Tuesday, October 3, 1978
This is to be my log of my cruise this year. As of
today we will be two days behind our planned departure date. We expect
to leave tomorrow morning. We still have to set up the compass for
deviation, but if we can leave tomorrow, we can spend the first part of
the day doing that.
Along for the cruise aboard the Idle Hours II,
the crew will be
Michael Kokernak, Jeffrey Barrows, David Abel, John Young and Brad
Barrows, along with myself.
We had our first "Bon Voyage Party" at Monica’s
apartment last Friday night with about 50 friends and guests dropping
in. It was a really good time that went on until after 4:00 am.
Last night we had our second party, a spontaneous
affair held while Robert worked in the bilges on the 32 volt electrical
We’re now awaiting the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
inspection, then finish up the few details around the boat and do our
food shopping. We collected the $1,500 last night from the crew, the
agreed to split for estimated fuel cost for the trip.
Wednesday, October 4, 1978 (0800)
This is it! We’re all set to leave today. Brad got a
Honda generator yesterday for $100. Still have to get our food
provisions and set up the compass, but we should be out of here by 11:00
We had Bon Voyage Party #3 last night. My buddy Bill
Green slipped me a $100 bill as a gift of what he called "security
money," to keep handy for "an emergency." I’ll put that to good use, one
way or another.
Thursday, October 5, 1978 (0700)
What a night it was. We pulled into Misery Island’s
cove yesterday afternoon, after we gassed up and left Beverly. (We left
at 2:00 pm and arrived at Misery Island at 2:40.) It was too rough with
the SE wind so we decided to hold over until today, so we could set up
the compass on the courses I’d plotted.
We had a few drinks and ate dinner. We discovered
that the refrigerator wasn’t working, were unable to fix it. I
eventually went to bed at about 7:30 pm.
I awoke a bit later to a sound much like the boat’s
bottom striking something solid, but after an inspection of our
surroundings through my hatch, didn’t see any need for alarm. As I laid
in my bunk this strange sound continued to interrupt the common and
expected sounds of a boat on the water. I didn’t think we were hitting
bottom, but it had to be something . . .
Suddenly I heard someone up in the salon, heard Brad
mutter, "Oh shit!" As I had my clothes and shoes on in bed (after all,
we were at Misery Island weren’t we?), I was up instantly; a quick
glance off the port side showed we were among rocks along the shore,
much too close to it. I got topside and turned the spotlight on while
Brad got one engine running. I went forward and tossed off he mooring
line – we had dragged the mooring! Luckily we were able to back right
off and out into the cove. We pulled around to the lee of the idland and
took the Nibroc’s mooring for the remainder of the night. Misery Island
almost got us at long last.
Saturday, October 7, 1978 (0930)
Things just have to get better. We left again
yesterday at 7:30 am in pouring rain. The forecast called for one foot
seas building to 6-8 feet by afternoon. We got beyond Bakers Island and
were greeted by 4-foot seas. Back we came. Upon our return to the dock,
we soon discovered a leak in the hull: We’d done damage after all the
night out at Misery Island. A chunk out of the keel just behind the stem
was letting in a steady flow of sea water. Brad tried repairing it from
inside, unsuccessfully. We now plan to beach he boat today at high tide,
repair the hull at low tide and attempt departure tomorrow at high tide.
How far will we get this time?
Sunday, October 8, 1978 (1020)
We beached Idle Hours II on the sandy shore of Salem
Willows at high tide yesterday (4:15 pm); refastened and recaulked the
garboard seams on both sides of the bow. Then we
waited for the next tide,
this morning at 4:15 am. With much difficulty we finally refloated the
boat: Boat engines in reverse, kedging with an anchor we set off the
stern, and rocking by the crew – with the assistance of Alison, Linda,
and Rick, who we temporarily recruited the day before.
We are now preparing to leave, once again. How far
will we get today? The weather is clear, though cool. The wind is from
the west at 15 knots, temperature in the 50s and the barometer is rising
at 39.97. Weather reports are for clear and cool weather for the next
few days. We’ll see . . .
Monday, October 9, 1978 ("Columbus Day" – 0915)
We are now docked at the Onset Town Pier at the west
end of the Cape Cod Canal. We left yesterday at 10:40 am and ran into
problems right off, again. The starboard engine started running badly so
we shut it off, ran on the port engine alone. We arrived in Onset at
5:20 pm and ate dinner. Brad found that the problem motor had a bad
condenser; we replaced it this morning. We’re now eating breakfast and
will be off to Newport, RI, and hopefully beyond (this time).
Tuesday, October 10, 1978 (0715)
We’re just waking up here in Point Judith Pond,
beyond the Point Judith harbor of refuge. We arrived here at 3:40 pm
yesterday and were able to tie up at a private dock. The homeowner even
offered us the use of his outdoor shower, but outdoors was a bit chilly
for my taste. I took a bicycle ride to a marina to mail a letter while
everyone else explored our new surroundings.
Yesterday we cruised for 5 hours, 20 minutes. We
covered 38.3 nautical miles at an average speed of 7.2 knots. Today we decided on
an earlier start so we can run further and put more miles between us and
winter! We hope to make it to New Haven, CT (84 nms), but that’s
Rip the sea dog doesn’t seem to be enjoying himself
while underway, nor does Brad's Angus the young newfoundland. He goes into a low crouch and just sort of shakes. We
experienced 3-5 foot seas yesterday and Rip was shaking most of the
At one point we heard a crash and discovered that the
starboard side salon door window pane had blown out onto the water!
The compass seemed off quite a bit yesterday, but
this may be caused by the strong headwinds and seas. I’m watching this
We fueled up yesterday at Point Independence Yacht
Club and only required 49.2 gallons of gas. All the running around we
did before departing plus our cruise through the canal and beyond on
49.2 gallons; not too bad so far.
Wednesday, October 11, 1978 (0745)
Yesterday was a rough one. We left at 7:40 am and no
sooner pulled out beyond the breakwater when the sea got rowdy. One wave
came right over the bow, then continued up over the bridge and
windshield, soaking us! We decided to
put in early at Mystic Harbor, but missed it and wound up in
instead. We toured around the harbor looking at the USCG square-rigged
barque "Eagle" and the Navy’s submarine base.
We finally tied up to a dock with electricity and
water. We did some shopping (I got a case of beer) and ate "New London
Stew," my new concoction.
I’ve worked out a deal with the crew: I’ll cook if
they do the cleaning up after. Everyone seems more than satisfied, so
add Boat’s Chef to my other hats as official Navigator and Photographer.
Later Brad, Michael, John and Jeffrey went out
clubbing, while Dave and I stayed aboard "guarding." A "wharfinger"
stopped by and told us he’d be back in the morning; if we were still
here it’d cost us $8.00. Needless to say, we got an early start this
morning. I called home last night, mailed a letter home from New London
so the folks know what’s happening.
Today the weather report sounds good. We should put
some distance behind us. We hope to reach Greenwich by dark and spend
the night there. Dave and John have some friends there.
We’ll be underway as soon as Burr’s Marine opens so
we can fuel up. (I just met the owners of "Paper Doll" and "Caribbon" of
the Cape Ann Marina, tied up here at Burr’s.)
Friday, October 13, 1978 ("Friday the 13th" –
We just passed Manhatten Island, NY, and the
of Liberty on our way down to the New Jersey coast. We made it to
Greenwich on Wednesday afternoon and spent the night tied up at their
gas dock for no charge. (We bought another $30 in gas.) That evening I
made dinner ("Greenwich Gruel" I labeled it) then walked around town.
We departed yesterday morning at 7:30 and pulled into
Port Washington at about 9:15 am. Marinas there wanted 50-75 cents a foot
so we left. After trying a few other places along the way, we settled
for Mayer’s Marina, alongside LaGuardia Airport, which charged 20¢ a
John called some relatives; his aunt picked him up to
do our food-shopping. Later that evening his cousin and some friends
came down; John went into New York City with them for the night.
We made arrangements for a private dock on Long
Beach, on the south side of Long Island. We intended to be there today,
but decided to push on through New Jersey instead. I was up at 7:15 this
morning and got us underway. No dock bill again – so far it’s cost us
nothing for dockage.
We cruised past Clason Point, birthplace of the Idle
Hours II, but there was nothing there all these years, decades later.
Our boat’s joint financial account is down to $1,080
– $297 already spent on fuel. (Another new hat for me: "Ship’s Purser"!)
We’re going to need conserving fuel the rest of the way if we’re going
to make it on the planned $1,500.
Sunday, October 15, 1978 (0730)
As of the last entry above, we headed for New Jersey,
but a SW wind and 5-7 foot seas changed our minds for us – we had to
turn around and head back to Sandy Hook, NJ for shelter. We followed the
notation on our chart made by experienced cruising sailor Pat Haughley
("Thursday’s Child") back in Beverly, and anchored behind the breakwater
at the Atlantic Highlands Marina at 2:10 pm. That evening we hit
the showers (and a liquor store for beer). Michael and I moved the boat
back out while the rest of the crew went carousing in town.
Saturday morning I spotted the " Three Diamonds" from
Blue Bell, PA. I rowed over and asked it they knew Joanie O’Toole, who
had loaned us the owner’s dock and amenities one night some time back or
a previous long-weekend cruise we’d taken down to Nantucket. The owners of "Three Diamonds" also own the tuna canning
company by the same name – the brand I’ve always bought since. They
informed me that she was presently in Philadelphia, and thanked me for
We left at 11:40, later than usual, and cruised down
the coastline to Mannasquam Inlet. We arrived there at 3:00 pm. As we
cruised up the into the entrance to the Intracoastal Waterway we spotted
another vintage Dawn, seemingly a sister-ship of Idle Hours II! We
pulled into where "The Late J.C." out of Mystic, CT, was docked, the Bimini Marina, and tied up for a few hours of talking with its owner,
Jack Carter (his boat is named after his father). Jack was cruising
south also, but singlehanded. We made plans with him to cruise together,
and loan him a couple of our crew to provide a hand.
Sunday, October 15, 1978 (1430)
We are off the coast of Ocean City with another 30
miles to reach Cape May. It’s cold and windy (out of the NW) but we are
making about 10 knots.
Monday, October 16, 1978 (1000)
We arrived in Cape May Harbor yesterday at 5:15 pm,
making a good 85 nm run. We pulled to an empty dock at Seven Evans’
Marina and were told it was closed for the season, so we stayed. At
about 8:00 pm a bunch of guys, including one of the Evans, came down and told us
we’d have to leave, so moved the boat over to the railway dock alongside
"The Late J.C."
We walked over to a nearby tavern for a few drinks
then called it a night. I called home then Alison from a pay phone.
We met one Charlie Gague from "Achushla," who was
going up Delaware Bay and through the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. We
took a vote among the crew and Jack Carter. We decided that, though a
longer distance (and more fuel consumption), it would be safer taking
the C&D Canal route than running outside in the predicted easterly wind.
This morning we cast off at 6:45 am, but once outside
the Cape May Canal, Jack Carter (with Jeff and John aboard "The Late
J.C.") unexpectedly turned off toward Cape Henlopen. Over the VHF he
informed us that he was still planning to go up the bay, but that we
were on the wrong course! I rechecked the chart and course then insisted
that ours was correct. He said he would go out to the middle, pick up a
marker, then go up the bay from there: We would meet up at the C&D
Canal. Brad told Jack that they’d have to come up the Chesapeake Bay to
meet us if they continued on their course! We haven’t been able to spot
them for a few hours now.
Wednesday, October 18, 1978 (1345)
We’re on our way down Chesapeake Bay. We finally met
up with "J.C." later Monday. They caught up with us along the C&D Canal.
They thought they’d beaten us to the canal, were gloating at the first
bridge that they’d arrived ahead of Idle Hours II – until we informed
Jack that we’d just passed under the second bridge! After that we
started calling them "The LATE Late J.C"!
We dropped anchor in Annapolis Harbor (Maryland) at
7:30 pm, but subsequently moved alongside Jack’s boat at a dock. We
decided to take a day off and catch up on laundry and things, so off we
six went to the nearby laundromat. After that, Brad and I took off on
the bicycles with dogs running alongside and did some sightseeing. Last
night we all went out carousing through town getting a good party buzz
on along the way. The Pirates of Idle Hours II had landed.
Today we hope to make it to
Norfolk, VA, but it took
us 11 hours on Monday to make 125 miles and it’s 140 to Norfolk, and due
to the fog we didn’t underway until 8:50 am. By comparison, on Monday we
were on our way by 6:45 am.
Thursday, October 19, 1978 (1830)
We’ve just pulled over on the ICW for the night (we
hope). We passed through the
locks at Great Bridge, under the bridge,
then pulled over at the
Yesterday we finally left Annapolis Harbor after
fog lifted, at 8:50 am. We ran out of chart after a while so decided to
push on until our next chart became useful, before attempting to enter a
harbor for the night.
At 8:30 pm we arrived in Horn Harbor, VA, but what a
challenge. Prior to finding the entrance we almost ran into some fish
weirs or oyster beds or whatever. It was pitch dark and they weren’t
marked whatsoever. We talked to Jack and John aboard "J.C" and Jack
assured us that that "I know my way into the harbor like the palm of
my hand" – but we knew from recent experience that he never quite knew
which hand to look at, and what to do with what he found there, so we
told him to follow us – we had a chart, something he continually was
lacking. (Jack told us he didn’t believe in them – he’d done this
cruise so many times he "didn’t need charts.") He refused, so we continued
along our way without him, and two of our crew.
By reading our chart and observing the lights we were
able to creep through the narrow, shallow inlet into Horn Harbor. As we
crept along feeling our way we tried to contact "J.C." on the VHF, but
there was no reply. Unable to advise them of the situation, we continued
on – fully expecting that the next time we heard from them they’d likely be aground.
Sure enough! Just as Idle Hours II was almost through
the many hazards we got their call – "J.C" was hard aground. Jack
wanted us to venture back out, tie a line to our stern, and pull his
boat off. We kicked that idea around a bit, gave it some thought and
discussion (none of it flattering), and advised him he to call the Coast
Guard – we were not coming back out for him now.
John, our crewmate, finally convinced him that he had
a better chance of getting free with the boat’s motors in reverse rather
than in forward – that he was burning out his engines trying to park
further up on the sandbar. Jack finally managed to break free in
reverse, minus one damaged diesel engine.
By that time all of us had just about had it with the
"Late Jack Carter" – we all were on edge watching him attempt to follow
our directions in with his VHF radio switched off. When he finally pulled in to
the dock where Idle Hours II was tied up, struggled not to slam into our bow
after unsuccessfully trying inadvertently to ram us broadside, we all
just yelling, venting our frustrations in unison at him. He later
decided – very diplomatically? – that he would leave in the morning by
himself. (I wonder if Jeff telling him that none of our crew would
go along with him again had any influence on Jack’s decision?) Farewell, The Late
Late J.C., may you rest in peace.
Friday, October 20, 1978 (1550)
We should reach Albemarle Sound shortly. No problems
where we docked last night. We pulled out at 10:20 am, as soon as Brad
and Michael got the 32v generator working. (It needed a new belt and to
be repositioned.) At 12:10 pm we stopped for a bridge opening and were
spotted by a woman from "Achusla" at Captain Kidd’s Marina where they
were docked. It’s been a pretty uneventful day. The waterway is calm,
running through marshes and woodland. In some spots the canal is only 30
yards or so across. So far, the ICW seems well marked; with the help of
our charts and vigilance, navigating is no problem.
This morning I wrote postcards to Rick, Alison, Barry
& Betty, Monica, and Charlie. I also took this leisurely opportunity to
clean up the bicycle I borrowed from my brother John and spray a coat of
LPS on it. Amazing how quickly they begin to corrode aboard.
At 2:20 pm we stopped at CoinJock Marina and fueled
up. We bought some milk and things, I mailed my postcards. We’re down to
about $700 for fuel expenses now.
Sunday, October 22, 1978 (0930)
Friday we arrived on Little Alligator River and
dropped the anchor at 6:45 pm. There were a few other boats there, all
sail. We sat around and watch a little TV then hit the bunks early.
Saturday we hoisted anchor at 10:10 am. We’d just run
out of propane for the cooking stove; figured on arriving at Belhaven,
NC, in the afternoon and refilling the tank there. We cruised down the
Alligator River to the Pungo River all day, pulled into Belhaven at 4:35
pm. On the way I wrote a letter, polished the chrome in the cockpit, and
took my turn at the helm. It was a calm and quite day of cruising.
After unsuccessfully trying to refill the propane
tank at the first marina we came to, River Forest Marina, we docked at
Jordan Yacht Marina (30¢ a foot) then set out to find propane, food,
liquor, ice, and a good bar. We finally got everything but the tavern –
no pirating available, darn. Instead we spent another quiet night
I called home last night, asked them to send more of
my money. It’s supposed to be wired to Western Union in Charlestown, SC.
I’ll pick it up there in a few days.
We arose early this morning to leave, but were fogged
in. I hope to make it to Morehead City tonight, but that’s about a
10-hour cruise, so we’ll have to be leaving shortly if we’re to make it
Belhaven, the only stopover between Great Bridge and
Morehead City, was a big disappointment. A quiet (dead is more accurate)
town with little to no entertainment – a pool hall downtown, a private
club at the next marina. This is, as the waterway guide terms it,
Monday, October 23, 1978 (1130)
We’re just leaving Oriental, NC, on our way to
Morehead City. Yesterday we pulled out of Belhaven at 10:00 am, as soon
as the fog lifted. No charge for dockage again! We made it as far as the
Hobucken Bridge, which was closed since the previous day for repairs. We
rafted up with some 25 other boats long awaiting the bridge’s opening.
At 12:20 we concocted the original "Pungo River Punch" then sat back
enjoying our wait. The bridge wasn’t supposed to open until 2:00 pm, if
we boaters were lucky. It was sunny and in the high-‘80s so we broke out
the sun-tan oil and cut-offs! The bridge finally opened at 2:25 and the
stacked-up boats slowly drained through.
We arrived in Oriental at about 5:45. Brad and I
walked over to "Miss Oriental" and talked to its owner about lettering
his transom. Unfortunately he’d just engaged someone else’s service the
day before, oh well. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Last night we crew all went off to "the tavern," sat
around ingesting 50¢ draftees. We have 25 miles to go today to reach
Morehead City, about all I feel up for.
Wednesday, October 25, 1978 (1645)
We arrived in Morehead City at 2:15 pm, gassed up at
the Gulf Dock. We calculated the gas mileage to be better than a mile a
gallon now at 2200 rpms. We tied up at Captain Bill’s Restaurant next to
the gas dock. Brad and I rode around town on the bicycles, later took
showers at the Gulf gas dock and marina’s shower. I retired early that
Idle Hours II departed at 7:40 on Tuesday for its
next leg, to Southport. As soon as we hit the Waterway we saw a school
(or pod, whatever) of dolphins swimming alongside. I took a few photos
of them jumping across our bow.
We pulled into Southport at 6:30 pm and tied up at
the gas dock there. We had dinner then went to Wittler’s Inn in town. I
borrowed $10 from Jeff and ended up spending seven of it. It’s the first
bar we’ve been in where there have been any women! We all got thoroughly
bombed before returning to the boat, didn’t hit the bunks until quite
I got up for our departure at 8:00 am to a very quiet
boat, then climbed back into bed too to suffer quietly through my own
hangover. Activity aboard didn’t commence until after noontime – boy,
those Tuesday nights of pirating are getting worse. Nonetheless, we
should arrive in Georgetown, SC, in less than an hour – our stopover for
tonight. Let’s see if we can keep up our record; we still haven’t had to
pay for dockage!
Monday, October 30, 1978 (1045)
I haven’t had much chance to make any entries in this
log/journal lately. I’ll try to bring it up to date now from my notes.
We arrived in Georgetown on Wednesday at 6:00 pm, tied
up to a dilapidated dock right in town. This dock was so bad you had to
watch every step you took – even the dogs had a rough time of it. But it
was FREE again!
We took showers at the local Gulf Marina and after
dinner Jeff and I did our laundry at its laundromat. It was another
early turn-in for the night soon after.
In the morning we departed at 10:00 am for the short
run to Charlestown. We gassed up at the Gulf dock, 139.9 gallons for
$98.91, which figured out to be 1.4 miles per gallon, a little better
than we’d been doing. We stopped to look at a ketch, about a 50-footer
named "Hallee" which needed quite a bit of cosmetic work. Jeffrey left a
note and photo of Idle Hours II, inquiring about potentially buying it.
Old wooden project boats must run in the Barrows family!
We arrived in Charlestown on Thursday at 5:30 pm,
tied up at the municipal marina. They stuck us way out on the end,
alongside an Army Corp of Engineers boat for the night. We paid (PAID for
the first time!) $11.25 for the night. I called Western Union about my
expected money transfer, but they were closed.
The six of us took a cab (a buck apiece) into the
town proper (to the Market Place) and patronized a few of the local
taverns. (It was Pirate Time all over again!) We finally ended up right
down the street from the marina, at a place called Xanadu’s. While
there, Dave and I spoke with the owner of the establishment who’d just
thrown a big party in the side room. He invited us to the leftover food
from the shindig, so we the unabashed crew of the pirate boat Idle Hours
II not only pigged-out but were urged to take a bunch of it back to the
boat. Sheesh, twist our arms!
The next morning we were moved to a better slip at
the marina. It appeared that in the confusion the dockmaster thought
we’d paid up through the weekend -- and who were we pirates to bicker?
As Brad, the two dogs and I left on our bicycles, the
dockmaster asked for me – he had a message for me. Juanita Foster (Pat
Haughney’s significant other aboard "Thursday’s Child" back in Beverly
and a Charlestown, SC, native born and bred) had called and wanted me to
call her back collect at work. When I got in touch, she told me that
she’d fix us up with some of her and Pat’s friends down here. We spoke a
few more times to make further arrangements.
When Brad and I arrived at Western Union there was no
money awaiting me, so I called home. They hadn’t sent it out because
they didn’t know where I was! So the folks said they’d send it immediately. It
picked it up at about 5:30 that evening. I made arrangements with the
folks to call Alison at Barry’s house that night at 8:30, where she’d
be, and wished Dad a happy birthday.
Tuesday, October 31, 1978 (1310)
To continue on . . . Juanita had her friend Earl call
us later last Friday. He agreed to meet us at the boat later that
evening. He took us (two carload trips) to the White Horse Tavern for
happy hour. I called Alison at Barry & Betty’s house as arranged and
talked with her for a while – then Linda wanted Brad to to call her, so
I found him and we called back.
This time we spent about an hour on the phone. The
two girls were going to try getting Michael’s twin brother Carl to fly them
down on Sunday! After that we wound up back at Xanadu’s for the evening.
We got back to the boat at about 1:30 am.
Saturday was spent mostly in pirate’s recovery mode,
but that evening we were back up in true piracy form – for the crew’s
morale mind you. We all walked into town and again went from bar to bar;
Whittier’s to Willard’s to Don Quixote’s, etc. We wound up back at the
boat at about 12:30 am Saturday night – where
we found Alison, Linda and
Carl waiting! I stayed up most of the night until near dawn catching
Sunday, Alison and I took the bicycles and rode
around town, stopping at Wendy’s for dinner. That evening we all stayed
aboard. Carl and the girls were supposed to fly out on his plane at
1:000 pm, but decided to stay another day. Carl was still tired from the
flight down and, well, the girls certainly weren’t in any rush – they
only had work and school the next morning!
On Monday morning we all parted company at 8:30 am:
Them back to Massachusetts, and we the crew continuing along on our
Idle Hours II pulled out of Charlestown Harbor at
8:45 am. Both motors died on the way out of the harbor due to a break in
the battery cable, but with a quick repair we were soon back on our way.
We arrived in Beaufort, SC, at 4:20 pm, gassed up at the municipal
marina (96.1 gallons for $67.21), then tied up along their wall for the
night. The seven foot tides made setting up a bit of a problem, but we
were soon secured and comfortable. From there we went out food-shopping
and exploring the town – which took about half an hour. Back aboard we
had dinner, watched some TV, then hit the bunks early.
We left Beaufort this morning at 8:00 am for
Savannah, GA. This should be another easy day. We’re doing a lot of
zigzagging around these rivers and creeks, but we’re getting further
south every day! The sun returned this afternoon, after disappearing
last Saturday. For this we are most grateful.
Friday, November 3, 1978 (1000)
We never made it to Savannah: We passed it by at
about 12:30 pm and decided it was too early to stop. Everyone is now
running low on money and wants to push on to Florida so we can get some
work and money saved up. We stopped beyond mile 625 at Cow Pens Creek,
anchored along with six million no-see-um flies! We left there at 7:40
am Wednesday and continued on.
At 4:30 pm we crossed into Florida! We had a
celebration drink then pulled into the
Fernandina Beach Florida welcome
station for our free orange juice. We had a free dock there, but a shrimper pulled in and wanted to tie up alongside, so we moved and found
another free dock.
We departed Fernandina Beach at 9:50 am on Thursday.
I spent most of the day shining up the brass air-scoops. It was sunny
and everyone just relaxed. We arrived at St. Augustine at 5:00 pm and
fueled up at the municipal marina (173.4 gallons for $119.50), but they
had no available slips for the night. It was a really nice marina with
floating docks, electricity, showers, all the amenities for only 20¢ a
foot – but full. We went across the river to the Anchorage Motel &
Marina and tied up, then found that the owner wanted 50¢ a foot plus
another $2.50 for an electric hookup – plus another additional $2.50 for
showers. We ended up paying $12, then used the electricity for nothing
(as pirates often do so long as they don’t get caught and hanged).
We went out last night to Mario & Chickee’s and drank
25¢ draftees: A pretty decent place. Today we’re going to beach the boat
for a second shot at the persistent but minor leak in the hull since
Misery Island. South of St. Augustine and its one foot tide, there’s not
much of any. I may have a boat-lettering job here too, but if it doesn’t
work out I’ve got to find one soon – I’m almost broke again.
Monday, November 6, 1978 (2:00 pm)
Saturday we left Anchorage Motel & Marina and tried
again for a slip at the municipal marina with equal success. We found
that it was too rough to beach the Idle Hours II for the planned repair.
Subsequently, we pulled into a cove and, after being ordered to leave a
private dock by a security guard, we
anchored out just off the crucifix
monument. We put out a stern anchor, then ran a line ashore with which
to pull the dinghy in. We spent that afternoon ashore doing laundry. I
was presented with a case of beer and $20 as a birthday gift by
the crew so it was a good party night for all.
Sunday we beached the boat at about 11:30 am, then
awaited low tide to get at repairing the leaky seams. By dark we were
awaiting the tide to refloat us.
That evening while waiting for the tide, Jeff, John
and I rowed ashore to shower and make a few phone calls. I called home
and got a shock of news: The Bowditch, Fred Streng’s 38' steel-hulled
ketch, had capsized and sunk off the Bahamas after being caught unawares by
Hurricane Kendra (?) – all of the crew of four, of which I was once
supposed to be, were rescued by a Cuban trawler and were safe in a Cuban
hospital. Along for the cruise in my last-minute place was the director
of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Recreational Vehicles. This was the last
thing I’d expected to hear, or to ever happen. I was supposed to be on that
boat, until the crew of the Idle Hours II firmly committed to head south
before next winter. After the Even Song disaster, Fred agreed that it
was more important that I go along as navigator with my friends then him
holding me to my commitment to crew for him.
We finally found a shower in a hotel room that was
being renovated (pirates must be resilient and adaptable). It was really
a gracious gesture by the desk clerk to offer it to us.
We stopped on the way back to the boat for a few
beers then walked on to the cove. We were informed that the boat still
leaked, that we’d have to await the next tide. We woke up the next
morning at about 5:00 am in a funhouse of sloping floors and slanted
walls. We dug out the boat, determined where the leak remained, fixed
it, and went back to bed to await the incoming one-foot tide. At about
9:00 am we pulled off the island and motored back over to the municipal
dock, where we were finally granted a slip. After cleaning up the
disaster area the boat had become and taking showers, we all took off to
explore St. Augustine. Brad and I peddled around town on the bicycles.
The crew sat in last night and watch "The Sting" on TV.
This morning we were up early and ready to shove off.
After running a few last minute errands ashore, we departed St.
Augustine at 10:30 am headed next for Daytona Beach.
Wednesday, November 8, 1978 (0900)
We arrived at Daytona Beach at 4:30 pm and tied up at
a hotel’s private dock, Pendleton Condominiums, so I could ride up to
the local Western Union office to pick up more of my money. John and I
returned to the boat and moved it to the municipal marina across the
river, where we tied up for the night at its gas dock and inhaled more
fuel. (45.5 gallons for $31.09.) After dinner we all took a walk to the
beach, while John left to meet his parents who were staying in town. We
found a bar serving 25¢ draftees and free pizza, so we hung around for a
while as good pirates are wont to do in such circumstances.
The next morning John and Jeff decided to leave for
home from Daytona Beach, so we waited around for them to pack. Brad and
I took a ride down along the beach; I tried unsuccessfully to find a
copy of the Boston Globe in the hope of learning more details about what
happened to the Bowditch.
We said our
good-byes to the departing crew, John and
Jeff, then pulled out of Daytona Beach at 11:20 am. I’d talked with
Alison to make arrangements to have someone at Logan International
Airport in Boston to pick up Jeff and John. At the same time, she
informed me that she’s preparing to come down and meet us. I agreed to
call her again when we reach Miami or Boca Raton.
The weather yesterday was pretty lousy: Cloudy all
day and rain most of the afternoon. We arrived at Cocoa at 6:10 pm and
found a public dock just beyond the bridge. There wasn’t a soul around
in what looked like a park of playground. We had 4½ feet of water alongside
the dock with virtually no tide, so we stayed there for the night. No
water or electricity, but no charge either.
We walked to the closest supermarket and bought about
$50 worth of groceries and borrowed a shopping cart to bring them back
to the boat, about a mile away. We were stopped by the local gendarmes
on our way; I explained the situation and told them we’d return the
cart, so they allowed us to continue on our way unmolested,
This morning we left at 7:25 am heading for Stuart. I
decided to start over on my "Boat Lettering" signboard. Boy, what a
project it has become! I re-did it about a week ago: Sanded the old
lettering off, put on a new coat of varnish, re-lettered it, then put on
another coat of varnish -- to which I must have added too much Penetrol.
It still hadn’t completely dried. All kinds of dirt, dust. and
fingerprints have settled into the finish. After trying all sorts of
last ditch methods, I decided to just start over from scratch again –
this is after all my only advertising along this cruise.
Tuesday, November 14, 1978 (1145)
Back again at last. It’s been quite a while since my
last entry. We’re right now cruising through the Florida Keys under
sunny skies, temperature is in the ‘80s, the water’s about seven feet
deep and crystal clear – a light turquoise green in color, just like in
the travel brochures! I’ve got a bit of catching up to bring this up to
Wednesday, November 8th , we arrived in
Pocket, St. Lucie Inlet at 5:30 pm and anchored out. Brad and I rowed
ashore and walked around for a while, getting caught in the rain. (Who
cares, it’s warm out!) David did some fishing off the boat, quickly
catching a sort of catfish, plentiful in the area.
We left at 7:30 am Thursday morning heading for West
Palm Beach, where I hoped to find "White Dove" of Rye, NH, which I’d
arranged to letter back in Beverly when and if we got down here. We
checked out all the marinas without success, finally stopping at the
Lantana Boatyard for fuel and a phone call to Carlene, the boat’s owner.
(Gas: 67.6 gallons at $49.26.)
Carlene didn’t answer, so we continued on to Boca
Raton, stopping at the Cee Bee Marina. We’d stopped at the Cove Marina
first, but they wanted 50¢ a foot, so we went up the canal and wound up
with free dockage. What really nice folks we met there. The broker, a
woman named Pat, came aboard, being very impressed with our boat.
We went ashore for dinner at a local Wendy’s. I
actually recognized where I was from the last time I was down here with
Monica in ‘76! Carlene, my hopefully next boat-lettering customer, still
hadn’t arrived. I gave my old army buddy, Bob Boschen of Boca Raton, a
call but is parents told me he was up in Connecticut. We crew ended up
in a local bar for a few drinks that night (50¢ for a gin and tonic, 75¢
for bottled beer) that evening.
While we were sitting aboard the boat prior to
stepping out for the night, having a last drink, Rip the Boat Dog let
out an ungodly howl. We quickly looked up and around, discovered the bow
swinging out with the current! The bow line had broken free, the boat
was on its way out from the dock! I leaped to the dock as Brad raced for
the bridge and controls. Michael jerked out the shore power plug and
threw it to the dock (in the process falling overboard) as I whipped out
my knife and cut the taut stern line free. The spring line tore out the
cleat amidships on the starboard side along with a three foot section of the
toe rail. With Brad at the helm, the engines now running and the boat
freed from the dock, he pulled the
boat back into the dock and we all breathed a collective sigh of relief.
If we hadn’t had that last drink aboard we wouldn’t have been around
when it let loose . .
. and would likely have lost another boat.
I called Alison that night and made arrangements to
meet her at the Ft. Lauderdale municipal marina the next day: She’d
already sold her daddy's gift Volkswagon, quit college, and bought a ticket to Miami
-- I think she must miss me. We took off at 9:30 am on Friday,
November 10th heading to
Ft. Lauderdale. We arrived at 12:10 pm.
We got a slip there right alongside the canal wall.
It was a really nice spot, and at 20¢ a foot! Once settled, Brad and I
did our laundry, then later David and I went for a bicycle ride. When we
got back, Alison had arrived.
That evening we went to a few bars in a car Michael
managed to borrow from a friend who lived in town. Nothing to write
about concerning that night – just a typical evening of carousing with
one less unattached pirate among the crew.
We all went to the beach the next day, catching a bus
around the corner. Michael stayed behind to meet his friend. Alison and
I walked around shopping for a bathing suit for her, but they were too
expensive at $20-$30, so we settled for seats in the Propeller Tavern
for lunch instead.
Sunday Alison and I cleaned up the boat some and just
hung around. Brad and David took the bicycles for the day; Michael was
off somewhere. We had a big roast beef dinner aboard that night.
Monday morning we took off for Miami and, as nobody
had asked, we didn’t bother offering to pay. Another free dockage, for
three days. We left at 10:10 am and arrived in Miami by 2:30 pm. We
cruised up the Tamiami Canal looking at all the derelict and seized
boats. We fueled up at Dawson’s Marine Service (130 gallons for $88.50)
then continued on. We arrived at
Pumpkin Key at 7:30 pm to anchor, but
discovered – low and behold – a brand new, deserted marina and dock. A
50-plus foot ketch was tied up already and its crew of about seven
welcomed us and took our lines.
It turned out that they were on a 3-day charter, and
came over will all kinds of drinks and the makings. We partied all night
with them – it was Michael’s birthday so we had a reason, at least a
rationale. I ended up swimming that night, after losing my wallet
overboard. The water was great!
We headed along our way this morning at 6:35 am for
Key West, hitting our first sight of the sparkling pale turquoise waters
of the Florida Keys. I can watch the bottom passing beneath us. We
passed over a snorkel I spotted from the bow on the bottom and went back. I dove overboard and
retrieved it! At about 11:00 am we stopped the boat; David, Brad and I
did some snorkeling, along with Rip and Angus, the boat dogs, of course.
Friday, December 8, 1978 (1000)
Well here we are, finally in the
Florida Keys and
things really are laid-back here! I’m catching up with my writing,
again, picking up where I left off.
At 8:00 pm on November 14th we arrived in Key West,
at the Key West Yacht Club. We stayed there until the 16th
looking for permanent dockage without success. We didn’t do better
anywhere else. In the end, we
visited with Warren Patick at his job as desk clerk for the Southern
Cross Hotel for a bit, hit the touristas spots like Sloppy Joe’s and
Captain Tony’s, and discussed our dismal prospects in Key West.
We decided to head up to Marathon on Key Vaca to look
for dockage there for the winter, leaving Key West at 1:35 pm. We dropped the Northill anchor with a trip line off Little Spanish Key in Big Spanish
Channel at 6:30, just after sunset, and threw out the Danforth as added
protection in the wind. Come morning at 9:15 am, we went to pull up the
anchors and discovered that only the Danforth had kept us from dragging!
We arrived at Boot Key Marina, Marathon, on November
17th at noon. We set out in groups to look for a permanent dock; a
difficult task this time of season we were learning.
David and Alison found one right next door, at the
Lion’s Den Travel Park – a run-down trailer park with a run-down
wall on a canal, but with electric power from a
nearby utility pole and
water faucets. We moved in on Saturday, November 18th. We’ve got
permanent dockage, electric, water, rustic showers, and our own thatched tiki-hut but a step alongside the boat for just $80 a month rent!
Paradise if not damn near heaven.
We went out to the nearby reef on Sunday for some
snorkeling and fishing, with our
usual success. It’s sure a good thing that we’re not trying to live off
the ocean! We got all kinds of advice, tackle and bait across the
Overseas Highway at Hall's Bait and Tackle – but forgot to buy any luck.
Socially, this island seems to be pretty dead. There
are two clubs, the Brass Monkey and the (honest to God) Idle Hours –
with a new disco that just opened last Friday. We can’t pick up any TV
stations very well, if at all. There are no FM radio stations and only a
couple AM signals we can get.
I’ve been doing pretty well with sign-painting work
already. I finally got a phone number (with no phone aboard, how do you
find work?); Hall’s Bait and Tackle across the street is letting me use
theirs and keeping messages for me. When I first went out (on my bicycle
with its newspaper racks) I landed my first job right off lettering a
boat in Key Colony Marina: Sundancer, Marathon FLA for $80. A couple of
days later I did Rainbow, Baton Rouge for another $80. Next came Eaglet,
Wilmington at Boot Key Marina for another $80.
I got a message from Hall’s to do a job at Faro
Blanco Marina, but while on my way over Dean, from Marathon Marina,
stopped by and drove me to their yard to letter Ray Allen, Marathon FLA
on transom and bow sides for $105. Then I went across OS Highway to Faro
Blanco and did T.P. Estero Is., FLA for $45. I got another job from
there which I’m doing today, Mad Dog for another $40. Not a bad income
($390) for a week’s worth of work so soon after arriving and making
-- A continuing work in
progress - more to come --
June 21, 2011