A Travellerspoint blog

Still in Miami


Well, here we remain, and that's OK by us. Flexibility in all things and never, ever make the boating gods angry.

We had intended to leave for Key West on Christmas morning. So, we had our "Christmas Dinner" on Christmas Eve. Carol fixed a nice pork roast and we had our presents for dinner: hers was strawberry cheesecake, not from Wolfie's; it's no longer in business. But the guy who owned Wolfie's later started a place called Epicure and, as far as cheesecake goes, it is well named. Mine was a more pedestrian bag of Pepperidge Farm Milano double chocolate cookies. Carol was nice and shared her present; I did give Carol a cookie.

On Christmas day, and the next two days, the winds were about 20 knots. On the ocean this would have been OK; in the shallower waters, +/- 20 feet, where we would have been, this would have made for a very rough ride. So, we opted to hang around.

On Friday we walked up Lincoln Road in Miami Beach. Lincoln Road is about a 2/3's of a mile, open air, pedestrian mall that, more or less, goes from the bay to the ocean. In a place like Miami Beach where there is so much wealth on ostentatious display, the mall is less about shopping and more about consumption. We hadn't seen anything like this since north Michigan Avenue in Chicago. We did have a nice lunch there, in the center of the mall under umbrellas. An interesting place to visit, but give us the land and people in Spring Creek. And on top of all that, there were no pickup trucks or Christmas decorations anywhere to be seen. Maybe there's a law.

We were anchored out for a week and while at anchor it was plain that the boat was drawing too many amp hours from the batteries, a bad thing. Plus, it was overcast for several days so the solar panels were no help. Since the only thing that was running, most of that time, was the refrigerator, the problem was easy to identify.

There seems to be a perverse rule to all which boat designers adhere: if something is important to access, put it somewhere that is impossible to access. It's a good thing that I'm a skinny guy; if I weighed two pounds more I couldn't get to places like the evaporator coil for the refrigerator. We dug down to it and, sure enough, the cooling fins on the evaporator coil were caked solid with crud as was the duct leading to it and vent too. To clean the coil we found a small air compressor with a tank at an Ace Hardware; it's 110 volts and I wanted to wait until we were on shore power to use it. Plus I wanted shore power for a good recharge on the batteries.

So, yesterday, Saturday, we pulled in to Dinner Key Marina, in Coconut Grove, very close to where Carol grew up in Coral Gables. The air compressor worked well enough and we managed to get the coil clean and to jerry-rig a filter to reduce further accumulation. And then the fun began. We we barefoot and all of a sudden we were walking in water in the rear of the main cabin, a very, very bad thing. It appeared to be fresh water and there is a 40-gal. tank in the rear cabin. Since I had just filled both water tanks, that seemed like the place to look.

We literally deconstructed the rear cabin to get to the tank and to expose all of the water hoses to and from the tank. After a couple of hours of work and inspection there was no place that could have put out that volume of water. And then the light went off! On the stern platform there is a fresh water shower head. It turns out that it was stuck in the open position and when Carol left the water switch on it pumped 40-50 gallons into the boat in a short time. The fix was dirt simple. The bilge pump evacuated most of the water and we used a hand pump to get most of the rest. But it was another couple of hours to put the rear cabin back together again.

Too much work and too much excitement for old, retired folks. That brought us to the existential question of the day: do real sailors order pizza for delivery? The other Rhett had the right answer: I don't really give a damn! It was late, we were tired and there was more work to do; so, Papa John's tasted great.

Carol's feeling a little off today, so we'll stay another day at the marina so she can rest and, maybe, head out tomorrow morning.

One of the interesting things that we've learned so far is that traveling by boat is not like traveling by car on an interstate; there isn't always another exit down the road with a Motel 6. When we can't travel at night, which includes almost all inland waters, plus the Keys and the Bahamas, we have to organize a day's travel around a place to stop at night: an anchorage or a marina. Although we've passed the winter solstice and are farther south, there are still only about 10.5 hours of working daylight. So, some days when we can manage 50-miles but the next safe place is 60-miles, we settle for two 30-mile increments. Trying to figure out how to traverse the Keys through Hawk Channel has been particularly vexing in this regard but I think that we're ready to try.

Posted by sailziveli 04:46 Archived in USA Tagged boating

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents


Hello Carol and Russ; I have learned of your adventure from friends in Hot Springs: Anne and Marshall McLaughlin; my wife (Nancy) and I will be visiting with them and Gwen and John Clemons this weekend (Jan 3-4). I plan to follow your sailing adventure while living it vicariously. Nancy and I wish you all the best in this adventure--what a way to begin 2009! Be safe, and may the wind always be on your beam.
Claude Cox
[email protected]

by r22driver

Comment with:

Comments left using a name and email address are moderated by the blog owner before showing.

Not published. Required
Leave this field empty

Characters remaining: