Saturday, December 31, 2011

HAPPY NEW YEAR

An Optimist is one who stays up to welcome the New Year.


fireworks free pictures



A Pessimist is one who stays up to make sure that last year is really over.

Pessimism
Half full or half empty?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go!

In the Everglades National Park there is a rest stop for boater's, Kayakers and anyone who can make their way to this Key.

While sailing the other day I snapped this picture of a Kayaker taking a much needed break. Mind you, this guy is about seven miles from civilization at this point, with a 10 Kt headwind for the return trip.

Aahh! That's better!

Relief in sight.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Blowing Today!

Drove to Ft.Lauderdale Airport today to pick up Frannie, my girlfriend. She'll spend New Year's and a few day's after,  relaxing, sailing and hopefully fishing and a good Harley ride to KW or the West Coast.

Today, however, the wind has kicked up out of the South making any water sports nada.

After a stop by the Key Largo Fishery to pick up five pounds of 15-17 Pink Shrimp and some really fresh Sushi grade tuna, we had lunch at Dillon's, the local Irish Pub here in town. A crunchy Grouper sandwich for Fran and a Greek salad for me. Sashimi for us tonight along with a shrimp salad and some smoked fish dip appetizer.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

MERRY CHRISTMAS

MERRY CHRISTMAS


FROM THE KEYS!


Santa arriving by Catboat
The large cockpit allows for his huge bag of toys
No cookies and milk for this Santa, I leave a dose of Dramamine out for him.



Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Barry, My New Friend...Well Sort Of

Yesterday I went reef fishing with a couple of friends, Wayne, from Canada and Paul from Michigan. Right off the bat we learned that there is no place for personal political views on fishing trips, so we quickly went about our work to catch fish.

The reefs proved to be very productive on this day, we caught a variety of fish that soon filled our cooler. Then as we were moving to another patch reef we spotted birds working, that means feeding on bait fish, we rushed to the area and proceeded to catch large Spanish Mackerel with lures thrown toward them. We were rewarded for our efforts as we hauled in five or six beauties. These Spanish Mackerel are a delicate fish,white, tender fillets when they are cooked and have a very mild flavor. There are some very good recipes to prepare them and the end result is usually very tasty.




Spanish Mackerel
The Mackerel fishing fell off just as quickly as it started, it seems an unwanted guest arrived and was after the same fish that we were. Barry as we called him rolled up on our fishing grounds, uninvited and unannounced. I said to myself, "I have to meet this fellow that has ruined our fishing success", so I quickly rigged up a live Ballyhoo on a small rod and tossed it into the water, bingo, if only my line doesn't break we would soon  have our introduction to Barry. As luck would have it, after fighting with Barry for about ten minutes, we had our introduction, face to face. I have included a few pictures so you can see why all the other fish beat it out of the area. Barry the Barracuda, ended up weighing about forty pounds of serious fish eating machine. We were very careful to keep away from the business end of this guy, as he could do some real damage if he ever latched on to an appendage. After pictures and a hearty goodbye, we released him unharmed to spoil fishing or provide sport for some other unsuspecting fisherman. Here, my friends is Barry!


Barry comes aboard

I'm 5'9" so you get an idea of his size.
He weighed in at 40Lbs

Checking the weight
The fish is controlled with a Boga Grip which effectively renders the fish safe to lift while not doing any harm

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A winter in the Keys

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Catboat Rendezvous On Florida Bay...Feb. 17,18,19.

The Upper Keys Sailing Club is sponsoring a Catboat Rendezvous on the weekend of February 17, 18th and 19th. The club wants to make this an annual invitational event for any and all Catboaters and plans are in place for you and any other Catboaters you know to join us. We are to be advertised in the Catboat Association Bulletins along with all the other Rendezvous and whatever buzz we can create for this  event will add to the promotion for future years. More information will follow. Please spread the word to your friends.

Three Cats on Fl Bay
Lee Marie foreground, Green Eyes just in front of me and A-Lee in the background.

The Upper Keys Sailing Club is located in Key Largo, bay side, and is inviting all Catboats sailed or trailered . I will give further information as received. Although we have had a couple rendezvous previously, this will be the the first one advertised in the Catboat Bulletin and hosted by a sailing club. We have almost ten Catboats on the Fl. Bay now, it looks as if the fever is spreading.

It should be a great weekend of sailing activities, food and friendship, mark your calendar.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Where Do You Live?

An interesting map of NJ regions has hit the Internet.
Where do you fit in?
I'd Like to know what you think about the Map!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Hemmingway's hang out...and Captain Tony's!

No visit to Key West is complete without a visit to Hemingway's old hang out, Sloppy Joe's. The next spot was Captain Tony's, the site of the original Sloppy Joe's, replete with some interesting decor.


Sloppy Joe's, Key West

Sloppy Joe's on Duval St.

Captain Tony's

Interesting decor,  Bra's and business cards. Hmmmm!

We had a great day in Key West,  however, there is nothing like the trip down on a motorcycle, the day was perfect, sunny and a light wind. Tomorrow,  a ride with some guy's over to Everglade City for some Stone crab claws, the trip will take us West on Highway 41 through the Everglades.

Go West Young Man....Key West, That Is!

Tom, a motorcycle buddy from N.J., paid me a visit for the last couple days. Tom, being a avid Harley man, rented a Street Glide for three days, so off we were to tour Key West. Key West from where I live is only about 95 Mi.,were there in two hours ready to take in the sights.

While in Key West, we went to a restaurant called Alonzo's, specializing in seafood, especially Oysters.

Tom, my guest and lunch host

Blue Crab salad.  Blue Crab meat, micro salad greens, corn relish, cucumbers, tomatoes and sliced avocado.

This picture is for Pandabonium and Baydog

Washed down with Mango iced tea



Monday, December 5, 2011

Back In The Saddle Again!

Thanks to my friend Bob down here in the Keys, I am once again traveling the  roadways on two wheels. He loaned me his Harley Ultra Classic for a week or two, nice to have friends that have 4 or 5 motorcycles parked in their garage.

The first picture is of the Bike and the second, detail of the hand painted fairing, a theme that is present in several locations on the bike. Nice, a little too fancy for my taste.( beggars can't be choosy)

Ahhh, heading for key west tomorrow with a friend from NJ.

Hand painted fairing, American Indian inspired.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Almost in...remembering Shell Creek adventure.

Chart view of our trek through Shell Creek and other bodies of water.
Click on chart for a close up view of our route.
Legend, Black, first day, orange  second day of sailing. Incidentally, 20 Kts. of wind on the second day, a two reefer!
Almost in by Sandscraper
Almost in, a photo by Sandscraper on Flickr.
The entrance to Shell Creek, whose idea was this anyway? We just wanted to explore another body of water on the other end of this creek. No, we did not  have to come back the same way, we entered Long Sound, sailed into Little Blackwater Sound from there, into Blackwater Sound, through another cut on the Intracoastal, into Tarpon Basin, Buttonwood Sound and finally back into Fl. Bay to our home port.

Shell Creek exit, thank God!

We actually had to hack our way into this small creek that joins two bodies of water, we left Fl. Bay and entered Long Sound. Notice the Mangrove debris on the deck that is from the mast hitting the trees as we went through the creek.

I made the segments short so there was not so much video of just water.

Dolphins everywhere


Dolphins everywhere a video by Sandscraper on Flickr.

Dolphins to the left of me, Dolphins to the right of me, but I stood my ground.


Holy crap Batman! a video by Sandscraper on Flickr.

Playing in the bow wave, most times, however, they came up abeam to get a good look at me.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

To all that view this Blog, Happy Thanksgiving! I know that I have a great deal to be thankful for, I'll bet that if each one of you give the slightest thought about your family, friends and your life you will have no problem coming to the same conclusion as me.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Charley

IF, BY ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION, YOU HAVE NOTHING TO BE THANKFUL FOR, I GIVE YOU THIS!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Fun in the Back Country

My friend David and I went into the Back Country yesterday for a little fishing , we caught a variety of fish, including Jack Crevalles, Spotted Sea Trout, Lady Fish and a couple of Sharks. Because the season for Trout is closed until January we did not bring home dinner. The Jack's and the other fish gave us fun sport and all were released unharmed.

Picture below is David with a 2 1/2 Lb Jack. No David is not Hamas, the face cloth is made from special cloth to protect you against the sun's rays.


David with Jack Crevalle, they get much larger in the Keys but no matter what the size they are fun to catch.
This is my other boat, a Mako 17 Flats Boat

Friday, November 18, 2011

More Outward Bound encounters

As explained in the next post, I take every opportunity that I am afforded, to encounter these small Outward Bound craft and their sailors. Typical groups that one might expect to encounter are disabled veterans, cancer survivors, troubled youth and on and on. They all come out here for one reason, to look inside their souls and sort things out, the experience with others that are in  "the same boat" coupled with the beauty of the Fl. bay is a powerful force.

Group sailing on the newer version of an Outward  Bound Boat

In for the night off Bottle Key, sleeping on the boat this night

Old School, full crew for this trip

New style boat with Roland aboard Ibis acting as their wing man

Ibis Leading the way
Roland was /is on the Board of Outward Bound


Outward Bound...A look back through todays sailors.

Back in the late sixties, I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in an Outward Bound program. The course was a sailing course that took place on Blue hill Bay and surrounding areas of Maine waters. The vessels were 30' double ended pulling boats, with a co-ed crew of twelve people, powered by either wind or rowing. These stout little vessels had no head, no cleaning facilities or bunks on which a person might catch a good nights sleep. The course lasted thirty days, no base camp, just small islands which became our homes for the night.

I learned a great deal about working with others, team work, group dynamics, and yes, when to keep my mouth shut. It is because of the lasting impact that this course had on me and my teaching, every chance I get to talk with other students, especially during their course, I jump at the opportunity. There is an Outward Bound school here in the Keys, they go out in similar craft as I did and in a new and improved version. Every time I see them out on the Bay I either sail or motor out to greet them, take their pictures and post them on my Flickr site so their families can share a little of what it was like.
Here are a few pictures and videos of some of those encounters. The first two videos are of the Old School vessels and the third is the modern day version, even has a head.





Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Nest Key Revisited...First This Season

North Nest Key is one of two keys located in the Florida Bay, about seven miles North of where I live in the Keys. It is in the heart of the Florida Everglades National Park and one of only a few Keys that you can actually land on. You can camp there but you must have a permit and as on all the Keys in the Everglades, you cannot have pets on land. Nest key is a favorite stop for avid Kayaker's as the trip out and back is moderately challenging, especially if the wid kicks up.

Yesterday, after communicating with two other Catboat owners, we all agreed to meet at Nest Key for lunch. I was the first to arrive, as I left early, then came Roland on Ibis, after a short time JC and Rose on Green Eyes arrived. It was a great sail out and back. The wind was perfect, 10 - 15 ESE, so one long tack out and two tacks back.

I am posting 4 pictures taken from my cellphone, the reason being that my regular camera battery was dead. I will post other pictures as they arrive.

LEE MARIE sitting quietly off Nest Key!

Nest Key shoreline

One of several Star Fish I saw yesterday
The Star Fish is under a foot of water here
Roland and IBIS, foreground
CB and LEE MARIE middle ground
Green Eyes and owners JC and Rose background

Trying out a new motor here, donated by a friend
2.5 HP Evinrude

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sewer Update...All Done

I just finished several hours cleaning up after the workers left, grading the yard, raking the coral and wetting down the ground so that the dirt that was mixed with the coral is now under the pea rock. It does not look too bad but I think that a few yards of new coral pea rock is called for.

Jeff (?), you will be happy to know that I did not have to wait until next year after all.

Amazing

A few days ago there was nothing but trenches here.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ibis Getting All Chocked UP


Roland putting the final touch to stepping his mast. Now to put on the boom, gaff and bend on the sail.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cleaning up the Keys...the price that one must pay

In an attempt to clean up, preserve and improve the water quality of the Keys, a sewer project that extends from Key Largo to Key West was started last year. While I had to deal with our streets torn up, for three months, this year we have to deal with the hassle of sewer connections from the house to the street.

Now, when it comes to maintaining my property, I am a bit of a fanatic. Each day I rake the coral as if I were maintaining a Zen Garden, you can only imagine how stressed I am watching the process of connecting the sewers unfold.

Here are some pictures of a once nicely manicured coral yard. The workers say that it will be put back to it's original condition, we'll see about that. More photos to follow, after the job  is finished.

Living on a bombing range

The new connection at the house end

Street hookup

Yikes

I hope that this Coconut Palm survives

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sunrise In NJ 11/4/2012

My Niece Cory sent this picture this morning, she was on her way to work when she captured this shot. Nice picture Cor.

Sunrise over Ocean City, NJ

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Great Night InThe Keys

The Sky is clear
The Stars are shimmering
What more could you ask

Friday, October 28, 2011

WHAT'S OUT THERE??

Each year I try to find out a little more about this body of water. Exploring the Florida Bay is exciting, educational and most of all relaxing.

As I sit on my dock,  I can't help thinking what I will find next
You only have to sail these waters once to become enamored with the potential of almost endless experiences.