1 LiveBloggin' the ICW: March 2012

Monday, March 26, 2012

STILL in Miami Beach...

No Bahamas this year it would seem - the winds have gone from the east to the north - to make the Bahamas you need anything BUT north, and east is a close second worst choice. Still, it's been fun here in Biscayne Bay, although I'll be leaving later this week, heading for Chesapeake Bay and then the Great Lakes for the summer.
Finally got the new solar panels up today - still need to strap them down properly, but they're up, producing lots of power and that's what matters at the moment. Expecting a friend to sail in sometime today, he and his wife have come down the Mississippi from the Great Lakes and all the way around to here...
And....if you check, you'll see there's a new page up here - it's on repairing your mainsail by yourself. This is one of the videos that Tory at TheSailingChannel.tv and I do together. Take a look, let me know what you think of it, the link is Repairing your mainsail . Special thanks to my special assistant on this video...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Kids on the Ocean....

...from one of our group comes this cute email...
Children writing about the ocean

 1) - This is a picture of an octopus. It has eight testicles.
(Kelly, age 6)

2) - Oysters' balls are called pearls.
(Jerry, age 6)

3) - If you are surrounded by ocean, you are an island.
If you don't have ocean all round you, you are incontinent.
(Mike, age 7)

4) - Sharks are ugly and mean, and have big teeth, just like Emily 

Richardson. She's not my friend any more.
(Kylie, age 6)

5) - A dolphin breaths through an asshole on the top of its head.
(Billy, age 8)

6) - My uncle goes out in his boat with 2 other men and a woman and pot and  comes back with crabs.
(Millie, age 6)

7) - When ships had sails, they used to use the trade winds to cross the ocean.  Sometimes when the wind didn't blow the sailors would whistle to make the wind  come. My brother said they would have been better off eating beans.
(William,  age 7)

8) - Mermaids live in the ocean. I like mermaids. They are beautiful and I like their shiny tails, but how on earth do mermaids get pregnant? Like, really?
(Helen, age 6)

9) - I'm not going to write about the ocean. My baby brother is always crying,  my Mom keeps yelling at my Dad, and my big sister has just got pregnant, so I can't think what to write.
(Amy, age 6)

10) - Some fish are dangerous. Jellyfish can sting. Electric eels can give you a shock. They have to live in caves under the sea where I think they have to plug themselves in to chargers.
(Christopher, age 7)

11) - When you go swimming in the ocean, it is very cold, and it makes my willy small.
(Kevin, age 6)

12) - On vacation my Mom went water skiing. She fell off when she was going very fast. She says she won't do it again because water fired right up her big fat ass.
(Julie, age 7)

13) - The ocean is made up of water and fish.
Why the fish don't drown I don't know.
(Bobby, age 6)

14) - My dad was a sailor on the ocean. He knows all about the ocean.
What he doesn't know is why he quit being a sailor and married my mom.
(James, age  7)

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Fun Never Ends...

Well! It seems that Sharp is NOT going to replace my solar panel under warranty after all - they don't cover panels used in the marine environment - in fact, one installer tells me that they don't even cover panels used on an island! Who knew? I certainly didn't.
On the other hand, this installer has just taken in a bunch of good secondhand panels from a house on which they've just replaced all the solar panels and he's going to sell me three panels - for $100. This effectively will double my wattage from 123 to 255, you'll be able to see Gypsy Wind glowing from a couple of miles away now!
Seriously, this will allow me to charge my batteries fully on a sunny day - although it still might not be quite enough to run a hair dryer, not that I have hair...or a hair dryer...but I do have a 120 volt blender! Margaritas anyone?
In other news, lots of coconuts left, but ran out of rum! What WAS I thinking?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Oh oh....

This post is slightly out of order, for an excellent reason....I picked a bunch of coconuts to do a video on how to get coconut water without going to the Publix. Decided to do a quick video on opening the coconut and using it as the 'glass' for your rum drinks....
I may have rehearsed this a bit too well using Havana Club rum....and isn't that ironic, there's Harry Neilsen singing 'Put the lime in the coconut' on my iPod as I write this....is there nothing I can take, to relieve my bellyache.....
Perhaps I'll just rehearse some more!
Stay tuned for the video!
All is well - I'm 'stuck' here in Biscayne Bay with these winds, about 15 mph from the east and northeast - can't get across to the Bahamas, but it's not so bad. Aduana and I are enjoying exploring here actually. Using this mini adventure for the basis of an article. Lemons, lemon juice! Gotta think positive.
Will be here for another couple weeks, max, then head back north for Chesapeake Bay and onward to the Great Lakes for the summer.
I was having problems keeping the battery charge up, so I've just replaced my solar charge controller, thinking it was a problem. Then spent days looking for a ground leak as the source of the problem. What a nuisance that was.
Turns out the solar panel itself was at fault - and SHARP is giving me a new one under warranty, so no problem. As part of this whole procedure, I just replaced my batteries - four Trojan 105s - that was a bit pricey, but they were just short of six years old and weren't holding a charge well. Plus, the hygrometer was showing bad cells in one battery, and weak in a couple of others. They were due.
As part of the energy problem, not realizing the panel was out, I decided to buy an 800 watt generator at Harbor Freight - only $89, plus $20 for a two year warranty. Not sure I like the thing yet because of the noise it makes, but it's been convenient and I know when I need 120v for tools and such, it'll be there. Plus, should anyone need to dry their hair onboard, it's perfect, or use a blender for margaritas...Oh, yea, can't forget the new inverter - my old one (finally) quit, after nearly ten years, can't whine about that I suppose.
Found a coconut palm last night on the little key just near here, with tons of 'water' coconuts on it. Those are the small, new nuts with coconut water in them. Each one is over a glass and a half of fresh coconut juice. I'll be heading over later to load up the dinghy with them. Then all I need is some rum and I'm good for sundowners.
And that's about it - have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Jimbos.....oh my!

Spent the weekend at Jimbos, which was rather an other worldly experience. This place makes Key West look normal and that is saying something. Over the weekend there was everything from travelers to transvestites, pretenders and poseurs, soup to nuts, or so it seemed, and then some. There was Pauli, a guy in a beret and goatee who was panhandling...there were several groups of young Cuban girls having their photos taken, glamour shots, something to do with a rite of passage for hispanic gals turning 15. They showed up in all their hot clothes to have their photos taken - by professionals with lights, tripods, the whole setup no less - in front of a beat up dock, or a burned out bus, with pouty looks and sexy stances. Go figure. It was fun watching though.
This photo is looking back at Jimbos - notice the storage trailer to the right, that's the bar...notice the houseboat to the left of Gypsy Wind, and the shrimper to the right. Redneck heaven here...
This is the view of Miami, taken about 200 yards behind where the first photo was taken...hard to believe, isn't it?
Still, the beer was cold and cheap, the smoked fish was fabulous and the conch fritters were about the best I've ever had. The band Sunday afternoon was very good. John, the guy who told me about this place, told me that I'd missed seeing the Miami Alternative Sex Group about two weeks previously. They were celebrating along with a group of frat boys who were initiating some new members. 
The frat boys would throw cases of beer at the new pledges, who had to drink them as fast as they could. A couple of women from the MAS group decided to help. They took their clothes off and threw the beer at the guys, who then couldn't drink for staring. The ladies then spent the balance of that afternoon just wandering about.
Then of course, there are the mandatory bikers and their babes, plus the gawkers who show up to, well, gawk, and the tourists who show up with cameras and walk about with their jaws a'hanging. And a gig like this wouldn't be complete without the Miami Dade Crime Unit van showing up for a cold soda with friends hanging out there.
It was quite the show.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Sailing Day...

The sun was shining, the breeze was blowing about 10 - 12 knots from the southeast, the water was beautifully turquoise on Biscayne Bay, so I spent the afternoon sailing.
Lighthouse on Boca Chita

...as the sun sets in the west...

say ahhhhhhh....
What more need I say?


Got together with a photographer friend of mine the other day and we paid a visit to 'Jimbo's'. I discovered this place while awaiting a bus in downtown Miami. Two fellow sailors came by (they were dressed 'casually', were on bikes and one was carrying a solar panel, what else could they be?), and told me they were staying there and I should drop by and check it out.
Well - here we are, perhaps a half kilometer from Fisher Island and all that expensive real estate and we're in a - it's hard to describe it - but imagine something right out of the sixties, hippy and free, rusted out trailers, banged up Mercedes (it IS Miami after all), dogs everywhere, a tame racoon wandering about, some pretty redneck dudes, old fishing boats, and you'd be, well, in the general ballpark. But nothing I can tell you about this place could prepare you for the real thing - I was stunned by what I saw.
Below is the description from the website; take it from me, nothing it says is inaccurate, but by no means does it adequately describe what you'll find at Jimbo's.

Jimbo Luznar is a man. And Jimbo's Shrimp Shack is a place. And Jimbo's Place is... a state of mind.
It's simply the last place at the end of the road where everyone is welcome, from kings and politicians to working folks and the salt of the earth.
Jimbo's is not a bar; but you can buy ice cold beer there.
It's not a restaurant or a convenience store; but you can buy the best smoked fish you ever tasted there.
It's not a marina, but you can pull your boat up to this natural, eco-friendly location anytime and just hang out.
Come by car or come by boat. Come by jetski or parachute in. Play bocce ball, have a picnic, enjoy some smoked fish and cold beer; watch a movie being made, or a photo shoot; or just hang out and relax.
On the weekends, the bocce ball court gets pretty active. You might even challenge Jimbo to a game, but don't count on winning...

Check it out, at http://www.jimbosplace.com/index.html I plan on swinging over there to anchor for the weekend and see just what it's all about. There WILL be photographs, because I just don't think I can possibly describe what I'll find.