Follow along as we sell off all land based possessions, purchase a bluewater sailboat, and set off cruising the world in search of something more...

"Every man dies - Not every man really lives."

"All men dream but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible." ~T.E.Lawrence

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"Life is a journey, not a destination"

September 27, 2014

Okay, so I apologize for the super late production of this video! But… Well, you know… It is what it is! Life! Check it out… I think you’ll find it was worth the wait! I’ll really try to stick to my deadlines for future episodes ;-)

Best trip ever!

Categories : Diving
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August 23, 2014

Here rests Chase, the most loving and loyal companion a person could ask for. April 27, 2002 - August 15, 2014

Here rests Chase, the most loving and loyal companion a person could ask for.
April 27, 2002 – August 15, 2014

We are deeply saddened to tell you that we’ve lost a member of our crew.  We’ve had to say good-bye to Chase, the best dog anyone could ever ask for.  He was loving, loyal, and a true companion to each of us.  The emptiness in our hearts can never be filled, but we will hold onto the love and memories he gave us forever.

I thought I had prepared myself for this, but how wrong I was. Chase had been declining in the last year, beginning to have trouble with his hips.  He would miss a step every so often as he walked. That progressed to a slight dragging of the right hind leg and an inability to climb stairs. Soon, he was unable to come down the stairs without falling. Dieter has been carrying him up and down for the last month.  We cared for him and tried to make him comfortable as long as we could, but on Friday, August 15th, he lost the use of both hind legs.  We took him into the vet that evening and they confirmed that he no longer had any feeling in his hind legs, only pain in his back and unfortunately, there was nothing they could do for him.  We had 3 different veterinarian’s opinions and all indicated that there was nothing that could be done to fix him. They could only manage the pain through medication, but once he lost the use of his legs, there was no quality of life left for him and it would truly be selfish of us to keep him here.

It’s unbelievable to me how quickly he seemed to go from a dog who ran, jumped, played, and swam every day to not being able to walk beyond the grassy yard just to potty.  I expected a more gradual decline into old age. This started off gradual, but when the deterioration set in, it really started rolling downhill fast.  All I can tell you is if you have a loved one who is aging, whether it be a pet or a person, love them and spend time with them while they’re here, because it is so hard to accept the loss when they’re gone.

It’s been a difficult week and needless to say, I haven’t finished the Keys video as promised. But I have put together a clip in memory of Chase, gone from our lives, but never from our hearts.

 

Categories : Uncategorized
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August 15, 2014

For those of you eagerly awaiting the production of our most recent Keys Trip video, I’m going to need a few more days. I know, I know, the trailer video of the Adolphus Busch Wreck  Dive promised a production date of August 15th. That was Dieter’s way of holding me to a deadline, knowing how often I procrastinate. Well, a combination of too much work, too much fun, and too much procrastination has proven to stand in my way and I’m not quite done with the video. It’s coming though…just a few more days…a week tops!

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been participating in the Open Water SCUBA Certification of my brother and niece.  Our friend and instructor Don Bouer has taken them on as students and spent the last 3 weekends diving Kingsley Lake, Troy Springs, and Royal Springs. Tomorrow, we’re headed down to West Palm Beach for final checkout dives at Blue Heron Bridge. High slack tide is at 1:45, the perfect time to allow us to get down there and back in a day without any crazy early morning hours :-)

Bryan and Jenna are in for a treat, diving Blue Heron Bridge. This is one of the best shore dives in all of Florida and has been featured in SportDiver Magazine as one of the top 50 dive sites in the world! They’re gonna love it and hopefully upon completion, they’ll be newly certified NAUI SCUBA Divers!

Dieter’s working on a video capturing all the greatest moments of their certification, but in the meantime, you might enjoy some of these pictures showing what a beautiful place Florida is to dive!

 

Kingsley Lake Dive Training Site

Kingsley Lake Dive Training Site

 

Bryan and Jenna Gearing Up

Bryan and Jenna Gearing Up

 

Bryan Giant Stride Entry - First Dive Ever!

Bryan Giant Stride Entry – First Dive Ever!

 

Britton Saying Hello from Kingsley Lake, Florida

Britton Saying Hello from Kingsley Lake, Florida

 

Bryan's youngest, Ava the little free diver!

Bryan’s youngest, Ava the little free diver!

 

Dieter the videographer on duty

Dieter the videographer on duty

 

Platform overlooking Troy Springs

Platform overlooking Troy Springs

 

The nativity of a diver!

The nativity of a diver!

 

Jenna and Don hanging out perched on a log at the bottom of Troy Springs

Jenna and Don hanging out perched on a log at the bottom of Troy Springs

 

Bryan hovering at about 40' at Troy Springs

Bryan hovering at about 40′ at Troy Springs

 

Jenna on ascent at Troy Springs

Jenna on ascent at Troy Springs

 

Britton coming through the swim-through at Troy Springs

Britton coming through the swim-through at Troy Springs

 

Bryan discovers the beauty of Royal Springs

Bryan discovers the beauty of Royal Springs

 

Mask removal practice underwater

Mask removal practice underwater

 

Jenna and Bryan surface after a shared air ascent - Still smiling - I think they love it!

Jenna and Bryan surface after a shared air ascent – Still smiling – I think they love it!

 

Categories : Diving
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July 26, 2014

The Nomination

A couple of weeks ago, we received a nomination for the Liebster Award by The Life Nomadik, a super fun loving family aboard a 38′ catamaran down in the Caribbean!  These guys are one of my favorite cruising families out there! They’re adventurous, spontaneous, brave, and really know how to spin it all into a great story! The first post I ever came across by them had me on the edge of my seat! I’ve been hooked ever since.  Waters of Chaos is a post worth reading if you want a proper introduction to this crazy family afloat on the big blue sea! Thank you so much for the nomination of this prestigious award!  We are truly honored to have landed a place in your blog and to have you share in our journey as we prepare to launch into the world of cruising ourselves!  We only hope that we can keep our readers half as entertained as you do!

The Liebster Award

Somewhere along the way, someone out there on the worldwide web had the genius idea to start “The  Liebster Award”, which is nothing more than a way to discover, connect, and promote bloggers and blogs, but it is truly an honor to be a recipient of such an award. That means someone out there thinks we’re good enough to suggest that their readers check us out!

Liebster Award Diving

A little background for you, the word “Liebster” actually has German roots and translates to many positive English adjectives such as dearest, sweetest, kindest, nicest, beloved, and lovely to name a few.  I happen to have a real live German sitting next to me and Dieter says the word is usually used when a woman refers to her boyfriend/husband.  It’s reserved for referring to a masculine figure.  Another word with similar meaning that could be used referring to it as feminine or masculine is “Liebling”.

The Criteria For Accepting The Award

“The Rules”

It’s really as simple as 1 2 3! And 4 ;-)

1. Give thanks and backlinks to the blogger who nominated you.

2. Answer 10 questions.

3. Nominate 5-10 blogs for the award.

4. Ask them 10 questions.

Getting To Know Us at Diving Into Cruising

“The Answers”

1. Introduce us to your liveaboard family, how many in your crew and how old are they?

We’re a crew of 4, two adults, one teenager, and an old man, our dog Chase.  We’re all on slightly different paths so the final crew that will move aboard in a couple years is still undetermined.  It’ll without a doubt be Dieter and I and depending on how far Brady feels the need to spread his wings when he finishes high school, he may join us too.  Chase is getting old fast and sadly may not make it to splashdown, but we’re doing everything we can to keep him young and able!

Dieter and Britton both hold USCG OUPV Captain's Licenses and NAUI Divemaster Certifications.  Boat restoration is quickly becoming an area of expertise as well.

Dieter and Britton both hold USCG OUPV Captain’s Licenses and NAUI Divemaster Certifications. Boat restoration is quickly becoming an area of expertise as well.

Read more about Dieter and Britton here…

Brady is a NAUI Advanced SCUBA Diver, talented surf competitor, and quickly becoming a reputable surf instructor.

Brady is a NAUI Advanced SCUBA Diver, talented surf competitor, and quickly becoming a reputable surf instructor.

Read more about Brady here…

Chase is a 12 year old yellow lab with a will to live on forever but sadly, his body is quickly failing him :-(

Chase is a 12 year old yellow lab with a will to live on forever but sadly, his body is quickly failing him :-(

2. What sort of boat do you have and would you recommend it for other families hoping to live aboard?

We have a 1968 40′ Newporter Ketch that is currently undergoing a complete restoration, repairing rotten wood and reglassing the entire boat.  It’ll be the most beautiful boat on the water when we finish, but would I recommend anyone take on such a project without first having their sanity checked?  No way!  It’s a major drain on time and money, so make sure to take that into consideration when you fall head over heels in love with that boat that “just needs a little work”.

The day we brought her home...

The day we brought her home…

Read more about our boat here…

3. Where are you now and what are your sailing plans, if you have any, for the future?

Right now, we are still land based in Palm Coast, Florida.  We’ll be here until Brady finishes high school in 2016 and then our plan is to have completed the restoration and move aboard, ready to go where the wind takes us!  The possibilities are endless at the moment.

Enjoying wine, cheese and crackers at the Hammock Wine & Cheese Shoppe

Enjoying wine, cheese and crackers at the Hammock Wine & Cheese Shoppe

4. How do you support yourself and your family while sailing and cruising? How do you pay for the whole thing?

Play your cards right and the stock market can allow you to work as flexibly as you like, trading only when you need to stockpile more cash or trading on a regular basis.  We are both what you would call “swing traders”.  We don’t necessarily classify ourselves as day traders, although sometimes it works out that way too. The key is to watch a few stocks you like, get in low and get out high. Don’t get greedy. “Bulls make money, bears make money, pigs get slaughtered!” It’s a lesson we’ve had to learn the hard way…

Not bad for a day's work...

Not bad for a day’s work…

5. What’s the best learning experience your kids have had since living aboard that you could pass on to other sailing families for them and their children?

Well, since we aren’t living aboard yet, I’ll have to relate this question to what we’ve learned from life in general.  I would say the best learning experience Brady has picked up on in life is to be true to himself and chase his dreams ambitiously.  He’s learned throughout life that happiness is taking life one day at a time and he’s learning to appreciate the little things that make it special. Surf, sand, sun, waves, fresh air, and his latest infatuations (his truck and girls) are what motivates him.

Brady doing what he loves most...

Brady doing what he loves most…

6. What style of education do you prefer for your littlest crew members, are you homeschooling/world schooling/unschooling…? Have they ever been or will they ever go to a traditional school?

Brady has been in a traditional public school his whole life and is entering the 11th Grade this year.  During his Kindergarten through 5th Grade years, I was an Elementary School Teacher at his school and it was great being that close to him in those primary years. As the education system began to focus more on standardized testing and less on the whole learning experience, I really began to question it.  I believe in a holistic learning approach, one that encompasses the body, mind, and spirit and I believe that with the right commitment and structure, that can be better achieved by exposing children to real world experiences rather than leaving them to the classroom and school system alone.

That being said, Dieter feels that the structure of the school system is important to a child’s upbringing.  He believes the social environment in school is hard to replace and that homeschooled children are more likely to lack development of social skills as they miss out on the opportunities for involvement in social activities that public school allows.

Needless to say, we disagree on this subject, but I do think it depends on the child and what they want should be taken into consideration.  Brady thought for awhile that he would like to travel the world while we homeschooled him, but he teetered back and forth on it too much and in his case, I could see where he truly did enjoy the social environment in school.  He enjoys sports, he has a good circle of friends and he was coming into his teenage years before we were in a position to set sail, so we decided to wait until he finishes school before departing.  It’s important for him to have room to grow and develop and make his own choices rather than be forced into a lifestyle that leaves little room to change.  If we’d started planning for this dream to take shape before he knew anything different, while he was just a wee little child, it could have been an entirely different story, but this life is not just ours.  His upbringing is top priority and we have to give consideration to what he wants.  Our time will come…

Brady ready to hit the road as a newly licensed driver!

Brady ready to hit the road as a newly licensed driver!

7. Is living aboard and sailing an alternative way of life for you and your family, an escape from the system, or is it just a temporary adventure?

I like to think of it as a mid-life awakening!  There was a time in my life when everything just became too much. I had been a very driven, very focused person for too many years and one day realized I was living up to the expectations of too many people without really enjoying the simple things in life.  When I met Dieter, I warned him that at that point in my life, all I really wanted to do was buy a sailboat and sail away.  His response sealed the deal! “I’ll be your first mate!”  We started planning, started downsizing, started paying back all our debts and working to separate ourselves from the consumeristic lifestyle that much of the world falls victim to.  The only thing that has changed is that Dieter’s no longer willing to accept the role of “First Mate”.  The two of us compete for the role of “Captain” on a daily basis!

Captain Dieter...Admiral Britton

Captain Dieter…Admiral Britton

8. Name the most challenging experience you have had whilst living aboard and what did you do to overcome it?

Again, since we are not living aboard yet, I’ll have to relate this to life in general as we’ve started the transition. 

This is a hard one… I can’t say that anything has ever really been all that challenging for all of us.  By far, taking on this restoration has been the most challenging on Dieter and I and to overcome that, we have to keep our eye on the prize.  We have to take things one day, one little task at a time and not let the entire project overwhelm us.

Never let a little problem become a big one. There is nothing like an early morning sunrise to put things into perspective...

Never let a little problem become a big one. There is nothing like an early morning sunrise to put things into perspective…

For Brady, I think it’s been learning to stand on his own, as his own person, and make it through life knowing he has to be true to himself and not bare the burden of other people’s wants and desires.  That’s a deep statement, I know, but it’s one that’s held true for many scenarios in his life and I think he’s always figured it out by following his heart.

Brady waiting on his next heat with the stormy weather rolling in...

Brady waiting on his next heat with the stormy weather rolling in…

9. Any big mistakes you have learned from that others may learn from too?

Where do I start?  Taking on a boat restoration with the limited time and resources available to us was not the brightest move we ever made. I am to blame for that as I drug Dieter into it kicking and screaming, while he tried to warn me this boat needed a lot more work than what I had in mind.  I let emotions get in the way. I fell in love with a boat and made up my mind before we’d even inspected it fully, so when the moisture meter was going off all around the boat, I of course jumped on the side of the broker when he dismissed it as “certain paints send off bogus signals”.

But, can I call that a mistake? Right now, in the thick of the restoration and battling against bad weather for time to work on it, it’s definitely up for consideration. But, would I change anything if I could go back?  What can I say? True love is true love and it requires dedication and commitment to see it through. I love our boat and I know she will be beautiful and well worth the blood, sweat, and tears put into her when we finish!

He really loves boat restoration!

He really loves boat restoration!

10. What motivates you to blog and what tips can you offer fellow yachty bloggers?

I’ll be honest here. When I first started the blog, it was with the idea that we could make lots of money with Google AdSense, sponsors, and donations.  I’d never even read a blog before this and I always thought they were just like diaries or journals which I’ve never been a keeper of.  I soon found out that we were lucky to make enough money for a cup of coffee a day and the promises of making thousands of dollars blogging must be for the big guns or total BS.  I’m leaning toward the latter…

But during that discovery, this blog became something else entirely different to me. It did become a sort of diary or journal that I share with the world and I am flattered that anyone cares to read it.  It’s a way for me to share our life creatively with others who share the dream of searching for something different, something more.  If we inspire even just one person, I’m glad to have shared it. For me and for my family, we have our adventures down on paper. This blog has become a sort of animated photo album where all the journeys and adventures we’ve sought are captured here on film for us to revisit anytime we like as we carry on through this life one day at a time.

If I have any advice for other yachty bloggers, it’s do it only because you want to.  Be yourself, make it meaningful to you and you will come through to the world sharing real life experiences. Experiences, that if you’re out searching the world for something more than the ordinary, will be inspiring for others to read about as well, just because that in itself is inspiring.  I think I can pinpoint the phase in my writing where my style shifted from what I thought would bring in lots of keywords and traffic to truly writing from the heart.  I actually cringe when I go back and reread some of my earlier writing.  I’m surprised any of our earlier readers stuck around!  

Write from the heart and be yourself. Let others get to know you. Share lots of pictures and video. It’s what brings us back daily to check in with you and share in your adventure!

Roaming the beaches of the Bahamas...

Roaming the beaches of the Bahamas…

Our Nominees

Drumroll please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Dun da da daaaaaaaaaaaaaa………………

I’ve chosen the following blogs because they are truly some of the best entertainment on the web today and if you haven’t heard of them yet, you should check them out.  I realize the Liebster Award is somewhat similar to a chain letter, so please, if any of you have already been recognized and had your day in the limelight, feel free to opt out :-)   I honestly enjoyed responding to the questions as it gave me something specific to share with the world rather than just an account of our latest adventure.

Where The Coconuts Grow  “In search of surf, sun, sand, and serenity”

This Rat Sailed  “Leaving the rat race for a life aboard a sailboat”

S.V. Delos  “Fun loving crew aboard a beautiful 53′ Amel”

Airabess  “One family’s journey to ‘There’”

Catchin’ Rays  “Working Hard to be Lazy”

Knot Tide Down  “The journey of a couple who sells almost everything they own, buys a sailboat, and begins the adventure of their lives”

Gone Global  “Just out chasing waves and adventure!”

KewlChange  “Freedom - Pursuing the dream”

Zero To Cruising  “From total sailing newbies to live-aboard cruisers”

Follow The Horizon  “Follow your dream”

The Questions For Our Nominees

(Almost the same as our questions, but with a few differences)

1. Introduce us to your crew.  Who are they and what role do they play in your operation?

2. What sort of boat do you have and would you recommend it for other adventurers hoping to live aboard?

3. Where are you now and what are your sailing plans, if you have any, for the future?

4. How do you support your lifestyle while sailing and cruising? 

5. What’s the best experience you’ve had while living aboard? 

6. Name the most challenging experience you have had while living aboard and what did you do to overcome it?

7. Is living aboard and sailing an alternative way of life for you, an escape from the system, or is it just a temporary adventure?

8. Any big mistakes you have learned from that others may learn from too?

9. What advice would you give to youngsters just finding their place in the world?  College, skill/trade, world travel on the graces of good luck?

10. What motivates you to blog and what tips can you offer fellow yachty bloggers?

Thank you for playing along. I look forward to each of your write-ups on your own blog!

July 13, 2014

The full video of our most recent Florida Keys diving trip will take a little while to produce, but in the meantime, get a little taste of it with this trailer video of the Adolphus Busch Wreck Dive!

Categories : Diving
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July 12, 2014

One advantage of living on land with a trailerable boat is the fact that you can hit the freeway and get the hell out of dodge when bad weather rolls in.  As Tropical Storm Arthur made it’s way up the east coast last week, we were loading up and heading south for the Florida Keys.  It was a last minute trip, which I always like the best…open to all options until the day before we left, we waited until we could tell where we’d have clear weather and then we booked it down there on an overnight run Thursday night to spend 4 solid days with the best diving window you could ask for.  We had light winds and calm seas for the entire trip and got in 4 days of unlimited diving from our 19′ Regal Bowrider.  We found what I consider the deal of a lifetime…$93/night for a house on the water, on the Atlantic side!  Having our boat floating in the canal just outside our backdoor, we were underway each morning with minimal effort and within 4-5 miles of all the best diving of the Middle Keys.

Arriving on July 4th, we hit heavy traffic on the Overseas Highway as we reached Key Largo.  Our place was on Cudjoe Key, still another 50 miles away and there we were sitting in bumper to bumper traffic as we passed by John Pennenkamp Coral Reef State Park.  Knowing how close we were to some of the best diving in the world and weighing our options “sit in traffic” or “go diving”, we decided to turn around and head back for Pennankamp for a day of diving while the July 4th Parade traffic wrapped up and left us a clear road to head on into Cudjoe Key later.  That was the best call we could’ve made.  We launched the boat, loaded up our gear and Chase and headed for the Spiegel Grove, a 120′ wreck dive, part of the Florida Keys Wreck Trek, which we started on this trip!  It was beautiful! Once we’d convinced Chase (with just a little persuasion) that he didn’t want to be floating around at the surface without us, we were sure he’d stay put in the boat while we headed down the mooring line and explored the wreck in gin clear water, even at a depth of 120′. Conditions couldn’t have been better!

Once we arrived at our place, Venture Out on Cudjoe Key, we did all the rest of our diving from there.  We dove Looe Key, the Adolphus Busch Wreck, American Shoals, and a few other unnamed reefs where we could get some spearfishing in.  Other than the last day when we had some bad weather roll in while we were out at sea, we had nothing but good weather.  The storm rolling in was quick, but it caught us for a short window facing white caps all around, taking water over the bow, and racing back to shore as quickly and safely as we could maneuver.  Wouldn’t you know it…once we made it the 6 mile stretch back in, the sky lightened up and the seas laid back down like nothing had ever happened…

Of course, a video is in the works, but in the meantime, enjoy the pictures!

The point and boat  launch/marina at Venture Out on Cudjoe Key

The point and boat launch/marina at Venture Out on Cudjoe Key

Our divemobile!  Ready for a week of diving!

Our divemobile! Ready for a week of diving!

Captain Britton headed out to sea!

Captain Britton headed out to sea!

Don chillin at sea

Don chillin at sea

Something is missing here Divemaster!

Something is missing here Divemaster!

Britton diving at American Shoals...Beautiful Reef with no one there but us!

Britton diving at American Shoals…Beautiful Reef with no one there but us!

Nice Barracuda

Nice Barracuda

Don swimming alongside of a Goliath Grouper at Looe Key

Don swimming alongside of a Goliath Grouper at Looe Key

This huge Goliath Grouper hung out underneath our boat while we dove Looe Key

This huge Goliath Grouper hung out underneath our boat while we dove Looe Key

Look closely, you can see Don, a shark, and the huge Goliath Grouper...Lots of activity in the water today!

Look closely, you can see Don, a shark, and the huge Goliath Grouper…Lots of activity in the water today!

Dieter the great hunter!

Dieter the great hunter!

Check out the shark in the background (right corner). He hung around us for the entire dive...

Check out the shark in the background (right corner). He hung around us for the entire dive…

Britton looking for dinner tonight.

Britton looking for dinner tonight.

Dieter coming down the mooring line on the Adolphus Busch wreck dive.

Dieter coming down the mooring line on the Adolphus Busch wreck dive.

Don stopping on the mooring line of the Adolphus Busch to point out a big shark below us,

Don stopping on the mooring line of the Adolphus Busch to point out a big shark below us,

Reaching the wreck of the Adolphus Busch starting at about 100'

Reaching the wreck of the Adolphus Busch starting at about 100′

Dieter swimming through the wreck of the Adolphus Busch

Dieter swimming through the wreck of the Adolphus Busch

Don videoing the wreck of the Adolphus Busch

Don videoing the wreck of the Adolphus Busch

Britton exploring the wreck of the Adolphus Busch

Britton exploring the wreck of the Adolphus Busch

Captain Dieter has sunk his ship! LOL

Captain Dieter has sunk his ship! LOL

Two beautiful French Angels at about 110'

Two beautiful French Angels at about 110′

Britton exploring the wreck of the Adolphus Busch

Britton exploring the wreck of the Adolphus Busch

Look in the right corner...that's a huge Goliath Grouper that lives on this wreck

Look in the right corner…that’s a huge Goliath Grouper that lives on this wreck

Dieter and Britton posing for the camera on a deco stop of the Adolphus Busch

Dieter and Britton posing for the camera on a deco stop of the Adolphus Busch

Safety Stop on the Adolphus Busch Dive

Safety Stop on the Adolphus Busch Dive

Surface Interval

Surface Interval

Dieter hunting at American Shoals

Dieter hunting at American Shoals

Stoplight Parrotfish at Looe Key

Stoplight Parrotfish at Looe Key

Spotted Eagle Ray at Looe Key

Spotted Eagle Ray at Looe Key

That's me at the surface. I was just about to get out, had already handed up my dive gear and saw this monster fish under the boat. Of course I had to stay and check him out!

That’s me at the surface. I was just about to get out, had already handed up my dive gear and saw this monster fish under the boat. Of course I had to stay and check him out!

Dieter has found us some coconuts!

Dieter has found us some coconuts!

Don is going to break this baby open!

Don is going to break this baby open!

Yummy! Fresh coconut for breakfast...

Yummy! Fresh coconut for breakfast…

It's delicious! Really moist and sweet!

It’s delicious! Really moist and sweet!

 

Categories : Diving
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Night Out With Steve-O

Night Out With Steve-O

Blue Heron Bridge has got to be the best shore dive in all of Florida.  It’s even been featured in SportDiver Magazine as one of the top 50 dive sites in the world! As one of our favorite treats, we throw our gear in the truck and head 3 hours south for a day or two…sometimes a roundtrip all in one day!  You can’t beat it.  We’ve experienced some of the best salt water diving ever in West Palm Beach and the last time we were down there, we enjoyed a good comedy show too!  Anyone recognize this guy? I never knew he did stand-up, but he was great. Kept us in stitches the whole time!

Parking is free at Phil Foster Park and the beach is easy to access. It’s a good dive for all skill levels.  You can easily plan it all on your own and it requires nothing but the gear on your back and a dive flag.  Use the “Check the Tides” link on the right side of our page, look for Lake Worth and Port of Palm Beach, and plan your dive around high slack tide. If you enter the water about 20 minutes prior to high tide, you’ll usually enjoy a full hour of calm blue water before the tide shifts. Enter the water on the east side of the beach and you can dive all along the pilings across the waterway (careful of boats overhead) and underneath the fishing bridge which is the Crème de la Crème! When you feel the tide start to shift, just slowly begin to drift out with it and exit the water the same way you came in. The inlet out to sea and the use of Peanut Island keeps the area pretty congested, so use good judgment when diving just out in front of the beach and don’t get out in the channel where you’ll encounter heavy boat traffic.

Check out the video and tell us what you think!  Watch all the way to the end for the highlight of the dive!

(June 2014 – “Blue Heron Bridge Shore Dive”)

Categories : Diving
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Jun
27

Outrunning the Storm

By · Comments (4)

June 26, 2014

We had such a busy work week last week that by the time Saturday rolled around, the last thing we wanted to do was go to work in the boatyard. We decided to take the weekend off and have a little fun instead! We needed a little R&R and soul restoration rather than boat restoration!  It did us good and now we can again look at Mofilla with our dreams and dedication to what she will be rather than the dreadful situation we’ve put ourselves in with a 46 year old wooden boat, soaking up all of our time and money while keeping us captive in the boatyard for what seems like an eternity! We’re gonna need a lot more of those “weekends off” if we’re going to make it through this alive…

Saturday morning, we threw a few things in the cooler, grabbed our doggie, and loaded up the Regal.  Okay, so we had to dust off a few cobwebs to get to it, but she fired right up and begged us to put her in the water.  We haven’t had her out since our Keys Trip in December and that’s just not fair to any boat, especially one that runs!

Launching at Bing’s Landing, which is just a mile down the road, we cruised up the Intercoastal and anchored off of Mellon Island, a little island owned by The Town of Marineland and managed by The Florida Department of Environmental Protection  through Favor-Dyke’s State Park.  This island along with Jordan Island is kept up by volunteers of Palm Coast Yacht Club, who’ve adopted these islands to help preserve their natural surroundings. There are a few primitive camp sites available and the only thing they ask is that you leave it cleaner than you found it.  Brady’s mentioned he and a group of friends wanting to camp out there and I don’t know what they’re waiting for!  Load up some friends and gear in a few kayaks and head for the island for a night of campfires, fishing, and who knows what… I would have been all over that as a teenager!

We messed around onshore for a little bit and did find a tent pitched on the island, but it looked like the campers hadn’t been there in a while.  Returning to the boat, Chase swam around and stopped for the occasional begging of a bite of our sandwich as we ate lunch.  About an hour had passed before we decided to pull up anchor and head south in hopes of avoiding a storm that was starting to roll in around us.

South worked for a little while, but before long, the storm had circled and was now coming up behind us again, so we headed north!  Not ready to call it a day and knowing the ramp would be packed with people giving into the weather anyways, we decided to make a run for St. Augustine.  If the storm caught up with us, we’d tie up at St. Augustine Municipal Marina and spend the day dodging the rain in and out of the shops and taverns around the historic district.

It took us about 40 minutes to get to St. Augustine from Palm Coast and with hardly a sprinkle catching up with us, we watched as lightning lit up the sky in a distance and the clouds grew darker and darker behind us, but we stayed out ahead of it, tying up to the dock with sunshine to spare.  Making our way off the docks and thankful that Chase didn’t stop to pee on any multi-million dollar yachts, we headed for Nonna’s Trattoria, a quaint little Italian restaurant with outdoor dining tables situated along the brick road, Aviles Street, the oldest street in the USA.  That was all she wrote… No need to go anywhere else, but right there, enjoying the afternoon breeze with a few cocktails in the historic district of downtown St. Augustine!

One happy dog out on the water with his peeps!

One happy dog out on the water with his peeps!

The tongue says it all...

The tongue says it all…

If you can't read my hat, it says "I'm The Captain...He just thinks he is"

If you can’t read my hat, it says “I’m The Captain…He just thinks he is”

Our Captain

Our Captain

Oh come on...what was I supposed to do? Get the hat with the inscription "Bilge Rat"?

Oh come on…what was I supposed to do? Get the hat with the inscription “Bilge Rat”?

Another day Mofilla....Another day...Today we must play!

Another day Mofilla….Another day…Today we must play!

Chase is not too keen on the sound of thunder!

Chase is not too keen on the sound of thunder!

Enjoying the cool breeze and warm sunshine outside of Nonna's Trattoria on Avile's Street

Enjoying the cool breeze and warm sunshine outside of Nonna’s Trattoria on Avile’s Street

Of course I can’t leave you without a few photos and updates from Mofilla.  We’ve had a few working days in the marina since I last wrote (Has it really been a month? I suck at this blogging thing).  We’ve almost managed to finish the repairs to the deck where we’d taken the dinghy davits off and found it all rotten underneath.  We’ve confirmed that the black specs we were finding, thinking they were mold spores, are actually drywood termite poops! Nice…add that to the list. Before it’s said and done, we will likely have to tent the boat. For now, we’re trying to cut out all of the areas we find tunneling and replace it.  It seems to have only been in the transom and deck area we’ve just repaired, but we’ll see.  We’ve also given it our best shot at repairing the rotting apron underneath the propeller shaft/engine area. That weekend almost came to blows! Let’s just say we were hot, stressed, rushed, uncertain, irritable, and impatient! Qualities that don’t work well together, but we pulled through it… Now you see why we needed a break?

Ok, where do we begin? We cut away a much larger area than was rotten so that we had plenty of good wood behind where the dinghy davit will be mounted. Racing against the rain today, we have to repair all the holes in this deck.

Ok, where do we begin?
We cut away a much larger area than was rotten so that we had plenty of good wood behind where the dinghy davit will be mounted. Racing against the rain today, we have to repair all the holes in this deck.

Adding a support piece against the transom for the new plywood to rest on.

Adding a support piece against the transom for the new plywood to rest on.

Cut a new 3/4" piece to fit. Will use High Density 404 Filler with Epoxy to strengthen the wood and gaps underneath this and also to seal this piece to the existing deck.

Cut a new 3/4″ piece to fit. Will use High Density 404 Filler with Epoxy to strengthen the wood and gaps underneath this and also to seal this piece to the existing deck.

Round hole, round peg, square hole, square peg... It fits!

Round hole, round peg, square hole, square peg… It fits!

Would you believe it? Had a small soft spot, started digging away and of course the rotted area turned out to be 20 times the size I thought it was.

Would you believe it? Had a small soft spot, started digging away and of course the rotted area turned out to be 20 times the size I thought it was.

Filled with layers of 3/4" plywood and High Density 404 Filler with Epoxy. Sanded and needs a little touch up before shaping a lip to place the new plywood against the hull and close this up.

Filled with layers of 3/4″ plywood and High Density 404 Filler with Epoxy. Sanded and needs a little touch up before shaping a lip to place the new plywood against the hull and close this up.

This filling job almost cost Mofilla her life! Racing against time, the epoxy was curing faster than we could work with it. We were so hot and so completely covered in Epoxy but couldn't stop or else all was for nothing if it cured before we finished.  By the time we got the last layer in there, we were head to head with each other and Mofilla was getting the threat of the match!  But here it is,  sanded and ready for final filling and shaping preparing for plywood closing this baby up!

This filling job almost cost Mofilla her life! Racing against time, the epoxy was curing faster than we could work with it. We were so hot and so completely covered in Epoxy but couldn’t stop or else all was for nothing if it cured before we finished. By the time we got the last layer in there, we were head to head with each other and Mofilla was getting the threat of the match! But here it is, sanded and ready for final filling and shaping preparing for plywood closing this baby up!

After hell weekend in the marina, there is nothing better than grilling steaks in the evening, sipping on a cold Corona and Lime, and munching on fresh Guacamole...Still able to smile about it all!

After hell weekend in the marina, there is nothing better than grilling steaks in the evening, sipping on a cold Corona and Lime, and munching on fresh Guacamole…Still able to smile about it all!

 

Categories : Restoration
Comments (4)
May
30

Chalk One up For The Toes!

By · Comments (4)

May 30, 2014

Okay, so I’m one of those people who doesn’t always instinctively react to the basic things most people don’t even waste a brain cell on. I’m not dumb by any means, but let’s just say I reserve space in my brain for more complicated matters and the basic ones throw me for a loop from time to time ;-) Like what? Well, like determining left from right. Maybe it’s because I learned it as a kid by holding my hand up and the correctly facing “L” shaped by my forefinger and thumb meant that was my left hand. Well, to this day, when I have to react to “Take a left”, I quickly form the “L” with my left hand to reassure myself that I know Left from Right. I just realized as I’m writing this that I never hold up my right hand to check, I just quickly feel for my forefinger and thumb on my left hand as I react to identifying my left side.  I suppose that means I do instinctively know it, but I still rely on my hand as a crutch because that’s the way I learned it.  Old habits die hard!

Chalk One Up To The ToesWell, when it comes to determining the Port and Starboard side of a boat, there are all kinds of rhymes and riddles to help you remember. Port wine is red, the word red has less letters than the word green. The word port has less letters than the word starboard. So Port, Red, Left belong together and Starboard, Green, Right belong together. Hmmm….Then there is that nautical saying “Red Right Returning” that has nothing to do with port or starboard, only has to do with which side of the channel the red marker is on when returning from sea yet, it always enters my mind for a brief moment when I hear reference to anything having to do with red on a boat. Can you picture me now? Your confident and able bodied sea captain up on deck holding up my hands to form an “L” and counting letters to determine that “Port is Left and the Port Sidelight is Red”? The need to know it will have ceased by the time I figure it out!  That’s where the toes come in  8-)  From here on out, the only two colors of nail polish I’ll have on hand are red and green! LOL

I’m happy to report that we have completed our Sea School program and passed all 4 exams consisting of Deck General, Navigation General, Navigation Rules, and Plotting! The 54 hour course lasted 2 weeks and then we had 2 weeks before taking the exam.  We didn’t study a whole lot that first week off, but the week before the exam, we crammed hard and come Saturday morning, we were as ready as we were ever gonna be.  Talking with a few classmates before the exam, the anxiety level was definitely up for everyone. Some studied, some not so much, but everyone was a little uncertain of how they would do.  Testing from 10am until about 3pm, with an hour in between for lunch, Dieter and I both walked away from there with passing scores in all 4 areas!  The exams were tough, but based entirely on the course content and practice material we were provided. It was just a lot to cram in and if you didn’t study, I don’t know how anyone would have passed.  As a matter of fact, of the 13 people who showed up to test on Saturday, only 4 people (including us) walked away passing all 4 sections.  The way the exam is given, you get 3 chances to pass the test (each a different version of course) and if you fail that third time, you have to sit back through the course again before being able to test.  I know of quite a few who failed all 3 attempts that day… I myself failed the Navigation Rules test on my first attempt. It has 30 questions and you have to score a 90%.  That means you can only miss 3 and I missed 5 :-( The thing is, 2 of them that I missed, I knew, I just read the question incorrectly and answered too quickly. Ugh… But another one I missed was a bad question because it said it was applicable to Inland and International and I knew the answer to International was a choice, but it would not have been the answer for Inland.  The question had to do with light signals for “Constrained by Draft” and Inland Rules don’t recognize “Constrained by Draft”.  That threw me off and made me think it was a trick question so I instead chose an answer that was also wrong, but I had convinced myself it could possibly be correct since in my mind, the right answer, 3 vertical red lights, was the trick part of the question.  That would only be correct for International Rules and not for Inland Rules.  Confused yet? I know, I tend to over-complicate matters sometimes but when I’m looking for the right answer on a test, I expect it to be 100% right, not just the best answer to part of the question.  Our instructor popped in later that day and confirmed that I was right. That was a bad question. But, he pointed out how the answer I’d convinced myself could possibly be right was definitely wrong, so as it turns out, there was no right answer offered as a choice to that question.  He also gave me a little shit for missing two other very straight forward questions, so I guess it didn’t matter. I still would have failed the first attempt even if not for that invalid question. I passed my 2nd attempt though! Dieter who has been gloating about his higher level of intelligence all week, passed all 4 on the first try and with a little higher scores than I did.  I guess that means the long lived battle over who is Captain is solved. Dieter is the official Captain!  However, I’m still reserving the title of “Admiral”! LOL

Captain Dieter

Captain Dieter

Admiral Britton

Admiral Britton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s not all we’ve been up to.  That first weekend out of Sea School, before we began the process of cramming, we worked on MoFilla. I was just too busy studying in the evenings during the week to get a chance to get a post out here. But, we made great progress that weekend. Hoping to make some more this weekend if the rain holds out.

Removed the dingy davits from the deck for two reasons. One to get the tarp fully over the top of the boat and prevent rain from running down through the cockpit while we have it exposed and two because it was sitting kind of cattywampus like it wasn't lined up just right during an earlier removal.  As has been the case with everything else we've removed, we were glad we did. We found a lot and I mean a lot of rot underneath it. This picture doesn't actually show how deep it is under the davit plates.  We've removed a lot of rot from the deck and will begin to repair it next. The dingy davits will remain off until we move the boat again because truth be told, we were just a smidgeon higher than legally allowed when we moved it from Indiantown up here to Palm Coast and the driver ran with it. We don't want to go through that again.

Removed the dingy davits from the deck for two reasons. One to get the tarp fully over the top of the boat and prevent rain from running down through the cockpit while we have it exposed and two because it was sitting kind of cattywampus like it wasn’t lined up just right during an earlier removal. As has been the case with everything else we’ve removed, we were glad we did. We found a lot and I mean a lot of rot underneath it. This picture doesn’t actually show how deep it is under the davit plates. We’ve removed a lot of rot from the deck and will begin to repair it next. The dingy davits will remain off until we move the boat again because truth be told, we were just a smidgeon higher than legally allowed when we moved it from Indiantown up here to Palm Coast and the driver ran with it. We don’t want to go through that again.

Scarfed joints sealed up nicely with the magical West Systems 404 High Density Filler in between working as an adhesive filler.

Scarfed joints sealed up nicely with the magical West Systems 404 High Density Filler in between working as an adhesive filler.

IMG_0014

The completion of this repair did wonders for our moral.  We'll go back over the seams with 17 oz biaxial cloth and then when we wrap the entire boat with 2 layers (and more on the bottom) this'll be solid as a rock.

The completion of this repair did wonders for our moral. We’ll go back over the seams with 17 oz biaxial cloth and then when we wrap the entire boat with 2 layers (and more on the bottom) this’ll be solid as a rock.

Categories : Cruising, Restoration
Comments (4)

May 13, 2014

Okay, so it was just a couple of posts back when I wrote that our time was finally all ours for a few solid months and we hoped to devote it all to the restoration of Mofilla. Remember that? Well, as always seems to be the case, something else came up. An opportunity that we really had to consider and that ended up landing us in Sea School for two weeks working toward earning our USCG OUPV (Six Pack) Licenses.  You see, we were presented with a unique situation and decided to go ahead and get in on the class in Jacksonville while we could even though we were still considering what to do with this new opportunity.  The USCG Licenses are something we planned on earning at some point and if not for this opportunity, we probably would have waited until we finished with our restoration, but given the circumstances and timing, it made sense to go ahead and jump on it.

What opportunity, you ask? Well, there is a Dive Boat Operator we’ve caught wind of who needed a licensed captain to take a job for 90 days beginning in August in order to fulfill a Government Contract he had open.  He’s had a stroke and can’t do it any longer and was looking for someone who could sustain without pay for 90 days and the prize in the end would be to take ownership of the Dive Boat and along with it, the ongoing Government Contracts if they so desire.  At first, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to acquire such an operation and during those first 24 hours of excitement, we enrolled in Sea School!  Dieter would have actually been the one to take the position, but I wanted to attend the school at some point too, so why not do it together? That’s the way we roll…

Well, after the initial excitement had a chance to sink in and we had a look at the boat, we realized we’d be INSANE to take on two project boats! This boat is operable now, it’s well set up for supporting a Dive Operation, but it still needed some work to ever be something we would consider long term. Not to mention, the guy operating the boat must be a midget because the little space he has set up as his steering station would have Dieter crawling and slinking around to get into and then remaining in a tightly crouched position. He was getting a little claustrophobic just checking it out, so it would definitely be something he had to change. After sleeping on the idea that night, he decided he was quite happy here working on Mofilla and continuing to chase the dream we have without throwing any additional boats into the works. Actually, I think he said “I hate the restoration project we’re in now, why in the hell would I want to take on another!” But I take that as, he’s happy to be here with Mofilla and doesn’t need another boat drawing his attention away from her ;-)

So we turned that proposition down, BUT, we were now very excited about attending Sea School and going ahead with obtaining our Captain’s Licenses. For the last two weeks, we’ve put in evenings and weekends to complete a 54 hour course preparing us for the USCG Exam (well, a Sea School version of it).  It was a pretty grueling schedule on top of our regular 9-5, but we really learned a lot. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Were they just going to force feed us and prepare us to pass a test or was it actually going to be more meaningful and practical content. Our instructor, Captain Don, was great and we felt the class was well worth it. He teaches sailing courses through ASA too, so that’s now on our list of things to add to our cruising arsenal.  That is….after we get a little further along with Mofilla.

The next two weeks will be devoted to preparing for the 4 exams we’ll take on the 24th.  If I could just stay focused on the subject at hand… I swear, you put toys in my hand and my mind always wonders off somewhere else. Part of what we’re practicing of course is plotting and navigation.  Using dividers to measure distance on a map got a little boring and I started doodling with them. I can’t draw worth a damn, but turns out I can create some pretty cool geometric designs. After a bit of toying around, I came up with a Logo idea for Diving Into Cruising.  Taking a few stabs at it, I finally perfected the image. Trying to first color it using colored pencils, the finished product was seriously lacking any flare.  I then tried markers and it was a little better, but still not great. Then I remembered a post I’d read by Kevin on Catchin’ Rays and he used a program called Phoxo to fill in his image that I remembered had teeny tiny detail lines and he did a beautiful job of it.  Hitting him up for more information, he walked me through using the program to get a perfect finished painting for my artwork.  Thank Kevin!

What do you think?  Applied for the Copyright today!

Diving Into Cruising Official Logo - Copyright In Progress

Diving Into Cruising Official Logo – Copyright In Progress

 

Categories : Cruising, Diving, Restoration
Comments (4)


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