December 1-14 - Cruising Log for S/V Freedom - a Gemini 105 - Jim and Deb Faughn

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 Dec 5 - I know I wrote about this last month but had to put the pictures in anyway. On my work day in Ft. Worth I got some projects done on the boat. To the right is how I suspended the dinghy engine from the boom so I could change the lower unit oil and then scrape away all the corrosion and then finally paint the lower unit. The paint didn't match exactly but it looks much better than it did before. Besides, it is now protected from that corrosion again.

Below is the old picture of the drain in the head and to the right is the new one. It was really worth the $35 to get the new unit. Installing it was a pain again. You had to cut it out with a hacksaw and then install the new one. Of course I didn't want it to leak so I used some fast cure 4200 which ensures that if I have to do it again in 10 years, I'll have to cut it out with a hacksaw again! By the way, it doesn't leak.

So here I was hanging out early in the morning and thought I heard a high revving engine. It couldn't be a dinghy because it sounded wrong. I looked out and it was a flying dinghy. Yes, there were two of these guys out in their ultralight amphibious planes and just having a good time. They came by the boats and one went off to another area while the second one dropped by in a simulated power off landing. You have to look close at the right picture, he is in front of the building. It made me want to go flying.

We left Fort Worth and headed for Ft. Lauderdale. We went outside in the ocean and the water was simply messy. It wasn't large waves, instead there were left over swells before the wind shifted, then there were wind waves and finally, there were the pesky big boat waves from pleasure boats and fishing boats. Oh well, we motor sailed the 45 or so mile day. As we approached Ft. Lauderdale, we are reminded of the importance of this port as the larger boats are approaching. What I couldn't believe is the sailboat that decided it would be wise to cross in FRONT of this large ship coming in. Not only can't they stop, they can't maneuver that well either. This guy must have given the captain a pause when he went in front. Not me, Oops, Now the ship has his sights on me but at this point he had slowed down considerably and had already hooked up with a large tug to help him into the harbor.

To the lower right you can see some of the cruise ships which were in being boarded by the next weeks passengers. There were also several guard boats around them. What a change since 9/11.

We anchored in Lake Sylvia in Ft. Lauderdale after a good day on the ocean and hung out the first evening over at Bill and Christy's boat. The next day, Monday, we got out the dinghy and were heading up one of the canals towards a dinghy dock when this little rascal was spotted sunning himself on the concrete wall. I guess he was working on his tan. I just thought it was pretty amazing these guys are just out running around in the neighborhood.

We dinghy 'd further down the canal past a few "small" boats. What amazes me about these boats is not the price of them, rather, it is the amount of resources you must have to run them. Everyone of these must have a captain and crew as a basic element. Then of course, you would want to add a chef and probably a couple of other people when you actually take the boat out. Just keeping them cleaned up and maintained is a huge job. Like I said, the resources have to be amazing. I wonder how many of them were acquired on sub prime loans? Maybe you can get a deal on one next year if the predicted recession happens.

On Tuesday morning, I started getting the anchor lines ready to pull and it was drizzling. With the sun coming up in the east, there was this most beautiful rainbow across the sky. You could see it end to end and it actually hung around for about 5 minutes too.

We pulled our anchor at 7:30 and went to pick up fuel. We now have enough fuel to get to Marathon late in the week. Also, we picked up water too. I've been looking at water makers but have decided not to put one on this year. We've spent too much money this year already. But I'm figuring out how to get it in for next year and think I have a great plan. We will need it before Mexico or if we decided to go to the Bahamas again next year, we will want it there too.

As we were going out of inlet for Ft Lauderdale, we encountered a tug waiting on a cruise ship. I think it is fun hanging out with the big guys but you do have to remember to keep out of their way.

It was a short sail down to Miami and as we approached it you could see all of the buildings lining the beach. Remember that song, "take paradise, put up a parking lot?" Well this view makes me want to write a song along the lines of:

Buy up a beach, put up a Condo. Take out the view and keep everyone from seeing it.

Ok, perhaps I'm getting a bit jaded since I've been cruising but I hope someone is keeping a slice of paradise for everyone who doesn't have the money to buy and hide it.

So a call was placed to the Coast Guard to see if we could go into Government Cut to enter Miami. Since 9/11, if there are cruise ships here, you have to go through a different cut which is about 2 miles longer and you have to go through a bridge. Fortunately, no cruise ships so in we went. If you have ever been on a cruise out of Miami, you will probably recognize some of the pictures.

The picture to the right shows some of the unloading facilities for cargo ships while the picture below shows a car mover to one of the islands which has been built up with homes for the rich and famous. Finally, the picture to the lower right is that of the cruise ship port. It was probably empty because we came in on a Monday. We went through Government Cut and then turned to go back up the other side of it so we could anchor in Venetian Causeway which provided us access to South Beach.

Bill and Christy had stayed here before so they were leading us through one of the canals where we could lock our dinghy up and walk across the street to Publix. We've started buying canned meat and some other things that we want to stock up with for our trip over to the Bahamas.

After we took the groceries back, we went back to another locking point and went to Lincoln Mall. This is an outside mall and several blocks long. It is a great place to watch people who want to be watched. After all, why would they dress that way if they didn't? We had a good evening and ultimately made it back to the dinghy's and to the boats. Today, Wednesday, we are planning on catching a bus to Bayside which is over in Miami.

There is always something to do in a big town so we are getting our fill of the big city for the next 6 months in one day. It will be quite a while before we are back in a big city again. By the way, I just can't wait to get into the islands. But first things first.... We have to have that paperwork for good ole Jimmy Buffett so they don't put him in quarantine or possibly eat him.

 Dec 9 - We decided to use the bus system in Miami and go to Maimi. We were on a mission to find Deb a new bag because hers went bad after the little swim she took in Titusville. We headed off to Bayside on the S bus and I truly believe you take your life in the bus drivers hands when you get on a bus. Now this guy could step on the accelerator and then the brake but couldn't coast. Horn blaring at cars trying to pull in front of us and then of course there was the swerving. Reminded me of a bumper car ride back in grade school. We arrived at Bayside after a brief walk and on the walk we found a bag that might be the perfect one. Of course we are shopping for a bag so we can't just pick the first one we find.

Off we went through the shops and more shops and more shops. Like I said, we were shopping. Oops, the best bag was the one we found walking from the bus stop. So after lunch, I took off and got that bag for Deb. Of course I was thinking that is the end of shopping. Boy did I mess up somewhere. Deb is still shopping even though the rule is you have to throw something away if you buy something. At least she didn't buy the Banyon tree! I think she would have thrown me away.


Now everyone needs hair and right now I'm beginning to think I have too much of it. Regardless, we turned back and Deb was trying on some hair. Ok, I guess it doesn't weigh much and I was actually thinking we might use it as recyclable toilet hair so we don't have to take as much toilet paper. Of course that idea got nixed in a hurry.

Deb now has long hair again but the good thing is that we don't have to use 20 gallons of water to wash it.

Back we went to the bus stop and back under one of the bridges through the canal and on the way back to the boat. Tomorrow, we are off for the passages south and in two days, Marathon.

As we left Miami, we passed by Bayside. The picture to the lower left is the one of the balloon ride. People hop in the basket and up they go on a tether for about 15 minutes. I'll bet they get a good view of the city.

The other thing we noticed is that they are building everywhere. I guess they haven't heard of sub-prime in Miami.

As we were leaving you could see Miami on the lower left and the Keys that are coming on the lower right. Don't you just love the fact that we are not going to be in a big city again for at least six months!

As we were going down Hawks channel towards Rodriguez Key, the water was just so clear. Now we aren't talking Bahamas clear but we are talking clear. It was beautiful. The picture to the right shows us moving at about 7 knots and you can see the bottom. We walked up to the front of the boat and just stood there for about 10 minutes. The beautiful waters are calling us.

The picture to the lower left shows the difference in water color between the sand on the bottom and when there is sea grass.

Of course, we were also fishing. We caught several spanish mackerel that we kept and ate that night and also this Barracuda which we turned loose. This thing was about 25 pounds and was almost 4 foot long. The other thing you might just see is that the hair is about out of control. Things are probably going to have to change pretty quick on the hair thing. I've already won the bet but thought I would just keep growing it anyway. To me a pony tail might have been in the future. Now I'm thinking, clean cut might be better and a whole lot easier.

So guess who showed up in Marathon? Garry and Shirlene! These are some great friends who will give us the shirt off of their back if we needed it. They have just come back from Mexico and Guatemala on a world wind tour because of some family issues. They are heading quickly back to South Carolina. We had a great day and evening with them and the next morning after lots of advice and a few "presents" you will see in later days, they were off. Hopefully they will fly to the Bahamas to visit us in February.

For the next few days we are going to be taking care of business and hopefully we will actually have mail tomorrow that will tell us where we are with regards to the paperwork needed for entry into the Bahamas. We are still working on the bird and hopefully there will be word of this in the mail.

Well, the other thing is that we have a new primary anchor. If you want to read the facts about it, you can click here. Otherwise just trust that this was a good upgrade on our boat. I see it as part of my insurance premium each year. After all, it was half a boat unit.

 Dec 11 - Not much to report from the wonderful world of Marathon, FL. We are spending our days taking care of details. I've received things like FCC licence's but not the bird papers we are waiting on. Here's hoping they arrive soon. Also, I should have the spare autohelm and new ham radio within a couple of days. I am looking forward to learning about receiving weather fax's so we won't be blind when in the Bahamas. Otherwise, just more details before we leave.

Now for the real information. You remember about the bet that Bill and I made. We had a one dollar bet that we wouldn't cut our hair until we got back from the Bahamas or the first to cut pays the other a dollar. Well, I won the bet about 2 weeks ago and received my dollar. Well, now it is time for a vote from my loyal readers. (All 6 or 60 or you.) Cut it or Keep it. As you can see below, I'm not that clean cut guy anymore. Instead, my hair is growing like a weed. At first it was fun and now it is more of a maintenance problem. I have this theory that my hair takes an extra 1/4 gallon of water for each inch it gets longer. Regardless, It is time to vote whether I should cut it now or keep it until Christmas? By the way, your votes and comments will be shown on the feedback page. So email me now. Send them to jfaughn "at"   Of course you have to substitute the @ sign for "at" when you type it in. Votes will be tabulated until Sunday afternoon.

Vote -Cut It or Keep It


 Dec 14 - We've been working to stock our boat with provisions over the last few days. So far we've picked up a big load of canned meats and today we will be off for another load of canned goods. Just routine stuff. However, on Wednesday night we were off for dance lessons and had a great time with some refresher courses on four different dances. We had a good time. We were supposed to go to a fishing clinic last night but the rain began at 6 pm at the exact time the outdoor clinic was to start. Of course that was canceled. Hopefully, next week. In addition, we have been receiving votes on the hair. So far, it is on the side of keep it. Of course I'm not sure Deb agrees and it's a hassle but so far I'm honoring the vote. If you haven't been to the feedback page, you can click here for a direct path.

The other thing going on is that while Gary and Shirlene were here, Garry presented me with the "poor man's watermaker." Ok, it isn't really a watermaker but it does carry water. As a matter of fact, it carries 30+ gallons. It works great for filling and then he also gave me a Water Puppy pump that transfers it from the dinghy to our water tanks. I can also see it as very useful when we have access to fresh water but I want to wash our boat at anchor.  You can see it to the right and it looks like it is a body bag or perhaps a waterbed at the bottom of our dinghy. Regardless, it works great. Thanks Garry and Shirlene.

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