Cruising the East Coast and the Abacos in our Camano Troll
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
South From Vero
The Thanksgiving potluck at the park in Vero Beach was quite festive and there seemed to be plenty of food to go around including the small turkey and dressing and gravy that we managed to cook in our tiny galley. We sat with our mooring mates, Franz and Louise, and other folks we had met along the way.
Franz had tried to teach me how to fish to no avail, but he gave me a catfish to use as bait in my crab trap. My first (and only) catch was a barely legal blue crab which I steamed the next morning and awarded the claws to Franz. It was quite tasty.
We had a rather spectacular sunrise one morning at Vero.
One boat came in with most of his mast missing and the highly experienced owner said that it broke on a calm day just off an inlet.
We spent some leisure time setting the boat up for the holidays with bows and wreaths and lights from the Dollar Store. I have enhanced the lights with PhotoShop since they did not photograph well. The little lights are LED and are powered by their own solar cells and batteries. They come on automatically at dusk.
The full moon one night was quite beautiful and reminded me of the song from The Fantasticks. (This photo is not PhotoShopped.)
When we finally headed south from "Velcro Beach" (I think Jimmy Buffet might have come up with the name because you tend to "stick" there because it is so well set up for the cruisers), we ran past all kinds of interesting boats including what looked like a matched pair of Elcos.
We spent a couple of nights in North Lake Worth as many thunderstorms came through. Erik and Judith on Bravo were anchored nearby.
More interesting boats popped up as we went by the Lake Worth Inlet and Palm Beach. The one on the right is the Bounty.
These kids wanted to show us the fish they caught -- or were they just rubbing it in that the Skipper was still "fishless"?
We ran by Lighthouse Point where we had spent some good times with the Bodens and watched the busy traffic at Hillsboro Inlet. There are many inlets, but few really "safe" ones. The smaller ones are labelled "used by locals and fishermen" in the guides. In other words, you have got to be nuts if you go through this inlet in anything but absolutely perfectly calm conditions with no tide or current and have a native Floridian (about 1% of the population) guide with you.
THE SOCIALIZATION OF MANATEES
Once you get into South Florida, there are all kinds of "Manatee Zones", restricting boat movement in one way or another. In truth, boats with their propellers can be fatal to the once-endangered manatees, but the reality is a bit more political, methinks.
Note that the "Summer Manatees" must be more agile than the winter ones, since they apparently can avoid boats going 5 MPH faster. Note also that few people live in their winter cottages along the shore in summer.
We have noticed in the past that manatees are upwardly mobile socially and tend to hang out off the very expensive mega-mansions and condos of the super-rich. There are far more manatee speed restrictions in these areas than off trailer parks and undeveloped land. (I refuse to believe that politics or payoffs would have had anything to do with these designations for the betterment of these lovely Rubenesque mammals.)
As upwardly mobile as these animals may be, there are still some areas where they can only afford to go on winter weekends. I haven't yet read the research that shows how they learned to read calendars and clocks, but I am delighted that some government grant or other was able to furnish them the opportunity.
Some new signs are beginning to show up that weren't in evidence two years ago. Do they signify a little less corruption in government and government-appointed employees or the simple fact that scientific research has shown that manatees are no longer endangered and that they better find another way to restrict the speed of boats off rich people's winter homes? Next year, we expect that all the manatee signs will be replaced with ones that read:
FILTHY RICH PEOPLE HABITAT Anyone throwing a wake of any sort
will be shot.
We finally found Fort Lauderdale, dubbed "Fort Liquordale" by many racing sailors. It is wall-to-wall boats of every size and description. Every house is on a man-made canal with its own boat dock. The land the houses sit on was created from the dredging spoils from the creation of these canals.
This is definitely the land of, "Mine is bigger and better than yours!" You build a multi-million dollar two or three story winter cottage on the landfill (usually only 2-3 feet above sea level) that goes for $6,000,000 for a canal-front or ICW front lot. Then you put your 4 story mega-yacht on the dock in front of it so you can't see the water!
We went past the Los Olas City Marina where we had stopped a couple of times before and saw a sister ship in one of the slips. The Water Taxi is a great tour as well as a great way to get around the city.
Bahia Mar is supposed to be the biggest marina in the world or something like that. There is no question that it has an impressive array of huge motor yachts, with hail ports like the Cayman Islands and other places where the owners can avoid taxes, which never seem to leave the dock. They do, however, provide employment for the armies of crew and boat cleaners who religiously wash the boats down every day in a state which has signs all over the place to "Conserve Water."
We anchored in Lake Sylvia, just beyond Bahia Mar and quite close to Port Everglades Inlet as the crow flies. Note the departing cruise ship in the background on the left.
The plan is to hang around here and maybe North Miami (a nice harbor only 14 miles away) until a "weather window" opens up for the passage across to West End and the Abacos. We will leave from Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale) when and if the window comes.
With a little luck, the next chapter of this "Saga" will come from somewhere on the other side!
The information in this column does not change. New entries will appear to the left.
We started this blog in August 2006 when we were getting ready for our first winter heading south in our new powerboat, named "Sesame". The newest entries are first and the oldest are last. General information is in this column.
Most of the photographs are high definition. You can click on any one of them to see the photograph full size. If you want to steal one, click on it. When you get the full-size one, right click and "Save as" whatever you want. I would only ask that you give proper credit if you use them for anything other that your personal delight and delectation.
The Admiral and the Captain
Enjoying a Meal Ashore in Abaco
Powerboating on the East Coast
We are Judy and Allen Ames from Old Saybrook, Connecticut. Our boats have all been called "Sesame" (Ameses spelled inside out?). The dinghy, of course, is named "Open".
After 60+ years of sailing, the last 25 aboard a Nonsuch 26 and a Nonsuch 30, we went to the "dark side" and bought a slightly used 28 foot trawler, called variously, a Camano Troll, a Camano 28, or a Camano 31 (see below). This blog starts with our first motor boat trip down the East Coast from Connecticut to Key West and back during the winter of 2006-2007. (We had done a similar trip on our Nonsuch 30 a couple of years before. That trip is pretty well documented in our WebShots albums -- http://community.webshots.com/user/allen_ames) It then picks up with our third trip which took us across the Gulf Stream to Abaco on New Year's Eve 2007.
Like most blogs, the most recent entry is on top and you have to scroll down to get previous entries. You can also click on a specific date at the bottom of this column.
We welcome comments or questions. Just hit the word "Comments" at the end of any entry or email us at: Sesame130@comcast.net. You can send the blog to anyone else by clicking on the envelope with an arrow at the end of each entry.
Sesame, Camano Troll #130
Doing 13 knots
The Camano Troll is a "semi-displacement" trawler, 28 feet long on deck and 31 feet overall if you measure the swim platform and anchor roller. She has a 200 horse Volvo turbo-diesel which can push her up to about 13 knots when we're in a hurry and don't care that we're getting less than a mile per gallon. Normally, we cruise at 7-8 knots which is far more relaxing and gets us close to four nautical miles per gallon. We love the 360-degree view from the main cabin and inside steering station and it's even nicer on the flybridge in good weather.
We have most of the amenities: Hot and cold running water, refrigeration and freezer, 3 burner propane stove with oven, shower and enclosed head, and plenty of room for two people. We have replaced the large dining table (which made it possible to convert the dinette into a double bunk) with a smaller one, but have a 5' x 7' pop-up tent and blow-up queen size mattress that fits perfectly on the flybridge for occasional guests (our penthouse!). The bridge also has plenty of room for a couple of lounge chairs.
We have three AGM batteries on the "house" side of our 12-volt system. To keep the small chest freezer, refrigerator, and various toys going, we usually run the engine for a couple of hours a day when we are at anchor or moored in order to keep the batteries charged We also have a 110 volt belt-driven generator which runs off the main engine to power the microwave, airconditioner (and reverse-cycle heater), etc. Smaller 110 appliances, a TV, computers, and rechargers run off a small inverter. A 7.5 amp solar panel helps keep the house batteries up in sunny weather giving a little more TV and freezer time before we have to start up the engine. Of course, all of the 110 system works when the boat is plugged into dock power too.
We communicate by Verizon cell phone and get our internet through a Verizon air card or WiFi wherever and whenever service is available. (Verizon is not our favorite vendor, but it has the best coverage all the way down the East Coast.) We have external marine antennas for both the air card and WiFi. Where we don't have cell service (Bahamas, some of Georgia, the Carolinas, and Maine) but can get WiFi, we use Skype.
The boat was built in British Columbia but the factory has recently been sold and they say they will begin building in Washington state. See the links below for more pictures and specs of the boat.
Our title is a leftover from an old English teacher's fondness for alliteration rather than a true description of the contents. Actually, we plan very carefully to avoid having it become a saga, or even an adventure! We refuse to have a real schedule or dated itinerary for fear that we would be tempted to venture out in poor conditions. If we want to meet someone along the way, we give them the choice of when or where, not both. The only exceptions are when we are relatively certain that we can reach a destination easily and safely at least a week before a specific date. Even then, we make it clear that all "plans" are subject to change or cancellation.
Traditionally, there are two kinds of cruisers: those who are happy in slower boats (sailboats and slow trawlers) focus on the voyage, while those with fast boats are all about the destination. We definitely belong to the former group.
Our goal is to do virtually nothing, and do it well!
Or, to invoke the greatest all-time boating cliche, as Kenneth Graham's Rat says in The Wind in the Willows: Believe me, . . . . there is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing . . . . about in boats -- or with boats. . . . . In or out of 'em, it doesn't matter. Nothing seems really to matter, that's the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don't; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you're always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you've done it there's always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you'd much better not.