Friday, April 29, 2011

Last Post From The Keys...Next Stop, The Beyond!

This is my last post from the Keys this winter, now it is back to NJ and The Beyond.

Car is packed with all the essentials

Flats boat safely put to rest in a neighbors yard

My rear view for the next 1350 miles

Ready and waiting to be hooked up for the trip

Last look from my dock

Looking West
This was a great winter, warm weather, dry, good fishing and sailing almost every day, sprinkled in with a few Northers which dropped the night Temps down into the high fifties a couple of times. Gas prices excluded, the price of food goods and the like were reasonable. Am I looking forward to next winter, you betcha, but for the next five and a half months, I will be enjoying the fine NJ weather and a yet to be determined trip, somewhere, it would be a safe bet that a motorcycle ride will be one of the trips.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Packing For The Trip Back Home

Cleaned and ready for the road

Lee Marie was the first victim today, she was hauled at 9AM and is now being prepared for the trip back to NJ.  The scheduled day for departure is May 1, 11 days from now, flats boat is in the Que.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sailed Today Fishing Tonight!

Hope to have some good stories to tell tomorrow.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Florida Seafood At It's Best...Dinnah is served!

This weekend I have some guests from NJ, so it is fitting that they get a real taste of the seafood that the Keys has to offer

We started everything off with Oysters on the half shell, a choice of wine or beer to wash them down, then on to the main course, which included fresh Key West Pink Shrimp, cracked Stone Crabs with a mustard dipping sauce, a side of Brown Rice Penne pasta and a Merlot Marinara sauce. As usual, everything was capped of with a garden salad of micro greens, grape tomatoes, walnuts, red onion and a homemade Agave Nectar mustard vinaigrette. Of course there was more wine!

Today for lunch assorted sandwiches and steamed Oysters, for dinner there will be a slow cooked Pork Roast on a bed of Sauerkraut and potatoes and onion.

Cracked Stone Crab with a mustard dipping sauce

Key West Pink Shrimp with a spicy cocktail sauce

Salad, Penne Pasta side

Time Is Winding Down...Heading back to NJ...But First!

Heading out to the fishing grounds

Two in the live well, this eliminates ice as the fish are kept alive until I arrive home, result, fresh fish

17" and 18" respectively
But first there is fish to be caught, and sailing before I pull up stakes and head back North. Yesterday, I had the most success catching Spotted Sea Trout, this winter. The water temperature is up to a whopping 85.5 degrees matching the air Temp. When the water warms up like this the bay comes alive and the fish are more aggressive. I probably caught 20 fish in the 18" range with a few 15"er's thrown in, I kept two for dinner. You want proof?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


In the meantime,enjoy!
I hope all of you that have visited my Blog, enjoy the pictures and the insignificant story that I try to tell about my experiences here in the Florida Keys and beyond. It is interesting to learn, from my Stats tab, how many people from all over the world have visited this site for whatever reason. I only wish that I could know some of their stories and see how they live day to day. In the meantime it is my goal to continue telling my story and to , hopefully, hear some of your stories

Captain Keysmon catches a Tarpon

Tarpon netted 

Keysmon with his catch

Mangrove Snappers, mmmmmmm good eating!

Our transportation for the evening
Last night three intrepid fishermen left the dock at 7:30PM to look for and catch Snook, Tarpon or whatever species would jump onto our hooks. Initially we caught some rather large Mangrove Snappers, then after a couple moves, Keysmon hooked into a Tarpon which he fought and landed. For my efforts all I could manage was one hookup with a mystery fish that hastily made for the mangroves and got my line entangled. Snap, that was the sound of my line parting company with my pole.

We fished through the darkness, managed to catch some more Snappers and each others line a couple of times, by 10:30 we were all ready to head home.

My host for the evening was a new acquaintance whose name is Glenn, hails from New Bedford, Mass. Like me, Glenn and his wife come down to the Keys to escape the winter months up North. We fished out of his very nice Key West boat, that was very comfortable and roomy enough to accommodate three anglers. Many thanks to Glenn for including me on this outing, thanks also to Keysmon for the introduction.
Here are a few pictures of the evenings activity:

Monday, April 11, 2011

My Other Boat Is A Sailboat

Although I trail the Catboat back and forth to NJ each year, I do have another boat that I sail. This boat, as my Catboat, is of 1969 vintage, it is a Tartan 27 and affords me more comfort while sailing the Barnegat Bay. Small creature comforts, like standing headroom, a galley and a head are nice for a change. This boat did not see the water last year, however, this year things might be different, I hope.

Behold, my palace on the water
I hear from Paul Smith that the temperatures are up in NJ, I'll wait a little longer to make sure that this is not a short heat wave just to entice me back earlier. I was fooled two years ago, never again.

Rolands Last Sail In The Keys Before Heading Home For The Summer! (Maine)

Meeting up with Roland for an evening sail

Navigating a narrow cut two abreast

Close formation

Setting sun

Samuel Adams Cream Stout on the windward rail
to toast the sunset

Almost below the horizon
I received an E-mail from Roland inviting me to share in his last sail before heading back home to Maine for the summer. I am glad that I had no previous plans for that evening. The plan was for Roland and I to meet at 7:00 PM and watch the sunset then enjoy a leisurely night sail for a couple of hours, as planned I met Roland at precisely 7 and after two hours of sailing got home at 9:00 sharp.

Roland, with camera in hand recorded portions of the sail, going through narrow cuts, two abreast and the sunset. There is even a picture of  me with a Samuel Adams toasting the sunset.

This has been a great winter in the Keys, lots of days for sailing and fishing. Roland probably sailed 5 out of seven days this winter, for me I divided my time between sailing and fishing, sometimes both in the same day. All things considered it has been a great winter, now back to yard work, cutting grass, cleaning the pond, and spending time at Beaton's and on the Barnegat Bay.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Time Out From Sailing...Time For Fishing

Nice Sea Trout on my first cast
This fish was released unharmed

Sea Trout, net and my trusty Carrot Stix

The best thing about my location in the Keys, great fishing right in my back yard, go East a short distance and the Ocean affords great fishing as well.

Speckled Trout is a great game fish as well offering an incredibly delicate meal.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


While out for my morning bike ride, I stopped by a friends house on the bay, out of curiosity I went around the back of his house, there I was greeted with a sad sight. During the night, Luigi the injured Manatee, from the night before, was lying on the flats motionless. After further inspection it was determined that he died during the night from injuries sustained from a careless boater's propeller.

I called the proper authorities to report the Manatees death, a boat with FWC officers and two marine biologists were dispatched to the scene. The final result, we secured the Manatee to a tow line and he was towed to a nearby boat ramp where he will be hauled and taken to a facility to be destroyed.

Luigi lying motionless on the flats

Those striations on his back are propeller cuts

One of two lungs that the Manatees have
The injuries were just too severe for him to have survived

Florida Marine Enforcement

Two Biologist surveying the scene and getting Luigi ready to be towed

Friday, April 8, 2011

This Is Luigi, The Injured Manatee

This photo was taken by Capt. Dave Leahy, "KEYSMON".  You can clearly see the propeller wounds and Luigi's lung protruding from one of the wounds. For more information on Florida Manatees go to this link:  (copy and paste)

Luigi taking a break and maybe even saying "help me"
Boater's that disregard the idle speed rules are responsible for damage like this to Manatees! Report violators!

Night Time Manatee Rescue

This evening around 8:30 I heard a great deal of excitement outside my home, it turned out to be the Manatee Rescue truck, several Manatee rescue workers and a group of interested neighbors trying to help a wounded Manatee. It turned out to be a Manatee that had suffered several propeller wounds one of which is so bad that his lung is fully exposed.

After locating the Manatee, workers went into the water to try and get a sling under the Mammal, however, after much discussion the team of rescuers, not wanting to injure the Manatee further,  decided to wait until the morning before attempting the rescue.

Manatees, being extremely docile and slow moving, are subject to injury from boat propellers frequently.
Boaters have to keep their speed slow when in waters frequented by Manatees, some boaters disregard these areas and wind up injuring or killing the Manatees. Here are pictures of the effort so far, I will try to follow the rescue attempt tomorrow.
Manatee Rescue Truck
This truck will be used to transport the Manatee to a hospital if the rescue is successful

Net used to corral the Manatee before a sling is slipped under the animal

Two of the rescue workers

Best known as the Manatee Lady, this volunteer records and monitors the Manatees
She has names for all of them
The instrument in her hand is a monitoring device, placed over the tail of the Manatee for tracking

Rescue workers deciding what the best course of action would be, it was decided to wait until morning

The injured Manatee
If you click on the picture you will see a closer view, that mass just next to the dock is the Manatees lung tissue
exposed to the elements

Yet Another Perspective From The Beach Of Nest Key

Felix anchored at Nest Key

LEE MARIE to starboard IBIS to port

Coming to anchor!

Tranquil scene
In the lee of Nest Key you wouldn't even know that the wind was blowing 15 Kts.
 These pictures were taken by the owner of Felix, Wavy Davey, sur la plage! Felix is anchored and Roland and I are approaching the beach under sail, a Cat boat sandwhich.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Video Of Tack Home

Short video of our homeward bound tack !

Nest Key Revisited...East Wind 10 - 15 Light To Moderate Chop

Today Roland and I left our harbor, Hammer Point, for a sail out to Nest Key. Nest Key is one of the hundreds of Keys in the Everglades National Park and just one of  a few Keys on which you can actually land. It is also approved for camping, however, no pets allowed, it is a rookery after all.

The plan was to sail out to Nest Key where we would meet up with another Catboat owner sailing in his boat, Felix. We arrived at one o'clock as planned and were met by David who arrived about twenty minutes earlier.

After anchoring close to shore we all met for lunch and a cold drink, compared notes on the sail out and swapped projects that we have all completed on our boats.

Heading out to Nest Key

That's not spaghetti

East Wind 10 - 15

Easing into Nest Key Beach
Davy is already there

Roland and Ibis

Picture perfect




Heading home

This time of the year an awning is nice
David is from West Va., Roland is from Maine and I am from NEW Jersey (for you Baydog). As this was going to be one of our last few sails before heading back to our respective homes for the summer, we were all pleased to have had the day together in the very best of conditions. After bidding Davy goodbye, Roland and I headed out on our own  toward Hammer Point. Earlier we considered taking out our reef for the trip home, after rounding the protective point of Nest Key we soon realized that we were smart to have waited until we got into the exposed bay. I have included some pictures of our day, hope that you can get a feeling what the day was like. Click on any picture to enlarge.