It’s Saturday night and I’m sitting at the local Tiki bar.
Tonight appears no different though from other nights. Until I over hear someone mention that the Rolling Stones are playing a free concert for the people of Cuba. My ears perk up and I ask, Are you sure? .Yeah heard it on the radio today.
Cuba is just 150 nm south of me .I could be there tomorrow. President Obama is going; The Tampa Bay baseball team is going, the last two years it feels like everyone has been going.
I just had lunch the day before with fellow sailors who had just come back spending three weeks there. Asking every question I could think of. Is the channel well marked? How is it clearing through customs, what are the people like? Is it expensive? Good food .Yes, yes, yes all good no problem. . Well then I’m going.
I zip over in my dinghy to my buddy Paul’s boat. He’s from Atlantic City, NJ and like me he has been waiting for something to come along. An adventure to get us motivated to get out of this harbor of refuge called Boot Key. Located half way down the chain of islands called the Florida Keys land of coral rock ,sandy beaches, clear water, fresh fish ,Tiki Bars and Jimmy Buffett wanna be’s. The barnacles are growing thick on the hull and the days are sliding by. Hey Paulie its Kenny you aboard? Yeah come aboard. I jump up, tie off my dinghy and clamber down below. What are you doing? Usual reading my book, doing boat projects. Sure can’t wait till these northerlies stop so I can head north again .I want to get moving. Yeah me too. But listen to this I have this new idea.How would you like to sail to Cuba? He returns a puzzled look and before he can say anything I say the Rolling Stones are playing a free concert there. Wanna go? He gives this about two seconds of thought and says .Yeah. A big smile breaks across my face and I say, Awesome! I knew you would say yes.
Four days later Paul knocks on my hull at 0730 hrs, let’s go!
Where sailing wing and wing down the Hawk channel .Plenty of beer on ice, food and a good weather window. Although a short one. We have 30 hrs of sailing non stop to do. Including a trip across the straits of Florida which runs west to east at about 2 knots sometimes more. With a forecast of 20 -30 knots out of the East this will build up the seas. We know it will be lumpy but we also know we can sail it and the boats tough, she can take it.
Paul’s boat Journey is 36 ft at the waterline weighing in at almost 30k lbs. a cutter rig and built solid.
We pass Key West air base and the fighter jets are putting on quite an air show getting ready for the upcoming Blue Angels performance next week. We sail on leaving it behind and slide out of the Hawk channel turning WSW trimming the sails for Havana, Paul cooks up some stew and as the sun sets and the aroma of food drifts up from the galley we enjoy a warm meal. With the Conch Republic off our stern and Cuba ahead ..Although we can’t see it. We know its there .We settle in for the overnight sail.
2400 hours and were now 40 nm from Hemingway Marina. Inside Cuban waters.
We spot a large ship looks like some sort of fishing trawler? CIA? ,NSA? Guerrillas ? I watched Capt Ron; I know the difference between Gorillas and Guerrillas?
But we sail on and keep our distance. Another ship appears this one turns and cuts in front of our bow we hail it on the vhf several times, no reply? We take evasive action by turning to starboard then flash our spotlight on them .still no reply on the radio. Que Pasa?
Back on course now it’s blowing 25 plus knots seas 10-12 ft, we roll in the big genny and with a couple reefs in the main already, and an expected easing of weather forecasted by sunrise we settle in again on watch and wait.
0700 Havana appears thru the haze off our port bow. The skyline stretching for miles. The breeze has eased some and the seas have settled so we unfurl all the sails and bring her up to hull speed .We will arrive Cuba under full sail and at 1100 hrs we arrive outside the port of Marina Hemingway at the red and white buoy marking the channel entrance and hail the dock master on ch. 77 all this information acquired from my luncheon with friends back in Marathon.
In perfect English we are welcomed to Cuba. The voice on the radio instructs us with directions to enter the channel that has been cut through the reef many years ago. . So with the seas down but a nasty little current running we enter and have no issues holding course 140 deg. Magnetic. We are directed to tie up alongside the sea wall and prepare to be boarded by La Guardia \ customs. This we do and all goes well. Very professional and actually the most professional and efficient customs entry I have ever experienced. I have sailed in and out of at least a dozen different countries and these guys are the best . First we are boarded by 3 officers, then a Dr. takes our temperatures with a digital thermometer aimed at our fore heads, He leaves and then two different officers with cocker spaniels come aboard after taking their shoes off and asking permission the dogs go to work sniffing around .They do there jobs quietly, respectfully and efficiently. Hmm I wonder if our customs is listening. We offer water or beer to the inspectors and water only to the officers and they each accept gratefully. When Agriculture comes aboard they ask to see our fresh food . Bananas okay they say they look inside the ice box .Oh chicken where did you purchase this they ask ? USA we reply . Ah chicken from USA very good ,very good. All is okay and now they ask us for a propina “tip” I have a couple of dollars rolled up and hand each one $2 each. Gracias, gracias where very poor senor and you are most generous. We understand I reply.
That’s it! Were in ! We move to our assigned slip tie up, have a cold one ourselves then take a long over due nap.
Later that afternoon we walk the docks looking for insight into tomorrows concert, where is it we ask? Mick Jagger Rolling Stones some have no idea what were talking about? But others do. Nuevo Vedado is the first reply ,The Parque Zoologico , We better buy a map .We find one at a small boutique store with some post cards ,stamps etc. The woman circles the area for us on the map. We now have a destination ,its game on for tomorrow. .We will pack a back pack and hail a taxi. Which we are more excited about now than the concert. Our first afternoon in Cuba we can’t stop looking with amazement at all the old cars on the streets. Mostly late 40”s to late 50”s models. A 49 Packard with the original Flathead straight 6 under the hood sporting a Russian carburetor on top, I get 12 kilometers per liter senor gas is expensive you know. I work that out to be about 25 miles per gallon not bad for a 67 year old car that drives the streets everyday. 57 Chevys, Pontiacs, Chevy Belairs etc. everywhere. Also there are the little Russian cars called Latta “s itsy bitsy little 4 dr. cars. I’ll take the heavy metal Beast.
Morning comes fast we tossed and turned all night as the hotel across the street had a band of locals partying with blaring Cuban music all night in the tropical breeze until 7:30 am when it stopped . I think the day shift arrived and sent the night shift home.
We pack our bags and walk down to the main security gate to hail a cab. In ten minutes a Black 57 Pontiac sedan pulls up and we get our pictures taken standing in front of it before entering our Ride to Havana and music history in Cuba.
Where off to see The Rolling Stones our driver steps on it and we are cruising the streets on our way to Havana. Everywhere we watch the people, the other cars on the road, the old buildings, hotels all from another time all in there day plush and classy each one unique in its architectural design. It all looks familiar but from another place in time. I feel like where in a movie. The car pulls up to the large outdoor sports complex .Not a huge monstrous construction of stands and buildings like we are accustomed to in The US more like a large college sports complex with gated area and no stands. What would have been state of the art 50 years ago or more . But that’s Cuba its one continual old movie. The police are everywhere, military too but I do not notice any weapons .we feel safe. We ask directions, welcome they say. Please senor go around this way to the other side you can enter there. Gracious we reply and turn and walk as directed. People are converging from every direction. Mostly locals but a smattering of foreigners mixed in. A man approaches us and asks if where American. Yes are you ? I reply. Yes from NY. Hi where from Boston and Atlantic city ,NJ. Can I ask you some questions? Sure we say and he proceeds to ask why we are here and how did we get here ? Are we here to see the Rolling Stones or Cuba and its people? We tell him we were sitting on our boats in Florida and heard the Rolling Stones were coming to Cuba and we have always wanted to come ourselves. So with the president coming too we took it for an omen, a calling from the people to come and experience the forgotten land . We bought some beer set our sails and sailed the 150 nm to come see what’s going on? The next day we find out on FB by Paul’s wife Colleen that we are in every major newspaper in the states. Were Famous! So that must be why we ended up in the VIP sect of the field about 40 yds. From the stage. We must have looked important? I can say this Jimmy Buffett, Naomi Campbell and Richard Gere with a few other celebes I didn’t recognize were behind us?
But now we have to wait. The show starts at 2000 hrs. It’s now 1300 hrs. its hot and humid. We forgot to bring something to sit on .We packed 6 bottles of water a few power bars and 1 bottle of rum. Local rum Santiago de Cuba $7 US a bottle, very drinkable too. But we pay with CUC’s pronounced cucks Cuban currency which we had to convert from US currency as US is not accepted in Cuba neither are credit cards from the USA. Thankfully it was a cloudy day which helped keep the temps down. We did spot about 8 portable toilets which was good but we had to share them with the estimated 600,000 people. Pace yourself, pace yourself. If consumed slowly the liquids will dissipate from my body in sweat and all will be okay. This worked along with the rum consumption too. We meet people from Cincinatti,NY ,Canada,Germany,Switzerland ,Mexico, Africa I imagine there were a lot more countries represented than that but we couldn’t meet them all . The Cuban people were ecstatic and Cuban flags were sewn together as one with USA flags, there was a sense of freedom and independence and hope in the air for better times ahead and The Rolling Stones were here to seal the deal. Most had never heard of them before this week. We were picking up Key West radio on the boat and they played stones songs all day before and after the concert, the people were on the roofs of the surrounding buildings. Singing, waving their flags whatever they had .Home crafted T-shirts noticed occasionally throughout the crowd. There were no vendors of any kind .Missing were the sausage and pepper and hot dog vendors , the clothing and all the other distractions of a concert that you would see in the USA or around the world.
The sun starts to settle in the sky it must be getting close we have no time piece to confirm our estimate of time. 8 pm is the expected start of the live show. We have been entertained with music booming from the giant speakers located behind us and all around the stadium. The crowd starts to quiet down you can feel the excitement in the air. The jumbotron screens have been showing video all afternoon and now they even quiet down. 2015 hrs. Boom! Bursts from the speakers the announcers voice bellows out .Ladies and gentlemen the people of Cuba let me introduce The Rolling Stones. The crowd erupts. The Band comes out and Mick Jigger prances across the stage. Belting out.
I was born in a cross fire hurricane
And I howled at my Ma in the driving rain
But it’s all right now.
And in fact it was all right now. The audience could have been any audience anywhere in the world cameras up, all videoing the band recording the music .The crowd singing along it was electrically charged .I felt a part of something new a togetherness a breaking down of old cultures, isolationism, a new spirit of hope and dreams in the words and faces of all those in the crowd. Like experiencing a new born babies first smile a young Childs look of amazement when he sees fireworks for the first time. Anything is possible if you dare to reach out and go for it. This is what I felt and experienced and for the people of Cuba I hope this becomes reality, only time will tell. We are asked many times to pose with people from Cuba they are excited about their new friendship with The United States. We are too and freely pose with them standing shoulder to shoulder like brothers with our new friends.
The music never stopped and neither did the Rolling Stones for 3 hours back and forth , Jumpin up and down they put on a show and in what was a long day of partying ,mingling, meeting new people. Like a Flash it was over.
The concert ends and we proceed out with the masses in search of a taxi and our trip home through the streets of Havana and the comfort of our floating home. Exhausted we finally get into a taxi an old Chevy, 50’s era just another car now on this mysterious, beautiful, friendly island that we have been fortunate to experience.
At midnight back on Journey we cook up a big pasta dish enjoy some cold beer and reminisce about our night, not long after we are lost in our dreams put to sleep by the sounds of the waves breaking on the beach 50 yds. away behind the seawall. We are safe and sound for the night.
The next morning we wake up still buzzed with the excitement of the night before. But with limited time in country we make plans to visit old Havana. We decide to take the one peso bus. Mingle with the locals. Now that we’ve partied with Cuba we feel part of Cuba so we walk down the street and hang out at the bus stop with the locals get on the bus take it to another bus stop wait two hrs,buy a flavored ice cup for refreshment and get on the bus and voila in three hrs we traveled about ten miles ? Just before we get off the bus I reach into my pocket left front and discover that I am now 130 CUC”s lighter in the pocket? I’m a bit pissed at myself for being so stupid I have been pick pocketed by professionals .I know better but left my guard down and paid the price . So with only 13 cucs between us we find ourselves in Old Havana looking to get back to the marina . where not taking the bus and cant afford a taxi.
We walk along the waterfront taking pictures of the old buildings and the people, little kids playing and laughing adults talking or just sitting keeping cool .
Paul blows up some balloons and hands them out to the kids with the permission of the parents .He’s a big hit. Life is so simple when you’re two and three or five years old a balloon is everything? Better than the Rolling Stones.
As we walk along some guys hanging out on benches ask us where we are from. Estados Unitos, I say, Ah welcome to Cuba. Pronounced “Cooba.” Can we ask you a few questions? .Sure we reply and we enter into a dialogue with Henry and his buddies about Obama’s visit and what we think of Cuba. It’s all good and they share their bottle of rum with us. We explain how I was educated on the bus that day and we need a ride home. We talk for an hour joking , laughing each trying to convey our happiness of our new friendship. Henry says he will drive us but has little gas. We have 13 cuc”s I say and we can give you more. when we get back to the Marina Hemingway. No 13 cucs is fine that’s all we need. so he goes off to get his car one of those little Russian Latta s 4 of us pile in and where zooming down the Malecon “waterfront” zipping in and out of traffic. Henry and Angel are very happy to have met us and we are fortunate to have met them as we head for the Marina. We enter the marina and Henry becomes somewhat nervous .what’s the matter I ask and he says nothing but they must leave. I say you just arrived and you must come to the boat. We invite them aboard and open up a few cold beers but Henry is still nervous .I do not want any trouble we are not supposed to be here. Why do you say that? You are our guests. He doesn’t know why, he is just uncomfortable. Sure enough 5 minute later a knock on the hull. Its security and he wants to know whose car is parked along the road. I say my friends. Is there a problem? The car must go it is not authorized to be here .Im just doing my job, I give him a beer and he takes a walk but we know he will be back. So we say our good byes and our two new friends leave with plans of meeting tomorrow. They explain to us everyone is being watched and you don’t make waves in Cuba or you disappear. Tomorrow comes and they do not show? So we decide to leave a day early and set sail the next day after saying our good byes to the Marina staff and clearing out of customs. We settle in for another 30 hr trip back to Florida. More waves foul winds another lumpy trip But a 10 lb Mahi-Mahi caught to be enjoyed later this day when we arrive in port. And as we close on the Florida coast the feeling of home settles in and there’s no place like home. . The internet kicks in our phones come alive and I see there’s an e-mail from Cuba .Henry has sent an e-mail they had car trouble and would like to get together the next day. I replied we have left but plan on our return and know you have two friends in the USA and we look fwd to meeting with them again next year . A great trip, friendly people an awesome adventure, incredible music. I enjoyed Cuba for its history and her people and look fwd to returning someday soon. I pray times will be a changing for the better soon.
I saw her today at the reception
A glass of wine in her hand
I knew she would meet her connection
At her feet was her footloose man
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You get what you need
Cuba, I pray you get what you need!
Ken Smith crew of S/V Journey
Today ,Yes today I have decided to continue my blog . The Loon”s Call. October 19, 2014
Not for you ,But for me .Yes for me !
Yet I hope you all enjoy the stories and we can all learn a little more about each other and this wonderful world we all live in.
Full of Good and Bad . The bad as I have experienced it has made me appreciate the Good so much more along with some hard lessons learned. These lessons are what shape our destiny and mold who we are . Writing helps me sort out what it is I am actually doing out here on the ocean living on a boat dreaming of sailing around the world and maybe that is why I ran aground in the Bahamas this past year ?
Because I lost track of my life ,I fell off the Boat ,Adrift , I was down and out with no way back to the life I have created for myself in the last 6 years . A life jacket had been thrown to me . I had metaphorically been saved from what could of been the end of my life, not in the breaths I take each day but in the way of my freedom .And then I realized my life was just beginning. I would find out what true friendship really is ! And my life has changed forever with new meaning ,new strength of purpose . My life has never been better .With a new adventure before me ,The smell of salt in the air, a warm breeze and a new appreciation of life . I am ready to move forward again and this is why I write this blog to document my lessons ,to share what I have experienced with others and hopefully help someone out there who needs that little extra nudge to go on out there and do what ever it is that floats their boat of life .
“It”s not how many breaths we take but the quality in each breath that we take” .
It has been over a year since my last entry and oh what a year it has been ? I left Boston last September 22 nd 2013 solo ready to take on the Caribbean again! Then head to Central America .Loon was fully re fitted ,fully stocked and it was time to go .So off to the Annapolis boat show which has been a 6 year tradition now with the Valiant Rendezvous hosted by Bernie and Kate of Rogue Wave Yachts at their beautiful home on Luce creek off the Severn river Annapolis .Md. Everything was going great !
I stopped into Fairhaven ,Ma to take on my crew and a warm healthy meal from The lady Barbara the better half of the always ready to go Mr. Ted Lorentzen A long time friend and crew mate on many adventures! Yeah there were a few glitches along the way but this is normal a broken sheet ” sheets are the lines used to pull in a sail ” Ya landlubbers! So I was getting back into the lifestyle working out the kinks developed after a year on the hard upgrading the Loon.
The story of what happened along the way and the Ship wreck that occurred in the Bahamas is for my book which will be my new project to keep me busy along the way . Until just this month of October with a chill in the air I was not even sure I was ever going to sail again. So if your interest is peaked send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and get on the list to receive a first edition copy of . ” Seven weeks and a day” The story of a sailor who runs hard aground in the Bahamas and the ensuing battle that would take place to get him free.
Below are some photos of those who went out of their way to help me .There are also others Family ,Friends and for that I am forever grateful ! Thank You All!
This post is in Memory of Russ Camacho . I only wish that I could of been able to spend more time with you . This world and your friends miss you ! may you rest in peace !
Loon date : July 28 ,2013
I am sitting in my seaside home in Maine its raining .Surprise ! Loon has been out of the water now for 13 months. she has had extensive upgrades ,new standing rigging, rudder repaired all new sanitation tank,plumbing etc, New refrigeration new VHF radio , new antennas new wind generator, new solar panels ,water line raised 4 inches new inner forestay roller furling new staysail thats all I can remember for now but it has been a lot of work almost makes you feel like this is crazy ? Boating ? yet I know when done it will be all worth it . I am uncomfortable a bit on land as the sea has taken my life and that is where I want to be . The simplicity of you and your boat with all your needs on board and the possibility to go anywhere in the world I have only touched the edge of these possibilities . Where will it lead me to next I am not quite sure ? My plans are to get in the water and head south again this will be the 5th time in 6 years I will have departed for destinations south .I will need to fine tune a few things still need to add some new electronics AIS system which detects other boats around you at sea and gives you there position,boat speed,course ,vessel name this all helps when transiting the ocean all the information you can gather helps to keep everyone safe ..
while I am in Maine taking time off from my time off I had some visitors to the house by sea .First arrived Nimue Michael and Anne from the midlands of England .I first met them in the Bahamas and we have been bumping into each other quite often over the last few years and have become close friends . Well when you meet one Englishmen you meet them all of course so another yacht Caduceus arrived also .rumors were out there was some Baked stuffed Lobster being prepared and it was my birthday and they were not going to miss it . My baked stuffed of course ! We all had great fun did some sailing and hiking also . While there we ran into some Italian sailors at the Hinckley yard and when we heard that they did not care much for the little steamed lobster someone prepared for them well that was not acceptable so invited them to my place and prepared them what is now referred to as the world famous baked stuffed lobster Ala Kenny. I think I represented my country well here ! With open door invitations to all there homes I hope to someday take them up on it .after I”m done sailing of course !!!
So what to do ? this winter I will decide to either sail on to C.A. Panama area and explore the eastern islands of this remote area or sail North and East to Ireland .My nephew has accepted a position with Google in Dublin and this could be an omen for me to go there but for right now I just need to get the Loon back in the water and make sure all repairs and upgrades are working and have been done right . As far as this site goes I am thinking on ending this blog site and looking for something a little simpler to use the main problem is the uploading of pictures with limited bandwidth it becomes very tedious ..to keep current but hey I know it gets some of you through the winter months and with this next trip out possibly being the beginning of my around the world voyage I should document all of it .Something to read over in the rocking chair someday ?
Well back to work on Loon I am planning on Sept. 25th as a departure date just because it sounds warmer than October. But will leave when the Loon is ready and the weather man opens the door to let me sail south with a fresh breeze to my back and a world of adventure looking me in the eye off we will go !
Cheers to you all ! Hope you enjoyed the update the lobster pics .I can be rented for Baked stuffed lobster parties Their WORLD FAMOUS ! Enjoy the Sangria while you think about it .I”m going sailing !
Cheers to you all ! Kenny S/V Loon
Hi to all back home or out there wondering where in the heck is Kenny?
I am sitting in Beaufort ,NC on a friends boat as I have signed on for crew while Loon is resting and being upgraded for her next adventure . But heck I am not going to spend a winter idling away the hours of the day dreaming ? I am going out in the wild world and grabbing every moment that I can .So when Bill capt of Windward passage out of Newburyport ,Ma called and asked what was going on with this winter and he was looking for crew i was quick to say YES! I”m in but little did I know what I was getting myself into as we sailed south on this quirky weather we have been experiencing this fall.
Oct.23rd we sailed out of Newburyport,Ma headed for the seaside community of Scituate ,Ma and Barkers Tavern rest. I like this capt. itinerary already as Barkers rest. has the hands down best swordfish dinner in the world . We sailed out of the Merrimac river by Plum island and turned south on a crisp sunny fall day arriving later that afternoon in Scituate here Bill has some friends and family and we all gathered for a great meal and a bottle of wine or two .
6am comes fast after a night like that but the life of a sailor dictates early departures so as to arrive on time the next day and with a long day ahead through the Cape Cod canal dest. Newport ,R.I. we got away early arriving before sunset tieing up downtown Newport spending a day and listening to rumblings of a Hurricane called Sandy somewhere around Cuba? Our next stop was to be Atlantic City .N.J. as the Capt. frequently calls at this port to have his luck on the roulette wheel .Me I am a spectator .well sort of ? We left Newport around 2 pm with a 28 hr trip ahead requiring our first overnight trip No Problem we both have made many trips like this but it is cold it”s almost Nov. and Sandy? Off we go with the dolphins escorting us out of the harbor and the Coast Guard and a helicopter doing rescue operations? Must be routine ops ? they new what was coming ! The next day we arrived safely and by now with our full attention on Sandy . We tied up at the Golden Nugget Casino and Marina and spent the next two days taking down sails ,canvas taking everything on the decks off and down below .We doubled the dock lines and wrapped the boat up as best we could and then were notified we had to evacuate in a couple of days ? Evacuate where too ? Thoughts of living under a bridge or in the local civil defense building sleeping on a cot waiting in the soup line ? but wait not so quick ,I mention the Capt. had a likening to the roulette wheel ? Well the Borgata Casino likes him too and we where whisked up in a limo and driven to their casino and hotel AHH! heaven clean sheets big screen TV and warm showers. I am home ,fine restaurants buffets and I mean 5 star buffets yet no sooner I settle in we receive a notice under our room doors we had to leave by noon the next day as the Casinos are being fully evacuated are you kidding me ? I mean I just got here ? We pack our bags and are the last ones out of the Casino and we are driven 50 miles by Limo of course to our new home a hotel in Deptford ,N.J.? the next 5 days we hang out at the UNO”S bar and Grill watching weather and Sandy making a direct hit on Atlantic City ..The Capt is not feeling well his boat is his home and as we carried many belongings off the boat there were still lots of memories he did not want to loose aboard so we sat and waited, the city is closed State police block the roads the flooding was huge over 5 ft in some areas. North and South of the city was devastated with a few phone calls and a connection or two we were able to sneak back in a day before anyone else and check out the boat . When we arrived the city was a ghost town the marina had received some damage there were a few boats broken free and damaging those around them . The windward passage was safe and sound she had survived a great relief and we started the process of putting her all back together .The next day we hear there is a Nor”Easter approaching with snow high winds this is not good ? We stop and put everything back in hurricane position and await another storm. Capt. says lets get out of here and calls the Casino .Back comes the limo and we spend the next week hunkered down at the hotel with a view over the marina we settled in for a relaxing time and walk over to the boat each day to check on her . She survives again and we live the good life . This is certainly a different way of sailing the coast that I am accustomed to yet I am quickly adapting .
As they say all good things must come to an end .well not the hurricane and snowstorm part . It is time to leave and we head out of A/C headed for Beaufort,NC a 48 hr. voyage that will take us around the infamous Cape Hatteras but with light winds we will motor all the way and enjoy some incredible night skies and arrive once again safely in hbr. where we wait out once again another Cold Front accompanied by thunderstorms high winds and rain .Just another day on the Windward passage .
Stay warm my Northern friends stay warm !
Kenny S/V Windward Passage /crew
Hope you all enjoyed the report from Loon on the road ,,, Until then see you all later . Thanks for reading …
Ken crewing on S/V Windward Passage winter 2012/2013 Capt. Bill Judge
Loon date: 9-23-2012
Where do the days go? Here I sit in Boston it is late Sept. and the days are getting shorter Fall arrived yesterday ?
Since arriving back at S.S.Y.C. Early June 2012 the Loon has been pulled from the water and dry docked for repairs .The list is long but the major jobs have been pulling the mast and a complete re -rigging (all new wires which hold up the big stick on top of the boat). Digging a 4 ft. hole so I could drop the rudder and look for a small leak coming in somewhere around this area. Luckily it was found and repaired well I hope so anyway the true test is when she gets dropped back in which unfortunately will be next summer 2013 at that time I plan on enacting my big plan . I have owned Loon for 5 years now and this will be the last time she sails north to New England for awhile . The yearly treks South and back North are done for now, it is time to reach out for new waters and spread her wings . I plan on leaving Boston,Ma July 4th 2013 heading North to Maine and then East to Nova Scotia before turning South and making tracks to the Carribean ,St .Thomas then down the island chain to Grenada where I will wait out hurricane season before turning East towards Columbia ,Panama,Guatemala and all the stops in between so there are many preparations to do and this will require Loon to spend the upcoming winter season dry docked . With all that said and thoughts of spending a winter up North (scarry) I put on as crew on another boat which will be heading south late October destination Florida . Going to try out being a passenger for awhile . So stay tuned for new adventures coming up next season .Until then stay warm you landlubbers !
my welcome back to home waters?
My Mom who travels with me wherever I go ! She was sunning herself on this day .
My view of the new Casino in Atlantic City ..
Block Island R.I.
The infamous Ted Lorentzen ,Fairhaven ,Ma
Jim and Russell helping out my many thanks to them .
Gettin her Done !
Until then many great sunsets to you all!
Loon date : 5-11-2012
Ah to be back in cold rainy weather just warms my soul ?
I don”t think so not anymore .I have found that when you start spending winters in warmer destinations it is so hard to come back the cold seems to go deep into your bones while your mind rejects even the idea of it .
Yet North I go back to good” ol S.S.Y.C. as Loon needs a re-fit and a good going over she has been in the water now for a month shy of two years and it is time to dry her out and clean her up . It is all about the boat as she is the one in charge and provides all that I have needed for this last journey which has taken me from Maine to Boston to the islands as south as Martinique and then back again back to Miami and now in the Chesapeake with only 7oo miles to go before she gets a much deserved rest .
My last blog had me waiting out cold rainy weather in Beaufort ,N.C. there is a pattern here hmm? Well I have had good days and bad days just like everyone else during this time .First and foremost being the loss of my oldest brother Spencer . He passed away on April 24th of Alzheimers .He has been suffering from this disease for the last few years .So although I miss him very much I am happy he is now at peace . My brother lives on in me and is part of my inspiration to sail and travel to see the world .When I was a young boy I would always admire and listen to his many adventures . His travels cross country and up and down the east coast always with his 20 ft long hang glider rolled up and slung over his shoulder .Try to do that now long hair hang glider on your shoulder thumb out on the highway looking for adventure . He taught me to hang glide and I flew my first time maybe 30 ft in the air for a 100 yds or so, amazing feeling and then a dive landing on my knuckles and a big smile on my face , now Spencer he could fly he has flown on both coasts of the USA and for a long time in Flagstaff, Arizona where he lived for many of his adult years up in the mountains ,Free as a bird .He has been as high as 5,000ft, he told me once he would look hawks in the eye as they swooped by to check out this strange flyer .Those were some of his adventures and many more but flying is what he enjoyed most .
So fly high my brother “Soar like a Hawk” and continue to live your dreams wherever you are as I will live mine while always carrying a piece of yours with me.
Spencer riding his upside down bicycle and his graduation photo back in his youthful days !
Sorry about the eulogy but as we get older we loose more and more of our friends and families and I will always miss them but more importantly I will always remember them so that they live on .
I headed north again up the ICW a 4 day trip and not one of my favorites when sailing solo as it is long hours at the wheel 4 days in a row for 12 hrs each before arriving in Norfolk ,Va .This avoids rounding Cape Hatteras and its many shifty shoals complicated by the Gulf Stream and finicky weather . But it has it”s good moments of beautiful scenery many Ospreys and a few Eagles to keep you occupied .Also it has shallow muddy shoals and being in the channel is not always the deepest water as Loon found out one windy day as her skipper sailed her up onto a mud bank and got her good and stuck .I tried to sail her off by leaning the boat over to reduce her draft but with the wind blowing 20+ it was just pushing me deeper into the mud ? My friends Anne and Michael were ahead on there sailboat and started to turn around but a large power boat called me up on the VHF and offered a hand after a few tries Loon was afloat again and I am indebted to the M/V Frolic from Toronto ,Canada they were calm and gracious throughout the ordeal and I am thankful that they arrived when they did as it would of been a long night .
From here it was nothing but the middle of the channel for me and the rest of the trip was uneventful until we arrived in Norfolk ,VA and meet Gary and Greta .These nice folks are port officers for a club called O.C.C (ocean cruising club) they live in downtown Norfolk and Gary was born right across the bay at the hospital on the water in Portsmouth ,VA they now live in a condo and there sailboat is docked out front there are many open slips available as each condo comes with one but I guess no one has a boat so Gary and Greta let club members make use of the empty slips all for a thank you note to the slip owner and a bottle of wine now that”s a good deal .But the best deal is meeting theses two wonderfully gracious fellow sailors with much experience and many miles under there keel .As we were about to leave we being my friends Anne /Michael on s/v Nimue and Martin and Elizabeth on s/v caduceus both from England Gary mentioned that another Englishmen was to arrive this day and it would be good if someone who spoke English would be there Gary being from “Nawfik” and I being a “yankee ” we all agreed it would be best so we retied the lines and awaited his arrival .
Lewis Colam you see is a 24 yr. old from England who decided to quit his job fly to the states buy a row boat and attempt to row from Miami to N.Y. after his grandmother passed away from Alzheimer’s disease and raise 50k in donations to help and make a difference in the research for a cure. It was a message to me so we kept watch and somewhere around 7 pm and after 14 hrs of rowing this day Lewis arrived to a grand welcome as Martin put on his cap and pumped up his bagpipes we welcomed him to the docks and a much deserved cold beer followed by pizza and several hours of questions which he handled very well before asking to just go to sleep .Gary and Greta put him up in a real bed a hot shower and you could tell he was appreciative . His website is iamfinechallenge.org there is the video I took of his arrival posted there and you can follow him on his journey as he makes his way North to benefit The Fischer international Research center for Alzheimer’s . I wish him luck the world needs more souls like Lewis .
After two days of Brilliant sailing I am in Crisfield ,MD visiting friends waiting for southerly winds to carry me up to Annapolis before the final leg back to S.S.Y.C. .So come on warm weather and fair winds .
Thanks for following along ,
I dedicate this for my brother Harry Spencer Smith Jr.
The sea drowns out humanity and time : it has no sympathy with either ,for it belongs to eternity.
Loon Date: 4-22-2012
I left Miami beach bound for Ft. lauderdale at 4 p.m. with a fair breeze as I punched through the seas to get clear of Govt. Cut the main channel entrance for Miami I turned Loon North and set her sails within minutes she started to accelerate and she was soon doing 9+ knots S.O.G. (speed over ground) Ya landlubbers ” So with an estimated arrival at Ft. Lauderdale for the next morning I quickly pulled out Plan B and continued on to Ft. Pierce with Loon moving at this speed I was not going to waste time this is a dream point of sail Broad Reach with 4 + kts of fair current called the Gulf stream. Oh yeah life is good again !
I arrived at Ft. Pierce the next morning and rested off a sandy beach and waited for my friends on Nimue an English boat whom I meet in the Bahamas last year .They had just arrived from Cuba after a 3 month stay so figuring they were stocked up on forbidden contraband ,RHUM I was eager for them to arrive and they did around 4 pm we got together for dinner and RHUM and talked away about our travels over the last year me in New England and they in Cuba I listened a lot …
After catching up and resting a day we were both heading towards the Chesapeake and decided to sail together . We set out for St.Augustine ,Fl and this would require a rounding of Cape Canaveral and a night or so at sea .We had a pretty good weather window with a slight chance of thunder storms and of course with thunder storms comes rain and lets say a more intense wind that we are accustomed to and as we rounded the cape we heard the severe warnings on the marine radio and kept a lookout on the western sky and sure enough there they were moving at 30 + knots with heavy rain it looked as though we may be slightly outside this rather large squall but as it came closer we could quickly see it was going to get a piece of us so we decided to drop all sails and motor southeast and away from the edge of this front I believe it helped but we still received heavy rain and 30+ winds and lumpy seas for the rest of the sail . Oh well ? We arrived St. Augustine and the dockmaster told us they received 60 knots of wind there so we did all right .
St. Augustine is always a good stop and we visited several of the fine restaurants here before once again reaching out for another port and that would be Fernandina Beach this is the border town between Florida and Georgia and we spent Easter here awaiting another weather window Northerly after Northerly slide by and when a southerly comes along out we go into the deep blue sea.
After a two day offshore passage we arrived Beaufort,SC”Bewfort “not to be confused with Beaufort,NC “Bowfoot ” this is a nice little town located near Paris island home of the U.S. Marines . We passed the training grounds on the 4 hr trip up river to the anchorage and with the hook down we went to town to see what it was all about an hr. later we had covered everything ?Ha ha but it is a small town and has the best hamburger I have had in a long time with cold beer it doesnt get any better .
The next day we headed up river some more to visit with some people who are the local cruising sponsors for a cruising club my friends are members of . It”s call O.C.C. (ocean cruising club) .Come on down they said over the phone we have a few other boats coming in and we will do dinner for all . Their neighbors are S.S.C.A. (seven seas cruising assoc. members ) and they live on the Beaufort river and each have a dock with water and electricity a car ,workshop it seemed anything we needed they had or could direct us to . This is really southern hospitality delivered by former cruisers who are staying involved with the community and really going all out and making it look as if it was just another day . The keys are in the car, directions to the supermarket too! Dinner is at 6 pm and so it was. about 15 cruisers from everywhere ,Maine to England and it was lots of fun and great sharing of information.
We planned on leaving the next day and they said no stay awhile 1 day turned to two then we prepared the boats for another two day trip to Beaufort,N.C. but a small problem arose and a leaky heat exchanger was found on Nimue .
We took the heat ex-changer off and it revealed a crack in the inlet pipe so we tried some epoxy and rescue tape put her all back together and tried it out ? Leak ,leak ,leak this is not going to work and it would not be wise to head off shore with a leaky boat . We talked with Allan and Cathy whose home we were guests at and NO Problem don”t worry we know a welder you can take the car over tomorrow morning , Saturday. I will call him and let him know your coming .The next morning we drive over to meet Jimmy Smith local welder .Can”t guarantee anything here but if you want me to give it a try I can , Sure Jimmy we have no other choice as a new part would take several days to arrive at best ? So we talked and watched Jimmy work his wonders as he smoked a cigarette every 10 minutes and we got to know this man who grew up in rural S.C. joined the Navy saw the world and came home to raise a family .A little piece of Americana.
An hour or so later it was looking good enough to try so we paid the man $35 dollars thanked him and we were off to install and test the repair and of course it worked great. During our stay we got to know our hosts Allan and Cathy Rae they cruised and still do cruise although on a power boat they keep one in S.C. and another in Maine so I will keep an eye out for for them. We also got to know their neighbors Rick and Carol, Rick is a retired navy Capt. and they both are just the nicest people you could ever meet and we felt as if we have made new friends and look forward to visiting them again . While visiting with Rick he showed us the ships cabin he built in his home for the grandchildren what do you do with an 8 x9 ft. room well you make a replica of an old steamship guest cabin and I will have to say this little room run on 12 volt just like on the boat was just the nicest little room I have ever seen and it turns out Rick and Carol had the house built on the outside and finished the inside themselves and it was very well done.
Again always leaving just as you get comfortable it “s time to go again and off we go for a sail to Bowfoot ,N.C. 49 hrs later I am back in what is called the best little town in america. The cannons at Ft.Macon were blasting away as they celebrated the Civil war siege that took place here 150 years ago . A call came in and it was Ted Lorentzen long time friend and occasional crew for the Loon tells me he is arriving in style as he has upgraded to a slightly larger boat and gone power too! Golden Eye a 112ft. Mega -yacht pulls in to the harbor and I pop my head out of the cabin to hear someone yelling my name .Well WOW !! This big new shiny yacht took up the whole end of the dock at the marina .So I guess he”s done sailing after that ? We will see ?
With the weather turning to crap the Loon sits and waits for some fair winds to head North but Beaufort is not a bad place to be !
Until then ,
We, the unwilling, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, for so long, with so little, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing. Semper Paratus!
Loon date : 3/28/2012 Happy Birthday brother Everett
A freind from my yacht club SSYC” Crusher” which is short for a long polish name .
And away we go ! I look more like Art Carney ,,
A little window shopping,
Chris before he started drinking? We took a cab from here on.
Capt Foleys scooter aka Capt. Foggy
Captain Kevin Foley , Skipper of the Hindu a 60 ft. Schooner under full restoration 1925 William Hand design.
A pleasure to meet you !
Posing for when they Bronze me ?
Spring Break sitting by the pool ,,and looking
Loons sits at anchor behind south beach Miami . A beautiful skyline and great city to get around by public transportation also free wifi throughout the city . The last 3 nights there has been a first class fireworks show over the waterfront and loon is sitting front row enjoying it all . My last blog had me headed off to Key west for St Patty”s day but the winds were not going to co-operate and with a 150 miles to go there and strong northerly winds every day it was not going to happen. My friend Chris flew down to sail with me and so with St.Patricks day fast approaching we decided to put Loon somewhere safe and rent a vehicle and drive down .So we did and Key west was in full swing it is a party atmosphere all day everyday and for the 2 days we spent there we partied although I can not get into to much detail because what happens in Key West stays in Key West I did find myself eating at Denny”s two mornings in a row like 3am and 4am now it has been a long time since I have done that and will be along time before I can handle it again but I do know we had some fun!
While in Miami we went to a couple of festivals or carnivals one in Coral Gables and the other in little Havana and if you can”t make it to Cuba just come to Miami and especially Calle Ocho Carnival a one day wild ,fun, music and food fest with some great latin bands . We traveled by bus about 6 of us and arrived in little Havana ,Miami about 2 pm as we learned from the last festival don”t get there to early let it warm up a little and you just might make it to the end ? On this occasion I would wear my Uncle Bobs shirt which is about as Cuban looking as you van get and actually received a compliment on it .I love your shirt it looks just like the one my dad used to wear. Where my uncle got it I do not know, but it is a classic shirt . We ate and walked the crowds listened to the music soaked in the atmosphere .We were the only 6 white folks there but felt very comfortable and were even thanked for coming and enjoying their day .There is a Bay of Pigs monument and the world famous Domino park had lots of fun and a very proud people and proud to be in America.
With this lifestyle you need to watch the blood pressure ?
Two days ago a couple of the boats I have been cruising with left for the Bahamas left me alone in Miami a sad day but that afternoon a boat from England I had met in the Bahamas last year called me on the phone and said they had left Cuba the other day and where headed to Ft.Lauderdale so off I go this afternoon to meet up with them and listen to there stories of Cuba being English they are allowed to go .Someday the gates will open and I am curious to hear there thoughts on the forbidden land.
I love this guys shirt ! Yeah ! Thanks Uncle Bob
Always time for a round of golf Mike,Jeff and the Skippa
They say that these paddleboards are good for your core ?
works for me ,
Loon Date : 2-23-2012
My Guard Dog Sampson,
After a month on the inland waterway of the St.John river it was time to say goodbye to the marina my Doggy buddy Sampson and city life so the lines were untied and with a fair tide Loon headed out to sea again guided by dolphins a cool sea breeze from the north she turned south towards St.Augustine,FL . The current in the St.Johns river moves fast and the 3 knot push helped make for a speedy passage. Jacksonville is a fun city named after its founder Andrew Jackson it is the largest city per square miles in the U.S. I have not checked this out as fact yet but was told this by a local . My stay was at the Seafarers marina it is not the fanciest marina in the city as most of the customers are liveaboards living in most anything that floats there were several characters in resident there and all were very helpful assisting each other with docklines or information on the area. Some living on one boat and having another boat to go out for weekend sails or weekend getaways.
St.Augustine is approximately 50 miles south of Jacksonville and I arrived in the early afternoon it was mostly a motor as the mornings cool breeze faded away .I styaed about a mile offshore enjoying the views of the many beaches that line the Florida coast and also watched the line of shrimp boats with thier nets out trying to make there catch for the day . I talked with some of these fishermen back on the St. Johns and it has been a slow year for them . I was reading the other day the US imports 85% of there fish from around the world. We must be saving ours or there just is not any left ? ? Global warming? ? Another day for that one !
From Jacksonville the Loon meandered down the coast to a nice little town called St.Augustine this is one of my favorite stops along the east coast wonderful architecture friendly people and some nice little restaurants Georges diner a traditional stainless steel diner with great omlettes Spinach,Feta cheese and mushroom being my favorite and also a nice little polish /Greek rest. owned by a women named Grace who is quite a character I had the perogis and they were delicious .enough of this I am getting hungry but I do love food especially when you find those hidden little charms of a rest. located of the beaten track .
I have meet up with some cruising friends here and the social life has moved into high gear with the patriots playing and a group of cruisers together it is always lots of fun . My friends Bill and Sarah on Moonlight Serenade with Bills sister and her husband Kevin along and also a friend that I made cruising back in 2007 on Loons inaugural cruise Bill Judge on Windward Passage . Bill and I will later get together on a trip to the Bahamas with a stay at the Atlantis hotel for the Superbowl but I will get to that later on.So after a visit to the Fountain of Youth to replenish my spirits It is now time to head on down the ICW again as the winds are southerly the direction I am headed so I chose to stay inside and motor my way further south with stops in New Smyrna beach and dinner at Bill and Sarah”s friends Rhett and Joe who have a home there and summer on there boat in the chesapeake which is how they all have become friends .Well Rhett is a wonderful cook and Joe is quite the conversationalist with his many stories of their life experiences and adventures traveling .they just got back from a circumnavigation of S.America on a cruise ship with a trip 800 miles up the Amazon river a visit to the Antarctic a Panama canal transit all in 66 days quite a story and quite a trip ,we stayed up till 2am before heading back to the boat to leave the next morning we travel as the weather dictates so off we went . Felling a little groggy Loon and it”s Skipper continued down the ICW headed towards Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach area Home of the ever shrinking Space program .This stretch of the ICW is very shallow and very boring but this was not to be for I was about to have a 4 alarm drill which happens from time to time when boating . When soloing a 40 ft . sailboat you need to be quick on your feet and think 1 mile ahead although it is traveling at slow speed 5-6 kts when trouble rears it “s head time speeds up an so it did around 4 pm as I cut through a section called the Haul-over canal just North of Titusville ,FL .My first sign was when I smelled smoke but it was not the Loon it did make me look around and what I noticed was first my engine temperature gauge needle was falling ? Strange I thought after 5 hrs. of motoring it should read warm then the Alternator gauge started to bounce around erratically hmm well my speed was okay maybe just a couple of faulty gauges ? I exited the short canal after having the draw bridge opened and I was back out in open water ,well a large body of water with a channel dredged through it with about 7 ft of water I need 6 ft. and surrounded by depths of 2 and 3 ft. on either side mile after mile of this but I did see a chance to set my autopilot as I was on a straight course and decided to go below and just take a look in the engine room you know be prudent . What i saw was water flying everywhere steam too it was not a pretty sight something was not right and I needed someplace to stop Loon and investigate further back at the helm wind was blowing 25kts. now I frantically looked on the charts for somewhere to park Loon not wanting to do serious damage to Loons engine I needed to act now so I readied the anchor turned her to windward put her keel on the ground as gently as I could and dropped the hook and prayed she would hold she did ! I put out a call to Moonlight Serenade my friends who were a mile ahead and informed them I was anchored with engine troubles and would not be keeping up with them until I could figure out the issues ? After a moment and a few question and answer sessions to help diagnose the problem they decided to turn back and assist although I did not feel there was much they could do it was nice to have someone standby and keep watch while I tried to figure out what went wrong . Well it turned out to be a leaking heat exchanger which is like a radiator in a car it had sprung a leak and salt water was being sprayed all over the engine room by the fan belts a real salty mess . We decided to attempt a tow but as we were setting up the lines it was decided it was to rough and with Loon weighing in at 30,000 lbs. the little room to menuever the 25 kt winds and choppy seas it was decided a no go . Next we came up with letting out my dinghy on a long line taking Sarah on board so as not to be banging the boats into each other and also not getting there boat grounded as well to help try and sail her off the bank with a little engine assist damn the salt water mess I would have to deal with that later so aboard came my new crew and after developing a plan we pulled the hook let out the jib and sailed her the next 3 miles along the channel till we had to turn to windward and motor another 2 miles to a safe harbor Titusville,Fl . All went well and as the sun was setting Loon arrived on a mooring crew exhausted mind spinning in circles trying to figure out the next move and as we say when cruising when in doubt break out the RHUM !
We let the engine cool over night, dinner was served on Moonlight and we spent the evening developing a course of action to get Loon back in shape so properly . The next morning we pulled the heat exchanger off found a corroded end cap which needed to be saudered .The water had been pumping out of the crack in the heat exchanger and then was being sprayed everywhere a sad sight . To get the heat exchanger off we needed to pull the alternator and while that was off we inspected it thoroughly and found the salt water had not done it any good it was a wonder it still worked ? Next we jumped in the dinghy to head to town and see what could be done to get theses two items fixed I could see my cruising budget shrinking by the minute maybe the end of the line for awhile go back to work ? NA ! We walked the streets of Titusville asked around looking for a shop to get these fixed up in : Yes there is a NAPA autoparts store right around the corner we were told on our first inquiry with a machine shop too ! Great lets go there it was friday afternoon the two guys there looked at the problem and said well we don”t know the boss is not here and he would have to decide if anything could be done to help out ? When will he be back we said : Monday : Oh, Nothing you could do ? Gee sorry no okay we walked out the door knowing these two wanted out for the afternoon and a weekend off ,well how could I blame them I was on my own weekend and a long one at that . Then just across the street we see an alternator rebuild shop surely this would be the place ? Ah gee sorry my dad does all the work and he is not here . Let me guess he will be back monday right ? Right ! hmm ? Is there a fishing tournament going on down here ? I thought all the fish were gone ? Maybe they will import them ? Global warming may be effecting the work force too? More to think about ? These parts are heavy as we walk along well I guess I “m here till Monday ? I ask another Titusvillian A Machine shop ? Aternater shop ? any shop open? It is now 3:30 pm friday it”s hot,Maybe there is a secret fishing tournament going on somewhere for the management of Titusville ? We continue on ,Oh whats this City Auto a converted Gas station we walk in and meet Tom and Tommy jr. They are born and raised Titusvillians open for business and ready to help out so we show them the parts first the Alternator it is a mess of corroded parts it works I say but it needs help and while i have it off thought you could help out out . Hmm? well lets see looks like an old Chevy alternator look here they reconfigured this wire here and added a little this and that then called it a Silver Bullet then probably tripled the price then sold it as a high output super duper special MARINE alternator .Anything with the name Marine usually triples the price of everything . We talk some more : Where you all from ? Ah Boston area Ahuh? You know them Kennedy”s Nope don”t know “em don”t want to know”em How about that Rominy fella ? He was your governor for awhile wasn”t he ? Yep , Howd “he do ? I thought he was okay . Yeah ! well I tell ya that Newt guy is full “o” well this aint a political add So I then show “em the heat exchanger needs a bit of saudering there: yeah , I talked to a plumber guy on the phone he is located about a mile down the road he said bring it on by he would fix it up ,Yeah that”s Ole Stevie he and I went to grade school together Ole Jr. here can sauder as good as him ,Really well gee I guess it would be best to have you “all fix everything yup ? So he says : I guess your shipwrecked eh ? Yes , When do you need this by ? It”s 3:45 pm friday ,5 pm would be nice : Hmm? Well I tell you what why don”t you go down the street there to the Southern lounge have a cold pitcher of beer and come back at 4:30 Very funny I say ,No go on down there say hi to Mary Bell then come on back we will fix this all up for ya .Wow ! wondering if he takes charge cards ,this is going to be expensive ., Now I can get all of this done for ya for about $190 Huh! that” s it I think to myself. Well shiver me timbers matey ! we will be back around 4:30 then . A pitcher of beer or two still pondering my good fortune we play a round of pool go back to see Tommy and Tommy jr. and there it is all fixed up cleaned ,rebuilt ,repainted like new the exchanger is saudered and shiney too A great job a fair price and a couple of really nice folks . He gives me his cell phone # and says and if there are any problems call me I guarantee my work fully . There is still hope for America some people out there just do good work efficiently for a fair price and a smile and this father and son are two of them I will tell all cruisers in need my story and recommend City Auto for any help they need these guys will get it done .
So back to the boat and I spend a day cleaning the engine area of the now dried on salt and preparing for the re install . All in all it took 3 days and help from my cruising friends who stood by me all the way . The Loon was back up and running and we were off to Cocoa Beach a 3 hr motor and good test run and all went well .
From here it was back offshore as I had had enough of the ICW and needed some room to set the sails . So it was an overnighter to West Palm Beach and to meet up with Bill on Windward Passage . After a day of settling in upon arrival Bill calls me and says a buddy of mine has cancelled on a trip to Nassau in the Bahamas for the big superbowl party they throw every year ,He went last year and said it was lots of fun .Can you fill in for him all you would need is a flight to Nassau everything else would mostly be taken care of . You see Bill likes to gamble a sort of High roller you may say and to lure him into the Casinos they offer him perks this time it happened to be two suites overlooking the Atlantis hotel grounds and ocean access to the 22nd floor which is open morning,noon and night all comped ,Limo service to and from the hotel as well as full access to all the grounds ,Water park ,Aquarium anything you want . I think for a minute and say Heck Ya ! After what I have been through I need a vacation .The Patriots are playing too what am I supposed to do . I call my friend Yoli who lives in the area and she says sure Kenny I can pick you up and give you a ride to the airport so I secure the Loon book a flight and had 5 great days living the life of luxury and 1 full day of the water park where I took on the amazing water park rides and quite the BUTT bruise to show for it but it was like being a kid again and lots of fun . Thanks to Bill for inviting me it was quite the change from my usual routine and thank to Yoli for the help in transportation its good to have friends willing to help out as I would do for them . Life is Good!
I am now in Miami Beach after a couple of offshore trips down the coast stopping in Ft.Lauderdale visiting the largest West Marine store anywhere and walking out spending $4.00 a small miracle .Loon has been behaving all systems are working for now and I will stay here for a week or so before heading off to the Keys my destination before turning North again .So lets see what Miami Beach has in store for the Loon .
ABSOLUTELY NO FISHING
THE CHAIN GANG !
THE HIGH ROLLER CHAIR
My Host Bill ,
YOWWEE ! What Superbowl 2 of the Red Rockets Chairleading squad
Thanks for reading until next time , If a man is to be obsessed by something ,
I suppose a boat is as good as anything,
Perhaps a bit better than most.
Loon date :12-31-2011
My last update had me headed south from Annapolis,MD headed for Florida and warm weather on the horizon well there have been a few bumps in the road along the way . Loon sailed from the west coast of the Chesapeake bay to the east coast . The east coast is completely different in landscape there are no hills and lots of low lying islands and very shallow bays but there is always a spot to drop the hook and enjoy the solitude as long as the weather is calm but November is rolling in and you have to keep a constant eye on the weather its not New England but at this time of year it can get bloody cold and the seas can build up on the bay .
I made my way to a little town called Crisfield,MD located about half way down the bay on the eastern shore I have cruising friends there and decided to stop in and say hi .Chris and Tracy have leased a waterfront piece of property here and will be starting a boat leasing business in the spring for visitors to go out fishing or just cruising on the many estuary rivers situated in the area I wish them luck and good to see people still looking forward in this ho hum economy .
While docked here visiting I received a call from my aunt Christina that her husband ,my uncle had passed away in his sleep My uncle was 92 and had been in a nursing home for the last 3 years but still very sharp and I had taken on the job as my uncle put it as The Manager we became very close over this time and although as I was managing I often thought why me ? Why now? Cant somebody else do this? I have plans to sail, fulfill my life dream but no it was my duty and now as I look back it was my privilege and honor to help my aunt and uncle in there time of need it made me all the better for it .
I booked a flight and flew home to help my aunt and assist in laying my uncle to rest his time had passed .We burried him at Bourne National cemetary on Cape Cod and he recieved full Military honors .
Uncle Bob was a private in the 13th field artillery Hawaiian div. he enlisted in Boston ,Ma and told his employer he was off to Hawaii and that he was he arrived there early 1941 and was stationed at Schofield Barracks training and enjoying the life until on Dec. 7 th he had a visit from some Japanese guys in airplanes and his life was changed forever .He sailed to Australia and trained in amphibous warfare then along with Gen MacArthur invaded the Phillipines ,New Guinea and all the little islands located in and around the area ,Leyte,Luzon, Tanah Merah bay there job was to clear the Japanese out and secure the islands well that they did and 5 years later with short leaves to Australia he was sent home. He survived Yellow fever and his unit was awarded one silver star four bronze stars an arrowhead for a major invasion a presidential citation along with a couple of campaign ribbons . He was 26 years old and had a head full of white hair suffered from battle fatigue On his watch was engraved “Alive in 45”. He never talked of his service until his later years and he never forgot his time there .
Thank you Uncle Bob and fair winds to you .
Robert Everett Rutter 9/03/1919 – 11/08/2011
It was time to get back to Loon and head south again and now being the end of November it was not getting any warmer . Farewell to my friends in Crisfield and the Loon set sail for Portsmouth,VA mile marker zero at the start of the I C W also the port of a great German rest. called the Bier Garden a must stop off on the sail south and a meeting with my neice Anne and her best friend Jim we had a nice meal together to get me ready for 5 days of motoring down the ditch as the I C W is referred to it was up at dawn motor till sunset drop the hook make dinner fix anything that broke check the oil and get some sleep and over and over it goes until you arrive at Beaufort ,N.C. which for me is the jumping off point to go offshore and set some sails so after a few days layover and another visit with my sister Irene and her husband Charlie .Coming from a large family I have many family to visit it was time to re provision it was offshore again headed for Charleston,S.C. this trip took about 40 hrs and all went well . My trip back home put me behind and I often was the only boat in the harbor as most of the others were well on there way to Florida with thoughts of Tiki bars and warmth. I spent 2 days resting and set sail again for San Fernandina beach ,Fl. another 40 hr trip .San Fernandina beach is the border of Georgia and Florida with a safe anchorage .It is a small town mixed with a beautiful beach and some commercial operations a few large cranes and a large cement plant making lots of noise so after a little rest it was up with the hook and down the ICW again to the St.Johns river and the city of Jacksonville.
Here I tied up alongside a pier downtown and spent 4 days hanging out and meeting up with some fellow cruisers finally . Jacksonville has been renovated and has a nice downtown area with lots of free stuff to do they have a museum and several scenic bridges .At this point I received a call from my sister Karen and husband Jim inviting me to California for Christmas well how do you say no to Palm Springs with its beautiful scenery the mountains and many golf courses so needing a break from this life of hardship I have been enduring off I went for a couple of weeks to relax Oh how I deserve it ! This is a joke I can hear you all cursing me I know who you are .
Well that’s about it for now as you can see life goes on whether your on a boat or on land you make the most of all you can and enjoy each and every moment these are the words I have learned to live by and so far so good . I hope this keeps everybody up to date with my journeys especially Linda Schmidt from New Hampshire who I know enjoys each and every day .
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all ! May the best of last year be the worst of the new year ! Cheers to you all !
Training mission Chesapeake bay
Nuclear submarine Norfolk,Va
Former Presidential yacht Sequoia
I C W
Portuguese Man O War causes severe pain and restricts breathing hundreds of them of Georgia coast
My beautiful niece Anne
Palm Springs ,Ca
HAPPY NEW YEAR !