Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas in the Keys

Radeen bikes to Sombrero Reef Beach, Marathon, FL
With the weather 80 degrees during the daytime and 70 degrees at night, it is nearly perfect here in the Florida Keys. Typical days tend to go like this. Up around 7-8, breakfast around 9. Boat work, web work and communications in the AM. Bike riding after lunch to the Post Office, grocery store, scenic Seven Mile Bridge, over to visit friends at other marinas, or a ride out to the beach. By 5 pm, it is "The Cone of Knowledge" or TIKI HUT time to watch the sunset and share stories and libations with good friends. At sunset, it is conch blowing time to alert the natives to the end of the day. Dinner is around 7 pm which is usually cooked onboard but sometimes we take in one of the many fine eateries around Marathon. The day will end around 10 pm as we count our many blessings for good friends, good health, and this simple peaceful lifestyle. Docked at Harbour Cay Club, we can become spoiled because it is so easy to live here. We always enjoy our time in the Keys!

Here are some photos of the past week....

Hayden, Radeen, Blanca, and Keith with Jimmy
at Margaritaville, Key West

Radeen, Keith and Blanca at Key West Sunset Party, Mallory Square
IP31 owners of TRUE LOVE

Local resident enjoying a porch railing at the oldest house in Key West
Key West Sunset
Jeff and Marjorie on IP 45, FAR NIENTE, arrive at Harbour Cay Club

Welcoming party for FAR NIENTE
Keith, Blanca, Marjorie, Jeff, Ed, BJ, Michelle, Capt Jim, Hayden
Ocean Sailors Nancy and John arrive after sailing a prolonged gale of 35 knots.
They sailed 3 days straight from St. Augustine to get here for Christmas!

Home marina friend Kathy, Radeen and Nancy
Gary and Kathy are on GATSBY from Spring Cove in Rock Hall
where we all gather for sunset, stories and libations
Local pelican stops by for a visit

The birds at the fish cleaning station during a cleaning by Jeff
Marjorie, Nancy, and Radeen as we head out to Lazy Days
Egret waiting for hand outs during a fish cleaning.
Jeff is our local Mangrove Red Snapper Fisherman
It is CHRISTMAS....notice the BOW on the BOW
Typical sunset at Marathon, FL
Northeast Maryland Yacht Reunion in Marathon, FL
Gary, Loren, Kathy, Fran, John, Nancy
Christmas decorations on a local boat
Manatee Mailbox with a Santa Hat
Christmas Day on the Beach, 80 degrees and sunny
with blue skies, Merry Christmas!
a Christmas Day Iguana enjoys the beach
Marjorie and Radeen laughing and working very hard in the kitchen.
Beautiful appetizer trays for our Christmas Dinner
Thank you Marjorie
The outdoor Lanai set for 11 for Christmas Day Feast 
One of TWO turkeys prepared. Note: This one was cooked
on the grill. Great job JEFF
Marjorie, our party planner and wonderful chef, IP45 Far Niente
Jeff, IP 45 Far Niente, the MASTER at Grilled Turkey
and Carving. Fantastic Job JEFF
The buffet table set with the feast

Gary and Kathy Sabre 42 Gatsby, friends from home
Spiral Ham, two turkeys, gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans and much more
Capt Jim and Michelle and Hayden having breakfast al fresco at The Stuffed Pig
Radeen and Marjorie and Jeff enjoying breakfast
As many people have said before, the cruising life is great. BUT, it is the people you meet that make it so interesting and so enjoyable. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.......

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Arrival HCC

Docked under a Palm tree w/Christmas Lights up
Destination #1 for this year's winter voyage has been reached! On Dec 11th, we arrived at Harbour Cay Club, a private marina where our good friend and fellow Island Packet Owner, Capt. Jim owns one of the 24 slips. The unused slips are rented on a weekly or monthly basis to others when available. This club is lovely, with beautifully maintained landscaping, a sunset Tiki Hut, comfortable club house with a second floor condo for rent, laundry room, bath house and free ice machines! This place will SPOIL you for any other marina, making it difficult to move on from here. We have one month booked and our plan is to sail back up to Miami on Jan. 15, where we will que up for our Exuma Bahamas run. For now, we will enjoy a peaceful Christmas and New Year's. The owners make us feel so welcome here at HCC!

Our Luncheon gathering:
Keith, Blanca, Michele, Radeen, Capt Jim, Carol & Mike
Radeen's cruiser bike. Thank you CAREY

While here, we always make a list of boat jobs and spend much of our time working on the boat, riding bike, enjoying the Tiki Hut Sunsets and Libations at 1700 hrs, and just relaxing. When moving the boat everyday for 40+ days and 1,300 nautical miles, it is really nice to simply STOP. That is exactly what we planned and it is exactly what we are doing.

We enjoyed a small Island Packet group luncheon in the Lanai with Mike and Carol, IP31 NOMAD, Keith and Blanca IP31 TRUE LOVE, Capt Jim and Michele IP29 FORTUNA and Radeen and Hayden IP35 ISLAND SPIRIT. What a great afternoon with representation from services such as... Marines, Army, and the Miami Police. Our IP fleet is so interesting!

Here are some photos of the current activities.

It is HOT and SUNNY here in Marathon, so we deploy our sunshade
and side drops to block the western sun.
Harbour Cay Club Christmas Party: Keith, Blanca, Capt Jim and Michele
A lanai luncheon overlooking Island Spirit, what a great place 

The IP Battle Flag is raised.
Merry Christmas to Everyone from Harbor Cay Club
Island Spirit with Christmas Lights UP
Radeen the Christmas ELF is very busy wrapping and making presents
The Galley of a Christmas Elf making FUDGE, Hot COCOA Mix and Cookies
We are really enjoying ourselves here and we wish everyone a peaceful and calm Christmas season.

Our hearts and prayers go out to our fellow citizens of Connecticut as we all take time to grieve this horrific tragedy. The United Way of Western Connecticut has set up a fund to take donations to help the families. If you want to help, please see these pages:

  1. United Way Direct Donation page:
  2. The United Way of Western Connecticut:
  3. Check donations may be mailed to:
    Sandy Hook School Support Fund
    c/o Newtown Savings Bank
    39 Main Street
    Newtown CT 06470

Monday, December 10, 2012

Hawk Channel 2012

Exiting Angelfish Creek into Hawk Channel...narrow
Hawk Channel 2012. This is our second time sailing SOUTH in the Hawk, and, once again, it did NOT disappoint us. Flat water 1-2, winds 10-15 and 50 miles of close reaching. Who can ask for more in the sailing world? Not us. We LOVE Hawk Channel. Yesterday, we departed Dinner Key at 1500 hrs and ran down Biscayne Bay to Elliott Cay where we dropped anchor in the dusk. Easy run. In the AM, we were underway by 0700 hrs and transiting Angelfish Creek by 0800 at high tide, perfect. Exiting the creek we found 6 feet 6 inches of water as we passed over the reef. Our boat needs 4 feet 6 inches, so not a problem.

Tides here are only one foot, so there is not much to play with and you sure DO NOT want to run aground at this point. Once out in Hawk Channel, we set sail, a reefed main and a 110% jib due to the 15-20 knots of close beat winds. Lucky for us, Hawk channel slowly turns to the SW which would be cracking off and some easier sailing, and that is exactly what we did all the way down to Channel Five. Overall this is a full 65 mile day and it takes all day, but it is a great sail. From here, it is a simple 24 miles to our winter home of Harbour Cay Club where we will spend one month relaxing, reflecting and planning our first Exumas run. From Rock Hall to here has been 1,260 NM as our log shows. After such a distance, we will be very happy to STOP MOVING the boat and dock for awhile. It is a great life out here, we do love it, but we also love docking...

Here is a photo essay of the leg...

We left the Helicopters on Yachts Behind.....really!
We left the city of Miami Behind.....See YA
Sunset off of Elliott Cay, peaceful
Mommy called....bring the yacht home they go!
Sailing Hawk Channel, absolutely beautiful. Reefed jib to 110%
Come on....salt spray all over the boat....everywhere....errrrr
Salt spray on the windshields, lower and upper.....will hand wash boat at anchor....errrrr
Beautiful sun setting over our bow, as we sail southwest
There it is, Channel Five and the old Flagler Overseas Highway Bridge and the new 65 footer


We are grateful for a beautiful day of sailing on beautiful blue waters. Tomorrow we will dock at Harbour Cay Club and take a break for one month as we enjoy Christmas and New Year's there. Thank you for following along..,