Dream Away Update 02-Nov-2005
I am finally getting an update out to you all. If you look on the WEB page, www.dreamaway.net, you will see some new items. First of all, I changed the way you see About Dream Away. Go take a look. Then, I changed the“passages”link. There are now Passages Planned and Passages Made links. They are in development, and have not yet been completed, but hopefully they will be more polished when I get some time to work on WEB page maintenance.
Now, let me bring you up to date on what has been going on with Dream Away, the Captain, and the First Mate. Then, I let you know what our plans are for the next couple of months.
When I finished the Boy Scout charters this summer, it looked as if I would have two full months to work on the boat. The time would be spent doing maintenance, and starting and finishing projects before our planned trip to Mexico starting the first week of November, and then on to Guatemala. Between mother nature (hurricanes), unforeseen problems on the boat, family visits, and doctor and dental visits, the time just seemed to evaporate. The good news is that, even with all of the roadblocks, we are very ready to continue the cruising lifestyle.
We originally planned to leave Marathon very early Friday morning, 9-16-05, to drive to Miami to get my three skin cancers removed. Then we were going to Tampa to bring my father back for a two week visit. We stayed overnight in Miami, and then drove to Tampa on Saturday. We drove to Ocala to visit my sister on Sunday, 9-18-05. Just as we were going in to see my sister, a friend called from Marathon and gave us word about Hurricane Rita. We ended the visit with my sister at 3 PM, and then drove 2 1/2 hours back to Tampa.
Our original plan for Tampa was, of course, changed by the news of the hurricane. We had planned to drive back to Marathon on Monday, with a stop at Don's Salvage in Clearwater. http://www.donssalvage.com/. That planned changed. After dinner on Sunday, we started driving back to Marathon. We arrived in Marathon, at the boat, around 2 AM on Monday morning. We went to sleep, and got up around 0830. I looked at the 5 AM tropical update from the National Hurricane Center, and decided that we would evacuate. We spent the remainder of the morning getting the boat ready for the storm. Because of my Dad's impending visit, I had started putting things back on the boat, on the outside. Now we had to take it all off again, and get it all below deck. Then packed our stuff, including the cat, and into the Texas Racing Truck. I got Kitty and Pop off of the boat, and then I adjusted all of the lines to put the boat in the center of the slip, hopefully leaving enough slack for the storm surge.
We left Marathon around 1330, and got back into Miami around 1700. There was not much traffic, so we got to our friend’s house with out a problem.
It seemed as if all we had been doing was drive around the Florida peninsula since Friday.
We left our friend’s house in Miami, 9-21-05, and drove back to the Keys. When we got here there was no damage to the boat. The only thing that happened was that a bow line cleat had pulled out of the dock. But, I had two other lines already run, so there was no problem.
For my Dad’s visit, we had planned to sail to Fort Jefferson and back, but with the late start because of the hurricane, and the fact that Kitty had to work, we decided not to go to Fort Jefferson, but just to go to Key West. As it turned out, we did not even get that far. The first night we anchored just outside of the Boot Key channel. The next day, by the time we got up and had a wonderful breakfast, we just decided to kick back and spend one more night right where we were. When we headed west in the direction of Key West, the boat main engine had an overheating problem. The engine would run just fine at 1200 RPM, but would overheat running at 1500 RPM. We changed our plan, stayed in New Found Harbor for one night, and then came back to our slip the next day.
So, now I had a problem to fix, and I thought that it would be very easy one to remedy. Not necessarily so. The remainder of the week my Dad and I worked on the overheating problem part of the time, and the rest was spent just hanging out. It was a great time. My Dad left to go back to Tampa on October 1st. I drove him to Miami where he was met by his wife, and she and her son drove him back to Tampa.
For the next week, I worked on the overheat problem, and thought that I had it pretty much fixed. I was also working on other projects, and went to the dentist. The following weekend, the 8th of October, some friends came to visit for three days, and we had planned to go sailing. When they got to Marathon, we took the boat out, but we still had the overheating problem. We were heading west and we had a fierce west wind, so with the boat only able to do 1200 RPM, and our not being able to sail, we decided to abort the trip. We still had a great visit, and we worked some more on the overheating problem.
The problem with the overheating appears to be solved, but will not be tested real time until tomorrow, when we leave the marina and head to Key West. The problem appears to be the fact that I was using an after-market thermostat. When I installed a Ford thermostat, the overheating problem went away, at least in the slip, even under load. I am still very hard-pressed to believe it, but I have tried almost everything else. I will not go into all that I did, but let me just say that it was very time consuming.
Next on our plate was to see my grandnephew, Michael, graduate from Marine Corps Boot Camp. We were to fly out of Miami on the 19th of October and be back in Miami on the 23rd. Running up to this date, we were working on the boat, getting bunches of projects done, and completing lots of maintenance. Pretty full days for both the Captain and the First Mate.
Our original plan was to drive to Miami on Tuesday, the 18th of October, spend the night with our friends, and the next day, Wednesday, fly to Atlanta. Kitty and I would then drive to Parris Island, South Carolina, using my son’s car as he was to fly to China on a business trip. We would attend the graduation and festivities, drive back to Atlanta on the 22nd, fly back to Miami on the 23rd of October, and then continue on home to Marathon by car.
Yabba-dabba-do, Wilma is on her way!! We decide not to drive to Miami on Tuesday, but to stay in Marathon and get the boat prepared for the hurricane. I again took everything off of the deck that would suffer from windage … sails, canvas, and lots of small parts. We had to pack a lot as we had to take the cat and all of the boat papers. The bottom line was that we were evacuating … again! We left Marathon on Wednesday the 19th and headed to Miami, again to the home of our kind, generous, and by now long-suffering friends. Because the folks who were going to take care of the cat in Marathon were also leaving because of the hurricane, we took the cat and Kitty stayed in Miami with him. I caught the flight out to Atlanta. My son’s business was cancelled, so he decided to come along with me to Parris Island. It was a wonderful thing to see Michael. Of course, this is were I went to boot camp and also my Father went to boot camp here. My father was not there on Thursday, but on Friday the day, of the graduation, he was there. I was very proud of Michael particularly, and I was happy and proud that the Marine Corps is still putting out very fine Marines to carry on the tradition of 230 years. It was also wonderful to know that my father did his graduation parade on that same parade deck in 1942. I marched on it in 1964, and now Michael was marching there in 2005.
The next day, Saturday, Stacy and I drove back to Atlanta. On Sunday, the 23rd, I flew back to Miami, arriving about 2:30 in the afternoon. The airport closed down at 5 PM for the arrival of Wilma. And come she did! She blasted south Florida the next day and we were without power after 0730 Monday morning. We were finally able to head back to Marathon on Wednesday the 26th of October. The good news was that Dream Away had very little damage. We had some cap rail damage that I fixed by sealing up the broken wood to prevent leaks. I will get the cosmetic repairs done when we get to Guatemala.
The boat with whom we were going to “buddy boat” to Isla Mujeres sustained some major damage. The boat broke loose from its mooring and banged into a concrete sea wall. It has a 12”X12” hole on the port side aft above the water line, and a 3’X3’ chunk out of the bow. Not very good, and a real problem for the owner. He now has insurance adjusters working on the problem, and is getting all types of quotes to fix the problems. He is hoping to be joining us in Guatemala in January.
So now we plan to leave Marathon on Dream Away on November the 3rd, and head for Key West. The boat is all prepared, systems have been checked, tanks topped off, and, hopefully, all matters taken care of. We have sold the Texas Racing Truck (Suburban), shut off phones, etc., so we are good to go. We plan to sail to Isla Mujeres and spend about a month there. Our children are planning on joining us there for the Thanksgiving holiday. Then, the first week of December, we plan to sail to Roatan, an island off the coast of Honduras. We plan to spend the holidays there and, some time after New Year’s Day, head to Guatemala and sail up the Rio Dulce. We are planning on spending at least four months there. After that, our plan is written in Jello, so no telling what will happen.
The next communication will, hopefully, be from Isla Mujeres, Mexico, via email. Also, please keep a look out for WEB page updates. I really hope to get it updated and make it current.
WEB page http://www.dreamaway.net