Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Evening sail at sunset and moon rise.

Last night my buddy and Roland and I ventured out onto the Bay for a little night sailing. The wind was perfect for our little sail, SE at about eight Kts., Pandabonium conditions. We left the dock at about 3:30 PM and headed out to a Key called Porjoe, about six miles North,  then up Buttonwood Bay, through a maze of little Keys and Home.

Our goal was to witness the full moon rising just as the sun was scheduled to set, the first part of the plan came to fruition, however, the moon was obscured by a cloud bank to the East. It was a great sail in spite of everything, we arrived back at the dock about 8:00 PM. I have included a few pictures for your viewing pleasure.

Roland sailing away from home
The missing sailor

In his typical fashion, Roland is saying "it doesn't get any better than this".

Heading North out onto the Florida Bay

The Bay was calm but the wind stayed with us until we arrived home.

The sun having set, the running lights are turned on.

Almost home, the wind is fading fast.

Catboat evening.

There's that Wiley Wascle

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunset Fishing

I went fishing yesterday and all I caught was this whopper at sunset, limit one to a customer! Two incredible views on the same night, awesome.

My best catch of the day!

This is what chased the fish  away


My close friend and fishing buddy passed yesterday after a year and a half battle with brain cancer. Tony had a wonderful zest for life and as a result did not miss much along the way. He proudly served his Country in the US Navy, during the Vietnam Conflict,came back home to NJ where he started his own business as a stone mason, which he owned to the day he passed. As a business man he was fair, respected and his work was of the highest quality.

I met Tony about eight years ago, while he was vacationing in the Keys the same time as me, we actually lived across the lagoon from each other. Tony and I became fast friends, our love of the water, fishing and sailing was the foundation on which our friendship was built. Tony will be missed by all who knew him and to those who did not have the chance to meet him, they missed knowing a truly one of a kind individual.

I salute you Tony Santomauro, I am better off having you in my life for eight years, you will not be forgotten!

Tony, my friend fishing buddy and sailing partner!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Typical weather transition for November

425 AM EST FRI NOV 23 2012



Looks like we'll be sailing soon! NE and East winds offer the best sailing this month,NW and North can get blustery and usually add up to Small Craft Warnings. Air Temps will be in the mid to upper 70's.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Today is just a little bit Gray, it keeps one from taking the Keys for granted. Boat maintenance, food shopping and housework on the schedule for today.
I think that a nice Kimchee soup will warm the soul, thanks to Tim's Oriental Grocery. I scored some Kimchee and other Korean ingredients yesterday that will keep be in good stead for some time to come.

Gray sky over Fl. Bay
OOps, got to paint that concrete.

Time to relax
A local Keys channel marker

Sunday, November 18, 2012

First overnight in Puffin

IBIS coming out to me me aboard PUFFIN

This week my sailing friend, Roland Barth, and I went out on the Florida Bay for our first overnight. As usual, Roland took his IBIS and me in my boat PUFFIN, we left on Wednesday sailing NW toward the Back Country. At first,  it was our intention to sail a course directly NNW for about eight miles to a Key called Tern Key where we would navigate a narrow cut called Eagle Pass, then from there sail through a body of water surrounded by Keys on all sides, go through another pass at Bob Key and on to a protected anchorage at Manatee Key. Right off the bat we realized that it was going to be a beat to Tern Key, so we altered our course directly to Manatee Key ( WNW ), however, before long the wind shifted in our favor to follow the original course. After an hour or two,  we decided to amend our course once again, instead of going through Eagle Pass we opted to take another cut between Pass Key and Park  Key and although the Pass was very narrow and shallow we were successful. By this time the wind was freshening a bit so we were able to make good time heading toward manatee Key, the sail through Manatee cut to our proposed anchorage was uneventful except for when Roland was going through the cut, a flats boat traveling about 30 Kts buzzed right by him. @#$%&@.

Coming into our anchorage for the night the wind suddenly picked up and Roland was caught by surprise, following him when the gust of wind hit, I could see his centerboard clearly. Roland was indeed a well heeled gentleman at that moment. Roland managed to round up quickly so to dump the wind from his sail thus averting disaster, in the form of a capsize. Because the wind had come up so suddenly, and because we wanted a calm area in which to anchor, we went all the way into the cove, almost to the very end. We were lucky that the water was up and allowed us to find a great spot out of the wind.

IBIS at anchor at Manatee Key

Morning light

After a couple of near misses with a heaving line, we managed to raft up, have a glass or two of wine, some cheese and crackers. Next came dinner, I fired up my butane stove and proceeded to warm the fare Roland brought, it took only a few minutes before Roland was dining on spare ribs, peas and rice. My choice for the evening repas was a large cup of Stone Crab Chowdah.

PUFFIN and me at anchor, Manatee Key

Heading out in the morning

Heading toward manatee Key

Enjoying another great day on Fl. Bay

Some small talk about sailing and the day we parted company, separated the boats and went into our respective cabins for the night. One tends to go in early because the Skeeters make for some uncomfortable times in the cockpit. Early to rise, up a six, clean up, have breakfast and set sail for the next day of sailing, which proved to be as good as the first day. I've never had a bad day on the FL.Bay.

Chart of FL. Bay and our course marked on it.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Puffin safe at her dock

Puffin is safe at her dock during this mild cold front, winds were N 20-25 for about three days, curtailing any thought of sailing during that time. It looks like this next week will allow for some fishing and sailing, looking forward to both.

Mild cold front put a damper on sailing this weekend

Add caption

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

New Jersey Strong

The video says it all.

If you love and believe in NJ watch this video.

A front from the NW will be with us for two days

For the next two days we will have winds from the WNW, not too bad and not like the winds that the East Coast will experience.

Fair weather to the West, front coming in from the NW    

Stone Crabs Are The Bomb...And They Taste Good Too

I went to the Key Largo Fish Market today and picked up some sushi grade tuna for lunch but I couldn't resist grabbing three Stone Crab legs to boot. the sushi was great, some fresh ginger, wasabi and Bragg's Amino sauce....mmmmm good. The Heineken did not diminish the taste one bit!

I placed a wine bottle cork next to the crab legs to give you some point of reference, these were Jumbos the largest cull is Colossal.

Three make a meal

Monday, November 5, 2012

A First Look At Beaton Boat Works

My long time friend and Master Boat builder, Paul Smith, sent me these photos of his workplace, Beaton Boat Works. Paul has lived in the area for 60 plus years and has been employed by Beaton's since the sixties. He has been through all of the worst storms that affected the Jersey Shore, including the one in 1962 and by far he states that he has never seen any storm that compare to Sandy.

Paul's description of the carnage done to Beaton's is unbelievable, boats sunk in the harbor, at dock, and strewn all over the yard like so many toys. They have found boats that floated down Beaton Road over to Mantoloking Road and as far as a mile away. A houseboat docked there was sunk, another on dry land was completely blown over on to its side,boats that were in sheds came off their stands and floated around freely.

The front dock pilings were lifted by the buoyancy of the boats that were tied to them, boats sunk in their slips, masts were broken and wreckage from all over continues to float in each day.

The wood shop received water that came up eighteen inches above the work bench, machine motors were submerged and the effort to salvage them is compounded by the fact there is no fresh water or electricity to operate compressors to blow the motors out.

I have been going to Beaton's for 52 years, it has been a place where I have made friends for life, it has provided me with a place that I find peace and comfort. Watching the amazing work that is turned out in the Yard has given me inspiration to learn many of the wood working processes and  to put them to use on my own boats.

I know that the process of cleaning up and eventually rebuilding will be a long and arduous task, however, I am sure that the Beaton family and all the workers are up to the task. I wish everyone the best and I look forward to my return in May so that I might be able to lend a hand in rebuilding a tradition.

I have included several pictures that show only a small portion of the total damage that was sustained. I will have more pictures as they are sent to me and if you ever have a chance, after the dust settles, drop by Beaton's and offer encouraging support for their efforts.

The one surreal picture included, is of a Marshall Sanderling that was seen sailing about in the Bay off Beaton's only days after Sandy. The pictures point of view is from under the raised front dock. The sail # was SA4, appears to be out of Shore Acres.

You can see the high water mark above the work bench in the wood shop

A Marshall Sanderling in Beaton's Harbor after Sandy devastated the NJ Coast

Any boat owner's nightmare

The rigging ladder, still intact

The cleanup begins

A Sanderling floated off it's Jack Stands

Sunday, November 4, 2012



My Jersey Shore, Now in Ruins

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Manasquan, N.J.
Evan Hughes
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AT the end of Pompano Avenue in Manasquan, one of the Jersey Shore towns scoured and tumbled by the storm, is a small patch of beachfront property that seems as if it has been in my family for several generations now.
We hold no title to it, other than whatever property rights might accrue from the thousands of summer days we have spent there at the ocean’s edge. It is 17 miles from the inland town where I grew up and still live, a rectangle of sand just wide enough for a couple of towels and long enough for a few chairs. It is where my mother and father took my siblings and me when we were children, and it is where my wife and I took our own children. A wooden jetty once stood beside it, but a beach replenishment project covered that up years ago.
A lot of people in New Jersey hold similar unofficial title to similar patches of the Shore, which is why the losses from this storm, large as they already are, seem even larger. The Shore is our summer home, and it now lies in ruins, wrecked by a storm that shares a name — in a cruel coincidence — with the most elegiac song ever written about it by our poet laureate, Bruce Springsteen. “Our carnival life on the water,” he sang in “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy),” but in Seaside Heights and Belmar and Point Pleasant and too many other beach towns, our carnival life is now in the water.
New Jersey, the most densely populated of all states, has 127 miles of oceanfront, almost all of which has been built upon, foolishly perhaps in some spots, but always hopefully, by people heeding a primal urge to be near the sea. Damp, rickety fishermen’s shacks; boxy, game-board bungalows; sprawling marble-clad palaces — all are trying to do the same thing: capture and hold with some measure of permanence that most sublime and evanescent of all moments, the perfect summer day.
There are parts of the Jersey Shore that, in high summer, are almost indistinguishable from California or Florida or some other sun-washed paradise. The difference here is that summer dies each year. It is briefer, and thus more precious, and Labor Day is the saddest day of all. That’s why we grasp the Shore so hard, why we hang on to it so fiercely. How much can we squeeze from this wave, from this romance, from this fishing trip, from this bar band, from this sun? How much more before it all chills and fades and we have to wait nine more months to try again?
My own town, Freehold, N.J., took some big hits in the storm — trees crushing houses, power dead and no sign of when it might return. But I’ve found my attention turning more toward the wildly, almost eccentrically, diverse string of towns along the Shore, where so many other New Jerseyans, from the poorest to the richest, have staked their own claims, however tenuous. I’ve been thinking about how unnaturally warm the water was this summer, and wondering whether the storm was the price we paid for that, and then wondering, too, how much of what I remember, what I love, will be there next summer.
Habits die hard, and it’s painful to imagine not going back to Manasquan next summer, no matter how much of it may be gone. It’s not the closest beach to my hometown, but it’s the one where everyone has always gone — a migratory pattern rooted deep in history, by a weekend excursion train along a potato-train line that hasn’t run in almost a century. No other town, no other beach within Manasquan even, would feel right.
My sister loved Manasquan so much that she moved there when she got married and is raising her own family there. She lives far enough from the beach that her home survived Hurricane Sandy unscathed. Her friends, as well as a couple of our cousins who live closer, were not so lucky. Exactly how unlucky, they don’t know yet. The beachfront section of town is still sealed shut, guarded by the police, nobody — not even homeowners — allowed in yet.
All anyone has so far are the photos the town has posted on its Facebook page. People have been scrutinizing them for signs of damage. Is that house still on its foundation? How high is the sand piled on this one? Where is the waterline on this one?
I was scrolling through the photos with my brother-in-law the other day, and we found one of “our” property: the beach at the end of Pompano Avenue. The asphalt beachwalk — no boardwalk here — was buckled as if by an earthquake. The remaining beach was a narrow strand, the sand pushed off it back onto the streets behind. But looking to the north, we saw something we hadn’t seen in years: the wooden jetty that had long been buried, the one that loomed in my favorite photograph of my father as a young man, watching his son toddling toward the water. It stood there again in this new photograph, like a guidepost, marking the way back.
Kevin Coyne, a journalist who teaches at Columbia, is the author, most recently, of “Marching Home: To War and Back With the Men of One American Town.”

Third sail this is good here, not so good elsewhere

Catboat Association turned 50 this year as did Marshall Marine

Just skimming along with a NE 10-12 knot breeze

Looking at the bright side

End of a great day in the South
Just came in from my third sail this week, weather is beautiful but a mild cold front is just around the bend. Getting used to the new Catboat "PUFFIN", she sails like a dream and she is all gigged up for racing, something that is totally new to me. I like most of the innovations, some are yet to prove their value.

I want to give a shout out to my buddies at Beaton's, what a disaster, I have new news and hopefully many pictures to post in the next day or two. All I can say is, that what once was, will never be quite the same. I feel for  all the boat owners, worker's and the Beaton family.  I have also heard that my beloved Sea Girt was one of the towns that incurred a great deal of damage, my home for all my childhood and some of my adult life. To Marie Darling, this too shall pass, glad that you are well again. I think about you often and have great empathy for what you and your family are experiencing in the wake of Sandy. Take Care, God Bless.