February 15, 2014

A Charming Harbor With No Name

“That's what sailing is, a dance, and your partner is the sea. And with the sea you never take liberties. You ask her, you don't tell her. You have to remember always that she's the leader, not you. You and your boat are dancing to her tune.” 
― Michael MorpurgoAlone on a Wide Wide Sea

After crossing Biscayne Bay last Monday from Dinner Key,  I arrived at No Name Harbor... yep, that's the actual name of the harbor... It's a charming little harbor, and you can see from the photo above that it is well protected from the winds on almost 4 sides.  The water is clear and it is quite common to see dolfins cavorting, manatees slogging along, and barracudas lurking.  Fishing has been pretty good too tho nothing has landed in the frying pan yet.  I would estimate the No Name Harbor is only about 10 acres in size... boats come, boats leave, some stay, some leave and come back again.  Everyone is very friendly to fellow boaters.

This harbor is a common launching point for cruisers waiting for the right weather window before making their crossing to the Bahamas, about 60 -100 miles away, depending on where you choose to make landfall.  It is also a very popular weekend spot for local boaters coming in from Miami.  The place is crawling with Cubans too ... 65 % of the population on KeybBiscayne are Cubans I am told... but I like them, they are a friendly sort, outgoing, and the Cuban women are quite beautiful.  many of them own nice boats... power boats of course... and so they come out in large groups and just have a great old time in the Florida sunshine.... And they just can't get enough of that accordian based music that pours out so loud from their crisp speakers on board.  I've learned to accept it.... Its actually a very international community, not just Cubans but Venezulians, Canadians, and simple boys from Cordele, Georgia.

I was only planning to stay here a couple of nights, but one thing leads to another and before you know it a week has passed.... I think I've been here 5 days now,  but it could be 6, I'm just not sure... But I know it's more than 3 ,and less than 8. Here's some pics of the No Name Harbor, located inside the Bill Baggs State Park on Key Biscayne, Florida.

its been a great spot to perch while getting lots of things done on Glory Days.

The other reason I stayed here all week is because I got delayed due to an engine issue.  For some odd reason, my engine alarm for low oil pressure came on... Not good.  When it occured, I got this sick feelling in my stomach that I was in for a towing and possibly an expensive engine repair job if this was something serious.

....but as fate would have it, it turns out to be that only the oil pressure sensor had gone bad... it's amazing that an $11 part can stop a cruising yacht in its tracks... sort of like those O rings I preached about several posts ago...

So I had to round up this engine part...i made my way into Miami City a couple of days ago seeking out a place called Anchor Marine Supply for this magical part that saved my week.... it was an interesting journey tho to get it... I took the public bus into the heart of Miami and then pedaled my liittle Greenzone bicycle right thru the center of Little Havana until finally getting the part I needed.  Actually, it was exciting weaving out of traffic, jumping curbs, dodging pedestrians on sidewalks, and taking all the green lights in perfect timing.... once I got the part, It was a piece of cake to install it, and seems to have solved the problem........ I know it's not exciting, but Here's the part below (oil pressure sensor)... gold.

I had no idea I would actually anchor here for 6 nights... but sometimes, you just gotta go with the flow... time flys so fast these days, and its hard to keep up with the sun.... 

and its been like a full moon all week long... Growing and shining every night.
They have a little grill/cafe at No Name Harbor with this great view of your boat.
There's great biking on the island, which I can attest to.  Plus There's a way cool lighthouse which these photos will show. It's a hard place to leave.

One of the first things I did when I got to No Name Harbor was to don my snorkel and fins to clean the hull of the boat and to go under the hull and replace what is called the "zinc" 

Every sailboat in salt water has, or should have, what is called a "zinc" attached to the propellor shaft. Basically, it is a sacrificial metal that is intended to corrode and break down under the rigors of ocean salt water.  You see, corrosion of the zinc is intentional to PREVENT corrosion of the actual propellor shaft.  So you have to replace this noble zinc fairly often ...It seems like about every 6-7 weeks.  You can see the new one I just attached to the shaft ... the older corroding zinc is the little nub on the far left side... so much for zinc... but at least I got to use my underwater GoPro camera!

Kiss Me said the manatee.
 I would love to get an underwater video of a manatee... and I shall.... But I missed my chance this week.  They are quite large, slow, lumbering vegetarian creatures that seem to be quite common in Florida... Unfortunatly, many of them have scars on their backsides from boat propellers... since power boaters are always in such a hurry, they fail to see the helpless manatee and often injure them.

Another cool feature of the Baggs State Park is this old historical lighthouse.

It was a lovely crystal clear day to view it.

I spoke with this friendly Canadian couple, Vicky and Andy, for quite a while today.  They own a unique company called www.rocksafire.com when they are not busy staying in Key Biscayne for several weeks at a time.  The lighthouse is where you see the blue dot below... see the harbor to the right of the chart.
it's been a hard place to leave.... Did I say that already?

Heres some pics from my little adventure bussing and biking into downtown Miami on a crystal clear day.
Riding me bicycle right thru the heart of Miami... I'm glad I didn't get killed.

The solar panel is officially installed, tweeked and adjustable now... It feels good to be grabbing 140 watts or pure sunshine energy to power my batteries which powers all my toys.

No Name Harbor at sunset... again.
I know my boats looks tacky with the water hose, fenders, and power cables haing off the stern... but it sure makes for a lot more living space down below... Reminds me of "and they loaded up the truck, and they moved to Beverly... Hills that is...!"

This is Tony.   What a nice guy.  He is a Canadian.  He just got back from cruising to Cuba.  Canadians are welcome to go there, but it's still not allowed for Americans, so they say.... He built the 37' footer you see below, and has owned it for 30 years... He was a wealth of information and was very helpful to me getting all my solar wiring and mounting done correctly. Thank you Tony! We enjoyed a good afternoon tweeking the solar install.

One of the most important resources on a sailboat is your supply of fresh water.  On Glory Days, I can carry 77 gallons of water in the boats' storage tanks and other jugs that I drag along.  So I am always monitoring my water usage and taking advantage of any opportunity to "top off my tanks" ... a good sailing formula is to have full water tanks and an empty holding tank. (That's where potty waste goes) before you set sail for any length of time... I just love this.

So here's a couple of pics of how I had to engineer water gathering from an outdoor shower nozzle that was 8' high.... There were no water spigots to be seen anywhere, so you have to make do and how a fun time engineering it, ...even if I did get soaked.

The lower jug is full and serves as an anchor while filling the upper jug.

Some guy was amused at my determination to get water and offered to take my pic. I'll never take running water for granted again... It's the one resource you just cannot run out of.
I use a lot of public toilets, and take showers wherever I can find one... Even a water hose on a dock is good.   We've all used these electric hand dryers thru the years... And most of them suck except for "turbo" dryers like this one... So let me tell ya, unless it says Xlerator, you will be drying your hands on your pants again. 

This sweet couple had the smallest boat in the harbor... But I think they had the biggest time of all... Their hatch was closed tight by 8 pm with only the glow of a candle thru the porthole... I miss times like that.



Sorry to indulge myself on so many shots of this sailor entering the harbor at sunset... But each shot seemed so different enough to post...

21 EXTRA gallons of fresh water makes me happy as a clam.

Stay tuned... Next post will be MIAMI, SOUTH BEACH, AND BOCA CHITA KEY.
Love, love, love ,love love

1 comment:

  1. Really enjoy your blog, Joe! Glad you are enjoying your retirement! It is truly a wonderful time of life! Miss you!
    Gail (Smith)