March 1-14, 2009 - Cruising Log for S/V Freedom - a Gemini 105 - Jim and Deb Faughn

Previous Log - The most recent past log

All Logs - This takes you to the list of all of our logs

 March 1 - So what do you do when they announce a Boat Show and Nautical Flea Market? You go and try to find some nautical flea's. Of course you really want to sort out the flea's from the good stuff!

We searched and searched and finally found some good stuff. I found a great dinghy ladder for 7 bucks that will work on my Port-a-Boat and then I found 10 blue wire butt connectors for a buck. Pretty good deals. Deb on the other hand went wild. She found a new bag and spent a whopping 30 bucks and then a new hair clip for 10 bucks which was discounted from the 15 they normally sell for. Why? It ends up she already has one and was going to buy a second one on Duval Street. However, when she went to pay for it, she didn't have that much cash. She told the guy on Duval she would be back. He said, "don't bother." That was on Monday, Oops. Fast forward to Friday and the day when Deb met the owner and importer of the hair clips. You probably have figured out what happened and too bad for the guy on Duval because I'm sure he's looking for another job right now.


 We scheduled a happy hour with Bill and Margie on Thursday evening and they brought along another couple who own a Gemini and are also anchored by Christmas Tree island. Left to right - Deb, Bill, Margie, Pat, Tom, and you know Fred.

We had a good evening but I have to say, Alonzo's isn't the greatest happy hour. Good food but not much of it and it was my idea to try it. Sorry.

 On Saturday morning, we were off to shop at garage sale's. The thing is we just didn't expect to spend so much money or carry so much "good stuff."

The pictures to the right and below are of the gardens at the first place we stopped. It was on Duval and was a high end sale with good prices. All Deb picked up here were 4 glasses for a total of 2 bucks. Good start.


 Deb and Fred followed behind as I followed the map from the paper and made our way from sale to sale.

By the end of it all, we were carrying more items than we ever planned on buying. Fred found some heavy duty pool chairs to swap out with his lighter duty chairs. It was pretty fun watching him peddle around with these on the back of his bike. Me on the other hand, I picked up a great level wind reel with a 6 foot rod for 50 bucks. It was really a good deal because the reel was practically new and I priced it out for 159 just for the reel. The rod adds another 50 to the price so we did ok on that purchase. Then Deb found new sheets and a comforter for our bed for 30 bucks. We had just talked about buying new sheets because the ones we have are the one's Pat and Paul gave us with the boat. That means they are 12 years old. The set was practically new too. Then there was the box Deb found and a sweater to replace one she had fall apart.

Overall, we had too much fun and spent too much money. That afternoon I took Bill and Margie sailing so I could teach him about reefing sails, how to fly an asymmetrical, and a few other tricks for sailing. We had a great afternoon and after we dropped them off on their boat, we sat on the back of the boat and watched sunset.


 About a half hour before sunset a boat came by at a fairly high speed and then the engines went from a fairly high pitch to nothing and all we heard was whomp They were aground and aground hard. All the guys jumped out and started pushing and pulling. After about 10 minutes they had it free. Why they didn't simply buy a GPS and stay out of shallow water, I'm just not sure. More than likely, they have one but weren't paying attention. I think they were more interested in the bikini's than the navigation.


We were supposed to go out with friends on our boat today. The problem is the weather decided it was coming in earlier than it was forecast a couple of days ago. After calling our friends and giving them the bad news, I ran in to town on the dinghy and took the bike out to the grocery store to stock up for the next few days. In addition, we needed some gas for the generator along with water. I got back just in time to unload, get the boat ready for rain and then it began a light rain. Winds are supposed to go back up to 25 knots this evening so we are probably on boat watch for the next few days.

That rain stopped for a bit and then I saw this Portuguese Man of War. I think it is full grown and just ready to give someone a good sting. Today wasn't the day to swim behind the boat.

Below you can see the dinghy has already decided that the engine just won't stay up and the waves are kicking it around just a bit. However, that is just the start of it.


You can see in the pictures to the left, the front was on the way in. At 2 p.m. the winds did not respond according to forecast. Instead of 25 knots, they were 30 knots and gusting to 35. It blew all afternoon and throughout the night. The picture below shows the waves that are hitting our boat. They are actually fairly small and I guess them from trough to peak at 2-3 feet which means 1 to 1 1/2 foot seas. The big deal is that they built that big  in a fairly short stretch. They were calmed down by the shallow water in front of us and the rebuilt in the 150 yards to our boat. I'll bet down at Key West, about  a mile and a half away, they were 3 feet. Not the day to dinghy in.

The wind blew all night and finally settled into a 15-20 knot range in the afternoon.

We've been on the boat since Sunday at noon and will be until tomorrow, Tuesday afternoon. Winds are supposed to get down in the 10-15 knot range and it is supposed to warm up a bit tomorrow afternoon. So we will be heading in to do our Internet work, email, and some laundry.

It should be warming up this week and we have some final boat projects to do before we head north. I'm just happy we made the decision a year ago to upgrade our anchor to a Rocna. We haven't moved and people have been dragging around the harbor and one guy actually died yesterday in the storm. The dangers are real although the life is one not to miss.

 Mar 8 - The storms have been moderating and we've been having just way too much fun with friends and they keep arriving in Key West.

Before I get into that, you might have noticed the "buy us lunch" link on the first page of our site. I've already had one person buy us lunch and we are waiting to be able to enjoy it with each other and then post the pictures and the thank-you. We are really looking forward to this because we are going to a restaurant we wouldn't have gone to otherwise. We should be enjoying that lunch later this next week!

Wednesday evening, everyone gathered at Kelly's for happy hour. They have a great happy hour with a plate of wings for $4. Unfortunately, the picture came out blurred. Bill had given his camera to another customer and I'm thinking they had too much happy in the hour. Not to be derailed, on Thursday, as you can see to the right, Deb, Pat, Tom, Bill, and Margie all gathered on Bill and Margie's boat for dinner. In traditional cruiser fashion, everyone brought something. We had Pat's great salad, Margie's gumbo, and I cooked up some crab cakes to go with the feast. Bill thought they were the best he's had and told me I just had to put the recipe on my recipe page. So, it is - crab cakes with my remoulade sauce. While having dinner, we were entertained by the dolphins jumping completely out of the water. We had a great dinner and then a fairly wet ride back to our boat after dark into the waves.


We had received a call from Bill and Bette on Thursday morning that they were going to get into Key West on Thursday evening. You will remember them as the people we traveled down the Tenn-Tom waterway with along with the dinners on each other's boats. They arrived a bit earlier because of the strong winds going the right direction and we saw them at the dock and helped them get into a slip on Thursday afternoon. After some catch-up, Deb and I had to leave for the dinner you saw above.

On Friday, we met them for lunch and spent the afternoon in good conversation. We ended up having a late lunch at the top of Turtle Kraals overlooking Key West Bite. You can see their boat in the picture to the lower left. The Tortuga Verde has the green hull.

Below you can see the dinghy dock and a "few" of the many dinghy's that utilize this dock for their parking lot.

You remember Larry and Joyce from Skipper. Well, Larry just hasn't made it back to Goodland yet to show people his boat which is for sale. You will remember he has a Gemini 105 and it is is great condition. I think he is having too much fun on this last cruise with it and there are people waiting to see it when he gets home. Don't worry, he started back that direction today.

Larry and Joyce had invited us to join them at Sloppy Joe's for one of Larry's favorite entertainer's performance's. We had introduced Larry and Joyce to the other Gemini owners in Key West who joined us also.

In the picture to the right is Beth, a wonderful relative, Joyce, and Larry. Of course by now you remember the people who are pictured below.

And of course there is Fred too. Larry and Fred had met in the Bahamas the same time that I met Fred.

We had a great time listening to Pat Daily. He is an entertainer and a very good one. There is a difference between a great musician and a great entertainer and Pat is the entertainer. Everyone had a great time laughing and listening to his original songs.

You can probably see below that Larry had heard the show before along with a number of other people in the audience. The crowd interaction was pretty funny along with Pat. Everyone had a great time and it was a night I think we will all remember.

On the way back home, Fred showed me a great place to take a picture of the tall masted schooners. I have to return and get another picture with my camera stand that I picked up at a garage sale a couple of weeks ago.

Speaking of garage sales. I lead the Dahon Biker Gang around Key West on garage sales yesterday morning. We pick up a paper and off goes the biker gang traveling from garage sale to garage sale culminating in a visit to the Salvation Army Store. Overall, last weekend was a much better weekend for the sales. This weekend was a good bike ride.

We had a great time and ended the morning with and early lunch. You can see the start of the action lower left. The picture on the lower right is one of a house being rebuilt from the foundation up. In Key West you don't just tear down and start over. Instead you have to save as much as possible even if it is just part of the framing. Here, the framing was picked up and they were putting in a new foundation. That is why it is so expensive to own a house in Key West. You have to fix the old foundations then replace all the wood that has been eaten by termites.

The Dahon Biker Gang just followed me everywhere. The picture to the lower right shows the lineup of six different Dahon folding bikes. These are the bikes most cruisers own because they fold up and don't take up as much space as a regular bike. Deb and I just wouldn't be without our bikes in most towns.

After garage sale's, I took Deb back to the boat and then returned to town for internet work. Sorry, not this web update. Instead, I started on my taxes on Turbo-Tax. I think I have everything completed but I do have one question I need to ask about one of my forms so I won't get that filed until next week. Good thing I didn't wait until April 15th to start. You might be wondering why I waited so late? That all has to do with our mail and since it doesn't always get to us a quick as your's does, some things just take time to get done. That is probably the only real disadvantage to mail forwarding.

Then on the way back, I stopped by Fred's boat and we continued the anchorage and dinghy dock exchange we began a couple of nights ago. I won't go into all the details but we ended up back on our boat for dinner and continued working until 9 pm. We have now exchanged all of our "hot spots' from Key West to New York and on to Cape Cod and Boston. Now all I have to do is remember to turn the clocks forward, get in on Sunday to post our new info and of course get ready for another day with friends.



 Mar 10 - Yesterday was a wonderful sailing day. Once again, we picked up friends at the dock for an afternoon on the water. In the pictures to the right and below you can see us leaving Key West.

What is really interesting about Key West is how many times there is a cruise ship coming or going when we are out sailing. I guess that isn't really too amazing since on many days, like today, three cruise ships dock at Key West and typically, they arrive and leave during daylight hours.

To the right you can see one of them arriving as we are leaving. I know you've see cruise ships before so I took this picture to show something you haven't seen. Notice the "little boats" ahead and behind the cruise ship. To the lower left, you can see what those little boats are. Coast Guard boats with a person manning the machine gun as they give the cruise ship an escort into the harbor. We always give them a wide berth because I really haven't gotten to be an expert at fiberglass repair of bullet holes yet.

To the lower right you can see a white thing, excuse me - sculpture, at Fort Zac. The sculpture exhibit has just opened.

I know you already know the people we took out sailing today. To the left is Jimmy, a manager at Dante's and my helmsman. Lower left is Kip who had just arrived at 3 am the night before from Detroit and a great friend of Jimmy. Kip is my trimmer. And of course the girls, Deb and Jo, are up front simply enjoying the sail. We are going to miss all of the people we have gotten to know in Key West when we leave.

We sailed out of the harbor and it wasn't terribly rough but it was rough because the wind was opposing the tide which stacks the waves up in sharper and closer together waves. We sailed towards the reef and the atlantic for about 30 minutes and then turned back to Key West and launched the asymmetrical. This sail continues to amaze me and today we were running 70 degrees off of the wind in 14 knots against the current registering 4.5 to 5 knots. That means if you add the current back into the speed, we would have been doing about 6 knots or more. It will be fun to see what happens with our speed as we actually get into no-current water and are really going more with the wind rather than trying to point with the sail.

In the picture below, you can see that the ladies are having a great time while we approach Key West and the three cruise ships which are docked. When you are in Miami, they close Government Cut when a cruise ship is docked while in Key West you can sail right by them. Humm.

I know I keep boring you with shots of the asymmetrical but this one wasn't too bad. I was laying on the deck taking the picture upwards when I took this one. If you look at the very top, you can see the "sock" that captures the sail when we have to tack it or just snuff it before we take it down. Of course today when we got behind the cruise ships, or should I say wind blockers, I had to snuff the sail and we motored past the ships before we launched it again.

We then sailed back up into the protected water and up Fleming Key.

We ultimately sailed past the Legacy and almost to the spot where everyone goes wind surfing. The Legacy is almost ready to be shipped back to Italy for it's refit. At one point, this was the largest sailing sloop built and it had a 120 foot mast. It will be wonderful when they get the boat fixed and they can put back to sea.

After about 3 hours of sailing, we picked up our mooring and enjoyed the conversation along with the food. Jo always brings great snacks which I'm sure the guys really appreciated. Overall, it was another great day on the water with some great people.

Once we dropped them off, I went back over to Fred's boat and finished up all the anchorages for a trip to the Abaco's. I've now picked Fred's brain and it is all stored in my computer. Sorry Fred. When we make the trip up the east coast and on to the Abaco's, we will have Fred to thank for many of the places we will visit.

Then it was back to the boat for the rest of the evening. The cruising life sure is fun!

 Bob and Peggy just had a first! You might have noticed on our main page the note about “buying us lunch.” Bob and Peggy were the first to do so. You can see them pictured to the right and they also own a Gemini Cat. Bob said, “there are plenty of Gemini photos on your site and our boat pretty much looks like yours. We even have a port-a-boat for a dingy and the same Honda generator.

We could not possibly put in one paragraph why we enjoy your website and it would be impossible for me to speak for Peggy since she is in England at the moment. I can say we identify with the two of you

We really were wanting to buy you two lunch had we made it to Key West and now look forward to buying you dinner and maybe doing some sailing with you should you get up to the Chesapeake.

It is our dream to sail the Caribbean, as well as canal through Europe, and the two of you are keeping that dream alive until Peggy retires.

If you enjoy lunch even half as much as we have enjoyed your site it will be the best lunch you ever had.

By the way, I will be on the canal boat, "Duet", near Toulouse France, mid April to end of July. When we return, we expect to splash the Gemini, "Pas de Deux", in Aug. We plan to cruise the Chesapeake until the time when we can to take the boat south. “

Bob and Peggy

PS: if you ever transit the Panama Canal I would like to volunteer to crew."


Deb and I had a great "internet lunch" celebrating our time in Key West thanks to Bob and Peggy. It took me a while to work out the details of Pay Pal and breaking away from the rest of the fun for just the two of us to enjoy lunch.

Again many thanks and we loved it.


And here we are having lunch at the top of Turtle Kraals overlooking paradise.

 Previous Log - The most recent past log
 All Logs - This takes you to the list of all of our logs

Web Page by Jim Faughn

Jim and Deb's Adventures