Sunday, January 7, 2018

Things that "growl" in the night

02 January 2018

Because it gets dark early and because we are very conservative in our power usage after the sun has gone done, we tend to play cards, do crossword puzzles or read (with our headlamps on).  One of our first nights in Russell Key we heard what we thought was something rubbing against the hull.  Several checks outside revealed nothing.  Then a second louder sound started and it caused a slight vibration under our feet in the cabin. The two sounds went back and forth as if in conversation.  Still nothing visible outside and in fact the sound was loudest inside the boat.  It was a bit unnerving.  Finally Jim speculated that it might be alligators!  What??  A little exploring on youtube and we were finally able to listen to alligator bellows, growls and what sounded like loud belching!!  That was what we were hearing, altho it wasn’t as loud.  Noise travels well through the water so they were probably not as close as it sounded. Apparently we were eavesdropping on an alligator conversation!!  We heard them for several nights in a row and they proved to be "chatty" but unobtrusive neighbors!

A few projects:

A 12 volt outlet added to the cockpit for charging our electronics.
Repair to the sacrificial on our mainsail - a UV protection system

Jim sitting on the boom to repair sail
Laundry done in my new "washing machine" 
The new agitator

And then the “Arctic Freeze” hit with a vengeance.  With all due respect to my family and friends in Minnesota and Michigan, it was COLD!!  38 degrees above, not below, but in Florida??? As "Murphy" would have it, our heater in the boat was not working.  We obviously didn’t bring our winter gear on the boat, so evenings we put on just about everything we did bring, put an extra blanket and an opened sleeping bag on the bed and have managed to survive.  Everyday we appreciate the cockpit enclosure.  It protects us from the brutal winds and the suns beats in and warms it up to a balmy 65 degrees.

For three days we kept close watch on weather hoping for a weather window to head north.  Small craft warnings kept us where we were!!  Another boat joined us and despite being no more than 100 feet apart, with the extreme current (5 ft tides twice aday) and 20+ knot winds we didn’t feel comfortable dinghying over for a visit.  The waters were choppy and the wind howled although we were somewhat protected from the worst of it  

Finally it looked like a decent weather window and we were ready to head out.  So we did, and therein lies a tale for another blog!

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