Sunday, January 30, 2011

Engine Failure

Yesterday was a beautiful sailing day, under sail for 13 hours. She sail so smooth on reach. The day ended however very exciting. I usually put the engine on, a while before getting to the destination to charge the batteries (since I don't have any generator, solar, or wind). She is heeling over on starboard side and I turned the engine on. Not a good idea if the tank is low on fuel. The engine can suck in air and shut off. And then you have a vessel under no motor power. The good thing is that Earthling is a sail boat. The challenging part is to sail to your specific destination. Now the wind is also dying so I will for sure be there at night. I'm going to Miami, a busy port that i never been to. It's doable, it's an experience that I need.

This morning I woke up outside the Miami south beach. Luckily the wind is moderate. Moat of the day I was working on bleeding air from the system. Took the dinghy to the beach and picked up my friend Hamid so he could give me a hand. But I could not get the engine to start. I could not be anchored another night in those rolling waters by the beach. Thank god to TowBoatUS membership. I recommend it to all boat owners.
They towed us from the anchorage site to the bay in front of Hamid's residence. Im Fortunate I didn't have to go to a marina and pay $4 a foot per night. Life is always good on Earthling even though things happen. In the next 8 days i will stay in Miami and accomplish 4 big projects that must be done before sailing off shore to Bahamas.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


The first alarm clock didn't get me up this morning. The second one did, and it was the U.S border protection boat. They were circling around Earthling till I got up on deck. And I was boarded for the first time, I'm becoming a little more salty now. Not a big deal, they checked the registration, Identification, and searched the boat for narcotics and Cubans or Bahamians. I was going to say, I have a Persian and a Swede, but no Cubans today. I don't think that would been be funny! I did not feel comfortable to have two armed men coming aboard and search my boat/home. But that's the way it is in this world today. It's not those men's fault, they are like rest of us, modern slaves of our current system. As an Earthling, I believe that every human, born on this planet belongs to every bit of this planet. It is easy said than done. We live in a scarcity resource system. We are taught that resources are scarce. But I think there are abundant for everyone, we just need a different kind of management of distribution.
Anyhow, today was cloudy, upper 60's, and a moderate north wind that blew in the sails for 30 miles and brought me to Key Largo.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Keys

After four nights in Boot Key, Marathon I wanted to move on. The route is to go up to Miami and get ready for Bahamas. I have been waiting for few days for a west, north or south wind, but mother nature is been blowing from East, south east or northeast. I decided to make a short distance under motor today. On the open water the wind was east 15-20 and waves were 3-6 feet. After 1-1/2 hour of motoring I moved only 3 miles. So I remembered that first of all I want to sail and second I should not be in hurry to get anywhere. I turned 180 degrees, furled out 3/4 of the genoa and shut the engine off. Haaaa, that's the way it should be. Moving with the harmony of nature.
Marathon is a common stop for cruisers. I have not seen so many cruising boats in one place so far. The City Marina has over 200 mooring balls, dinghy dock, showers, and available wifi in the cruisers lounge. The little Earthling dinghy took me to shore every day where I biked around in Marathon, did groceries and bought boat supplies at Home Depot.
The anchorage right now is in Bahia Honda. Earthling is the only boat here. The beach is 500 feet away. Since there will be thunderstorms and east wind tomorrow I will stay here and maybe I take a dinghy ride to the beach.
Sent from a iPhone

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Seven Mile bridge, Marthon

Crab world

 It feels like I'm going through a mine field of crab traps. There are thousands of them. I would hate to get any of them caught on the propeller. Slalom tricks are useful in this situation. I never had the chance to exercise my slalom tricks between crab traps on a sailboat in fog. 
Eating crab is a social activity. Last week Marty treated us with some stone crab claws, it was a process breaking the shell but once you did that; the meat is delicious. The crab shells are very sharp, you have to watch out not hurting yourself. I was using a hammer to break the shell and one of the pieces flew up the air and down on my toe. Not a big deal I thought till I realized few minutes later my toe was bleeding. Anyhow, if any of these crab traps get caught on the prop and I have to get in the water to take it off, I will take the crab home. Hopefully I will not need to do that!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Every anchorage is home for the time

Time has come to an end for the Everglades. Earthling is getting ready for the next passage. I'm leaving around midnight heading toward Marathon (63 miles) or Key West (72 miles) dependent on the wind. The wind is south right now and supposed to shift to south west after midnight.
Lee is coming over in couple hours to guide me out of the channel. I have to leave when the tide is up, which is 1am. Lee is such a great friend, he has been driving his boat out everyday to check on me and give me ride to shore. Lee & Linda have been gracious host. Few days ago Lee's daughter Jennifer and her husband Jason were down here visiting. They were out fishing and caught 4 trouts. I fillet 2 of them, we had a great meal meanwhile we watched the bears winning.

Every anchorage is home for the time. I will miss the quietness in this anchorage. You don't hear any man made sound, it's only the sound of nature. You hear the dolphins' breath, the pelicans diving in the water, and the fish jumping in and out, and today I heard and saw Sharks. I will miss Everglades National Park and I will miss Lee.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Everglades National Park anchorage

I woke up this morning from the noise of a motorboat around the boat. I got up and looked out and it was the guide on the canoe sightseeing boat. He wanted to check if I need anything. Thanks for stopping by, Im good, I said. All the tourist on the boat were so excited to waive, I then realized; Earthling has been a tourist attraction the last couple of days. I'm referred to as: "The guy on the sail boat from Chicago anchored in Rabbit Key", that's how Lee introduces me to all their friends.
Yesterday the park ranger that gave me a warning notice referred to me the same way to his colleague. Here in the middle of nowhere, I'm running the outboard on the dinghy for the first time since Chicago. I see a boat coming toward me very slowly. When he got close I realized it was the National park ranger and he had an engine failure. He raft up to the dinghy and his colleague showed up few minutes later. I end up getting a violation notice for not having a registration for a motorized dinghy and no life vest. As long as it doesn't cost me anything it's ok.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Hungry Pelicans


Everglades National Park

Since last update we sailed to Ft. Myers, overnighted at Moss Marina. Marty and Roy like to dock at Marinas, which is luxury to me since I anchor most of the time. The last 3 passages, we have been motor-sailing. The wind has not cooperating with us.
Right now I'm anchored in Everglades National Park close to Chokoloskee.
This area is very shallow and not so many sailboats come in here. We touch ground and almost got stuck in couple of spots before we got to our anchorage.
I would not attempt to come in here by myself. It's too shallow and I don't know the area.
We docked at Naples City Marina couple night ago. Marty left to Chicago from Naples and shortly after Lee and his friend Tom joined us for the passage to Everglades national park. Lee spends the winters down in Chokoloskee and knows the area. Tom knows the area as well. We had to come in on high tide and we still ran into couple sand bars.
The nature here is spectacular. There are mangrove islands surrounded by oyster beds. Dolphins swim left and right of the boat and life is enjoyable.
Earthling will be anchored here couple more night and I will update you more about this area.

Sent from a iPhone

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Friday, January 7, 2011

Back to Earthling life

The second leg of Earthling adventure just started. I'm so happy to be back on Earthling. Land life was getting to me. I love Chicago but 3 weeks was enough. Marty & Roy joined to kick me off for the second leg. We accomplished some project on Earthling and now we are on our way south. In the last few days, we finished installing the new high out put alternator, Marty & Roy did all the plumping on the head for overboard discharge, and a 44lb Bruce anchor with 200ft chain & line is on the bow now. I'm so fortunate to have so many good friends that help me with this voyage. At Maximo Marina in St. Petersburg I met some nice people, specifically Captain Ray & Captain Archie. Captain Ray dropped me off the airport to Chicago, picked me up, drove around for anchor shopping, braided the new anchor line and so on. Marty & Roy haven't let me spend anything since they got here. Right now we are docked at Crow's Nest Marina in Venice and tomorrow morning we are sailing toward captiva just north of Ft Myers. The dinner tonight was chicken shish kabob and basmati rice with spinach salad, made and served aboard. 
Today was chilly, mid sixties, that's chilly for being in open waters. The wind was projected to be west and northwest, not! It was on our nose most of the passage. The 48 miles passage took 8.5hrs and we were not able to have the stay sail out for more than 3 hours. The prediction for tomorrow is west winds at 10 to 20 m/hr. I hope the prediction comes true so we can sail all the way to our next destination.