Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sometimes our quest for organization and thus efficiency leads us to take "the bull by the horns." Here I have built a custom closet treatment for our utility room which includes a  fairly substantial library, two sewing machines (which Karen is quite expert with), and storage for stuff such as table leaf, extra chairs, toiletries kitty supplies and linen.  A louvered door will enclose.
One of these days, the shop and the ham shack will get equal treatment.
OK, why two sewing machines?  Mine is adjusted for canvas work on the boats.
"Parts is parts."  Tradarka went on a diet.  Well, I took her completely apart.  She needs a complete refinishing, which I estimate will take around 100 hours if you include the new deck.  Add that to the work due on Belle (about 20) and I will have a very busy summer indeed.

Here's where a lot of the work will be.  I will have to remove tons of blogs of sloppily applied resin and areas of glue starved cloth so as to properly re-coat and secure the integrity of the amas.
Here's what I'm talking about. These globs are all over.  The seams need to be faired.  In order to paint, many hours of filling and fairing are in the offing.  Note the barnacles that attached in only 12 days on the water.  I will have anti fouling as well!
Time to put Belle back on the trailer.  Jack, jack, jack, it is. Up and away...oh, not away.  Just safely back to the trailer. Tolerances are no more than by the inch as we carefully inch the trailer between the block pillers

The reason the boat has to go so high is to allow the cradle to clear the bunks.  It's might tipsy up there!

Ready to bolt at any moment should cracking sounds occur!

Ah, almost there!
Finally, safe at last.  Time to fix the inside.  Take of the masts and remove the mast track.  Then paint and reapply.  Trust me.  It's a long summer's work!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

It's Sunday, the last day here at Cedar Key. We went for a walk on the remains of the old Cedar Key train track.  It ends just a quarter mile short of Cedar Key. In 1896 a very strong hurricane took out the causeway leading to the old port of Cedar Key.  The old embankment that we walked on was apparently protected slightly better so is still mounded up leaving a raised pathway which favors the old trestle in the imagination.

  Along the way, trees and shrubs are identified giving the trail the look and feel of a botanical natural garden.

We enjoyed the short walk which ended in the salt marsh.

As we look back on the last two weeks our minds are flooded with memories filled with friends, happy sails, hard work and hilarious moments of forgetfulness.  Take the day we looked all day for the dry bag containing the Garmin 78 ($400) and the marine hand-held radio.(another $150)  Having found a large tear in the side of our gear bag we naturally leaped to the conclusion we had somehow carelessly lost both out the side of the bag.  The rest of the day was spent tearing everything apart looking fruitlessly for the lost equipment.  We went through the famed five stages of loss lamenting the huge hit on equipment recently purchased. That night I chanced upon the bag protruding from under the cushions in the settee. Whew, what a load off he mind.  Karen said it was like making $550 for our efforts.  I, (the guilty party) call it "compost mentis."
We also remember the times spent learning the new boat, and repairing the failing seat boards that nearly put me in the drink several times.  A new platform will be built this summer to remedy that.  Then there is the time we had to take the mast down and put up back up three times because of jamming in the broken sail track.  New sail track is in the offing you can be assured.
But outweighing all that, the memories of screaming along at 11 1/2 knots, sitting quietly together on North Key, along with fond memories of fellowship with friends predominate.  The Saturday stroll on the beach at Atsena Otie with literally over 100 unique and exotic boats beached was worth the price of admission.  We saw more creativity, met more friendly people and saw more eye candy than we can describe.
The time at Cedar Key was rich happy times, sometimes stressful times, but times we wouldn't trade for anything.  Most of all it was way too short.  I think I'll take next year off: heck I think I will retire in December.  Wish us luck!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Our trip today started with promising winds of around 11 knots.  We decided to take advantage of the outgoing tide and sail to North Key.  Winds clearly were on the wane.  By the time we anchored of the south beach the winds were less than 5 knots.  As anticipated, they clocked around to the northwest leaving us without the worries of a lee shore.  As the tide was close to low, we decided to strike out along the beach and explore the wild beauties of this land apart.

As you can see, it is an isolated beach giving one an impression of a tropical isle far, far away.
At times we tramped through tall grass. We encountered many sea shells which were were obliged to crunch our way through them.

 We happened upon these Egrets.

Shells washed ashore during storms.

When palm trees are blown over they bring shells up with their roots.

Karen sports her new fly swatter.  The biting flies are a painful nuisance.

Now that's a lot of shells!

We can't believe it's already time to take out and leave.  Here I am towing Karen in the Porta-bote in Tridarka with her masts down and ama's retracted.
Has it really been almost two weeks?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Here's a sample of some great pictures on the West Coast Trailer Sailing Squadron web site.  Click here for a great show!
Today we had a leisurely start.  We decided to visit the Cedar Key Museum.  Lunch was at the Pickled Pelican .
The wind wasn't much today.  We sailed to North Key at a moderate 6 knots.  It was slow going after we turned down wind to cross the back of the island.  It was around 5:30 PM when we got Tridarka anchored and motored across to the Island Place where we leave our Porta Bote for the night on the beach.  
We had planned to grill chicken which had been marinating all day. But a check of the cell phone showed a message from Jeff and Dianna inviting us to dinner at Steamers. Great idea!  We each enjoyed the Cedar Key Grill, which is: Grouper, Scallops, and Shrimp pan seared and topped with a lemon butter drizzle served with Mashed Potatoes and Vegetables.  Now doesn't that sound good.  Yes, it is very good!!
Tomorrow, another day of sailing.  What a great beach life!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

We visited Hugh Horton's new home in Cedar Key.  It is truly impressive with its commanding view if the Cedar Key Scrub Preserve.  Building projects can be done under the house or on the third floor in a hugely spacious shop overlooking the scrub prairie.

Here's a Trinka Dinghy designed by Bruce Kirby.  It is 12 feet long and weighs about 105 lbs.  Hugh hopes to have it finished "one of these days."
Next we visited the shell mound in the
Cedar Key Scrub Preserve. You can check it out here

Here we are enjoying the scenery.

Our truck in the background

On the shell mount trail.
A lovely lake on the trail.

Fiddler Crabs in a tidal flat.

Karen on the trail

We got to peek out at the tidal flat.

Next after a very exciting sail out to Seahorse and North Key's reaching nearly 12 knots in speed, we took the Portabote through Atsena Otie. The tidal channel is simply spectacular for natural scenes. Just before we went through we were asked to tow a couple of kayakers back to Faraway Inn across the channel.  The winds were on there nose and they were already near exhaustion.  The tow went well.  We felt good about helping them out.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I took a leisurely bike ride through Cedar Key this morning.  The quiet beauty of this place and its people appeals to my need for serenity and reflection.  In a way, I wish I could live here, adjusting to "the island pace."  I know there are many other such quiet communities in America.  Somehow, after the excitement of the weekend's festivities the quietness reinforces the reasons I have been coming here for the last nineteen years.

Three boats remain on the beach at The Island Place.  Jeff and Dianna's Moon Pie, Bernard and Genise's Kram and Bob Treat's beautifully crafted Chappaquiddick 12 and 1/2, Freddie the Cat.  

Here's a little sample of the view from our RV Park.

Dock Street, Cedar Key
Salt flats behind the food market

Crab traps

Yesterday I took our friend Jeff out for a long sail.  We enjoyed an invigorating sail at speeds approaching 12 knots! Today, it's Bernard's turn.  Tides up around 2 PM.  

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

It's a lazy day. No urgency to get going with the tide low right now.  I just read an email from Dave Lucas a traditional boat builder out of Bradenton, FL. Here is a great slide show of the best of Cedar Key, 2012.  Enjoy!

We took a two hour drive down to Tarpon Springs to meet some of our friends in that area.  On the way we stopped at the Chassahowitzka river.  The spelling is difficult and complicated. But the simple beauty of this tranquil spring-fed run with its overarching trees, numerous and friendly wildlife and quiet setting invites one to spend endless hours paddling and contemplating the natural beauty.  Unfortunately, we only had a few minutes.

The rest of the day we spent with Dan McCluskey an old friend of mine and Jim and Jan Leet proprietors of Marine Concepts and also dear friends. We finally made it back at 11 PM.
For better or for worse, a kind of relaxation has come upon me that seems to sap all my creative energies with regard to blogging.  Hence the paucity of prose. Shall I say, more when I feel like it...

Saturday, May 5, 2012

It's Saturday, the big day at Cedar Key Boat Meet.  The boats are beautiful as usual.  The company is great. Once again, the talent, creativity and shear genius is inspiring. Here are a few of the pictures that I took.  The wind was low in the morning but now it is quite brisk.  Boats are scurrying about.  We chose to stay off the water and wait until tomorrow.  I am just too new at sailing this new boat (Tridarka) to show my ignorance.  We took a nap and will soon join the party at the Gulfside Motel.

Here is a Puddle Duck made completely from foam, encapsulated by epoxy.  She ways 35 pounds.

A beautiful sailing kayak from CLC Boats.  This builder did a fine job!

A lug rigged SeaPearl

All controls for this trimaran run to the cockpit, including swinging out amas and raising the mast.  Check it out on You Tube here
More tonight when I have some more time.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

We had another great sail.  Speeds ran from 9-12 knots as we tore across the channel from Snake Key to North Key. Actually we did it twice.  We were wet but happy with our crazy tack to windward.
Late lunch was at The Big Deck.  We were surprised and elated to be joined by Alan and Anne Hall.  Later in the RV park Tom (not sure of last name wander into our camp.  We shared a beer and had a nice  conversation about sailing and RV issues.  Tom informed me that Mark Stewart is camping in his RV here at Sunset Isle RV Park.  We wandered over to Marks RV and had a fun visit with Mark.  Next to our campsite are two West Coast Trailer Sailor members.  It is clear we are among friends and will have a super weekend with the Cedar Key Small Boat Meet attendees.