Dream Away Update 15-May-2005


It has been quite some time since I got an update out, so I thought I had better get on the ball. I have added four new areas in the Construction and Projects page. They are the water maker, the navigation station, the aft cabin upgrade, and the forward deck box. On the water maker page, I included a drawing of the actual layout of the unit, and, I also included a list of all the parts that I used with as many URL's as I could find. Hopefully, someone could take all of that information and build a water maker, as did I.

The last update ended with Dream Away being anchored in Boot Key Harbor. The way the weather was going, we decided to gunk hole up the keys to Miami. On February 12, we pulled up our anchors and motored to Pancho's fuel dock to top off the fuel and water. We spent the night at their dock and left the next morning, before 7 AM, heading for Rodriguez Key. We anchored overnight at Rodriguez Key. We used the barnacle anchor, and it held with no problems. We motor sailed up the Hawk channel heading to No Name Harbor. It was a beautiful day with enough wind that we could keep the sails full, but not enough to be able to just sail. We anchored in No Name Harbor, which is on the south end of Key Biscayne. It is a wonderful place to anchor but it is crowded and there is not much room to swing if the wind shifts. The anchor held very well, but I was nervous the whole night.

The next day we upped anchor and headed for Crandon Park Marina to top off fuel and water, and to do a pump-out. We had talked to our friends on Palm Island in Miami Beach and they said that the anchorage was very crowded with boats for the Miami Boat Show and also with boats waiting for a weather window to head out for the Bahamas. With that in mind, we decided to rent a mooring in Crandon Park Marina for the week of the Miami Boat Show. I did this because we would be leaving the boat everyday, for all day, and I was concerned about an anchor dragging and about security, in general. The Crandon Park Marina was on a bus route, and we tested the bus route to get to the portion of the boat show that we would be working with in downtown Miami. Kitty and I worked at the boat show, helping our friends from Houston who own SeaTech Systems. This company sells navigation and communication products to the cruising community. We own and use most of the products sold, so it was not hard to sell this hardware and software as we are firm believers in having and using technology. We had fun at the show, met a lot of new friends, and even met some old friends from Houston and some new friends from Marathon. It was a great experience and we even sold some products, enough to pay for our trip up to Miami. The whole experience was even more fun because good friends, from Houston, David and Claudia, spent the weekend on the boat with us. We had a good time visiting, and got more lessons in playing a dominoes game, Mexican Train. They even supplied us with our very own set of dominoes, complete with little train engines.

After the boat show and all of the activity accompanying the boat show, we decided to spend two days on the mooring at Crandon Park, just kicking back and relaxing before we went to the Palm Island anchorage. On February 23rd, we left Crandon Park and motored up the ICW to anchor between Palm Island and Hibiscus Island, near Miami Beach. Anchoring there was a dream that we had had for 24 years. When we left Puerto Rico and were moving to Atlanta (back in the '80s), we stopped in Miami to visit with our friends, Mike and Marilyn, who lived on Palm Island. At that time, we had our dream of cruising and we said that when we started to cruise we wanted to anchor there, between the islands, and visit with Mike and Marilyn. We had them over for dinner on the boat the next night and many toasts were drunk to the event. We had wonderful visits with them, many good meals at their house, and they introduced us to the general Miami area and the services it offered. We were also in Miami so that I could visit a dermatologist.

In the meantime, I had been offered a position for this summer as captain of a charter boat for the Boy Scouts. The cruising 'kitty' could use the influx of cash, and, since we are cruising with no real plan, we decided I would take the offered position. Once we made that decision, we also decided that Kitty would fly to Texas and bring our truck to Florida. The sale of the truck had not gone through, so we were in Florida and our truck was in Texas. This was a good solution to two problems as it would also allow Kitty to visit with our daughter, Judy, in Austin. Our friend in Texas, who had crewed with us across the Gulf in December, Al, wanted to come back to the boat for a visit, so this would work out even better as he was able to ride with Kitty on the trip from Texas to Florida.

Kitty and Al arrived in Miami, with our truck, on the 11th of March. We spent that weekend with friends, Rafael and Gladys, in Boca Raton, whom we had known in Atlanta. It was an especially great weekend because the group that I had previously worked with in Latin America, that had had their main office for Digital Equipment Latin America in Deerfield Beach, had a gathering in Boca. I was able to see and visit with people that I had worked with ten and twenty years ago. We also enjoyed going to a club to hear our friend's son, Venancio, play guitar and sing. Remember the name. He is really good, and already has a CD out.

The next week, our son's girlfriend, Tina, was in Pompano Beach for a week with her mother and sister. We took all three of them out for a sail on the 15th of March to celerate Gail's birthday. Everyone had a great time, and it was fun to see Miami from the sea. Later that week, on the 17th of March, Stacy flew into Pompano Beach to be with Tina. On the 18th of March, Tina's mother and sister left to go to Tampa, and we drove up to Pompano to spend Friday night with Stacy and Tina. The next day, we drove back to Miami Beach as Stacy and Tina hd moved to a hotel there to be closer to us on the boat. We had a great time visiting on the boat, and on Saturday night we went out to dinner with our wonderful friends in Miami, Mike and Marilyn, who had not seen Stacy since he was 14. It was a great time and a lot of sea stories were told!! Sunday, Stacy and Tina checked out of the hotel and spent the remainder of the day with us. We then drove them to the Ft. Lauderdale airport to catch an 8:40 PM flight back to Atlanta.

The following week, friends from Houston, Ken and Shirley, were driving into Miami to visit with us for a couple of days, and they were taking Al, back to Houston with them. This plan changed on Monday the 21st. Kitty got a call from her dear best friend, Kathy, in West Virginia, asking Kitty to come up and be with her. Kathy has breast cancer. She has had the tumor removed and many nodes also. She is now undergoing chemo-therapy and then will have radiation treatment. Kitty and I had agreed that if Kathy called and wanted her help, that we would make it happen so that Kitty could go. We did make it happen, and Kitty left the next day to fly to West Virginia. We also made arrangements for Al to stay an additional two weeks to help me sail the boat to Key West and then back to Marathon. Al was happy to help, especially since he and Kathy are good friends, too. We then had to break the news to Ken and Shirley, who had driven from Orlando just to pick up Al. All things worked out and we continued our plan.

Al and I left Miami on the morning of the 24th of March, heading for Rodriguez Key. We had a very good motor sail down to Rodriguez, and we were even able to get the cruising spinnaker up three hours until the wind changed. We spent that night at Rodriguez Key, and the next morning headed for Indian Key. We had a good motor sail to Indian Key, and spent the night there. A friend of mine, Paul, with whom I had worked in Dallas many years ago, met us at Indian Key. He has been in the Keys running his charter boat for ten years. He was the first person to welcome us to this area, and he has been a big help and good friend to us since we got to the keys, so it was nice to see him again and have dinner with him on the boat.

The next morning, the 26th of March, we left Indian Key and headed for New Found Harbour. About two hours into the trip, the main engine overheated. Not a problem, as I have always had a problem with the raw water pump on the engine. I went down to the engine room and started to remove the raw water pump. As I was removing the raw water pump, I noticed that the drive belt for the main engine fresh water pump was off! I looked at that problem and realized that the idler for the belt had shifted. As I looked even further, I discovered that the rear engine support from the transmission to the motor mount had cracked, and that the engine had shifted back about one inch. This movement of the engine caused the front plate to bend, causing the idler for the belt on the fresh water pump to move, and allowed the drive belt to come off. This was a major problem!!

We got sails up and started to sail the boat. Light wind, but we were moving forward. I made arrangements for Tow Boat/US to meet us at the channel into Boot Key Harbor and to tow us into the harbor and help us get our anchors set. In the meantime our friend, Paul, with whom we had spent the previous night with at Indian Key, had docked his boat at his marina and gotten a ride into Marathon. While he was there, he made arrangements for us to stay at Pancho's fuel dock while we were fixing the problems.

On the 27th of March, we jacked the back of the engine up enough to get the rear motor supports off of the engine, the good one and the bad one. The jury is still out on the exact cause of the engine shift, but it did shift, and now we are getting into the fix. Monday the 28th of March, we went looking for the parts we needed. We were able to find the bolts and helicoils needed to replace the stripped bolts. We were not able to find the supports locally, but I was able to find a pair of rear supports and the gaskets for the front plate. Tuesday the 29th, we drilled out the bolts holes and got them ready for the new supports. We also removed the 3600 GPH bilge pump from the area where we would use to jack up the front of the engine

On Thursday the 31st, I got the new rear engine supports in, and the engine settled on the rear mounts. On Friday, we re-installed the rear bilge screen and bilge pump pickup that had to be removed to jack up the rear of the engine. We also got the front of the engine jacked up, and took off the timing cover and the front plate. We had to take the front plate to a shop and get it straightened. We got all of the front part of the engine cleaned up and ready to put back together on Saturday, and we got the front of the engine back together. This included the injector timing gear, the camshaft timing gear, the front plate, the timing gears cover, the front motor mounts, the water pump idler, and the alternator. We also got the 3700 GPH bilge pump put back in after removing the bottle jack that we had under the front of the engine.

Then we had to align the engine to the shaft. I had to remove the water lift muffler for the generator to gain access to the transmission flange and the shaft flange. We got that done, and then got the alignment finished. We started the engine, and everything went as planned. We put everything back together and we ran the engine for over an hour to get it heated up, then we ran it in gear, both in forward and reverse, and that went very well.

It was late on Saturday, so we decided that we would go get on our mooring on Sunday. On Sunday afternoon we motored out to Boot Key Harbor from Pancho's fuel dock. Everything went well. I even ran aground in the harbor and was able to get off. No problems with the engine, no overheating, and no engine movement.

We are now on a mooring in Boot Key Harbor.

Al and I took the bus/train/bus to Miami on Tuesday the 5th of April. We went to Mike and Marilyn's home in Miami Beach where I had left my truck. Kitty was returning from her visit with Kathy, and I picked her up at the airport late that night. It was nice to have her back after two weeks absence. On Wednesday, we took Al to the airport and later in the day I went to a dermatologist who did seven biopsies on me. On Thursday, Kitty had a doctors appointments (general maintenance), and then we drove back to Boot Key Harbor. It was nice to be back home.

Kathy came down for a ten day visit on the 10th of April, and the peace and sunshine seemed to do her a lot of good. She had to return home for more chemo treatments, but they end at the end of May, and we are hoping to have her back on the boat for an extended visit after that.

In the meantime, I am preparing for the chater position. It is an eleven week gig that starts on the 28th of May. I am working on the boat that I will be captaining. The owner, Don, has a bad back, which is he reason he needed a captain, and he has hired me to get the boat ready for the season. Since I will be working all summer, Kitty has gotten a part time job at a local book store here in Marathon. She loves the job. What a perfect position for an English major and a real book worm!! It would be perfect if she didn't buy so many books!

On the 22nd of April, we drove to Miami as Kitty had a follow-up doctor's appointment. We spent the weekend there with, Mike and Marilyn, and were honored to celebrated Passover with them. An interesting celebration, and great fun.. On the 24th of April ,we picked up a good friend of mine, Jim, at the Ft. Lauderdale airport. He was able to come down for a nine day visit. He is also a close friend of Paul's. We all are former Digital employees, and have know one another for years. On Monday the 25th of April, we guysheaded to Key West and then to Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas. Kitty had to work, so she stayed home on our boat. We three guys had a great week, and just being us, did 'guy' things. It was great to see Jim, as he is recovering from kidney cancer. On Monday the 2nd of May, we took Jim back to the Ft Lauderdale airport so he could get home to Dallas.

Also on the 2nd, I had a another dermatologist appointment. Of the seven biopsies done on me, six were positive. On the 2nd of May, I had two of the skin cancers removed. The next day, I had the remaining four removed. As I was feeling a bit rough, we stayed the night in Miami and headed home to Boot Key Harbor on the 5th. Again, we stayed with Mike and Marilyn. They seem to be something like guardian angels.

Bottom line is that we are having fun and going with the flow. After the summer and the hurricane season, we hope head to the Bahamas or to Guatemala. We will make that decision in November.

Hope that everyone is doing well and life is good.


jim & kitty

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