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

 January 1 - I have to say that New Years is not the same in Key West. For us it was an all day experience and some of the things we saw later are not on the website because as I have described it to others, I have a G rated website or Blog.

We started the day, yesterday, by going shopping for food. So that meant we were off on the bicycles and riding about 3 miles round trip to the food store. We got back at about 12:30 and then I changed oil. This is normally a smooth process. Not today! Both oil pumps broke and I had oil everywhere in drips so that didn't make a happy Jim. Ultimately, I got one of the pumps to work and finished the job. I also was able to pull a sample which I will be sending in for analysis. Something I'm looking forward to seeing the results of. (By the way, I bought a new pump that works on my drill today so the next oil changes should be easy.) After we cleaned up the messes, we then went to Rick and Pat's boat for a tour. They have a nice 42' Morgan and just got it a year ago after their other boat was ruined in Katrina.


 Next we went to Tom's boat. Tom is a guy who knew Jeff (the guys boat I tried to save) and he invited us to his boat for New Years. This is a BIG boat and he rebuilt it himself and did a wonderful job. We told him we would stop by and of course I met some more people and told my story again. I think most people think I'm nuts for trying to save that boat and others appreciate the fact someone would still try.

This is probably where we should have spent the entire New Years evening but instead, we had to head down to see what was going on downtown.

In the pictures that follow, you will see a bit of Key West at New Years Eve. To the right is our Elvis sighting. He was hanging out in front of Sloppy Joe's however on other evenings we've seen him riding his bike with his guitar strapped over his shoulder.

Below left you can see Sloppy Joe's all lit up for New Years. You can just make out 2007 and at the top is the Conch Shell that will drop at the stroke of Midnight. Of course there were other celebrations as well.

To the lower right you see one of the "interesting" sites that are almost always present down here.

To the right is one of the living statues. His entire goal in life is to not move and make tips. Everyone has to make a living I guess.

Below left are two guys enjoying the evening.

And below right is a guy that has the greatest job in the world. Just think, as a Palm Reader, you don't have to hang around to read anyone's palm that walks up. You actually must know when to be there because you can see the future. Therefore you would know if you were going to have your first real customer at noon or 4 pm and just show up in time for that appointment because you know what the future brings. Like I say, great job don't you think?

Deb even received some beads. I think she was smiling nicely when see got them.

As you can see, a few people showed up to make this New Years Celebration a big one. Of course we appreciate that since this is our first time here and all.

Remember the monster ship that is parked right behind us? I know, I didn't get the pictures sewn together perfectly but I did want to make it larger for you. It ends up I had my guess facts pretty wrong. This ship is actually 155 feet long and the main mast is 182 feet tall. At the time it was built, it was the largest wood, fiberglass covered sailboat ever constructed. As I understand it, the owners aren't even aboard and the crew is moving it to the next stop where the owners will use it again. The fact the owners aren't aboard hasn't made a difference in their cleaning however. Everyday they are out polishing and cleaning on the boat. I know how much work our boat is and I'll bet if you let even a day go by on a boat this big you will pay the price. It is truly a beautiful boat.

January 3 - Yesterday we started the engine at 7:05 am and were motoring out at 7:15 dropping our mooring lines at Key West and heading for Marathon. As we were leaving the winds were from the North and I had this thought that I might, just might, get to sail up to Marathon. However, the land breeze stopped as we turned east and the forecast winds were right there. On the nose along with the current so we were going to be going east but slowly. Even though it rained off and on and was overcast, the trip was great. The seas ranged in the 2-3 foot range and settled down to 1-2 at the end. have to say the trip was great. That's right, I didn't get seasick. I have to tell you right now that sailing while not throwing up is whole lot better than the other way around. Even though my doctor has prescribed, and I now have on board, the patch, I wanted to find if I could still get by without it. Instead I took Bonnie at 1 am and 3 ginger pills. Don't know if the ginger helped but I know I didn't get sick. On the way back, I'll drop the ginger and then on a shorter day I'll try just the ginger. Regardless, it appears for the daylight only trips Bonnie may work fine. On longer trips the patch will come out. I do love to sail without being sick.

On the right you will see the portion of the 7 mile bridge that is elevated to allow ships to pass. We didn't have to go under it because we were heading for Boot Key Harbor which is on the Atlantic side. Anyone who has been to the Keys knows about the 7 mile bridge and how beautiful the view is on top of this span.


This is a picture of Zipadedoda, with Gary and Shirlene on board, as we are almost to Marathon.

Once in the channel we made our way up to another bridge which has to open for us. The guide book says it only opens on the hour, however, now it opens on demand so after calling, we went right in and found a place to anchor.

There are LOTS of boats anchored in this harbor. The city moorings are completely full with a waiting list and there are boats everywhere. We picked a place where we could fit between a bunch of other boats and dropped our anchor. Next we set our anchor alarm on the GPS and went to work putting together our dinghy so we could go ashore. In addition, I took a shower. In the end, I was able to monitor our GPS position for about an hour before we left the boat and we hadn't moved. We motored over to drop off trash and then off to dinner. Tomorrow we will start exploring Marathon by foot since we left our bikes back in Key West. Our plan changed too. We found out Eric Stone was playing here on Saturday night so now we must stay to hear him. For those following our adventures who aren't sailors, Eric Stone is an original artist who writes songs about boats and the ocean. I'm looking forward to hearing him because I've only seen his CD's in the sailing magazines until now.

January 6 - We really enjoyed Marathon. They are VERY hospitable to boaters. It seems things are fairly convenient but since the island is long and narrow, you really need bikes to get around and we left ours locked up in Key West. Next time we will bring them. Regardless, we learned a great deal about Marathon thanks to Gary and Shirlene. We didn't stay for Eric Stone so we will have to do that in the next few months just for fun. We did reprovision the boat, pick up a bunch of items we needed for the boat and just had a good time.

We decided to take the trip home in two days so tonight we are anchored in Newfound Harbor which is just off of Big Pine Key. We saw Little Palm Island on the way in and I think their dockage rates are about 13 dollars a foot. That would mean about $450 per night for us. I think they are catering to a different cliental and we aren't within their target. They are pictured below.

Tomorrow we will be going out to the reef to fish on the way back to Key West. Hopefully we can put a few fish in the cooler and then I can show you the new fold up cooler I have. But not until I have fish to show too. 

January 7 - Today was the sailing day of our trip. Yes we sailed as soon as we left the anchorage and continued until we sailed past the cruise ships in Key West when we started the engine and took down the sails. Winds were from the East Southeast and in the beginning were blowing 20 knots gusting to 25 knots. Later they fell to 15 knots gusting to 18. We had one reef in the main sail and had the genoa rolled in to about 2/3rds. With that configuration we were sailing about half apparent wind speed. (since we were going partially downwind we had about 15 knots apparent wind) We saw anywhere from 5.5 knots to 8.3 knots on our trip and averaged 6 knots on the entire trip from starting the engine to picking up the mooring ball which we had left in Key West. (We left at 9 am and were on the ball at 1:55 pm making 30 nautical miles.) Like I said, it was a good trip. In the morning the seas were 4-6 feet with one occasionally larger decreasing to 2-4 at about 1 pm, however, when we entered the channel at Key West the tide was going out with the winds coming in. This meant the seas built back up again and we saw one from our stern at about 7-8 feet. I told Deb that this would be what it was like if we headed to Mexico and she was ready to go!

The boat did great and so did I. No more seasickness and on this trip I should have been sick. We needed this trip to get more experience with the seas and larger winds. We feel very comfortable with our boat and the decisions we made along the way.

For Gemini people, it was interesting because you might have thought we would have had some slamming today with the larger seas. There were a few times I could hear it slam but not nearly as much as the days we have had to motor into the seas. Those were the bad days and today was just great after the first hour when we got more comfortable with the way the boat would move and handle the seas. I also think having the reef in was absolutely the right thing to do.

I made a couple of movies of the trip with my camera and on one of them it actually catches the experience. However it is 54 mb so that won't be going on the old website. Sorry. The pictures at the upper right show a poor rendition of the seas because the camera seems to flatten it all out. As a matter of fact, if occasionally you double the size of one of the waves you would actually visualize what was happening. The second picture you see is one of Stars and Stripes being towed to the weather. I doubt this is THE Stars and Stripes of Dennis Connor fame, which won the Americas Cup, but it was interesting to see it being towed while we were sailing past it. There are two people on board in harnesses, full rain suits, and getting very wet while we are sitting on our cruising Gemini 105 sailboat in shorts, letting the wind do the work and having the sailing day of our trip.

Living the life and the dream. Jim, Deb, and Jimmy Buffett


 Jan 13 - Guess what? I was wrong. This is "one of" THE Stars and Stripes. I talked to the captain after they had a record setting sail on time from Fort Lauderdale to Key West. He didn't think he won the race because of the PERF or something like that which is to equalize different boats so they can race against each other. In other words the person across the line first doesn't always win. Regardless, in the picture above they are towing them to Fort Lauderdale for the race back. Speaking of racing, next week is Race Week at Key West so there are racers from all over the world here. While getting water, I met a guy from New Zealand and another from England who race on a 46 footer. Next web update will have more about race week. The picture to the right is one I took coming in this morning and you can see some of the boats practicing.  

 For several days we sat anchor watch as the winds blew 30 knots and then we went to town to get supplies because we are having company. Remember Carol? We saw her early December when we were passing through Fort Myers. She came down to see us and used the shuttle, which is a cat, from there to Key West. She arrived at 1 pm and you can just see her on the right side of the picture.

We toured town and went to lunch at Peppe's and then out to the boat. Carol is an experienced boater so it didn't take long for her to settle in to her berth and learn our boats systems. I cooked my seafood casserole and we just had to watch Captain Ron.

 After talking about what she wanted to do in Key West, she mentioned she would like to go to the Marquesas Unfortunately, the winds were from the East and forecast to blow at 20 or so knots. That would be great getting there but getting back would be a major issue since we would have to motor back into the winds. I, being Captain and all, made the decision that we would go to Boca Grande Island which is about 2/3rds the way or 15 nautical miles from Key West. We agreed that the return would be long enough for pounding.

Ended up the sail there was great. 2-3 foot seas and 18 knot winds. We were going straight downwind so we only used the main and were moving along at 6 knots. We arrived at the island you see below and immediately started figuring out ways to go ashore and get all of the riches. Oops, it is a nature preserve so there was only a part of one beach that we could walk but there were lots of shells, coral and a few live animals too.

 This was interesting because the wind was from the east but the waves were coming in from the south. We had breakers around the boat but the boat was fairly stable until later in the night when the tide shifted and we were laying on our beam (sideways) which caused us all to wake up a few times.  

 To the left you can see some breakers which were off of the left side of the boat as you look at it above. It made me think we were in the Islands, but wait, we are! Sometimes I just can't believe we are living this life.

Below you can see the sunset Carol, Deb and I saw on the boat last night. It was beautiful even though we only caught part of the sun during the setting period.

Below you can see some of the spray as we motored back into 2-4 foot seas and 18 knot winds. It was a bit rough but proved out to be the right decision not to go all the way out. It took us over an hour longer to return because we could only make about 4 knots on the return trip and be anything near comfortable. Regardless, we had a great trip back to Key West.


 As we got back to Key West, we could see a few boats out preparing for Race next week. They will sail Monday through Friday. The picture to the right shows a bigger boat getting ready for practice. It looked like they were having a team meeting before they went out to exercise their sails and their bodies.

Below we saw a little yacht which was parked in one of the docks as we were approaching Mallory Square. Just a small yacht.

Then to the lower right you can see the Russian ship which we also saw in Panama City and the crossed with to Tarpon Springs. I have befriended Mike and Irene and took them to town several times because they don't have an engine for their dinghy. Tonight we are leaving to go to another friends boat, Tom, who helped me transport them on the day Carol arrived. Tom is hosting a happy hour where Mike will give a slide show talk about their travels. That starts at 5 pm and we are all looking forward to hearing and seeing their adventures.


Web Page by Jim Faughn