Saturday, December 24, 2011

Miami Vice

The K'dults arrived Thursday for some Christmas Cruisin' in the Keys. We stayed at anchor just off the Venetian Causeway island of DiLido between Miami and Miami Beach. Just after dinner a commotion was noticed in one of the houses lining the harbor: Silhouettes of Police Officers with flashlights in hand were seen on the dock - intently searching the water and photographing trees. A few were on the second story deck.

A scramble for Freedom's three sets of binoculars ensued, we dimmed the salon and galley lights (but kept the Football game on) and headed to the cockpit. Questions were shot back and forth from mouths beneath the binos: "Is someone in the water?" "Wasn't there a construction crew there earlier? Maybe they stole something" "Could this be related to the road closing earlier that blocked all traffic coming and going to the island?" "Is that a gun?" "Can the cops see us?"

After a great deal of supposing at our end we noticed that the officers had left, and we returned to the football game,the dishes, the Internet, etc.

Within a few minutes, though, the house lights went on and a woman in skimpy black dress- or negligee - and a shirtless, well built man in shorts appeared, walking about, picking things up, putting them down, looking outside (oh no, are they looking at us looking at them?)Soon the woman reappeared in a red dress -- possibly a coverup for the black negligee. They were still pacing about as if they were searching for something. Finally, the man opened the sliding doors facing the water and they sat down to eat.

Once again we returned to what we had been doing, but the questions, conjecturing and supposing continued...

About midnight A. noticed a small boat with three men in black clothing nearing our stern. When they saw her they quickly squelched their light, and turned off the engine. As they drifted towards shore they pulsed a flashlight three times,as if sending a signal. She and C. followed their movements until a second boat appeared, also unlit and appearing to tow the first boat away - all in complete silence.
What was it all about? We'll never know - but we sure could have used Crockett and Tubbs...

*****Late breaking update: Intrepid Reporter and All Around Good Guy, our friend Jeff searched the internet and found mention of a burglary on Di Lido Island that very night. The homeowners discovered a break-in upon returning from work.Electronics, jewelry, and a bike were taken. Entry was made through the living room (waterside)door. It was the 5th such burglary in 2 months.Were the guys in the power boats involved? Or just fashionable men dressed in black returning from a night at the Miami Beach Clubs without enough gas to get home? Like I said, we'll never know.*****

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Back Where She Came From

Here is Freedom anchored off the Coral Ridge Yacht Club in Fort Lauderdale - right where we found her about a year ago. After a fresh fish dinner on shore and a tour of Christmas Lights along the Waterway, we had a restful night before heading south to Miami.
Thank you to our friend and crewmate this week, Jeff, for snapping this photo. Aren't the clouds beautiful?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ready for the Winter

The Captain and I returned to Florida last week with two large duffles filled with everything from shorts to our favorite coffee to a hammock. After 3 trips to Publix ( one by car, two by bike)for groceries and Christmas lights; 2 trips to West Marine; and 1 trip to Total Wine and More, Freedom was stocked and ready for winter cruising.

We spent the weekend stowing supplies, and exploring Stuart before fueling up and heading out this morning. Destination: Miami, where we'll be meeting the K'dults later this week.

As an Ocean Trawler, Freedom does not go very fast (8 kts/hour on average), but consequently she does not burn much diesel. Today was the first time we have taken on fuel since we left the Chesapeake Bay, over 1200 miles ago. Typically we might use 1 gallon/mile, but on our trip south we used only .7 gallons per mile. As recovering sailors, we're feeling pretty good about that.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Boats Along the Waterway

We see all sorts of boats along the ICW -- everything from jet-skis to shrimpers. And like the Tugs, some are bright and shiny and some have seen better days. Here is a small sampling of what we saw on our trip south:

Sunrise over the Chesapeake Bay...

Look at the scoop of her wake...

I love the Shrimpers....

Tug Boats

We see a good deal of commercial traffic along the ICW -- and I really enjoy the Tug Boats -- the workhorses any waterway. Some are big, some are bigger, some bright and shiny, some with a little rust under her belt, but they all have a job to do.

I love the red tugs owned by McAllister -- always in spit-spot shape -- and sporting an "M"! Here is one tied up off Mobjack Bay:

We see a lot of dredging equipment along the ICW (without consistent dredging, the Waterway would be unpassable for all but the most shallow-drafted boat). The dredges work all night, while the pleasure boaters are at anchor or in marinas. Here are two tugs bringing along a dredge near great Bridge, VA. When you see one of these big rigs come by, you get out of the way - fast!

And here's a Tug tugging a Tug

The Tug Boat Captains are always friendly, giving us a hearty wave or calling us on the radio. They are a good source of local knowledge and in my opinion, have a cool job!