December 22, 2015
Today marks a celestial change in the seasons....
In the Northern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice marks the shortest day of the year. Thus the Summer Solstice is the longest day.
The other two times of year that are celebrated are the Equinoxes, where the Sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night are nearly equal.
Some boaters celebrate the Spring Equinoxes, as it marks the start of boating fun for many. Others like the Summer Solstice as it is the height part of the boating season. I try and honor all four events as change is always part of boating life.
Besides, it also gives us four more reasons to have a party....
December 3, 2015
We did it! We are now in the Keys!
After a couple of very enjoyable days at Lauderdale Yacht Club, Trillium made the last 70 mile run down to Key Largo. We did the ICW to Miami, then went out Government Cut, passing the big cruise ships and seeing Miami Beach from the water.
It was a 40 mile cruise down the "outside" to our destination. At first, it was a little rough, with waves 2'-4' on the bow. But half way, we entered Hawks Channel that runs between the coral reefs and the Keys. That last part was a lot smoother and you can almost see the bottom with the clear water.
To get into our the Pilot House Marina, you enter by a very narrow channel about 1/2 mile long. We are in a slip across from a Tiki Bar that plays live music every night. We can sit on our fly bridge and enjoy the sights and sounds of a tropical get a way.
This is a working marina, with fishing boats coming to the seafood market to off load their catch. Today we went there and got stone crab for dinner. Kim said that it's time for me to "crack" the crab, so I'll post more later.
November 25, 2015
Good Morning from N. Palm Beach. We are now in a very nice marina, waiting out a very windy weather front moving thru this area. We are planning to have our Thanksgiving Dinner here on the boat. Then Monday we push south again.
We have cruised 13 "travel" days covering 540 miles and we are within 150 miles of getting to our most southern port. It is our hope to do this last part in three travel days. But in this part of the state, it is not mileage that counts, but bridges.
As the ICW works its way down the "inside" of the southeastern coast, it passes under a lot of busy roads handling traffic out to the many beaches and towns that dot our coastline. Most of this intersection between boats and cars are handled with new hi-rise bridges. These modern spans are raised so even most sail boat can pass under their 65' opening. I am sure that most of you have driven over one, enjoying the view.
Florida has over 70+ bridges that you pass under, some the high ones, but some are low, requiring you to wait on an "opening". In rural areas, this can be done by hailing the bridge tender on the radio and they will stop traffic to raise the bridge. In most cities, with high traffic volume, the bridges only open at a scheduled time, but not during rush hour. So timing is a big part of the game.
So far, getting to N. Palm Beach, we have passed under over half of the 70+ bridges, only needing a couple of openings. Now to get to Key Largo, we will have to pass 36 bridges, with most requiring us to have an opening. Monday, going to Fr. Lauderdale is only 50 miles, a easy day's cruise for us. But, we have to deal with timing our arrival at 22 bridges or "holding station" waiting for the next opening. While waiting on a bridge, it can be in a narrow channel, with strong current and wind. Plus there is a good chance that there also will be other boats waiting "in line" to go thru. So "holding station" is a lot more difficult that just sitting and waiting. It can tax the most seasoned captain's skill and nerves.
Of course, another choice is to go "outside" and bypass the bridges. Problem is you have to time a "weather window" looking for low wind and no waves. We will try to keep our options open and move south as we can. Will post again when we get there.
November 14, 2015
OK, we have been in Fr. Pierce City Marina for a week, got to visit with friends, tour the area and catch up on office work. The weather has been hot and sunny with 85% humidity, but this is typical Florida weather.
The water is so clear that you can watch schools of fish swim around the boat. At night, the marina has underwater lights that attracts many different types of fish, it is like a giant saltwater aquarium. Large schools of Snook will push bait fish up under the boat and in the feeding frenzy, they bang into the hull. The first time we heard the loud bang, we jumped up to see what hit us. Now we just look at each other and say "crazy fish".
This is also a great area to kayak and we enjoy seeing the rich wildlife. On one outing, we had to stop and let 3 manatees pass.
Tuesday we plan to move across the River and stay at the Pelican Yacht Club at the inlet side of Hutchinson Island. There we will have a short walk to the beach and have miles of bike trails to check out.
It is still our plan to be in the Keys by December 1st, so still have to visit Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale and Miami Beach on the way down. We will not be staying long in MB, as the slip prices are four times everywhere else. We have to stay one night, so we can have a shorter run on the outside down to the Keys.
We will try and keep this travel log up to date, so will post more later.
November 5, 2015
The last 5 days have been very interesting with our travel plans changing every few hours. It started by us arriving in St. Augustine on Sunday, Nov. 1st. We spent two days touring the quaint streets of "the nation's oldest city". But we also had fun spending several hours at a "used boat parts" store called Sailors Exchange. Yes, we did buy several items needed for various projects we want to do on the boat.
Our plans were to stay a week, but then life happened and we needed to push south ASAP. We left St. Augustine Municipal Marina Wednesday, the 4th headed to Daytona. Our goal was to get to Stuart by Friday. Things went fine until one hour before reaching our marina for the night. We started losing power steering fluid in the fly bridge helm. I had to steer by shifting port or starboard engines and running the bow thruster. With a "little" effort, we made it safely to our dock.
When we found out that we problems, we called the marina to let them know that I would need help docking and could they find someone to help. As we pulled in, there were two dock hands to handle lines and a repairman waiting to start work as soon as we landed. In no time, Gary Wolfe with At-Water Marine had the helm steering tore apart and was on his way to the shop to get it rebuilt.
So, we are spending a few unscheduled days here in Daytona waiting for repairs. We have enjoyed checking out the business district and hope to make it over to the beach. If things go as planned, we will head south again Saturday morning
October 31, 2015
We have always enjoyed anchoring on Trillium before, so on this cruise we planned to be on the hook whenever possible. It does save money and besides, it is a whole lot of fun - right?
When we left Jekyll, we planned to stay out for at least six nights..ohhh. So we inventoried on board supplies, planned several meals, and then made a run for food & Rum. Last thing was to top off our 130 gal water tank. We also use this tank when docked and make sure to top it off every week.
Not wanting to run out of water, we "lived like sailors" being careful to conserve! But after 7 days, the water tank gauge still read FULL! What? Not possible, so it must be broken....again. This time, we knew how to fix it, so jumped on it as soon as the hook grabbed.
Well, the tank IS nearly full - gauge not broken, yeah! With only one night left out, we both took nice long hot showers. The engines heats the water when we travel.
I'm guessing we were using less than 5 gal/day! Now, we can plan on anchoring out for weeks at a time in the Keys... or until the Rum runs out.
October 30, 2015
We have spent 4 wonderful days anchored here on the southeastern shore of Cumberland Island, Georgia. It is hard to leave, this last night is so pleasant. But at O'Dark thirty tomorrow, it will be time to push on south into Florida. We are scheduled to be in St. Augustine on Sunday, Nov. 1st! We are so excited to spend a week there seeing the "oldest town in the USA". We will keep you posted.

October 3, 2015
While on the boat, the first thing I do is to check out the weather for the next 3 days. Planning around bad weather is the key to safe and fun cruising. We are sitting out very heavy rains in a very snug harbor. We plan to stay here for two weeks, but will also keep our eye on a fair weather window to travel. You have to be flexible and be willing to leave early or late as needed. Also, we always have picked out several "hurricane holes" planned along our trip, if needed.
September 30, 2015
Well our first day was exciting! We had planned to stop overnight in Beaufort, SC on our trip to Hilton Head. But this area is experiencing extreme HI/LOW tides due to the "Super Moon" this week. By running with the strong tides at our back, we made the trip "non stop" to Shelter Cove Marina, in Hilton Head. Now two weeks or R & R.
September 29, 2015
Last sunset from the Mega Dock in Charleston. Tomorrow the adventure begins!