January 15-31, 2009 - Cruising Log for S/V Freedom - a Gemini 105 - Jim and Deb Faughn

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Jan 17 - Do you remember Pat and Paul? Paul sent me this picture a couple of days ago and I just got around to putting it on our website. Deb and I don't have as many pictures of us together just out enjoying the sunset. That makes this an inverted sunset picture.

We've had several inquiry's about Deb's back. She continues to improve and we are now a schedule of an adjustment every 3 days. Therefore, her treatment must be working and more importantly, she isn't limping anymore. My back is also doing much better and it appears that most of the disc stayed back in where it was supposed to go. I just have a dull pain instead of a shooting one which means I've gone from a pain level of 5-6 to a 2-3 which for me after 3 years is just wonderful. Now to get Deb in that shape.

What do you do when the wind blows 20 knots for a day, 25 knots for another day and then drops all the way back down to 18 knots? You stay on the boat!

We got back on the boat Thursday afternoon with plans to stay on the boat until Saturday. What Deb decided to do is sucker Mike and Liz to dinghy up to our boat for dinner on Friday.

I had removed a nice piece of pork from the freezer Friday morning and by the afternoon, Deb decided just how she wanted me to fix it - pressure cooker time. I marinated it in Teriyaki Sauce along with a bit of Bourbon. You don't need much Bourbon or it will overpower things. As you can tell to the left, we ended up with enough food for everyone and it was mum, mum good.

The sauce you see in front was very easy since I used most of the liquids from the pressure cooker and then thickened it with some corn starch. I could tell that everyone liked it since nobody reached for the A1 sauce.

We had fun talking about anchorages Deb and I have used that Mike and Liz want to try. Also Mike and Liz shared anchorages they have used in the New York area in case we get up there this year. After dinner, they got back in their dinghy and headed back to their boat with a few DVD's we loaned them. Fortunately, they are going with the wind this time so they shouldn't get too wet going back.

The picture to the lower right is one of our GPS. I took this because you can see the tracks that have been made when I turn the GPS on. I use the GPS everytime we leave the anchorage and also when the winds are going to blow over 20 knots and we are asleep. I set an alarm and if we move more than 100 feet then it sounds the beep, beep, beep alarm. You can tell we don't get too far off of the track so the anchors are holding just fine.

Deb and I will be heading into town this afternoon for the seafood festival and of course I need my free wi-fi too. It is cold in Key West at a freezing 62 degrees this morning. Stay warm!

 Jan 20 - Life at the north end of Fleming Key is interesting to say the least. Not only do we deal with fronts moving through, of which we will discuss more about that later, we also have low flying planes which are part of the Seals training missions. To the right you can see one of the planes which is practicing the low level runs. This plane was flying the legal distance above the sea but believe me, he/she was having a great time buzzing the areas.

On Saturday, Key West was hosting the annual Seafood Festival. We learned that this festival is all for a not-for-profit organization which benefits the children of the commercial fisherman. The money made goes to their foundation which among other things goes to scholarships for the captains of the fishing vessels children should they choose to go to college. Of course when I learned about it, I was instantly ready to buy a cookbook made up of local recipes.

The lines for the food were fairly long and amazingly enough, the longest line was for the homemade ice cream.


Of course there is one thing about festivals that everyone knows, there is shopping and guess who will be one of the first in a booth. Deb is ready to try on a new hair clip that is the latest thing and of course she is promising to throw away all the the rest of them on the boat. There is a slight problem with that three days later - none have made the trashcan......

I just love the picture below. What is the lady thinking to the left? Oh no, that mad shopper Deb has come to my booth. Either she will be trying to bargain with my prices or perhaps steal ideas for jewelry. No matter which, I'm in trouble - HELP!

While Deb was in one of the booths, I was off taking a picture of these unique carvings from driftwood. I thought it was a very interesting use of materiality. In addition, to use a piece of wood which has been aged by the sea to carve wildlife also of the sea presents an interesting interpretative flair.

One of the things at almost all festivals is music. This guy is a captain of a fishing boat and was pretty good as a guitar player. The most fun thing was his son has been performing with him for the last 3 years on stage. He is supposed to be playing bass but the interesting part is that the kid has the sunglasses part down along with the right hand picking at a string. What he is missing is what he should do with that left hand. Sometimes that is hard for me too!

As you can tell the place was packed and it was a beautiful day for the festival. Good things just seem to happen for good causes.

The sea turtle to the left and the lobster above it are just a couple examples of some metal sculptures that were for sale. I particularly liked the grouper chasing the bait fish you can see below. Somehow I just didn't have something that big to throw away on our boat so none of these items were purchased by us today.

Wind, waves, and cold - Deb and I have been on the boat since Monday morning and won't be getting back to town until Wednesday about noon. I have to take back some books to the library, pick up email, and upload this web info. Why? We are once again riding out some more fronts which have brought 25 + knot winds and I really like being on the boat in case something drags or breaks.

I thought I would try to explain what happens when a front moves through. If you don't like the details, tune out now. When the weather is clear, you are typically within a high pressure system. It just so happens that the winds around high pressure rotate clockwise. The prevailing winds are mainly from the northeast in Key West however, when a low pressure comes through the winds change. Why? The answer is that the winds around a low pressure area rotate counter clockwise. Pretend there is a high pressure system up around Pensacola Florida which will result in winds at Key West in their typical direction of northeast. When a low pressure system follows that high down towards the keys, the wind begin shifting to the east then the south and when the wind gets around to the west, the wind from the low adds to the wind from the high because they are going in the same direction. These winds stay strong until the low is past and they continue to shift from the west, northwest, north and finally back to the northeast where they reside until the next front pushes (or perhaps I should accurately say pulled) through again. Our weather is dependant upon those fronts and we remain flexible with regards to our schedules.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, Mike and Liz are leaving to head north and we will probably meet Larry and Joyce for lunch and take care of our errands. On Thursday, we will be joining Larry and Joyce on Skipper to head out and watch the Acura Sail Races which are in Key West this week. The winds are supposed to be from the north at about 15 knots and it should warm up to the low 60's too. With winds from the north, it means we will have protected waters just off of the race course. The reason is that the island of Key West lies in a east to westerly direction. We plan on spending about half of the day watching the sail races. Hopefully, we will end up with some pretty good pictures when we get back.

What were you doing Tuesday at 12 eastern and 11 central time? Hopefully, you were watching or listening to the inauguration ceremony. Regardless of your political persuasion, it still makes you proud to be part of a country where there is a peaceful change of power. You really have to be proud of the fact that Carter, Bush, Clinton, or the second Bush didn't stage an overthrow on stage. Instead, even with a very pointed speech, the transition of power occurred essentially on schedule. Here's hoping the new president is successful with the changes he has proposed. We all know the economy, along with every person alive, could use some good news instead of poor earnings reports generating even more job cuts. All I can say is good luck!

 Jan 24 - Life sometimes hands you interesting turns. On Thursday morning, I was up early reading a book when Larry called and said, "I decided last night to sell my boat." Now this was news because the day before we had just talked about where they were planning on going this spring in the Keys. Larry is in his 70's and constantly evaluates his ability to accomplish what he wants to do on the boat safely. We had already talked about the eventuality of this sale but I thought it would be another year or two away. I had previously told Larry that when he ultimately decided to sell his Gemini that I would help him check everything and I would also help get the word out about the boat. He has a very nice and well maintained boat and someone will get a good deal. Larry and I have the same philosophy, if something breaks it gets fixed immediately. Larry primarily takes care of everything with professional mechanics or other experts assistance. Today, he asked that I come by and help him with a couple of items. We spent the morning going over the entire boat which turned out to be fun and turned up a number of minor items that we could tweak and adjust. For those interested in a fairly new Gemini 105Mc, as a reader of this site, you will have the first information about the his boat later next week when I complete a webpage outlining all the details along with a number of photos of his boat.

Friday, we did make it out for the last day of the sailboat races. You will get the flavor of the races in the pictures that follow.


 We first went to the smaller boats racing course which you see in the pictures above and to the right. It was really interesting because we really didn't know exactly where the courses were. So off we went sailing towards the race boats. We just had to sail because it just didn't seem right to motor out to a sailboat race on a sailboat when there was wind. As the boats above made there turn Larry looked at me and said, "they are coming right at us!" Then he said, "lets get out of here." We tacked the boat and were out of the way when the high speed inflatable's where coming at us to run us off. Fortunately we were out of the way when one set of boats going upwind were going through the boats going downwind you see to the left. This is going to be a fun day!

Below are the pictures I call "Cheeks on the Teak." Actually, my friend Pam up at Kentucky Lake told me that one. When sailing upwind, the people without a job at the moment sit on the upwind rail which, in the old days, used to be a teak rail. Thus, putting their cheeks on the teak.

Then comes the turn and people start running for their assignments. One person puts up the spinnaker pole while others attach the spinnaker's lines to the appropriate places. Once around that little orange ball, the order is given to hoist the spinnaker.

All of these boats are racing against time and seconds can and do make the difference between placing in the race or just being out for a ride on a sailboat. These teams come from all over the world and are serious about their racing.

For non-racers such as Larry and me, it is fun to see the teamwork and the beauty of these boats as they expertly sail these boats.

We anchored and ate lunch off of Sunset Key, then headed back in as the racing completed. In the picture to the left you can see a number of the boats as they are returning to the dock. There were about 160 boats competing this year which was down almost 40 percent from two years ago. A number of boats didn't make it this year because of the downturn in the economy.

What Jim, are you crazy? Did you rent a helicopter or plane to get photo's of your boat?

No to both questions. As it turns out, George on Cat Pause #749 was on a cruise in late December and one of his ports of call was Key West. Little did I know that the cruise ship I was passing (see the Dec 15 log for a picture) had a person on board who also owned a Gemini and he was taking pictures of us while I was taking pictures of the Carnival Fascination. As it turned out, he posted a message on the Gemini List serve about taking a picture of hull #536 and I just happened to read that issue of the digest. I sent him pictures of his cruise ship and he sent me pictures of our Gemini under sail. Now just in case you don't want to go back in the logs to see that picture, I posted the one taken through our main window below the pictures of our boat below. You might remember that was the day we took friends out from Key West for a fun sail.

Sometimes you do get a Christmas present from a "stranger."

 Jan 26 - Yesterday we spent the day on the boat. Why? It was a beautiful day! It happened because I worked out on Saturday and I guess I over did the workout and pulled a muscle in my back. Ouch. I just spent the day feeling sorry for myself and then Deb and I watched Water world for the 20th time. I'm ready to get back to sailing again however, we are doing good in Key West and our hunker down plan is working. We are well under budget right now and are still having a good time.

What else do you do when you are laid up? You listen to the local news on the radio and you hear some things you just can't make up. For example, earlier this week the coast guard was radioed because there was a sailboat motoring, pulling a dinghy, and nobody was outside. Did he fall over? Did he or she get injured? The Coast Guard sent out a boat and they boarded the boat with a boarding party. When they went below they found a person was asleep. Evidently he had been drinking and decided to go below and take a nap. Like I said, sometimes you just can't make it up and make it any more funny. They took the boat to an anchorage and turned the guy over to the sheriff. There were a couple of items he was charged with. I think that is why we are trained to watch out for the "other guy."

 Jan 27 - On Sunday was the Wreckers Race. Next to the cruise ships you can see a number of sailboats with their sails up getting ready to start the race. Back in the day, people would keep an eye on the reef. If a wreck occurred, the first person there was able to claim salvage and could take what they wanted. Thus the salvage laws which are still in place today. There is a story about a minister whose pulpit looked out over the ocean while the congregation looked at a cross and the minister. As the story is told, in the middle of the service the minister asked his congregation to bow their heads in silent prayer. About five minutes later someone in the congregation looked up and the minister wasn't there. They looked back over their shoulder and saw the minister sailing his ship towards a wreck on the reef. Of course the church emptied and everyone was off in their own boats. It is also told that a few months later the new renovations to the church were complete and the congregation was looking out over the ocean.  

 We had another wonderful sunset while recuperating. I just love this anchorage because we have a beautiful sunset almost every night.


 I think this boat came in for the Wreckers Race and I thought it was very creative and, well, cute. The length of the boat is about 26-28 feet and the detail is very faithful for an old boat.

One of the things I really liked was the cannons on the starboard side which you can see below. I also understand he had a water cannon on-board too. I'll bet he had it out and flowing for the race.


If you've read our website "forever," you will know we loved our airbed which was actually an Aero Topper. However, they have quit making the topper which presented me with a problem. You see we've had a problem with it aging and I've fixed two different leaks but now I can't find a verrrrry slow leak which causes what was Deb's side but I reversed so it became my side. I've called Aero, run multiple internet searches, and finally came up with a solution. We were having lunch talking with Jonathan at Dante's and he told me K-Mart had a sale on their memory foam mattress. Cool. Larry was picking us up in his rental car so we could do some "heavy" grocery shopping so we dropped Deb and Joyce at the grocery and went to K-Mart. We found the display and it was a nice firm mattress so I was sold. Once we found someone to help me, he went in the back and found a queen size mattress in the back. I was able to save 40 bucks because it was on sale and then was the fun bringing back all the groceries and the mattress in the dinghy. I had to leave Deb behind and go back and get her later.

I removed the air mattress and installed the new memory foam mattress with the three different types of foam. Very firm on the bottom, medium firm in the middle, and memory foam on top. You can see it below before I cut off the plastic holding it compressed. It worked perfectly. All I have to do now is throw away the old aero bed and inflator.

Could this be the end of the ponytail? You will just have to wait and see.
 Jan 29 - Yes, it was the end of the ponytail. That is me whacking off the tail which is now in a baggies. I had all intentions of growing it long enough to give to loc's of love however that would have taken another year at the rate my hair was growing and about two million gallons of water to keep it washed. I simply gave up. Sorry. The bottom line was that at one time in my life, this last year, I had a ponytail. Now what does that say or mean. As Freud would have said, sometimes a ponytail is just a ponytail.  
 As you can see, the hair was all over the back steps and it did take awhile to get the hair into somewhat good condition for heading into town again. The real problem was that my shears broke in the process. Not the manual ones, the ones that I plug into the generator with all of the attachments. It seems that the hair had been clogged once to many times and one of the screws stripped out that you use to disassemble the shears to clean it. Life goes on and I made out the best I could. A new set of electric shears is in our future but that will be in next months budget.

I was supposed to go fishing today but Lobster Lee was a no-show. Therefore, I called to see if our new air cleaner was in that uses Ozone to kill mold and a bunch of other germs too. As a side note, Deb has sold some jewelry so she had some cash. She decided to use that cash (off budget) to buy this unit which all research says will kill mold and our boat will smell even better than it already does.

So what do we do? We head to town because our unit has arrived. Deb is on a spending spree and the economy must be improving as we speak. No it wasn't her expenditure that took the market up 200 points yesterday, it was simply an expenditure.

As we were getting into the dinghy dock I just had to stop and take the picture to the right. You have to notice there aren't any boats in the marina at Key West. Deb's expenditure didn't make up for the fact the economy still stinks.

Below are pictures of a hawk that had just swooped down and took a seagull out in mid-air. This is the spot where the hawk decided to have dinner. I didn't see the swoop but lots of people were amazed at the aerial show and the hawk wasn't bashful about dinner.

Meet Randy. In that box is our new air cleaner. Right now we have the generator running and the unit is putting out a low level of ozone in the port berth with the door closed. This room is rarely used and just happens to be our worst area for mold. We will be moving the unit around along with running it in the "away" mode so it will put our lots more ozone in the mold killing mode. We are both hoping all the research pays off and we didn't make a mistake buying this unit.

Trust me, you will find out about the result. Right now the boat smells good however.

Thursday we are off on a kayak trip. One of our friends from town will be picking us up around 1 p.m. and driving us up to the kayak rental place. It should be a fun time and I'm sure that in addition to paddling Deb around we will get some pictures too.

 If you are interested in a 2005 Gemini 105Mc which was launched in August of 2005, you should look at this one before you purchase a different Gemini. Larry has maintained "Skipper" professionally throughout it's life. You can see more information about the boat by clicking on Skipper.  

 Jan 30 - Kayak Thursday. To begin with, we had a great time as you will see. We arrived at the Lazy Dog Kayak Rental place and everyone knew Jo. Deb was a bit nervous since this was her first Kayak trip. I'm not exactly sure why she was so nervous since I didn't even expect her to paddle and she was in the kayak with me.

After a fairly large group of people arrived, all safely and no dead bodies, Deb was a bit more relaxed and we were off. I can't say Deb was a total slacker on the trip because there were times she did paddle. Most of the time she did, it was more like a canoe on just the left side because the water would drip on her from the paddles so none of that real kayak paddle technique for her!

We headed off in the canal leading out from the Hurricane Hole marina on Stock Island after signing all of the releases that said if we drown or sink they aren't responsible. In the picture to the lower right you can see Deb has her technique almost mastered. Paddle laying on the boat.


We first went out towards the ocean and into the mangrove areas for some good look at the wildlife.

the water in these areas are pretty shallow with about 6 inches or less at times so we had to look ahead to ensure we weren't going to tear up any of the sea grass.

Below left you will probably remember Jo from our previous sailing outings. Her dog's name is Snickers and he is pretty attached to her. He loves going out kayaking and also swimming too when he is close to the bank or another boat. He has a harness on so you can lift him into the boat when he decides to jump in.

After the mangroves we headed for the canals which were dug years ago for development purposes. I'm sure nobody could get a permit to dig a canal today given the ecological pressures to preserve the sea grass and protect the natural environment.

I just had to show one more picture of Jo and Snickers. This was the first time Snickers had ventured off and stood at the front of the kayak. Of course it wasn't too long after that he fell in and swam over to our boat. Fortunately, I had the camera back in the baggie when I lifted him in the boat and he rode on my lap the rest of the way back to the dock.

Overall, we had a great afternoon and were able to see more of the Keys natural areas.

By the way, I ordered that asymmetrical spinnaker yesterday afternoon. We received the pictures and it is a colorful sail! It will probably be here the middle of next week and we should be able to give it a "fly" as soon as the winds die from the front moving through on Tuesday. The front moving through tonight is only supposed to bring 20-25 knot winds and Tuesday they are forecast for 30 knots or more. Sounds like fun doesn't it. I remember a guy once emailing me that I would never see more than 30 knots at anchor. Of course since we've seen 60 knots, I think his prediction was off a bit. Regardless, we keep enjoying our time in Key West and right now we are on track to be under budget by about 600 bucks which will be wonderful. Next month we will be looking for some weather that will allow us to make some trips to some out islands.

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