, turtles in the ponds and they had birds just hanging out which added to the entertainment.

Do you remember the butterfly with what looked like an eye on the bottom of it's wing? The top side of the wing was blue. When these guys land, like all butterfly's, they put their wings up for camouflage. However, when flying, they have beautiful blue wings. I must have taken 30 pictures before I was able to almost catch the one to the right.

There is a difference between a butterfly and a moth as you know. In addition to the fact that butterfly's don't typically fly until it is 80 degrees, moths like to fly at night. On top of that, the moths hold their wings out when they land. You can see a beautiful example of a cool moth below left.

I caught the butterfly's on the lower right when they had their wings out.

You can see to the left the enclosure and the beautiful plants that are there to create a "natural" environment for the butterfly's and the birds.

One of the things I found very interesting was the fact that the butterfly's and the moths are imported and hatched in a hatchery behind glass. You can see it as you leave the butterfly house. This is how they are able to get so many species in one place.

I know you just saw the moth on the lower left but I was able to capture the picture to the lower right of another one as it had just come out being hatched from a caterpillar. It's wings aren't hardened yet because it was just getting ready to pump the fluids into its wings that causes them to harden and allow it to fly.



When we left, I just couldn't help myself. I just had to get another picture of Deb at the Southernmost Point. If you've been following us for awhile you will find another picture last year but so what. This is the most southern point on Key West and just think, sometime in our future we may be sailing to Cuba.

That would be way too cool.

Tomorrow, I'm off to meet my friend George Victory and get pictures of his Golden Reel Awards he won for recordings plus finish interviews so I can finish his website. I'll post the link here when I'm done. You have to hear George if you are in Key West.

 Apr 17 - I received an email from Bob and in addition to "catching up," he asked how Paul's boat was going. So, I emailed Paul and he sent me a new picture. I also decided that since others might be interested, I would put his pictures in their own space in our Other section. So, now you can check out Paul's boat progress, if I can get him to keep sending pictures, on Paul's Redwing 23 page.



 So I've been looking for things we haven't done in Key West. Yesterday, I read the paper that I was given and found out there was an outside art show at Ft. Zachary Taylor. Since I spent so much time in Washington D.C. trying to understand art, I figured I had to go. Deb went with me part of the time. However, when she got to the pile of scrap - it didn't have a label so it wasn't art - she decided to head back to town. I went on however.

To the left was the first piece I stopped at. This was from an artist in St. Louis. I think it was named painted steel. Ok, I'm getting the picture! I may be an artist in the future. It looks like a building in St. Louis. I'm guessing the holes let out light at night but I'm just guessing. Maybe they represent octaves and are a way to call in extra terrestrials.

Then there were these things arranged in some pattern. I don't know what it represented but it really didn't speak to me. After all, I am a male so.... oh yea, this is a G rated site.

Below right is a thing that was called Hurricanes Don't Come Anymore. I thought it would be much better if it was made from parts of houses that were blown apart by Wilma but then again, I'm just a literal guy. Of course I then learned they were offering this piece for sale at $35,000.

I'm not sure what the name of the piece to the right was because I didn't want to walk down and find out. I thought it might be Bed on the side held together with wire. Or perhaps slanted view of the world. Maybe I am getting into this art thing.

The picture to the lower left was called Motion. I thought this was one of the best ones I saw and I found out it was made by a high school class. That doesn't take away from the fact that literal guy liked it.

I didn't take pictures of the goal post with the horizontal bar painted red or the big Y that was named Y 2007. I just thought Y not 2007 after all it comes before 2008 and without 2007 then where would we be?

Then the last one I took pictures of looked like everyone's house in Cuba, Missouri before winter. It was called Steel and Hardwood. In Cuba, they would have called it a cord of wood waiting to be burned.

I'm not sure I learned too much in D.C. in my art quest. Of course I did create my own idea. Travel - This would be a progression from a section of a carved out canoe - wooden ship - steel ship - fiberglass ship - rag and tube airplane - aluminum airplane - jet aircraft - Star Ship Enterprise - time travel. Ok, I am too literal but it would be a cool display. Contact me for the contract to construct the concept. I can be bought for about $100,000 plus expenses and deliver the new artwork.

Riding back to find Deb, I saw this dog that I also saw last year in Key West. This is one of if not the COOLEST dogs in Key West. Even though he is getting older, he is still styling. Now he has moved from walking around on a leash to riding a skateboard that is being pulled by a leash.

Too cool of a dog.

Next we were off to the Southern Most House. This is a not-for-profit house that now charges $10 per person to come in and use their pool. In addition, the first drink is part of the ticket. The view is absolutely spectacular and if you don't live on a boat, you have to go here for a day when you go to Key West. Of course, Deb expected the pool would still be heated. However, since it has warmed up a bit, they have turned the heater off so it was pretty cool. We have other places we can go for free for a pool and the view on our boat is just wonderful at sundown.

One of the other neat things at this house is that one of the people with influence loves rabbits. We only saw one of them on this trip but have seen many more in the past. Hopefully the homeless didn't get them.

To the lower right is a picture of the house from poolside. It really is a great place to look around so again, if you are in the area and want to relax, this is the place.

By the way, George wasn't feeling good today so meeting up with him is tomorrow.

I'll just let you know when I get together with George because it changed again.

This morning, I was working on putting in that new lens for the hatch that broke a week and a half ago when I noticed that a boat was dragging through our anchorage. It actually drug between the blue boat and the one with the green stripes that you see in the picture to the right. Yes, it is the white boat that drug two anchors right between them and nobody was aboard. People are outside on each of the other boats ready to fend off the white boat and I think they were getting a bit upset. No, I know they were getting upset.


 So, they called Tow Boat US and I guess they were thinking that Tow Boat US would tow them away. However, according to maritime law, Tow Boat US or any other tow boat company can't touch a boat unless someone is in peril. Since the white boat wasn't bouncing off one of the other two boats they can't take them in tow. I think this got the people even more upset because now they can't leave their boats until the people who own the white boat get back and move it. We left before the owners returned but I'll bet a few words were exchanged when the white boat owners returned!

This afternoon we met up with Frank and Vinie who brought down a "Marine Generator" that John sent me. This is a pretty cool thing and I'll take pictures and write it up in a few days. A short intro is that it is a battery in an enclosure with a battery charger, voltage monitor, light, D.C. outlet along with an inverter. It also has cables to jump start your engine or you can use it to provide AC for accessories. It is really a cool device and I can see me using it to power a small guitar amp for beach parties in our future.

This evening we took off to the Sailfish tournament for the free concert by a new country artist by the name of Billy Currington. I thought he was pretty good but Deb said I played better than he did and sounded better too. I think she is prejudiced because I don't have a song in the top 50 of any chart. Thanks Deb. Regardless, we had a good time and the lead guitar player was excellent.


Apr 20 - Saturday in Key West. What would you expect to happen??? I'll bet you thought that since this is the week of celebration of the succession of Key West from the United States - asking for a Billion Dollars in aid in 1982 - that there would be a bunch of speeches. Not in Key West!

One of the first things to occur is the N.H.R.A sanctioned Key West Drag Race. Of course you have to take the Drag part differently.

Meet some of the Drag participants. You have to remember we are in Key West and I still can't believe people actually bring children here!

For those who still don't get it, these are guys.

We had the obligatory sign, the drive down Duval with the "hosts" and of course Deb saying that she wished she had a body like some of these guys.


First they had a walk through of the course. Next they had a bit of a run off to get their legs in shape for the upcoming "race."

I'll let the pictures do the talking because I just don't have that many words!

Even though there was a walk through, still there is confusion. No, you aren't supposed to get into the shopping cart so you can be pushed down the track! You are supposed to push it through the course and then back.

Well, I guess we know who wasn't paying attention during the walk through!

Some of these guys, gals took this seriously. At times the action was close.

At the end of the street, each contestant had to drink a shot. That meant that as the day went on, the action probably got more interesting. Of course, we were only there for the early pictures so we didn't get to see the results of the "turn."

Sometimes the action was close as you can see to the left and sometimes it was a "walk a-way."

I'm not sure how it all turned out but I am sure that somebody won and the rest of them lost. Oh well, I'll bet there was an interesting trophy.

On the way back to the boat, I stopped by the Waterfront Market to pick up some veggies. We were going to have some grilled chicken with sauteed veggies in lettuce wraps along with some Thai seasoning. Healthy stuff. Of course I wasn't prepared for the bill.

You have to look to the right and figure out that they have charged me $2,974.40 just for the green onions. Now I have to say right now, I like green onions sauteed with other veggies but I have to rethink their worth when they come up to $2,974.40. I said "Can I put them back? After all, it is only one bunch?" They said, "I have to call a manager, I can't void this on my own authority." I said, "Take all the time you want, I don't have 3,000 bucks for this little basket of vegetables." They said, "No problem, Mon."

Wow, I'm back in the islands!

Of course we got the bill worked out and I walked out with my 8 bucks worth of veggies and a smile on my face along with a great picture for the website.

 Apr 20 - We are at the beginning of the week in Key West where they celebrate their secession from the US. Let me tell you the story. In 1982, the United States Boarder Patrol established a military-style roadblock on the Overseas Highway, where border police stopped all north bound traffic and searched for illegal aliens and drugs. The ensuing well-publicized traffic jam effectively stymied Key West's tourism industry. Citizens of the lower Keys (called "Conchs") elected to secede from the Upper 48. With tongue in cheek, but with a serious gleam in their eyes, they selected a flag, designated their boundaries and became the "Conch Republic." It proclaimed its independence, declared war on the United States and then immediately surrendered, applying for foreign aid after throwing stale Cuban Bread at the authorities. The roadblock was discontinued, and the economy was saved. Today, the tradition of the Conch Republic revolution continues with a yearly celebration and appointment of various Conch Ambassadors. To many Key West locals, both natives and transplants alike, the event symbolizes both the intense individualism of the island's people and the keen sense of humor that they enjoy.

Given that background you can see why they have everything from "Drag Races" to what you are now seeing which is the Conch Cruisers. Yes, they have a car show for the Conch Cruisers. I think the real definition of a Conch Cruiser is a car you can buy for about 500 bucks and of course you have to decorate it in Conch fashion.

You can see one of the first ones to the right and lower left. Of course there are also those three wheel motorcycles that are unique too.


 I'm not sure everyone buys into the 500 buck thing because some of these were in too good of shape. However, they did paint them up in nice fashion.

 The picture you see to the right was completed by an artist on 4-4-08, so that means they did this just for the show. Or, at least it did to me. I'm not sure why you would paint a car this way if it wasn't for the show or as a display of your individualism.  

 It wasn't a huge show but it was one of the most unique car shows I've attended.

Before we hit the car show, I took an hour and a half and cleaned the bottom of the boat and dinghy. Stuff grows on the bottom in the warm water of the Keys. Our paint works better than the defective stuff we had before but things still grow. I'm thinking we have to paint the bottom of the boat again this year but this time, I will do it myself. Darn.

Tomorrow we are off for a sail trip with some people we've met here in Key West. Based on the wind speed predicted, I'm thinking it will be a motor sailing day out to Sand Key and a bit of snorkeling.

Tomorrow night will be the Taste of Key West and we will no doubt attend. I'm not sure we will spend as much money as many of the people attending but I am sure we will have a few tastes.

I hope you are enjoying the new pictures. I'm trying to get some we haven't taken and give you more of a "taste" of Key West that you might not see on every trip down here.


 Tonight we had a GREAT dinner. I have to tell you, in full disclosure, that I dreamed it up, cooked it and it was wonderful. This was grilled salmon along with a great veggie, black bean, and rice side dish.

I've been working on the side dish for about a week and I now have one that I will repeat on many occasions as long as I live. I've written the entire thing up on our recipe site so if you are interested, you can go here.

 Apr 22 - Yesterday, we were planning on going sailing. We tried on the way out but there just wasn't any wind. Still, we had a great day of "first's." We picked up our friends at the Key West Bight Marina and motor sailed on our way to Sand Key. Since there was only about 4 knots of wind, we changed our plans from sailing to snorkeling. When we were about a mile from Sand Key, we saw something that looked like an injured bird. We turned that direction and decided it wasn't a bird, it might be an injured sea turtle. I was already thinking about who to call on the radio when we realized the turtle wasn't injured, there were two of them and they were trying to continue their species or should I say propagate. I'll just leave it at that but fins were flapping and there was quite a bit of rolling over and over going on.



Nobody on the boat had ever seen such a thing, with turtles that is, and nobody we have talked had seen this either..


You can tell from this picture how calm it was. To give you an idea of what you are looking at, this is Sand Key light. It marks the reef that comes within a foot of the surface so that would make it a great place to run aground. Years ago, people in Key West would wait for someone to go aground and then they would race their sailboats out to salvage the remains. This is one of the things they are celebrating this week with a race to the reef.

We weren't racing, just seeing it all at our standard 6 knots or 7 mph. Once we arrived, we picked up a mooring. As a part of the reef preservation project, they have installed moorings in the shallower waters on the reef. In addition, there are no fishing areas around them too so the snorkeling will be some of the best in the area.

Jack is pictured to the left and he has been sailing a boat for quite a while. He and Chris are in the process of refitting a boat right now and are getting ready to go into the yard with it for some bottom work. They are working on it while they are living on it so you can imagine how hard that is. They agreed that they needed a day off so that is how we took off on this little day trip.

Below left is Chris and of course you know Deb. Chris has been in Key West for about 4 years and Jack arrived 2 years ago. For them it was love at first sight and they were married soon after they met. They are a great couple and fun to have on the boat.

To the lower right is Andrew. Andrew works with Jack and he is also a great person. Andrew loves to fish and I already knew we were going to run out of time today. By the way, I'm really fortunate for how many nice people I know.

Once we picked up our mooring, in the water we went. We had seen a shark on the way in to the mooring so I was hoping for a good show of fish. I ventured away from the boat and ran into a sea turtle. This time it was just one of them and we swam around with me taking some underwater pictures that I have to get developed still.

In the water is Andrew and Chris and we were handing them crackers so they could feed the yellow tail snapper. I'm not sure how well you can make it out but fish are everywhere and they had a great time with all of the fish around.

After we all got out of the water, we sat down for a wonderful lunch. Chris had gone overboard and brought along homemade seafood salad along with fresh cut veggies and some dips. After we filled up, we moved out of the no fishing area and caught a couple of small fish that we threw back. Next we were heading back into the dock so we could head to town for another event.

The big event tonight was a Taste of Key West. This even is a fundraiser and all of the restaurants are there participating. It turns out that all of the money goes to the charity and the businesses are essentially there to provide a "taste" of one or two of their dishes, support the charity, and of course to advertise.

We bought a bunch of tickets because that is what you do. If you wanted a taste of seafood ravioli, you stood in line for about 3 min and then gave them 3 tickets for two ravioli. Of of course it could be scallops, crab cake, steak, or...... You get the idea.

The place was packed and it seemed like Chris and Jack knew everyone there. Once we finished up at the Taste, Deb and I took our bikes back as a conclusion to a great day in Key West.

Tuesday, Deb is heading in for a jewelry class. Vinie is going along and they should have a great time. In addition, after the class Vinie is taking Deb up to the store so she can pick up some bigger things which will be nice because it will reduce the number of bike trips we need to make to the store.

 Apr 22 - Since I was off doing mundane stuff for the boat, I'm going to have Deb do today's update because she was out getting an education. - Jim

Since I was in education prior to going cruising, I decided that I needed education before I launched off on my own making jewelry. Since I have been in Key West, we have met quite a few people and you might remember Vinie from our prior log when we took Vinie and Frank out for a day sail. Well, Vinie and I talked about taking jewelry making lessons and I found a great place called Beads of Distinctions. Paul Pitsor is the owner and a fabulous teacher. He runs a bead shop and for $25.00 (plus materials) he teaches you the basics of making your own jewelry. What patience! We knew nothing and went away with a gorgeous bracelet and earrings.

Special tools are needed and a skilled hand to create something beautiful like the picture below.


This is my process of creating my bracelet. I wanted a nautical theme so I chose sea shells and star fish. Vinie wanted a stone look, so she chose green stones and silver which you can see below. Of course you can also see that Vinie is concentrating very hard at making beautiful jewelry on her first attempt.
After a few hours of lessons, design and lots of assistance, I made my first bracelet and earrings. Here is the bracelet.... done - although you can't see it well in the picture and I look like I have been driving a truck for 24 hours......it took me almost all day to make this thing....

Paul and I are negotiating another jewelry encounter..... he said we are welcome to come in any time and practice our skills.... we probably need to soon....

By the way, if you are interested, they have jewelry making classes everyday. All you have to do is to schedule with them in advance. Something to do on your trip to Key West?

We had too many pictures in this update so I had to make a special April 24 on. Go here to continue.   
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