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

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 Nov 16 -I actually have a few updates to get us here but I thought this would be more important to read. I know you haven't heard allot from Deb but I encouraged her to write this since it happened last night. I though it would help her to get over the experience. These are her words. We can all learn from our experiences.

How Does it Feel to Almost Drown?

It was in Titusville, FL and we just came back from our friend’s boat, after dinner and a few glasses of wine. Now some would say that wine was involved in the incidents that occurred afterwards, however, we really didn’t have that much to drink and I was quite coherent. During the evening the winds had picked up significantly, 20 to 25 knots from the north as measured on our friends boat, however, that had been a common event in Key West and we were accustomed to the waves and wind. As we approached the boat, I, as usual, tied off the dingy and started to get off the boat. What happened next is a lesson learned…. When conditions are not optimal, you need to be exceptionally careful. When conditions are not optimal, nothing is the same and everything moves twice as fast as normal. As I reached for the rail to step into the boat, as I have done hundreds of times, a large gust of wind and waves caught me off guard. I thought I was strong enough to hold on and bring the dingy to the boat. In reality, my center of gravity went over the side of the dingy and the small dingy’s bow was being blown out from the boat and began to tip. I’m not sure what happened next, but I was in extremely cold sea water with a jacket on and a heavy back pack on my back. Jim told me he had hold of my shirt as I began to go over but couldn’t pull me back. It was so dark; I could barely see our boat. I can swim, but the wind and waves were strong and I didn’t really know which way to swim towards the boat. At that point, it occurred to me that I may not make it….. then a strong hand grabbed my arm and we were headed for the boat. That arm was my husband – who had immediately jumped into the ocean and rescued me. I was in shock. He stripped me, threw a towel around me and started a heater. I was hyperventilating, crying and really was in a state of incapacitation. He quickly heated water and rinsed me with warm water. This is the next day and I am still quite shaken by the experience. It is an interesting fact that my husband saved my life. It is the second time …. About 10 years ago, we were having a picnic and I had a piece of tomato wedged into my throat. I could not breathe, turned blue was choking and he did the Heimlich procedure on me and I lived. I think it must be a miracle that I met this man – or there is something that is meant for me on a greater scale that I don’t know……

Nov 17 - Deb sure puts a pretty serious side to this sailing life! I know that the moon was only at an eight so it was dark and the wind was creating some pretty good waves. Unfortunately, the bow of the dinghy went the opposite way of the stern of Freedom when she just happened to be leaning the wrong way. The other problem was, that she had on a black jacket and I never knew how hard it was to see someone on a dark night, in waves, and dressed in dark clothing. I guess that is why navy seals do missions at night in black. My only choice was to go in and get her so that is what I did right. What I did wrong was I started laughing pretty quickly but then figured out that was the wrong thing to do when she was crying. We were out in seconds (seemed like a lifetime to her) because of the four step ladder on the starboard side of the boat. Of course you first have to find and get her, tow her to that side of the boat through the waves coming between the hulls, put her hand on a rear stay, untie the ladder, get it down and then help her onto the ladder and out of the water. Still, it was probably less than 15 seconds from start to finish.

As you can see from the picture to the right, everything got wet. However, the only thing that didn't work was the "throw away" phone I picked up for her. It was a trac phone and I'll just get her another one. The pawn shop camera still works which was in her bag. I know you are disappointed we didn't get pictures of the entire event but you know sometimes you just can't get them all.


 Well, we got ahead of ourselves. The last night we were at St. Augustine, we went out for dinner hoping not to have the same experience I wrote about in the first half of the month's log. We decided to go to Pizza Alley and it was the complete opposite experience. No, we didn't find anything in our food but we did have great service and food while we were there. I think we found a replacement for that other restaurant. We were so happy with the service that we asked Andy to sit down and we took his picture with Deb (I think she liked that), Christy, and Bill. They really had great food and the interior is also very well decorated with custom faux painted walls.

We pulled our anchors the next morning, picked up fuel, water and pumped out and were off for Titusville. After we dinghy'd in we walked up to the West Marine to see if they had some of the spares we were looking for. We found this 18 wheeler had tried to get over one of the steep inclines and got his trailer stuck. This brought out all the fire and police to save the day.


 We departed the next day, the 16th, and Deb didn't have a great nights sleep after her swim. Something about dreams of drowning. We had a short day and went down to Coco Beach and anchored. They have a great dinghy dock and park. You can see some of the pictures of the park here. This is our first visit to this town as cruisers and it is a great place to stop. Shops all along the old part of town which is the part we visited. Evidently, there is also bus service that will take you across the bridge and over to the beach side too. This has gone into our book as a repeat town and we will probably spend several days here next time so we can see it all.

I guess every place tries to get your attention to come inside but I found this little Flamingo perfect for dancing with. You know, when you really don't have to impress anyone, you do have a good time when you get out.


 We found another place to end the day and this lady walked up and was running for office. She was Dawn Hooley and she is running for State Representative. On top of all of that, she listened to what we had to say about being cruisers in Florida. We knew that the cruisers had won a lawsuit in Marco Island but I also had just found out that the town of Marco Island is going to appeal the Judges decision. For those who don't know, Marco Island had one of the most strict anchoring restrictions of any town in Florida. Anyway, we talked to her about cruising and anchoring and especially spending money in the towns that are receptive to cruisers. She seemed interested and understood the financial impact. Hopefully she will get elected and have that in mind should other anchoring restrictive laws ever come to the House in Florida.

We headed back to our boats to get a good nights sleep because tomorrow we are off to Vero Beach to spend a week. We haven't been there either and we will be on a mooring ball for the week of Thanksgiving. Deb is looking forward to stopping for a week and I'm looking forward to finding some more spares we need to go to the Bahamas. Right now it looks like we may delay until the end of December before we cross. We are supposed to have all of the paperwork for Jimmy Buffett's passport on Tuesday in our mail drop and that takes some time to get back. Hopefully it will be quick.

 Nov 21 - We arrived in Vero Beach on Saturday afternoon and after calling on the radio, we were assigned our mooring. Fortunately, we were able to raft up with Bill and Christy. They picked up the mooring first and then we came alongside them to tie onto their boat. At Vero, up to 3 boats will be on a single mooring. This way they can serve about 150 boats instead of 50.  

After we were secure, we then put the engine on the dinghy and went to the office to check in. The picture to the left is one of the guys that helped us out. Why is it they always have a smile one their face when they get their picture taken with Deb?

They have a good setup here in Vero. The $11 a day covers the mooring, dinghy dock and trash disposal. If you want showers, you can either pay for them one at a time, $1 per person, or you can get a key and pay $2 a day. We elected to get the key because that gave us easier access to the bathrooms too.

The next day was a work day on the boat as it ends up, that is the theme so far this week! Work on the boat or go and get things for the boat. However, after working on the boat all day which included cleaning raw water strainers, replacing fuel filters and starting the process of going through storage areas and throwing things away and reorganizing. Deb also got into the project by going through all the food cabinets and creating the provisioning list for us to purchase for the Bahamas.

We have pretty much decided to impose on our great friends Steve and Linda and ship them our bicycles and possibly another box of stuff we won't need in the Bahamas. Then when we come back into the country, they can ship it all back to us. This way we will have more space for important things like toilet paper which is very expensive in the Bahamas.

We read on the bulletin board there was a cruiser happy hour at the picnic bench that evening so off we went. Ended up, we weren't alone . We got to meet a number of the other cruisers and 95% of them are going to the Bahamas. You can tell by the stack of coolers, nobody went thirsty.

Monday was a shopping day. We all had lists of things we needed for either repairing things on our boats, spares, or provisioning. There isn't anything close to the marina  so you have to ride the bus. In Vero, the bus system is FREE. Too cool. So we were the first ones on the bus and off we went. At the next stop, the bus was completely full and almost everyone was a cruiser. We were off to the Radio Shack, West Marine, and of all things - Wal Mart.

We had a stack of stuff as a result of our shopping. Christy and I left them standing at the tree so we could go get our mail. Both of us had packages which had arrived. Yes, the birth certificate for Jimmy Buffett was in the package. Thank you Aunt Sandy, who went to the bird breeders house and got it from her after months of promises and no birth certificate. Now Deb can move forward with obtaining all of our bird permits and Jimmy Buffett's passport.

That evening we decided to head out to happy hour and found a restaurant with some great food and good wine prices - 2 for 1. They also are known as having the best sunset in Vero Beach. It was another beautiful sunset. In addition, the bridge has uplighting and it looks very nice too in the evening.

Yesterday, Tuesday, was another work day. After fabricating a bracket from some aluminum, cutting the holes for the gauge and drilling the holes for mounting, I was able to get the vacuum gauge installed in the fuel system. This is going to be really cool because I should be able to tell when to change my fuel filter now!. Since I just changed the filters, it barely moves off of the stop when the engine is running. However, as the filter gets dirty, it will cause the vacuum to increase and then the gauge will read higher. I guess I should wait until it clogs to set the change pressure but I will probably check the filter along the way just to be sure at my regular change intervals. In the end, this should make the boat safer because I shouldn't have the engine quit because of dirty filters and it will also make it cheaper because I won't have to change filters before they need it.

The other thing I did was to replace the sink drains in the galley sink. This was a bigger job than I thought and I ended up having to cut the old drains off with a hacksaw to get them out. Good thing I had the new ones and felt they were right! I had to reuse the right angle piece you see to the lower right.

In the end, about 2 hours later and a few descriptive words, I had the new ones back in and they looked great. When Deb came back from another shopping trip, she was very happy. You can see on the picture above left, that the old drain had the chrome come off from the plastic. I think that is because it had been cleaned with an abrasive or just wore off over the years. Regardless, we won't be using any abrasive cleaners on the drain part of the sink. I don't want to do that project again.

I also got the outdrive oil changed and disposed of - another $1 at the marina. I put the finishing touches on my cable to transfer routes from the computer to the GPS and tested it. This is a great project and if you have Chart Navigator Pro and a Garmin, you can follow my directions to complete the project. It works wonderfully allowing you to plan on the computer and then simply transfer the route to the GPS. After a few more projects and dinner, we got together with Bill and Christy to watch the movie Hogs which was a funny movie.

Today, Wednesday, we are off shopping again. I need to get some parts from the hardware store, Napa Filters for the engine and outdrive oil for spare. I now have arranged to purchase a spare autohelm head and also my alternator that failed a month ago is getting rebuilt. Cheap because they only had to replace bearings and replace the unit that had the P terminal on it for the tach. All we have left to buy in spares will then be more impellers which I'll get in Marathon. Tomorrow, we will be participating in the cruisers Thanksgiving. Of course we will have pictures too.

I hope everyone has a great holiday season!


 Nov 23 - We woke on Thanksgiving day and found dolphins swimming and jumping around our boat. I didn't have the camera when two of the dolphins jumped, cleared the water and came back down with some fish in their mouths.

It was pretty cool.

Below, you can see the dingy's that gathered to go to the Thanksgiving feast that was to occur today. We had a great gathering of cruisers headed for the Bahamas and everyone brought a plate for this feast.

We had a great time and also, we had a great meal. It is wonderful when you have all of the different tastes that you might not have ever had in your lifetime. Of course, we could have also felt like homeless people who were fed by the people who felt like they were sorry for those cruisers out there who were homeless. (Little did they know that our homes were were where our boats are.}


People were everywhere. We had people at our table that were on their first and possibly last cruise. I hope they get the fever and stick around to actually see all of the things we have seen over the last year and a half. I know we well see much more over the next year.

The other couple at our table were from Canada who have made this trip two years ago and are on their way to the Bahamas. They were and are ready to enjoy the winter too.

Of course, one of the things with a Pot Luck, is that you get to taste so many things. We were able to put a tablespoon of this and another tablespoon of that  on our plates and taste so many things on this Thanksgiving Day. We had a great time, however it wasn't the same as when we were at our Aunt Sandy's for Thanksgiving.

With about 150 people ready to eat, there had to be some order to the delivery. Even with the order, there was plenty of food for everyone and it was delicious.

We had lots of tastes and great conversation with the people at our table.

All I can say is Thank You to the people who arranged the FEAST and Thank You to the people of Vero Beach who helped with our Thanksgiving.

You are right now thinking, Who are these great people on the left of Jim and Deb?

Meat Seth and Jamie! They have just bought a Gemini 105MC and are planning on going around the WORLD.  We have had some great conversations with them over the last few days. Fortunately, we were alerted that they were also in Vero Beach by Bill Burg who let us know they were here. By the way, if you want to see their website, you can go to Slapdash and see their info.

After spending several days with them, I've found that they are a wonderful couple who are having a great time enjoying life. We wish them the best in their adventures!


We picked up these pictures as we were motoring into the Thanksgiving Festival. Pretty cool I thought.

I just love hanging out in wonderful vegetation and wildlife.

Nov 26 - Yesterday, we traveled into a headwind and against the current all day and arrived in Stuart, FL at about 4 pm. It really was a good trip but was a bit rough. Regardless, we have picked up a mooring ball, taken showers, cleaned up the boat and guess what? The gauge for the fuel vacuum system is working. We were reading 1.5 today which is good since the fuel filters are all clean. Now all I have to do is to keep watching and get the feel for when it is going bad. I'll report on what the reading is once I have a filter failure or feel like I've just got to replace it before it fails.

We will have more tomorrow.

 By the way, the reason I don't have more on our logs is that I've been working on a webpage off of ours from Garry and Shirlene who are our friends and are currently in Guatemala. You might want to check it out because they are going where we are planning to go next year. Besides that, they are wild and crazy guys (and gals)!


 Nov 26 - Yesterday we spent the day with our old friends and past owners of our boat. Pat and Paul Cook.  They purchased hull 536 in Florida and never went on a test sail with it. He told me "you said they sail well." Well that could have been the end of a great friendship but it wasn't. That same evening I told him I would buy it from them when they were done. They cruised for 3 years and I purchased the boat 7 years ago. Now that we've cruised for over 400 days, we must say we still love the boat and getting together with old friends and new Gemini friends too. They arrived at 9 am and I dinghy'd in and picked them up. We took a tour through the "anchorage" which are all mooring balls looking at boats before arriving on the far west side where we were moored. It wasn't 20 minutes after we got back when a 60 footer was trying to get a mooring and it was a man and lady. Of course the guy was at the wheel and she was trying to pick up the mooring with a boat hook. She didn't have another line in her hand, which is required here because the lines mooring lines are so short and they only give you a place to run a line through. Anyway, she dropped her boat hook into the water, I then took off in my dinghy, picked up her boat hook. got a line from her, ran it through the pendent and then handed both ends of the line back to her when they were in position.

Then we could get on with our great visit with Pat and Paul. Paul said we shouldn't have helped because it would have provided an hour of entertainment. I knew he was kidding but Deb thought he might have been serious. We grilled chicken, Deb made rice, and I made a great salad with my home, or should I say, boat made dressing. After lunch, Paul took me in his truck to fill one of my propane tanks which meant I didn't have to ride 3 miles each way with a propane cylinder on my bike. We had a great day with them and as always, exchanged stories of when they were cruising and of course we have a few stories of our own now. Today, we are supposed to meet up with Seth and Jamie from Slapdash along with another Gemini owner, Dan at Duffy's for happy hour. Of course Bill and Christy will be there too so it should be a great time. Pictures later.


Nov 27 - I want to go back a few days so you can see where we were in Vero Beach. This is a picture taken as we were crossing the bridge over the intercoastal waterway on a bus going back to the marina. We were still buying too much stuff which included more spares and of course a Hawaiian sling used to shoot fish underwater when we get to the Bahamas. Everything seems it costs at least a hundred dollars and we are in the process of spending everything we have and we still haven't bought food. Hopefully, we are truly fitted for spares for the next year.

The picture is the mooring field and it isn't clear but they actually have up to three boats tie up to a single mooring. Luckily, it was just the Veranda's and us on our mooring.

Below you can see Bill and Christy the day after Thanksgiving. Christy cooked turkey, dressing, corn and potatoes for a great meal. We even were given leftovers for the next day. One of the other things you can see is that their boat has LOTS of Teak and it is a very warm and happy boat.


 Of course, looking down on us were Tucker (left) and Molly (right) at the top of the steps wanting to be part of this post Thanksgiving feast. Sorry guys, not to be. They don't get table scraps and of course since Tucker was having some interesting thing going on, that wouldn't have happened regardless of how much they begged.

Now to the lower left you can see our cell phone holder. This happened today when Deb forgot to clip a door on Jimmy Buffett's cage and he decided he could have more fun outside destroying things than inside eating his normal 16 course meal. In a matter of a few minutes he totally destroyed the "leather" on the lower part of the phone. Thank goodness, the phone was spared and I'm sure he has that on his list for another day.

Deb decided to take a picture of my hair from the back because of the upcoming vote that will occur in another month. Bill and I have a bet for a dollar that we won't cut our hair until we get back from the Bahamas. We've both wavered but I'm pretty much sticking with growing. Of course you could change that. The waves could go away and back to that clean cut look. OR, perhaps a pony tail and that Master and Commander look. You will decide in another month.

Bill had a heat exchanger go out on the way to Stuart or at least he found the problem when he arrived here. Good thing rather than the Bahamas. Oops, another 550+ out of the cruising kitty. Me on the other hand, the last of my spares were found here and I picked up another 4 impeller kits. Another 150 gone from our kitty. We will be over budget again this month but hopefully we truly have enough stuff for another year baring major breakdown. I guess we will see but I"m trying to be positive since yesterday we saw a 2% drop in the market. Thank goodness I've already gone conservative.

While we were waiting for our overpriced Westerbeke parts to show up, we saw this cloud off of the mooring field. It held this shape for about an hour and it looked like it would rain all day.

At Duffy's we had Andy take our picture because it seems I'm never in a picture anymore. We had a great happy hour and unfortunately, the Slapdashes and Dan weren't there. Oh well, I guess we will have a great time anyway and I hope they are doing well. I'm pretty sure we will run into the "slapdashes" on the way or in the Bahamas.

We arrived back at the dingy dock and picked up our shower bags. Next we both took showers and dinghy'd back to the boat. We love those showers on land where you can use all the water you want. Deb keeps kidding me about my longer hair and says I'm washing much more than before. I think I'm in that transition phase between clean cut and long haired hippy look so I guess in the end I either have to have the hair greasy or be a clean cut hippy. I guess the clean long haired pony tail look is what may be in my future. After all, Deb really thinks Johnny Depp looks pretty good. Who knows but I know when to go with the flow.

 Nov 29 - Like I've said, we are trying to get ready to go to the Bahamas and guess what. That includes Jimmy Buffett. In addition to his own webpage, he also has to have his feathers clipped and his nails trimmed. You would think he was up for a spa day but believe it or not, he wasn't too happy to have this process done.

You see, you have to bring your own towel and the lady, great lady, then "towels him." Or she thought she could. Problem was that Jimmy Buffett didn't want to cooperate. So he jumped out of her hands from his cage on the floor. Now you can imagine that the two dogs sitting there had to think LUNCH. But they were better trained than our Jimmy Buffett. He waddled over to me and then he thought he was safe. Of course, after petting him, I put him on his back into the towel. Sorry Jimmy, you just can't trust me all of the time. Then she began the procedure of cutting his wings.


 You can see that she is trimming the main feathers so they are even with his secondary feathers. These are cut about every 3 months so he doesn't fly away. It isn't that he would want to fly away but if he gets scared, with a brain the size of his, he may make a mistake, fly off and not know what to do. Reality is he would probably die within a week or two. Bad day for Jimmy so we keep those wings cut. Next she trimmed his nails which were over due. He is almost ready. all he lacks is a vet to see him and proclaim him healthy to enter the Bahamas.

Next, I brought the bird back to the boat and then went back to go grocery shopping with Deb. We went to the Publix and picked up too much stuff as usual and then brought it back to the dinghy. Of course I've been pretty proud of myself for FINALLY fixing the spring on the recoil starter. Today, the spring broke. Great!!!! Now the real story begins.

 Deb called Bill who came in to pick her up along with the groceries. Bill was back on his boat replacing a heat exchanger. I guess this breaking things is running around. Anyway, I now need a spring. Of course I have a Nissan and there aren't any dealers in Stuart. You can see the end on the lower right of the picture and it should have a piece bent back to hold on. However, it broke and since it is hardened steel, when I tried to bend a new bend, it broke and broke and broke and broke. Ok, I get the idea, I have to have a new spring. Off I ride to the first marine shop. No go, and they refer me to the second shop. They were no go and they refer me to the third shop - Marine Parts Outlet. Sounded like a discount outlet store to me so off I went. I've only ridden two miles so far and about 3 to go. I arrive and when I say Nissan, the go sorry. However, I had time and they wanted to make money. The lady at the counter was great, got out all of their springs and none of them would work. Next came the fun part. We were off to the outboard engine graveyard. It was here we walked past engine after engine after engine looking for a starter assembly. We found Nissan's and Tohatsu's (they make Nissan's) but the starter assembly was wrong. Finally we found the rusted thing and it was the right one. First thing went right. Next, I said I need a 10 mm socket. She said, you aren't supposed to be out here anyway. I said, pretend you are interviewing me as a mechanic. Guess what, I passed because it was a 10 mm socket that was needed. I pulled the assembly off  and we went in to pay the $75 for the used assembly. They probably paid $25 for the entire motor but who cares. If you need a part and they have it, you pay. Besides they were saving it for me, weren't they?  

 Back I ride, another 5 1/2 miles to the dingy. The thing fit just the way it was supposed to and now I'm back in business. Out to the boat and then I find I left the camera at the bird shop. Well, another 2 miles or so to ride round trip for the second time today.

Overall, I must have ridden around 15 miles today on those little 20 inch wheels. I guess that is the story of Stuart. RIDE, RIDE, RIDE. If you don't remember the last time we were here, I rode all over the place. Check out the story of the crockpot in the March 31st entry.

Bottom line is that I, hopefully, fixed the engine and spent some more money getting ready. In salt water, things break! It is just that simple and that is life. By the way, when are we slowing down and enjoying the sunsets? SOON!!!!!

 Nov 30 - Before we left Stuart, we went into the dock and picked up water and pumped out our holding tank. This is a great place to also rinse out our holding tank and we did that 3 times. Hopefully we have a clean tank now. Next we went against the current for most of the day and motored down the waterway against the current and winds. Of course we are now in the section of Florida where everyone is trying to impress their neighbors. I found this house and I really think they have the best view. Concrete on the backside. I'll bet this increases their property value. Of course they are sinking them and it is some kind of wave protection but the easy answer is to get everyone to quit making so many waves. Oops, I'm sounding like a sail boater.



We had this boat pass us during the day and I kind of circumvented the quick bridge passage for them by calling the bridge before they did! I just said, do you want us to hang back and let them pass or should we continue on at speed? The bridge tender said, bring it on up. so the tour boat had to wait. Oops, so sorry.

We actually saw him again on the return trip and he didn't wave. So sorry.

As we approached Jupiter Beach, the water turned a beautiful color and was so clear. I thought we were about to enter the Bahamas. I just can't wait to get to where we can see our anchor, chain and rode all day and night. The waters in the Bahamas are just so clear that you can see the bottom for many 10's of feet.

It was very interesting, once we passed Jupiter Inlet, the clarity simply went away. We were back in dirty water again.

The picture at the bottom left is that of one of the many houses where people just have to have more rooms than any human possibly needs. I'll bet they didn't have a sub-prime mortgage or maybe they did? We've seen lots of houses for sale along the waterway and it doesn't sound like the housing crisis is over yet. Either these people have great jobs or great brokers. If it is a great broker, John you better be thinking!

Next we arrived, after too many bridges, at Lake Worth. This is were we planned to anchor for the next few days and we have again found ourselves in the land of the rich and infamous. Being close to Ft. Lauderdale, I guess everyone needs a big house and a mega yacht. Perhaps the mega yacht is in our future....... I don't think so!

We have now planned tomorrow and I think we are hanging on the boat to just simply clean and watch the water flow. Sounds like a great day to us!

 The rest of Friday was another maintenance day. I changed oil on the dinghy's lower unit, cleaned the corrosion off the dinghy engine and repainted it. Installed a new zinc on the lower unit too. Next we were on to taking apart the winches, which had never been serviced. I cleaned and lubricated them per the instructions I received at the Annapolis boat show from Lewmar. Then on to changing the drain basket in the head which now looks like new again. Next it was cleaning the speed sensor. Finally, I cleaned and lubricated the water valve in the head so it would rotate easier. Tomorrow, we plan on taking the dinghy into North Palm Beach and seeing what is there. Hopefully great pictures for a new month.  
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