November 15-30, 2008 - Cruising Log for S/V Freedom - a Gemini 105 - Jim and Deb Faughn

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 Nov 15 - How did I go from October 11 to Nov 15 without running out of propane on one tank? That is the question for all Gemini Owners who want to cruise. It is a bit of a pain to fill a bottle of propane every 12-15 days depending on the outside temperature. You have to not only find a place, you also better have bikes or transportation because carrying 20 pounds of propane plus the tank gets heavy for a mile or two. Of course we have bikes but still it is a pain to have to fill the tanks all the time especially when we are moving.

I had considered the fact that when we run the engine in the intercoastal or in the Tenn-Tom waterway then we should be able to run our refrigerator on an inverter. Since inverters have gotten to be so cheap, I decided in June I should pick one up at the trusty West Marine Store at 700 watts and make it all happen. Well, to make a long story short, the West Marine brand of inverter is junk. After having it replaced three times then I went with a Black and Decker and it worked great. The problem is the design of the unit not my loading. Let me explain how I calculate the loads.

Loads are very important because you have to ensure you aren't overloading your inverter. In addition, you better size the DC wire and fuse correctly too. I looked up on the back of the AC chargers and even the Dometic manual and calculated a load of 160 watts AC for the refrigerator, 100 watts for the laptop charger, 14 watts for the hand vacuum charger, and 6 watts for the AA battery charger. This all adds up to 280 watts.


I have run it all for many days on a 400 watt inverter each time on of the West Marine units would fail. However, I really wanted a larger inverter to run the TV and VCR, if it was raining and Deb was bored inside, while we were motoring or just to have the extra capacity. So, I ended up with a 750 watt Black and Decker inverter. It has been extraordinarily reliable. The second problem is sizing the DC wiring. I decided that even though I had such a large inverter, I didn't really want that much power to be drawn because I only have a 55 amp alternator on the engine. Therefore I elected on a 40 amp fuse along with 8 gauge wire. With that combination I can get 13.2 volts (typical alternator output when the inverter is on) multiplied times 40 amps equals a maximum of 528 watts. You then multiply 528 X .9 for efficiency of the inverter and arrive at about 475 watts usable. Plenty for me and below the rated value of the inverter.

Now to back feed the AC system. I mounted the inverter in the port bedroom just because it was easy access. I already have things mounted under the nav station so that space wasn't available to me. Once I wired the DC and installed the fuse, I had to feed the AC system. Of course I could have done it right and spent the money for a relay that would transfer power from the main fed to the inverter but I didn't want to install all of that. Instead, I made up the cord you see to the left with two male connectors on it. After making sure I'm not plugged into shore power or have my generator plugged in, I unplug the battery charger and plug one of the male connectors into that socket. The other male goes into the inverter. Turn it on and you will no longer have to buy propane every two weeks when you are moving. The wire ties and that female plug that connects to nothing are reminders. I always plug the female socket on one of the male plugs when I unplug the unit. It serves two purposes, first safety - you can really get shocked with 475 watts and probably electrocuted. The second, and the one I really did it for - when I remove the female plug it says Hey Jim, did you really have everything unplugged from the shore and generator. Believe me, the shore power will win and your inverter will be toast.

Enough technical stuff. We had a blast yesterday. We went shopping in the morning and picked up a couple of things for the boat along with going to lunch with Mike and Cheryl. Then Cheryl decided she would take off in the afternoon and we went up to look at property at Compass Lake. Mike and Cheryl would really like it if we would end up in Panama City when we get done cruising. There are some good deals and the property is very private but it probably isn't our place to locate. We still want a water view so the question will continue to be where will we find that. However, it does bring up the idea of lake developments so who knows.

Following our tour of property, we went to dinner at Bayou Joe's and had more fun.

One of the things about Bayou Joe's is they throw all the hamburger buns and left over french fries into the water. Guess why those fish on the left are so happy? Yes, they are eating a bit of dinner. I'm sure this technique is a great draw for kids of all ages including us.

We ended up heading back to the boat and just before the storm came in Mike and Cheryl headed back to their house. The winds came and what was great is the enclosure held up just fine in a side wind. I didn't design it for that but it worked just fine. Winds were somewhere around 40 miles an hour and only a few drops of water got into the rear of the boat. Success.

 Nov 19 - We had way too much fun in Panama City. We ate out too much and played too much. The picture to the right is one of the many friends we have met there. Left to right is Roger, Judy, Mike Cheryl, Susan, Larry, and of course me. Deb was the photographer on this one.

The reason for the gathering is conversation, fresh shrimp, crab cakes and some more food too. It was planned as a dock party but when the temperature dropped, we decided to hold the gathering on a Gemini instead. It just happens we chose ours. Don't you love those Gemini's for entertaining. We had great conversations. Before the party, Cheryl even made her own necklace using a beautiful pendant and a few of Deb's things too.

Monday we left at about nine and you can see a picture below of Mike taking a picture of me taking a picture of him as the Massalina Bayou bridge was opening up for us.Then to the right is a picture of one of the Mercury test boats. They have an operation down here so they can test their motors. Just think, the guy in the boat with the helmet on has a job, driving this boat around all day trying to tear up the engine. What a job!



Originally we were planning on anchoring in Lake Wimico for the night, however, I had a note on my chart that you can tie up at a dock in White City if space was available. Sure enough, there was tons of space available - all of it. I took a walk through the park and a ways up the road looking at a few of the small houses in this village. When I got back, I set up the generator and we got ready for another cold night. Thankfully, we can run the generator all night when the temperature is down at 40 and run the electric heater on low. The generator will run from 10 pm until 6 am and it keeps the boat at about 55-60 degrees depending on outside air temperature.

I was able to talk to a couple of the fisherman cleaning croakers and sheep's head. Evidently they can spend a couple of hours on the bank and catch enough fish for dinner.

We were off early the next morning for Carrrabelle. We have never been to that port and figured why not. On top of that, there are hard freeze warnings so that means we either have to have lots of gas or we need electric for the night. We chose to fill up with fuel and take a dock. By the way, we really needed it! Temperatures were in the low 30's at the dock and upper 20's inland.

We took the opportunity to also get a couple of things at the store and of course some showers. This afternoon we are going out to anchor at Alligator Point. This is about a three hour trip and that will leave a 55 nautical mile day tomorrow to Steinhatchee. We should be able to leave about 5 am and get to the dock easily by 5 pm. The winds are supposed to be Northwest at 10 - 15 knots so that means we will be motor sailing at minimum. Our main objective is to get through the channel (about 7 miles) and to the dock before dark. We already have reservations and the dockage is a whopping 50 cents a foot. This should be fun because it is another town we haven't explored.

 Nov 21 - I forgot to show you our garden. Ok, maybe it isn't a big garden but it is a garden. We are starting to feel more like Kevin Costner in Waterworld all of the time. Really, we enjoy fresh herbs and Bette really did get us thinking about it on the way down the Tenn-Tom when she had fresh herbs she shared with us. So, we bought Basil, Chives, and Cilantro. The Cilantro is kind of wimpy but it looked like that when we purchased it too. So far we have had great salads with the basil and chives and we haven't killed it yet. The solarium, otherwise known as our enclosure, has helped too.

We left Carrabelle at about noon and arrived at Alligator Point at 3. I must tell you that if you are thinking about anchoring out there, it better be a low wind or wind from the north kind of day because there is NO protection when the wind is coming from the east. Well, the wind was from the east but only at 8 knots and it died to 5 before we hit the sack. Once again, I ran the generator and heater all night because the lows were in the 30's. I awoke to the beep, beep, beep of the alarm clock at 5 a.m. and went about my business of getting the boat ready to make way. We hauled the anchor at 5:15 a.m. and were underway. Deb, of course, went back to bed. Overall, the winds didn't come up as much as predicted and were only running about 3-8 knots apparent all day so we motored and motor sailed our way to Steinhatchee. As we approached land, we were joined by dolphins. Enjoy the pictures below!


Something about dolphins just makes you smile!

As you approach the entrance to Steinhatchee, you have to avoid some 3 foot and other shallow water offshore. We are in the arm pit of the turn and it is shallow up here. Thankfully, we have a Gemini so we aren't nearly as concerned as some people are with larger draft boats. You can tell how unconcerned we are because we are going it at absolute low tide. I didn't plan around the tides, I just wanted to get here in the daylight.

We did arrive early and were in the channel at about 2:30 p.m. You can see one of the markers, and there are many, along with some of the homes that are located along the river leading to the sea. We are going up that river for a ways.

We arrived at the marina and although it wasn't large, they were very nice and have a wonderful tackle shop integrated with the marina. It is obvious they don't really cater to cruising boats and are more about the fishing village concept.

We got checked it at the cheapest marina we've stayed at - 50 cents a foot - and then plugged everything in so we could enjoy another cold evening. I cooked up some crab cakes and we had a wonderful evening on the boat.

Today, Friday, I am going to get the bikes out so we can explore the small town. We've found out where the grocery store is along with the four restaurants and who has the best of what. I'm actually more interested in the homes and wondering if there is a uniqueness to them here that you might not find somewhere else.

It is fun arriving in a port that we haven't been to so we have the enjoyment of exploring. We will have pictures and of course a bit of narrative later.

 Nov 21 - Our second posting today. I was looking for uniqueness in this town and didn't find it from an architectural perspective. So what is left? Head down to the local dive and have a great lunch. We had heard that this was the best place in town to get a pressed Cuban sandwich and they were right. It rivaled what we could get in Key West. On top of that, the people were all characters and Deb says they are the "heart of America." I'm not too sure about that, I am sure they represent the middle class in the armpit of Florida. You better look like them and have a bit of a southern drawl or you definitely won't be accepted here. Of course, we fit in fairly well.

The most unique part of the town, other than the river, was the vegetation. The town has creeks running in various places through the town and the vegetation was very pretty. I happen to like the spanish moss that was hanging from the trees and really liked the grasses that are part of the wetlands in the town itself.

After lunch, Deb headed back to the boat on a possible jewelry sale and I went another mile down the road to the grocery store. We really don't need much but wanted to pick up some Cornish Game Hens, dressing, and cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving next week. We really don't know if we will be in Tarpon Springs or Clearwater for Thanksgiving but we do know we will be thankful for each other and for everyone we can and do call friends and family.


 On the way back I was able to get a picture of the Steinhatchee River and of course that is our mast sticking up at the end of the dock.

Tomorrow morning the winds are supposed to be from the northeast at up to 15 knots. That is perfect for us. We will be heading south and fairly near shore so the seas should only be 2 feet or so as close in as we are while avoiding the shallow water. It should be a easy sail to our anchorage and then on Sunday, we will probably have to motorsail part of the day to make Tarpon Springs.

Monday we already have plans to see our friends Tim and Miriam from Missouri who are down this way for winter. We are also going to see another friend plus we just have to pick up that Greek Olive Oil!

Nov 23 -  We left Steinhatchee on Saturday morning at about 8:30 and motored part of the way out of the channel before raising our sails. After motorsailing through the channel, we turned southeast and cut the engine for a wonderful morning of sailing. The winds grew and from around 10 to 12 and we were sailing along at about 7 to 7.5 knots in 15-18 knot winds apparent. This was hull cleaning speed and the winds were almost a perfect beam reach. However, we reached a mark where we needed to turn further east and the winds were then simply too close because we were at about 30-40 degrees to the wind. That meant we went back to motorsailing to finish the day at about 5 pm at Cedar Keys.

You can see a picture of the island showing up in the picture to the right.


Going into Cedar Keys means you must run one of the channels. The guide books warn you " the channel is 3 1/2 feet deep at low water and be certain to study your chart carefully ahead of time. At some places it is easy to get confused." They go on to say, "the anchorage has poor holding with an oyster bed or rocky bottom making it difficult to get a good set."

It sounds like the perfect place to anchor doesn't it? Reality is there really aren't other places along the way that aren't quite a bit out of the way. So Cedar Key really is the best place to spend the night. Fortunately, we only draw a little over 3 feet with our rudders and engine down so we should be fine going in. Of course we just happen to be going in at low water. We didn't find the 3 1/2 feet although the next morning we did find 4.3 feet as we were leaving. In addition, we've gotten spoiled with our Rocna anchor because we haven't found a situation yet where we can't get a good anchor set.

As you can see to the left, we had another beautiful sunset although it was also another COLD night. We ran the generator again all night to keep the boat at about 55 degrees rather than the upper 30's outside.

We arose at daylight and were off for Tarpon Springs. This trip ended up being 63 nautical miles. That is a long day especially when the wind requires us to motorsail the entire day. However, we did get a good boost from our sails and at times were making 7 knots. Of course when you are going more to the weather and since we were so far offshore, the waves were more of an issue today. Let me put it like this. To simulate what half the day was like, you should get into an oversized washing machine with and extra large agitator that just happens to be out of balance. Next you should turn it on for four hours and try to enjoy the ride.

When the afternoon came around, fortunately the winds dropped and the waves decreased and we then had a more typical day on the water. Then there was the event where the outdrive picked up a crab trap and wrapped the line around the shaft. That was fun! Since we were dragging the dinghy, I was able to get in it and after about five minutes of pulling and twisting and pulling and twisting, I finally got the line out and was able to drop the outdrive again and get back underway. Don't you want to go for a sail with us? Remember, people dream about dropping out and going cruising so they can have these adventures. Pack your bags.

To the right you can see the stack of the power plant at Tarpon Springs. We could see this out about 18 miles and as it happens, we anchor in the cooling inlet for this plant. We were happy to put down our two anchors, head inside warm up the oven and bake pork roast with some fresh green beans and potato's along with homemade mushroom sauce.

 Nov 24 - Today we had some friends drive over from central Florida to see us today. Meet Tim and Miriam. Of course you remember us. We had a great lunch sitting outside at a Greek Restaurant. I'm sure you've noticed we are in short sleeves and it is almost 70 degrees. What a change! Of course there is another cold front heading our way but it is supposed to be passing quickly.

We spent the day wondering around Tarpon Springs. Fortunately, Deb has figured out what shopping means and that isn't buying. Still, I just had to honor a request from our friends Bill and Bette to track down some Greek Olive Oil. There always seems to be a story on a quest like this. While I was looking at all of the cans and bottles of Greek Olive oil, a wonderful gentleman walked up and I asked him - what is the best Greek Olive Oil? It just happens that I had just asked a Greek and resident for 20 years of Tarpon Springs. He pointed me to the best (it also wasn't the most expensive) then Pete got his wife involved. She quickly found and pointed out the best Greek seasoning. I just can't wait to give it a taste. Pete also told me that the matriarch of the Greek family's number one concern is the family. Second is good food. We had about a 15 minute conversation about Greek culture. Conversations like this are always a highlight of the cruising lifestyle. Deb was just laughing. Why? I've been concerned that when we are finished with cruising that we just might not fit into a new town and won't meet too many people. I guess I've learned a bit more about people and conversation on the cruise so perhaps my fears are unfounded. Truthfully, I actually thought Pete and his wife were going to head to Key West with us.


Across the street was the sign you see to the left that told us we just missed a performance yesterday. Sorry, I'm sure you would have really loved those pictures!

Deb let her guard down and turned shopping into buying as she purchased a bracelet that is made up of Greek Keys. I'm not sure what they represent but we have some internet research to do when we get a good wi-fi connection.

Sponges are everywhere and they are what made Tarpon Springs, Tarpon Springs. At one point, there was a bit of a feud between the Greeks and the Conchs of Key West with relation to sponge harvesting. Fortunately, the sponges are back and they are able again to harvest some sponges from the area again.

Since I was not in a purchase mood, I took these closeup pictures of some different sponges instead. I find it interesting there are so many different varieties and each one has their own strengths and weaknesses. Some are better for washing cars and the others are good for washing each other. Just don't use the ones for a car on your back.

The boat to the right was built in 1935 and it actually was commandeered by the US Navy during WWII for search and rescue in the Gulf of Mexico. Following the war, it went back into service harvesting sponges.

Below is a picture of the air compressor and the engine. Time will take its toll on steel especially when exposed to salt water. You can see the 110 hp engine that drove this boat at up to 9 knots along with a bit of a problem with corrosion too.

The picture to the left is a monument dedicated to the sponge divers that lost their lives pursuing their profession. The sponges are washed on board the boats trying to remove all of the organisms that will ultimately rot and ruin the sponges. When they were washed and dried, the sponges are taken to a sponge factory and finished. Once completed, they are taken to market and sold all over the country. At one point, sponges were purchased right off of the boats at the town docks when the boats returned.

Today, synthetic sponges have taken over. However, the real sponge still offers many advantages.

Below right you can see part of the main street of Tarpon Springs. This street is situated along the river where the town was built. As you can see, blue and white seem to be the theme.

To the right you can get a feeling of how it might have been in the early and mid 1900's when the sponge boats would come back to town with their boats loaded, they hoped, with sponges.


Tim, Miriam, Deb, and I sat on the back of the boat continuing with great conversation as the day was quickly coming to an end. We had a wonderful afternoon enjoying the beautiful day and watching the wildlife around us.

Following a short happy hour on the back of our boat, Tim and Miriam began their 2 hour drive to their home. We had a great time and were sorry it couldn't last longer.

Tomorrow, we will be heading out of the marina but not far. We will head down the river about a mile, turn right and back up a channel to raft up with Ned. For those following our website since the beginning, you might remember Ned is Dave's brother. We joined them two years ago right here. Unfortunately, Dave has passed away and tomorrow I will be taking pictures of Dave's boat, Prancer, he built and is currently for sale. This will be something you will want to see but once again, this is a story for another day.

 Nov 26 - Do you remember Prancer? You would have to go back to our 2006 logs to find out about Dave Mott and when we met him on our first trip down the Tenn-Tom. You might also remember that Dave passed away a year ago. I talked to his son and volunteered to create a webpage for potential buyers to see more about Prancer which is now for sale. If you might be interested in a very well built steel boat that provides you the opportunity to do the interior finish, you might want to look at this boat. At 7 knots it only uses 1.5 gallons per hour so, it would be a great boat to do the loop or cruise anywhere for that matter. Just click on Prancer and it will take you to the page that provides you details including a survey from this year.  


 Once again, we are at the Duckworth Boat Yard. They build BIG boats here. To the left you can see a scallop boat that is about 50% complete. They will be starting the interior finish as soon as it is a bit more watertight. This is the fourth scallop boat they have built for the same person. You might remember two years ago I was able to tour one with Dave's brother Ned. If you are newer to our site, you can see more about that tour here.

Below you can see the drive and as I reminisced through my old page referenced above, I saw a picture very similar to the one to the lower left only completed.

The boat below is a pirate entertainment ship being built for a different company. When we were at Clearwater in June, there was a smaller version of a boat like this going out every three hours loaded with would be partying pirates.

Unfortunately, these are the last boats on the list right now. For everyone's sake, I hope the economy improves soon. At the same time, if you need a boat built, call Duckworth. They will get you started quickly.

Meet Dave's brother Ned. If you ever wanted to meet a "character," you really need to meet Ned. He is one of the nicest guys and he is always thinking. Currently retired and self described as a guy who is now blind in one eye and can't see out of the other, Ned just can't stop thinking about his next project or telling you stories about his past.

For next to forever, Ned is the person who lofted the keel and most of the other parts on those boats at Duckworth. You might not know it but if the keel is wrong, the entire boat is a failure. Ned taught the owners son his skills and he still lives on the boat he built tied to their wall. I think it has to do with paying Ned back for all he has contributed or perhaps Ned just makes a good security guard each evening.

Below you can see one of his latest projects. This is a windmill frame and he is working out the details of how his prototype will ultimately work. Once he has the mechanical prototyped, he will sew up the vanes and give it a great test developing the figures for how much horsepower he will be able to achieve. Then it is on to the full size unit so he can get them ready for sale. Energy independence for everyone that has wind as a reasonable cost.

Of course you can't visit Ned without a campfire!

Once the fire is burning you then get to hear some great stories. Ned has done just about everything. He has built his own boat, Rainbow's End, which he has lived aboard for the last 30 years. It has been a sailboat and then converted into a commercial fishing boat which he used for years fishing and earning his living out on the ocean single handing it for weeks on end. I could go on and on about the stories he tells which are even more interesting because they are true. However, when he is telling you a story there are always times when he will say something else and then say "where was I in my lie?" Now Ned's latest adventure is his Kayak adventure. Ned took off and paddled his kayak over 1,300 miles starting in Indiana and rode the crest of the flood this summer on the Mississippi River. One of my favorite parts of that story is when, because of the high water, he was able to go over the top of a lock instead of through it on his kayak. You can read about his story here.

I can only tell you that meeting people like Dave and Ned is exactly why we went cruising. The people who are out here are the people who are living life to it's fullest. Even if it means getting hit by a truck going 30 miles an hour while riding a bike. Yes, that happened to Ned this summer and he is still going. I sometimes think back to my quote I created on my main page when we left - "I'm not afraid of the dangers we face, I'm afraid of missing the opportunity to experience and enjoy what life has to offer." - Jim Faughn

 Nov 27 - Yesterday before we said goodbye to Ned, he showed me a number of pictures of airplanes he restored before he started his seafaring life. The plane to the right is a P-51 Mustang and when he completed it, the plane was judged as #1 in the nation. We probably could have talked all day but there was water to cover and another anchorage to explore.

We waved goodbye to Ned on Rainbow's End which he built. Then we were off to Clearwater. This is a short trip and we anchored about 3 1/2 hours after we left.

We really enjoy Clearwater because we can anchor next to the causeway and the City Marina allows us to tie our dinghy up to their dock. They have it figured out that we will spend money in town and what is a City Marina good for if not the promotion of the City? We also found out that we can leave a deposit and pick up a couple of keys for the showers too. This is really on Deb's highlights of stops now. Of course they also provide free wi-fi so life is good here.

 We headed in to Crabby Bill's restaurant and met a few great guys. To the left is Lou. Lou happens to be 83 and he served on a Liberty Ship in WW-II. I found out that the Merchant Marine had the highest percentage of casualties for all of the services during WW-II. Lou was from Sanduski, OH and during the six years he was in the Merchant Marine, he accumulated 32 months of sea time where he saw early versions of the buzz bombs coming from Germany. At one point, he helped move mules from Rio de Janeiro to Greece. The interesting thing is if you acquire 32 months of sea time, you are guaranteed your old job back where you worked before going to war. When Lou returned to present his piece of paper showing the company should give him back his job they refused. Lou gave his congressman a call and the congressman called his company. The personnel manager tried to give Lou a different job but Lou asked if he should give the congressman a call again. Needless to say, Lou got his job as a timekeeper back. Ultimately, Lou became personnel manager and took that guys job. He told me that with a bit of a snicker. I guess it pays to do the right thing.

 Next I met Joe. Joe happens to be 88 and he was in the Army during WW-II and served as an anti-aircraft gunner. One of the places he tried to protect the troops was during the invasion at Normandy. When they would see the dive bombers on their way, in addition to firing, they would release balloons with steel cables on them so the planes couldn't fly low over their ships otherwise they would hit the cables. Joe related a story where Germans were surrendering and the Nazi Youth would kill them because the didn't fight until their death for Hitler. It is amazing what people like Lou and Joe have done for our country protecting our freedoms.

As it ended up, there is a Thanksgiving dinner being prepared at Joe's apartment building and Joe's daughter needed a turkey carver. Deb was game so today we have volunteered to go help carve turkeys for a bunch of retirees that I'm sure will all have stories. I can't wait to hear them either and of course I know you just can't wait either. Isn't it interesting what a couple of cruisers can get involved with experiencing this wonderful country.

We have plenty to be thankful for today but are missing our family and friends. We will be heading to the beach for a picnic lunch of homemade fish soup and then get ready for our volunteering project. Stay connected.


Nov 28 - Sometimes what you think is going to happen doesn't. We walked over to Joe's apartment and quickly found out that my entire volunteering project was simply to cut the turkey. Somehow I wasn't totally clear. Instead, Deb and I began with wonderful conversation with Joe along with his daughter Lynn. Then we went downstairs taking our parts of the dinner where we found out the organization machine had already turned this Thanksgiving into a well organized feast. We were simply guests of Joe and Lynn on this special day. I reflected for a bit of how two people would take in some literally unknown people into their home and then into a gathering of their friends. All they knew about us is that we drank wine and listened fairly well. As it ended up, I was able to hear a number of Joe's stories of how he met his wife and obtaining his job after returning from WW-II which took us into his marriage and the arrival of his three children. Joe has a wonderful attitude and like us, chooses not to associate with people who complain all the time. Instead, enjoying life seems to be the theme.

We truly appreciated the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with some new friends. Once again, I find that now that we have slowed down cruising we are having much more fun meeting people and learning more and more about the areas where we stop. One little tidbit. The apartment building where Joe lives is actually owned by the city of Deerfield, Michigan. The mayor figured out so many of the retirees were going to Florida for the winter that why shouldn't the city help provide a place and benefit from the rent too. A true forward thinking mayor was at work.

This does have me thinking about Christmas however and I think when we get to Key West, we will look into finding a place to volunteer.   

 Nov 30 - Right after we left Clearwater in June, I received an email from a person that had seen us at anchor along the causeway to Clearwater Beach. Joe had told me they were very interested in a Gemini and had seen us. He was also wondering if people ever approach us about talking about cruising or to look at the Gemini. I wrote back that Deb and I have a great time doing both and what we've found is a mixed group out in the cruising community. I told him we would be back in late November and email me if he would like to get together as we got closer. I usually transfer ownership of meetings like this so I don't have to track it and also just to see if they really want to get together.

Fast forward to November 29 - yesterday. Joe had emailed me a number of times as we approached Clearwater and we had agreed to get together on Saturday when he wasn't working and we went to lunch at he and Judy's favorite Mexican Restaurant. The food was excellent and we had some great conversation. As it happens with a number of people we meet, Joe knew our stories almost as well as we did. We talked about cruising, the Gemini, and of course the all important topic of money when cruising.

Joe and Judy were way too generous to us taking us to lunch and providing a goodie bag that actually included some DVD's, bottle of wine, CD with cool stuff on it, and some great wire ties and organizers that are used in the data communications industry which I will use to organize some wiring when I get to Key West.

Ultimately, we brought them by dinghy out to our boat and Judy almost mutinied and kicked us off so she could take the boat into parts unknown. Every day comes to an end but once again, we really enjoyed seeing people who are wanting to purchase a Gemini and sharing our honest appraisal of the boat.


 Today, Sunday, you might have seen that cold front that is passing through Florida. As it happens, I had set my anchors so during the tide change we would be positioned just right. However, with a south wind we were being blown towards the causeway. So this morning at about 6:30 a.m. I was out and pulled out our third anchor. After getting it ready, I pulled the dinghy around and dropped the anchor, chain, and rode (line) into the dinghy and out I went to drop another anchor so it would hold us off of the shore. Not a bad thing to do actually! As I write this at 8 a.m. it is blowing at 20+ knots and expected to grow to about 25 knots with gusts later today. Sounds like a great day for dinner on board. However, we still might go in for lunch with the other Joe and his daughter Lynn.

In case you haven't noticed, we've really enjoyed Clearwater. At the same time, we will be leaving tomorrow in advance of the next cold front so we are closer to St. Petersburg. It looks like we will have a bit of upwind work to do on Tuesday and again Wednesday morning. Now to pick the right anchorage so it is an easy trip into St. Pete.

Dec 1 - Joe wrote after he read the log and asked that I include the remarks to the right to our log. I think he is definitely right about the walking the plank part! Deb is prettier in person
Jim is taller than in his pictures
Judy is really 20 pounds lighter than the picture portrays
Made note ..It's hard for a successful mutiny when the boat is anchored
in 3 feet of water.
This makes walking the plank no fun when they can walk to
shore. Arrr.
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