After the passage to Miami, and getting settled in the anchorage, I spent part of the morning cleaning the inside of Tahina. Not only was Karen coming back today, but also we had some guests staying on the boat for the next few days. Virgil of EarthNC.com had a booth at the boat show, and I offered for him to stay at Tahina while we were here. His wife was joining him for the first two days.
I also took the dinghy over to the Bayside Marketplace (where the sailboat part of the Miami Boat Show is held). I went to find the St. Francis 50 brought for the show. I soon found the owner of St. Francis – Duncan Lethbridge – and his North American representative – George Godfrey. They were starting the cleaning process in preparation for the show. George showed me the passarelle, and we decided I could put it in the dinghy to take back to Tahina. A few moments later it was put in place. I also got permission to use the laundry at the marina and got a couple of loads going. Then I went ashore and found WIFI and did some blogging. A couple of hours later, I headed back to Tahina.
Back at the boat, I put away the passarelle and made the beds. Then finished cleaning. Tahina was looking brand new shortly after lunch. Karen arrived by taxi by mid-afternoon and I went to pick her up ashore with Cocounut (our dinghy). An hour or two later, Virgil and Sarah showed up, and we gave them the grand tour of our new home. They are active boaters themselves – although mostly limited to the motor-boat variety. A while later we went ashore to do get some provisions (my brother John and I ate a lot during our passage down). We enjoyed shopping at a grocery store at Key Biscayne. It was still a bit cool on the first night, so we ate at the salon dinner table inside.
The next day, we planned to give our guests an opportunity to see Tahina at sail. The winds were a bit strong in the morning, so I suggested we go in the afternoon when they were supposed to die down some. Not only did I want a smoother ride for our guests, but I was hoping not to get salt spray on the decks after just getting Tahina clean!
While we were waiting, an interesting story developed. A boat I had noticed beached ashore was being salvaged by some guys in another boat. At high tide, they managed to two the boat off the beach and proceeded to move it around the anchorage. They started going past us and I was keeping a close eye because they weren’t maneuvering well. Then they decided to attempt to anchor in front of us. Only, they missed the anchor. I saw they didn’t have the boat under tow anymore and it was drifting towards us. I started motioning at them to move! They started to get it towed, but the boat drifted right up over our anchor and I quickly tried to keep the boat from drifting against our port bow with my feet. Meanwhile they were still trying to tow, but the drifting boat was snagged in our anchor bridles. They stopped towing, and I untied the bridle, then told them to move away. Whew! We got a little scratch on our bow. The guy on the boat – who really only spoke spanish – said “sorry! sorry!”. They then moved, and went ahead and anchored in front of us anyway. We decided to pull up our anchor and move away a bit. Sheesh!
Meanwhile, it was soon time to head out for our sail. I did check the tides because of the shallow passage across the bay. Unfortunately, I neglected to think about the outgoing tide and its effects on the incoming seas in the channel. As we headed out the channel, we encountered short, choppy, 4 foot waves. Soon, Tahina had a few douses of salt spray. Oh well!
The seas were still a bit choppy, but Tahina was soon sailing along Miami Beach. The winds and seas did gradually ease while we cruised along for our two-hour sail. But, we had a brisk (and salty) ride. I wish we had waited a bit later in the day, but I was glad Sarah had the chance to go out because she needed to leave the next day. On the way back to the anchorage, we briefly considered moving to a different anchorage. The only challenge was the necessity of going under a bridge. One set of charts showed the bridge had a clearance of 76 feet, others (obviously older) said 26 feet. We could tell the bridge was closer to the former. But, when we approached the bridge there was no height-indicator to tell us its clearance. Since Tahina has a mast height of 72 feet, we opted for the safe course. We went back to the fuel dock near our anchorage and got more water so we could wash down the boat.
A short while later we were back at the same anchorage and the salt spray was rinsed off. Karen wanted to grill, so I got the grill out for the first time. It was tricky getting it out of the locker – I may have to consider a different location. Once I finally got it out, I was disgusted to find out that the grill had been used before we took possession, and NOT cleaned. Yuck! Virgil and I took it with the dingy to a nearby beach and washed it down thoroughly. I do like the grill though. We got it set up on the back transom area and the gas turned on, and soon we were cooking nicely.
The weather was warmer, so we opted to have dinner at the cockpit table. We had a nice time with our great view of downtown Miami. Since the winds were died down, we attempted some night photos of the skyline using some longer exposures on the cameras. Some of the photos turned out pretty nicely.
The next two days were spent at the boat show. Karen and I had a long list of equipment and supplies we wanted to either learn about, or buy. In the morning, we took the dinghy over and found St. Francis. They were kind enough to let us park under their boat during the show and even supplied us with badges for the show. Thanks Duncan and George! After a quick familiarization trip, we soon ended up at the Sailrite booth to look at their sewing machines. Karen is great at sewing, and wants to learn to sail canvas. After just a few minutes of demonstration, we soon were placing an order. Other important purchases/equipment evaluations included: wind generator, LED lights, foul weather gear (Karen needed a set), satellite communications gear, signing up for Seven Seas cruising association, finding the pump manufacturer for our broken A/C pump, washer/dryer company, water-maker filters, and much more.
The pump for our A/C had gone bad back in January. I had tried numerous things to analyze the problem, but I believed it was broken. We found the manufacturer, Dometic, at the show. They in fact had the pump in their booth. After describing the problem they showed me how you could disassemble the pump to check for problems. I discovered it was in fact broken. The next day, I came back and told them. They said – “Wow, that doesn’t happen very often.” Now, here’s the amazing part : we explained we were going to leave the next day. They offered to come out to the boat and replace the pump – UNDER warranty, no cost – that night! And, they did it! On a Friday night, they showed up at 8:30 PM and spent an hour replacing and testing the pump. What amazing service! It works perfectly now…
On Thursday night, we were looking at the weather for our passage home. It was looking that we would leave on Saturday instead of Sunday like we planned. So, on Friday Karen and I accelerated our boat show process. We were pleased that by the end of the day on Friday, we had achieved all our items on our list. Some of the purchases will be waiting until we get home, but we got all the questions and evaluations we had planned done.
Here’s a slideshow of photos from this segment:
View daysail GPS track in Google Earth.
The next posts will be about our passage home.