Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Light air day on the Flats

This winter has had a windy start,
yesterday I was able to get out to enjoy some time Back Country on the Flats.
That is some of the best time in the Keys, fishing, navigating the waters between Keys and shoals and enjoying the natural surroundings.
 
 
 
Fishing a Cut early in the morning.

Monday, December 23, 2013

MERRY CHRISTMAS

MERRY CHRISTMAS, TO ALL, FROM THE FLORIDA KEYS
 
 
AND A HAPPY, HEALTHY NEW YEAR !

Saturday, December 21, 2013

THE BEST KEYS SUNSET OF 2013

WE WERE IN AWE OF THIS SUNSET, WHICH LASTED FOR ABOUT AN HOUR IN TOTAL.
 
NO WORDS TO DESCRIBE THIS NATURAL BEAUTY, JUST ENJOY THE PICTURES.

 
 
 


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

SMOKING FISH IN THE KEYS

WHEN YOU RUN INTO A GOOD DAY OF FISHING FOR SPANISH MACKEREL, ONLY ONE THING TO DO, SMOKE'M
 
 
 
I have always been fond of smoked fish,smoked Whiting, White Fish,Spanish Mackerel Etc. So when i came into about twenty plus lbs. the urge came out to smoke the fillets. Now, these weren't a bunch of skinny under nourished fish, these were the real deal, big fat and the prime source for smoking fillets.
 
The next chore was to find a smoker worthy of the wonderful fish we catch down here in the Fl. Keys. After doing some research, I found the perfect one at the Bass Pro Shop online catalogue. It is called the Master Built Extra Wide Elite. This smoker might be a little big for the beginning smoker, it filled the bill for me. After having it shipped to the closest retail store, with free shipping, I picked it up and began the assembly. Not too bad, it took about forty minutes to assemble. Once it was ready to go I had to season the unit to get rid of any residue that may have been left on the material during manufacture. With the curing done i went straight to the fillets, first brining them in a solution of kosher salt, brown sugar, and water,for about eight hours.
 
The next day the fillets, a test batch went into the smoker, which was set at 225 degrees, two hours later, perfect smoked fish. The fish came out with a wonderful smoke flavor and extremely moist, success. Two days later the smoker was fired up once more and fifteen lbs. were brined and smoked,again a great success. To this date everyone that has tried them rave about the apple wood aroma, flavor and  moistness. Next up, some racks of baby back ribs, I am looking forward to see how they turn out, although I don't eat much meat, I love to put a smile on the faces of others.
 
Here are some pictures of my first two efforts.
 
The Smoker

First test batch, done, delicious

Second batch brined and ready for the smoker

Loading the smoker

Half way through the process,already getting some color

Apple wood chips at the ready, soak them so that the don't ignite but rather give off large amounts of smoke

Finished product cooling off

Mahogany goodness

No bad reviews yet

Time for a  taste test.
 
 


Thursday, December 12, 2013

UPPER KEYS SAILING CLUB 2014 CATBOAT REGATTA

HERE IS THE SCHEDULE FOR THE UPPER KEYS SAILING CLUB CATBOAT REGATTA.
 
*


February 14-17
*


All Sizes and
Makes of Catboats
are Welcome!


*


Catboat Sailors
welcome with or
without their boats


Thurs:


Boat Sign-in & Staging
Fri:


Warm winter sailing in
Florida Bay; Tropical Happy
Hour


Sat:


Sailing in Everglades
National Park; Dinner


Sun:


Informal Racing &
Awards Ceremony



Key Largo Catboat




upperkeyssailingclub.com


Registration & More Info, AhoyDavy@gmail.com or 703.850.6654


Light Breakfast & Lunch Served Daily.
 
 


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

ANOTHER GREAT SAIL IN THE FLORIDA KEYS

YESTERDAY FOUND ME BACK ON THE BAY
 
I TOOK SEVERAL VIDEOS WHICH I HAVE SHARED WITH BLOGGER BUDDIES, THIS ONE JUST SHOWS THE GREAT ENVIRONMENT FOR SAILING HERE IN THE KEYS, BAY SIDE. THE CRUISING GROUNDS ARE UN-SURPASSED FOR SMALL SHALLOW CRAFT LIKE MINE. THE MARSHALL SANDERLING IS PERFECT FOR THESE CONDITIONS.
 
 
 
Marshall Sanderling dancing on the waters of Florida Bay


VIDEO SHOUT OUT TO IBARAKI

Hello from Florida Bay to Ibaraki, Japan

"Sweet Blusette" Blogger
 
 
 
 
 
 


Sunday, December 8, 2013

December Seventh Sail

Great Sail Today Out To Nest Key And Beyond
 
My friend Roland and I left the harbor today at 2:30 for a sail out to one of our favorite Keys in the Everglades National Park. The wind was perfect for our course out and back, 12Kts out of the East, moderate sea and one reef to make the trip relaxing.
 
As usual, there were no other boats in sight, the Bay was ours. Heading out Roland and I split up and each took our own heading, Roland taking a more downwind course to begin with while I opted to stay on the wind. Of course, by the time we reached Nest Key we were both  dead even,  our two boats are pretty evenly matched, however, Roland does better going to windward while I dominate off the wind. It's all part of the routine, the cat and mouse game is fun and makes each sail interesting.
 
We arrived back at the dock shortly after sunset and were happy that we hooked up for another great sail. Several pictures and videos are included for your enjoyment.
 
Roland captured this photo of me aboard my Catboat PUFFIN

Add caption

Heading out to Nest Key

View from IBIS

Relaxing at the helm

Close quarters




Heading home

Sailing through Chair Cut
Close enough?
 



 
 
 
 
 


Sunday, November 24, 2013

A DRAMATIC SUNSET OVER THE FLORIDA BAY

I captured this video last night from my little dock on the Bay.
Enjoy one minute of this dramatic sunset.


Sunset On The Bay

A masterpiece is being painted today
Down by the seashore,
down by the bay.
The colors are radiant, as I watch
Standing where
The Master is painting
The sunset out there.

The sky, once so blue,
Is aglow in my sight.
His painting is crimson,
with gold tinted light.
The sea caught the reflection
And doubled the shine.
How I wish I could make
This painting all mine.

The colors are perfect
As they blend one by one,
His waters ... the paints,
His paintbrush ... the sun.
And my thoughts are prayerful
As homeward I plod.
The canvas ... the sky,
And the Artist ... is God.




Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Evening Sail

Being chased by a Squall
 
 
Last evening Roland and I set sail about 3:30 for an evening sail out to one of the Keys (Park Key), it was a great sail out with a steady breeze from the West, about 6-8Kts. As we arrived at our destination the sun was just setting and it would not be until sometime later that we would arrive back at our respective docks. As we came about we could see storm clouds brewing in the North, it was an angry looking affair that was making some fast tracks in our direction. We could see lightning in the distance and hear thunder following the strikes. There was not much we could do at this point except make the best of our little Catboat rigs to speed us home in time , before wind, rain and lightning closed in on us. As we approached our harbor the wind, as so often happens before the arrival of a squall, died leaving us just a little apprehensive. "Hey Roland, time for the iron wind". As quickly as I got those words out of my mouth, our little 2.3 HP Honda's were purring and propelling us to our home bases.
 
Update, the storm, no small affair, passed us to the East and missed us entirely. Would we have missed this sail and the opportunity to enjoy the Florida Bay in the evening, no chance. Keep a weather eye and you will almost always be safe in this region.
 
 
Here are a few pictures of our evening sail.
 
 
Meeting up with Roland aboard IBIS for an evening sail.

PUFFIN, heading out to Park Key, in the Florida Everglades.

Park Key in the distance.

Clouds gathering in the North

PUFFIN under a shroud of clouds.
Heading back, following Ibis and her stern light.

This beautiful backdrop turns very angry in just a few minutes.


 

Sunset over Bottle Key
 


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Gale Warning for the Keys

WHEW



 
 
GMZ031-140930-
FLORIDA BAY INCLUDING BARNES SOUND, BLACKWATER SOUND, AND
BUTTONWOOD SOUND-
846 PM EST WED NOV 13 2013
...GALE WARNING IN EFFECT...
.OVERNIGHT...NORTHEAST WINDS AROUND 30 KNOTS WITH FREQUENT GUSTS OF
35 TO 40 KNOTS. BAY WATERS EXTREMELY ROUGH. SCATTERED SHOWERS.
.THURSDAY...NORTHEAST TO EAST WINDS 25 TO 30 KNOTS AND GUSTY...
DECREASING TO NEAR 25 KNOTS AND GUSTY IN THE AFTERNOON. BAY WATERS
EXTREMELY ROUGH. SCATTERED SHOWERS.
.THURSDAY NIGHT...NORTHEAST TO EAST WINDS 20 TO 25 KNOTS AND GUSTY.
BAY WATERS VERY ROUGH. SCATTERED SHOWERS.
.FRIDAY...EAST WINDS NEAR 20 KNOTS. BAY WATERS ROUGH. SCATTERED
SHOWERS.
.FRIDAY NIGHT...EAST WINDS NEAR 20 KNOTS...BECOMING EAST TO
SOUTHEAST AND DECREASING TO 15 TO 20 KNOTS. SCATTERED SHOWERS.
.SATURDAY...EAST TO SOUTHEAST WINDS 15 TO 20 KNOTS. BAY WATERS
CHOPPY. SCATTERED SHOWERS.
.SATURDAY NIGHT THROUGH SUNDAY NIGHT...EAST WINDS 15 TO 20 KNOTS.
BAY WATERS CHOPPY. ISOLATED SHOWERS.
.MONDAY AND MONDAY NIGHT...EAST TO SOUTHEAST WINDS NEAR 15 KNOTS.
BAY WATERS A MODERATE CHOP. ISOLATED SHOWERS.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

MOTH sailing coming to the UPPER KEYS SAILING CLUB

MOTH SAILING
 
The Upper Keys Sailing Club will be hosting the Moth Class Winter Series this year.
 
 
Here are the weekends that we are hosting the regattas:

Jan 3 - 5 (Moth Winter Series #1, expecting 18 boats, probably 25-30 people )
Jan 30 - Feb 2 (Moth Winter Series #2, expecting 20 boats, 30 people)


March 21 - 23 (Moth Winter Series #4, expecting 26 boats, 30-50 people)


 
 
 
 
 
 
This is the same club that hosts the "Southern Most" Catboat Regatta annually, in February. Looking forward to watching these High Tech, little craft skip along the water.



Sunday, November 10, 2013

Key West Bound

About three times a winter a group of Go Fast boat owners head from Miami to the Keys.
 
 
You know when they are heading South because the roar that emanates from these boats can be  heard for miles away. It is not unusual for as many as 40 to 70 of the speed boats to blow by on the ICW, in flights of ten to twenty at a time. Thankfully, these craft are pretty much limited to the narrow path of the ICW and that they go so fast they are gone in a flash. Truthfully, it is an amazing sight to behold, what with the roar of the high powered engines, the long rooster tails spraying out in their wakes and the utter immensity of some of these very expensive water borne rockets.
 
Silence is broken

video
 


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

PUFFIN IS LAUNCHED

My Marshall Sanderling PUFFIN was launched last Thursday and has already logged some miles on the Florida Bay. This week, however, the wind has arrived full force and has caused all nautical activities to cease.


A case in point.
 
 
 
Down here in the Keys,  unless you are in a rather large marina, they launch most boats with a huge Fork Lift. In the case of our little Marshalls, they employ a set of sling straps to lift the boats off their trailers. This system is very effective and takes no time to get the boats overboard and the mast raised; it isn't like you have one device to launch then another device to lift the mast, the Fork Lift does it all and in a minimum of time.
 
 
 

PUFFIN all set to be launched

The Fork lift moves into position to lift the boat off the trailer.
In the background you can see the racks where boats are dry stored, the Fork Lift is used mainly to access those craft, at the owners request.

Straps are in place

Carefully, the boat is lifted off the trailer and moved to the pit for launching. They use the same lift to install the mast.
 
 
Although the wind has been blowing out of the North at about 25-30 Kts for the last few days, the temperatures are still in the mid eighties, making for some very pleasant conditions to work on the boats, bringing them up to snuff as it were. On the Marshall, a new 2.3 Honda was installed and the interior was detailed to get rid of dirt and dust that accumulated over the summer while in storage. The Flats Boat needed a new bilge pump and some wiring upgrades, in addition a new stern light was installed to replace the defective old one.
 


New Honda 2.3 four stroke for the Marshall

PUFFIN at her dock, a well protected canal safe from all directions of wind.

New Mark Beaton sail has been bent on and she just awaits her skipper for a sail.

Here in the Keys where boats are  used many more months out of the year, compared to up North, gear has to be change out more frequently. In this case it was the bilge pump that just wore out, it was in the boat since 2002.

The same can be said for the stern light, things just wear out over time.
 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Weather has us down for the next few days.

A Break in the weather !

 

The end of October usually signals some type of weather change, going from the high eighties to the mid seventies. Thia weather pattern is usually a welcome change for the Keys Natives who look forward to a break from the hot summer weather. Mid seventies is fine by me, great fishing and sailing weather.
 
 

GMZ031-241445-
FLORIDA BAY INCLUDING BARNES SOUND, BLACKWATER SOUND, AND
BUTTONWOOD SOUND-
437 AM EDT THU OCT 24 2013

...SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT FOR INCREASING WINDS...

.TODAY...NORTH TO NORTHEAST WINDS NEAR 15 KNOTS EARLY...INCREASING TO
NEAR 20 KNOTS. BAY WATERS A MODERATE CHOP...BECOMING ROUGH. SCATTERED
SHOWERS AND ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS.
.TONIGHT...NORTHEAST WINDS 20 TO 25 KNOTS. BAY WATERS VERY ROUGH.
SCATTERED SHOWERS.
.FRIDAY...NORTHEAST WINDS NEAR 20 KNOTS...INCREASING TO 20 TO 25
KNOTS LATE. BAY WATERS VERY ROUGH. SCATTERED SHOWERS.
.FRIDAY NIGHT...NORTHEAST WINDS 20 TO 25 KNOTS AND GUSTY. BAY WATERS
VERY ROUGH. ISOLATED SHOWERS.
.SATURDAY...NORTHEAST WINDS 20 TO 25 KNOTS...DECREASING TO 15 TO 20
KNOTS IN THE AFTERNOON. BAY WATERS VERY ROUGH...BECOMING CHOPPY.
ISOLATED SHOWERS.
.SATURDAY NIGHT THROUGH MONDAY NIGHT...NORTHEAST WINDS 15 TO 20
KNOTS. BAY WATERS CHOPPY. ISOLATED SHOWERS.
 
 



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Getting settled in...Flats Boat launched, Marshall Sanderling next.

BACK IN THE KEYS

 ALL SETTLED IN FOR THE WINTER

 
 
I arrived back in the Keys last Wednesday and started preparing for the long winter stay. First on the list was to move in and get everything put in it's place, next go food shopping , then sit back and relax. The second day I went to my friend Roland's house to move my to boats to prepare them for launching. Roland is kind enough to allow me to store my boats on his property, he also provides me with a room for all the items I don't take back to NJ each year.
 
 
Preparing the Flats Boat is fairly easy, since there is no need to winterize the engine, it is simple enough to treat the gas so it does not go bad, disconnect the batteries, fog the engine and finally put on the summer cover. This year, I took the added precaution of staking the boats and trailers to the ground in case of high winds or a Hurricane.
 
Flats Boat in it's "winter position"
Trivia question, where have you see "winter position" before?
Counting on you Baydog! 
 
 
PUFFIN, my Marshall Sanderling takes a little more effort to get ready for launching and sailing. Not only does the hull get washed and waxed, the bottom painted and washed inside and out. Painting  the bottom involves sanding, washing then painting all while the boat is on the trailer. Quite the job in cramped quarters as you will see from the photos but worth it in the end.
 
Preparing the mast, new halyards and a good wash

Puffin, all washed and waxed, waiting for the bottom paint.

Two preparations for the hull, mild compound followed by a Carnuba wax application.
 
On a final great note, this is how my day ended.
 
 
After an exhausting day in the 88 degree heat, a great Sunset always helps to recharge my batteries.

A boat and it's crew enjoying the Sunset on the Bay.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

PREPARING FOR THE ANNUAL MIGRATION TO THE KEYS...

OCTOBER 15, HEADING FOR THE KEYS
 
 
On October 15, I will begin my trek back to the Florida Keys, Tavernier, to be exact.  Tavernier is located between Key largo and Islamorada, mile marker 93.5 on the Overseas Highway. I look forward to getting my Marshall Sanderling, PUFFIN,  ready to sail the Florida Bay once again; next to get wet will be the Flats boat that takes me out into the shallow waters of the Everglades National Park for some fine fishing.
 
See you then, hopefully with some good fishing and sailing pictures along with some interesting stories and facts about my time in the Florida  Keys. Until then, fair winds and smooth sailing.
 
Enjoying a comfortable sail on the Florida Bay
 
 


Monday, September 30, 2013

Tices Shoal Revisited by Sandscraper

I have mentioned these two subjects, separately,  in previous Posts, however, this Post will combine the two in an attempt to recapture a great place and moments from the past.
 
 
In an earlier Post I provided pictures of my favorite sailboat that I had the pleasure of owning and sailing for twelve years. I purchased Sandscraper from Fred Weideke, an avid sailor and owner of the Stump Creek Slipways, on the Toms River. Fred had raced her for many years, doing very well on the local circuit, eventually he sold her and the new owner allowed her to slip into the state of disrepair. While looking for a sailboat to purchase, I happened onto Fred one day and we became fast friends. I was immediately drawn to a double ended sloop resting on a mooring in Fred's little cove, that was the first time that I knew Sandscraper, as she was called, was for me. Fred was quick to take me out in a dingy for the introduction to his "baby". Fred was quite annoyed with the present owner, who was not showing any intention of repairing Sandscraper much less ever sailing her.
 
 
It was not long after that initial meeting that Fred called the owner and threatened to throw him off the property unless he agreed to sell me Sandscraper, one week later, after a quick in the water survey, I owned her and was ready to tackle the arduous job of restoring her to her original condition. Fred was overjoyed as was I when, after a winter of countless hours of sanding, painting and replacing decayed wood returned Sandscraper to her once beautiful condition.
 
Sandscraper fully restored and sitting at anchor at Tices Shoal

A view from Sandscraper's cockpit looking across the main hatch. Sandscraper was a center cockpit, double ended sloop, built in 1947.


These pictures were taken at Tices Shosl,located just off Island Beach State Park, a quiet little anchorage to spend time reading, relaxing and crabbing. The fact that you could wade ashore and enjoy the beach was an added bonus. During this time there were not any barges that hosted concerts that drew thousands of boats from every corner of Barnegat Bay, only to provide a chaotic grand party that, in my humble opinion, has ruined this otherwise serene anchorage.

I will always cherish my time at The Shoal,anchored with a few good friends,rafted up for a nice social hour only to head back to our own space for a  quiet evening enjoying the night sky and peaceful sleep.


 
Alas, this is what Tices offers today, I guess that I am in the minority about feeling for it's demise.
Luckily, I have found a new Haven to visit, the Florida Keys and The Everglades National Park.


 
 
 


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Time Spent At The Eastern Shore Of Virginia

FRAN AND I JUST SPENT SIX DAYS AT OR NEAR THE TOWN OF ONANCOCK, VA.
 
 
 
 
Fran is preparing for her trip to Russia in two weeks, we thought that a few days at the Eastern Shore would be a good diversion from all the preparation she has been going through for her travel.
 
We left NJ on Friday morning and caught the Cape may-Lewes ferry to cross the Delaware River. The Ferry helps break up the driving time and provides for some nice maritime scenery. After landing in Lewes it was only a matter of two hours before we arrived in Onancock and our B&B, The Garden Inn. Settling in only took a few minutes, so we took the rest of the time before dinner to explore the town, make reservations for the Tangier Ferry and look through a few of the shops that dot Onancock's streets.
 
Our plan for the next few days was to take the Tangier Ferry, a Maine built lobster boat, out to Tangier Island and spend the day walking around the Island, have lunch then return in time for dinner at a nearby restaurant that some friends recommended. Fortunately for us the weather stayed clear and warm and the day went off without a hitch. The restaurant, The Charlotte Hotel was the choice for our first dinner away from the B&B, the hotel is an Historic Site, right in the middle of Onancock.
Fran a luscious Pork Chop and I went for the Soft Crab, both were good but I think that Fran's choice was the better of the two.
 
The third day found us heading for Chincoteague and Assateague Islands to see the wild Ponies and visit the National Seashore preserve. We never did get to see the Ponies but the drive and the Preserve we worth the trip. Dinner that night included Duck Breast for me and Rack of Lamb for Fran both were excellent dishes preceded by a very tasty Martini.
 
The next two days were spent with friends,, who live in the area, and invited us to stay in their beautiful home. Great meals, wine, a fantastic trip out onto the Bay in their boat were highlights of the visit. For our part, we treated them to a dinner at their favorite restaurant. They had the seared Mahi Mahi while Fran and I opted for the Sea Scallops, all were good and everyone went home smiling. The Perfect Manhattan before dinner contributed to the overall experience.
 
 


Fran pointing out the location of the Wild Ponies

Entrance into the visitors center at Assateague


The wily Fox, a long time resident of this area

Bald Eagle returning to the nest with food for the little ones.

The Little ones

Breakfast at the B&B, The Garden Inn.

Dining room

Meeting place for the complimentary glass of wine each night.

Garden sitting area

Enjoying a complimentary breakfast prepared by our Innkeeper each morning.

Happy guest

Leaving Onancock Harbor

Sailboats anchored in the Harbor

Very nice

Osprey nest and Inhabitant

Our Captain in the wheel house of his Maine built Lobster Boat, AKA Tangier Ferry

Arriving in Tangier Harbor

Docking with his aft steering station

One of the Inns on the Island, 500 occupy this island

Some Tangier History

Years ago it was common place to bury your family in the front yard, now the church cemetery is the proper place.
The heavy cement slabs keep the coffins from being lifted out of the ground by the high water table.

The Historic Charlotte Hotel

Menu of the Hotel

Frosty libation

Is Fran smiling at the glass of water or the Martini

I know why I'm smiling

Southern Pine on the property of our friends land

Beautiful home owned by our friends

View of the dock from the house.

Deep Creek looking South

Deep Creek, looking out to the Bay

Dock heading to the house.

View from the North, porch extends around three sides of the house, one large portion is screened to protect from insects.

Latest addition, Garage and work shop

Back of the house, entrance.

Dining room

One of several views of the TV/family room

Family room

Family room looking at the fireplace and game table.

Dining room looking into the spacious kitchen. Some people just know how to live.

Our guest room

View from the deck to the dock

Foyer

Enjoying a boat ride out onto the Bay, fly swatter is for the pesky Green Heads while not moving.

Abandoned Crab Shedding shack

Returning home

House and dock on deep creek.