Tuesday, October 4, 2022

We Endeavor to Persevere Hurricane Season 2022

Hello Sportsfans, Long time no see! We are still milling about smartly in Northeastern Florida staying dry (for the most part) and dodging deadly storms in the slick manner to which we aspire. Hurricane Ian definitely was destructive, it was supposed to directly approach us and as the storm interacted with Fort Myers it seemed that the storm began a bias towards the right, Easterly, as it traversed the Florida Peninsula. It is an ugly aftermath down there and we won't know exactly all the loss and damage for a few weeks. This is the view from Tuesday afternoon, the green dot is projected center of storm, we live a few miles North by the Hwy 17 sign.
We dodged a big one. Our location is about 35 miles West from St Augustine and we seem to be in a sweet spot concerning hurricane approaches. We are not immune but we will have a bit of notice before anything blows us down. Here are some images from Thursday while the storm was passing to the South, near Daytona. Our dock and bulkhead are fairly high above the normal water levels so we avoided flooding. Our two sections of swamp worked beautifly absorbing the rising waters. (Our neighbor's dock was destroyed) Our banana plants along the boatramp did not fare so well in the winds. Overall, we were extremely lucky and feel extremely humble. On a separate note; I still visit a few of the old blogs out there, Hello Larry, I do visit the Mirage! Virgil Xenophon, hope you are well, too. Until later, we remain boat-less and free in Palatka, FLA. Barco Actual... Out.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Still endeavoring to persevere, Palatka style!

This llily bloom was given to us several years ago, it keeps returning around Easter every year. Annuals, right? The Crew of former Barco Sin Vela II are still continuing our littoral mission here at Barco Landing, home of the Wildebeest. It's been a crazy couple of years, thanks to the inept machinations of petty, tyrannic politicians who rule our nation with fear and treachery. Three of our parents passed in the previous twelve months, a couple of treasured siamese family members, too. Some fine friends from our past have also departed suddenly leaving a heartbreaking void in our lives. But we endure as we always do, with an abundance of gratitude for the good stuff we have and do. We seem to have dodged the woo-floo, too! I have no explanation why, because we had parties and family gatherings like we always have without anyone coming down with the pandemic ague. I guess there is a price to pay for living a good life, but live we shall. These two gents left us way too soon, last year.
As for boating; We enjoyed our sailboat, "Wildebeest" the past couple o' years... Thanks to our friend John S. for gifting us the Newport 30 sailboat. After renewing the paint and new sails we decided to donate the boat to a local State College. May the Wildebeest guide her new owner to the same fun and adventure that we safely enjoyed!
Currently, we remain boat-less and we hope to find a good replacement in the near future. Perhaps we should crowd-fund a big ketch so we can bring our new and old friends out to sea??? How about this moderately priced 72 footer, only $480K!
T oday, it seems I am the Commode-Door of the local Yacht Club. Seems I was volun-told to run this joint... Always something. right? It's been a year and a half and I still don't seem to know what I am doing! Keeps me out on the water with like minded folks. Come see us on the 21st at Crystal Cove Marina Bar, I'll buy the first round. We had our big Mug Race event yesterday, about seven of our boats raced up and down the St Johns River from Palatka to Green Cove Springs. The winds were from the West and quite blustery. We almost got through most of the day without any drama until we spotted an eigty year old skipper, hanging on the stern of a turtled sailboat. We quickly rescued him but our efforts to save his boat came to a sunken end, capping off two hours of high effort to tow the boat to safety. Glad we all still have our digits, limbs and in one case; Life.
That wraps up my short report on the latest Barco Sin Vela Crews Nooz. Hope you all find happiness and health and keep the good times a-coming!

Wednesday, October 23, 2019


We have Turkeys roosting in our front yard, again...

They are safe from Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Wildebeest Wrides Again...!

We sold all of the boats and got out of sailing for a day, or two.

 Newport 30 Mk II showed up on our step, homeless, lonely and free.

We race on Saturday in the 66th Annual Mug Race with Wildeeest 2.5. Wildebeest 2.5 is named thusly from recommendations from our boss in London, Captain Kirk. He said that it wasn't right to use Wildebeest 4 for a vessel that was smaller than the one we cruised the Atlantic with, all those years ago... So Wildebeest 2.5 it is.

I'm excited. Our Crew is excited... The aforementioned crew was a Class Mate of Lex LaFon, back in 1982 at Canoe U. Buck would be pleased to know this. I wish Buck were here to be pleased.

It is a small world.

Sailing returns to Barco Landing, let's stay tuned to see what happens, 20 years later!

Wildebeest OUT!

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Last Ride of the Barco Sin Vela II

Today, Palm Sunday 2019... The final voyage of the Barco Sin Vela II commences at 1100.

Our last mission is lead vessel for the local Blessing of the Fleet, hosted by the Palatka Yacht Club in conjunction with the Rat Island Yacht Club.

It has been a great ten years onboard Barco, we have traveled approximately six thousand miles, consumed about three thousand gallons of diesel on our voyages all of which were confined to the great state of Florida. We know every inch of the Intracoastal Waterway, North and South and the Mighty St Johns River as far as Lake Beresford and on out at the Mouth of the River at Mayport. Over the years, Barco has weathered many tropical storms and a couple of hurricanes with nary a scratch received from any of those events.

The decision to part with the Barco was due to a couple of circumstances, the main one being that our new home on the river takes a majority of our time to maintain and enjoy leaving the poor boat to sit quietly awaiting the next adventure in loneliness. When boats don't cruise they begin to fall apart so we decided to sell the Barco to our friend John, giving him a massive discount on the value of the vessel knowing he would love the boat as much as we did and that the Barco would journey again on the Florida waters as often as we used to do in the past.

So, today is the final foray onto the St Johns River and afterwards, we will raise a glass to the fun memories of our boat that we loved and also to the new memories that the Trawler "Simmering Waters" will surely deliver to her New Crew.

Stay Tuned for more...

DC Cat and She Who Will Be Obeyed

P.S. Yours Truly will be involved with training the New Crew in the operation of the boat for many months until they achieve the skills necessary to traverse Florida Waters in safety. I expect to hear of some Bahama expeditions over the next couple of years!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Approaching Holidays, 2018


Almost in the holiday mode, Thanksgiving happens around here, tomorrow... Ugh.

Fairly decent year in these parts, plenty of fun and activities at home and on the water. Barco Sin Vela  is now snug in a berth a couple miles away and we hope to move to our dock at the homestead in the near future.

In September, we had a pretty serious setback on the health side but we bounced back bigly to see a very busy and enjoyable October both on and off the Boat. It all started with bringing Barco to Sadler Point for a much needed bottom job and fluid change in all diesel devices located therein the bilge area. This happened around mid-month giving us plenty of time to get the maintenance completed for an expected three week cruise to the Keys.

Not-so-fast, Buddy... First, we talk about some happenings in the past couple months;

After getting the boat underway after the planned stuff, we found that we had a serious water leak in the aft cabin, the type of leak that caused damage to the floor and gave us some rotted wood. Actually, we knew about A Leak, but presumed it had been fixed, earlier by others who had done some plumbing repairs. So the repairs were not done because nobody thought about the engine exhaust hose leaking, the one built behind the cabinets covered by wood panels.

I get my new boating friend, John to come up and help me move Barco back to the Sadler Point facility.

John S.

Back in the water...

Pull the boat out of the water again...

Additional $1600 bucks, please.

After that was done, we put the boat back into the water and found out the port engine impeller had failed along with the intake hose. $1700 bucks for that bit of fun.

Around the same day of learning the port engine cooling failure we discovered that the water leak had returned to the starboard side, back cabin, in the same area of the previous leak(s).

"Really?",  I venomously growled.

This POS failed.

This time it was a plumbing malfunction in which a connecting t-pipe had decided to spray everywhere under the built in furniture, and this necessitated multiple trips to Home Depot for various copper fittings, and I had to have a second person (Beaujolais' Captain from the South Pacific!) assist me in making repairs.

Oh, I forgot to mention that I was being thrown out of the Yacht Club Marina in Jax in honor of Hurricane Irma, which was about to make landfall the next day. While we were trying to get the Port Engine running along with making the water system operative...

We got all of this emergent maintenance completed by Tuesday evening and got underway for Palatka the next day, everything was finally right. It was a six hour trip to the South on a Wednesday, during which the Florida Panhandle got smashed with the afore mentioned Hurricane. Upon arrival at our dock in Palatka, we began loading stores and victuals for our impending journey to the Florida Keys.

Friday morning came, we loaded the fresh laundry and sandwich goods and the Crew of the Barco soon headed back to Jacksonville for an overnight visit back at the Yacht Club, which had previously tossed us out to face the weather.

Finally, back to Jax

At the Yacht Club, ready for dinner

Headed to St Augustine

St Augustine Approach

We had a wonderful dinner at the Yacht Club and left early the next morning to St Augustine where we planned a two night visit to iron out any other wrinkles in the Barco running systems. It was a very nice trip South on the Intracoastal Waterway, temperatures were very mild due to the recent Hurricane. We even managed to catch favorable tides all the way to our destination at the Municipal Marina in that fair city. Of course, our first stop was dinner at the Greek restaurant on Menendez St, next to the Cathedral. Afterwards... Tradewinds Bar for an evening with Mark Hart!
Mark Hart

Barco Crew

Raucous time, with dancing... Yeah, that's the ticket... Dancing. We made tracks back to the Marina after we watched a hammered patron at the next table do his rendition of a Technicolor Yawn into a napkin bin.

The next morning we were up-n-attem around 0800, we went to the old town (St George Street) and found a reasonable place for brekkies, and afterwards hiked about in the warm sunshine and took in the sights.  About an hour or two later, we heard a familiar voice sing out, "...this here IS the Drinkin' Part of THIS Song...!!!"
Yep, he saw us...

We looked into the courtyard cafe of "Mi Casa" on George street and locked eyes with none other than our friend from the night before... Mark Hart! Up on stage, looking rough from a night of partying, looking at US and we slid over to our places in front of the dais, ordering our Eleven O'Clock beers and we appraised each other thusly. (We looked better the night before, I assure you...)

And so began a legendary five hour journey where  we met new friends, watched families sing along to Mark's old set and enjoyed the drama of people trying to keep up with the Barco Crew as we set sail on an ocean of beer and wine to our own, personal, Margaritaville.

It. Was. Ugly/Grand.

We made it back for dinner at sundown and we slept very snugly on the Barco in readiness for a 0800 departure on Monday morning.

First challenge that was un-met was getting a pump-out of the holding tank. The staff was unable to let us do that because there was no extra staff available to run the pump rig. We got underway after waiting an hour. The head pump shut itself off from over heating (the tank was full) so we had a six hour trip with no facilities. When we got to Halifax Y.C. they informed us they had no pump out, either. Good thing the Club has nice shore facilities...

The next morning, after a nice shower and cup of coffee we departed in the dark and headed to the Municipal Marina next door, took on 120 gallons of diesel and did  pump out that nasty holding tank. Our heads were back on, baby! With that completed, off to Eau Gallie Yacht Club and a beautiful six hour passage to Dragon's Point, on the Indian River.

We get instructions...

We had a beautiful dinner at the Eau Gallie Club and left at a reasonable Ten A.M and were on a five hour trip to the Moorings Yacht Club to meet up with some old friends from Jacksonville, who happened to have a beautiful private dock for us to moor. We had a great dinner at the beach and were able to get some laundry done while we did the catch up thing with Scott and Jill. Thanks, Guys for a great visit!

Barco at Moorings

Dinner Crew at Vero Beach.

We had a slight scheduling problem; That Hurricane the week before set us seriously back on the trip schedule, She Who Will Be Obeyed had an important meeting scheduled the next day in Lauderdale, starting at 0930. We were going to have to push hard to go from Vero Beach, pass by Fort Pierce, Jupiter and Palm Beach, (These were all places to stop on the way!) and make the fourteen hour trip direct to Coral Ridge Yacht Club. Yikes.

We departed at 0645 and made best time we could and made our arrival at 2000 (8:00 P.M.) and were completely tired out from the long day. We had a nice dinner at the bar and turned in. She Who Will Be Obeyed made her meeting, Roger and I did a store run, loaded the wine and sandwiches on board, did a quick pump out and departed Lauderdale at 1100. Next stop; Key Biscayne!

Key Biscayne Y.C.

SWWBO at Key Biscayne

Headed towards Card Sound

We arrived at 1600 at the Key Biscayne Yacht Club and promptly made a fuel stop. Afterwards we moved to the overnight berth and readied for dinner. We discovered that the yacht club had been demolished (!) and that dinner would be at the pool bar. We ordered dinner, made our reacquaintance with Darren, the Club General Manager and then had a pleasant evening by the pool, luxuriating in the warm tropical breeze coming off the Gulfstream.

Normally, we would have left or a night at Elliott Key. The scheduling conflict from the previously mentioned storm made it that we would have to depart in the darkness and make the best of a twelve hour journey to Marathon Yacht Club.

Did I plan properly for a night departure, you might ask?

No. I decided to wing it.

It was like two monkeys plooking a football as Roger and I tried to find the channel South on Biscayne Bay, which happened to be as dark as you could imagine. Next time, I will put a few waypoints into the chart plotter and not try to locate yellow flashing lights in the middle of an urban/country body of water that is known as Biscayne Bay.

Sunrise happened just as we were making Key Largo and the narrower approaches to the ICW portion of Florida Keys. Beautiful!

We spent a goodly part of the next eight hours dodging crab traps in the middle of the channel and it was pretty tough on the crew having to mostly hand steer and feel the Barco bouncing along in the sandy shallows, running softly aground in the low tides. We arrived safely at @ 1600 and were helped by the Cruising Captain of the Marathon Yacht Club who gave us the run-down on that club's schedule for the evening.


Sternly watching other sterns...

Okay, half way point has been achieved and we departed the next morning planing on an expensive stop at Tavernier. It was a short journey, maybe five hours. We got there and refueled and did yet another ugly pump-out while docked. $420 bucks later we were shown our parking spot at a very difficult location which did not have a finger pier. We got in with only a little ugliness, this having to do with bad crosswinds and the person helping with tying Barco up leaving us with some challenges after he tied us on the wrong cleat... No problem. Twenty minutes later we were enjoying cool beverages and winding down after the docking excitement. No hits, no errors and no damage.

The next morning, we slipped our moor and headed directly into the Northeast wind and our destination was Lauderdale Yacht Club. It was a very long day, about fourteen hours. We arrived in the darkness, tied up. Got showers and an Uber to the local Indian Restaurant. Just so happened that there was a Wine Warehouse adjacent to the restaurant so we got EVERYTHING we needed in one stop!

Underway the next morning, the winds were still a bit bumpy so we decided on continuing up the ICW with our next stop being Vero Beach. The sun went down before we got there so we enjoyed a couple hours of very dark passage making using a spot light, flashlight and paper charts to ensure a safe passage. No problem, we arrived at our target yacht club at 2100 (9:00 P.M.) Next morning, we took long showers and had the Barco over at the Municipal Dock (Next Door) for the routine fuel and pump-out. Underway for Eau Gallie at 1000...

Arrived Eau Gallie, (We've been there before...) late in the afternoon, had a few beers and departed for haircut and clothes shopping for our crew. Another dinner in the Club House... Followed by an early bed. Long trip tomorrow, so we were up before dawn. It was a rainy journey up to Titusville, then we crossed over Haulover Cut at Cape Canaveral and really hit the rain when we got past New Smyrna. It was a complete soaker when we arrived at Halifax River Yacht Club at 1700. We tied up, did some laundry and we got drenched on the ten yard walk to the clubhouse for dinner. It was an early evening since we were going to Municipal Marina first thing in the morning for the routine fueling and pump... out.

At Eau Gallie

We got back to St Augustine Municipal Marina about six hours later where we awaited the arrival of another passenger who wanted to be with us for the final leg to Florida Yacht Club. It just so happened that it was Florida-Georgia football weekend along with the Naval Air Station hosting the Blue Angels airshow, so it was going to be busy and crowded on this particular leg.

Simply Susan

Blue Angels do the Low Program

We were underway first thing in the morning and happened to catch a good tide the entire way which means instead of seven or eight hours it was closer to just under seven hours, or so. We got massively waked by a know-nothing giant sport boat loaded with well-to-do football fans who just had to blow by us at full speed while they were totally focused on that stupid football game. Jerks.

We got to the Yacht Club and tied up early in the afternoon. Our trip was almost completed and we busied ourselves with the party atmosphere of the Florida Yacht Club on a Saturday night, during the Airshow and Football weekend. Ouch.

We were so partied out on Sunday morning we did not even bother to stay for the beautiful sunny airshow. We got underway for Palatka at 0815 looking forward to six hours win the river with the tide on our nose for the full day... It was indeed, beautiful, but I had home on my mind. We got back at 1600, did a quick tie up and headed back to the Barco Landing for home, cats and clean laundry. The promise of an early bed was also featured on our minds... Mission Complete.

I haven't calculated the miles, fuel usage, wine and beer consumption. But I do have signatures from every Yacht Club along the way and look forward to turning in our Yachtsman of the Year Package to the Florida Council of Yacht Clubs over the next month, or so.

So now, we prepare for tomorrow's feast. We have our house keeper cleaning downstairs, her husband cleaning the outside of our home while three pies cool in the kitchen along with twenty jars of home canned cranberry sauce. Whew!

Have a great Thanksgiving and Christmas, Buckaroos. And also, please that all of youse has a great, safe and healthy new year... Barco Sin Vela, Out.