Archive for November, 2009

Day 59 11/08/2009 0752hrs

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

Last Log Entry

26⁰55’46” N – 082⁰03’54” W

We made it “Somedayers”. We are in Punta Gorda, Florida at Fisherman’s Village. I’m sorry that I haven’t posted a log for a few days; I’ve been kind of dreading this one. This Log entry is the last one that will be written by me as a crew member of the sailing vessel Banana Winds. We have left the boat to her new owner. You read that right “Somedayers”, Capt. Greg sold the Banana Winds. The new owner is a man who is planning to charter her out of Fisherman’s Village. Capt. Greg and I spend the last two days making her ready for her new owner. We took all of his “Stuff” off of her and cleaned her up a bit. Plus we had to do a little more work on her transmission just to make sure that it was ok after our problem the other night. This is the first log that I have written from someplace other than the nav-station in the pilot house on the Miss Banana. I have to admit, it seems a little weird. So, let’s recap what has transpired up to this point. If you remember almost two whole months ago, we were in Port Clinton, Ohio and we were making final plans to depart for Florida. We left on September 10, 2009 with four people on board. We had Capt. Greg and me as the professional crew, and we had Perry Martin and Jim Bryant as novice crew. After crossing Lake Erie in three days Steve Cheimets joined the crew as the only other member beside Capt. Greg who had ever transited the Erie Canal. And then, two thirds of the way through the canal we were joined by our final crew member, Tony Lacko. We started out as strangers and quickly became friends. One of my favorite authors, Richard Bach, said in one of his books, “You’ll know your friends better in the first ten minutes you meet, than you’ll know your acquaintances in a lifetime”. I can tell you that I truly count each and every one of the crew of this trip as one of my friends, and will do so for the rest of my life. And breaking one of my own rules, I’m going to speak for the rest of the crew and say that they feel the same way. So, let’s look back at the journey it’s self, our trip took us through eleven states and 2327 nautical miles. We saw endless wildernesses and thousands of birds, we encountered enough wildlife to rival the greatest zoos in the world and were visited by dolphins on a daily basis once we made it past Virginia (I for one have loved the dolphins). We have met fellow boaters from all over the world. Some of them have had lavish vessels that I can’t even estimate the value of, and we met some (like Mikey) who sailed modest little vessels that many would see as derelicts. But all of us are basically the same; we’re all Travelers, Gypsies, Pirates and dreamers. And yes “Somedayers”, this trip is over, but as long as any one of us, Capt. Greg, Cookie, LT, Gaffman or me Jimmy, are still walking on this beautiful earth our journey will go on. For we each carry a part of each other with us as we go on. So don’t feel sad for us as new “Somedayers” ourselves, because we have never felt sad for you. With every ending, comes a new beginning. I for one can’t wait to see what happens next. So “Somedayers”, this is Banana Winds wishing you fair winds and calm seas and signing off… Clear.

One last thing “Somedayers”:

I can’t tell you all how much it has pleased me to know how many of you have enjoyed reading my logs. I volunteered to be the log author for the trip, mainly because I was planning on keeping a log myself and also because I just enjoy writing. Many of you as “Somedayers” have sent replies and I have read them all and I want you to know that your praise has made it easy for me to continue. I have decided that I want to have a hard copy of the entire thing that I will be having spiraled bound and edited and published at a print shop. All the daily logs will be included as well as every photo in full page and full color renderings. I’m also going to write a special introduction and a prolog. The crew has told me that they all want to have a copy as well. They made the suggestion that some of you “Somedayers” might want a copy. If that is the case I would be flattered and honored to make that possible. If you want one please send me a note to my personal E-Mail and I will be happy to let you know how to get one from me. Having not yet put one together I’m not sure what my cost will be, (I’m thinking less than $30, but I don’t know) but I will only be charging you what my costs are. I worked only for tips on the way down, and if you choose to include a tip for my time and efforts I can promise you one thing, I will squander it on my future sailing adventures. Or if you wish I will post it to my favorite charity… “BUY JIMMY A BOAT OF HIS OWN” which as of now it is still a not for profit organization. For me I can tell you that writing this log over the past 59 days has been a reward of its own. Thank you all so much for reading it.

Captain Jim Southward

First Mate Banana Winds Sailing Charters


Day 56 11/04/2009 1955hrs

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

25⁰58’26” N – 081⁰43’34” W

What a day, “Somedayers”. Today we went all the way from Marco Island, Florida to Ft. Lauderdale and back in about 4 hours. If you’ve been paying attention to our position along the way, you know that the first time we came from Ft. Lauderdale to Marco Island, it took us four days. How did we do it so fast this time? We drove, in a car. Apparently traveling by car is way faster. Who knew? But, then again sailors all believe in their hearts, that how you get somewhere is far more important than how fast you get there. So, you’re probably wondering why we drove a car across the state of Florida and back today. It’s simple “Somedayers”, we needed a part, and the closest one was on the other side of the state. You see last night at about 2345hrs, as we were making our way into the channel at Marco Island. When I, while at the helm, noticed that we were losing speed and the engine was acting strange. Capt. Greg went into the engine compartment to investigate and found that we had a serious problem. What he found was that our transmission oil cooler (or heat exchanger) had perished, which had caused the transmission to fill with sea water. That, for those of you who may not know, is wicked bad. We shut down the engine and investigated further to find that the transmission was ok, we just needed to perform some TLC fast. We got things under control and got into an anchorage for the night. Today we found a heat exchanger on the internet from a company in Ft. Lauderdale, hence our road trip. It was strange moving so fast after spending over fifty days never going faster that ten MPH. It felt like we were going supersonic. With the ground going by so close underneath us I kept telling Capt. Greg, “I think we need to find deeper water”. I pretty sure we were aground most of the time, but I guess that’s ok in a car. We got our part, returned to the boat and installed it. All is well once again “Somedayers”. It can be very easy to let these sorts of things ruin a trip; you just have to remember that it’s the problems that make a trip memorable. If we wanted to just relax and have everything work perfectly, we shouldn’t have left on this journey to begin with. Bob Bitchin, who started the magazine “Latitudes and Attitudes” was the one who coined the cruiser’s motto “Attitude is the Difference Between an Ordeal and Adventure”, never were truer words spoken, Thanks Bob. If any of you ever choose to join us on a trip like this, or under take one on your own, please remember those words. Because, the only thing that I can guaranty you is that at some point on your trip, something is going to go very wrong. And when it does, it’s going to suck. At that point you will have to make a decision; you can give up and quit, or do what a good friend of mine told me once. He said, “When things begin to really suck, you just have to embrace the suck and move on”. It’s that attitude that turns an ordeal into an adventure, and in the process makes the memories that you will never forget. It’s like when you go to the fair, some people like the carousel. The carousel goes around and around, it’s safe, it’s pretty, and everyone is smiling. While some people go ride the roller coaster. It is has ups and downs, it goes very slow and then too fast, it makes your stomach turn summersaults, it can be quite scary, even violent and sometimes, while you’re racing for the ground or turning upside down, you feel like you might not be ok. There is nothing wrong with liking the carousel… it’s just that I’d rather ride a roller coaster. And if you do too, you’ll know that as soon as I get off of one, I go get back in line for a second run. Take care of yourselves “Somedayers”, and keep riding the rides you like. This is Banana Winds, going back to get in line again, and standing by on 16… Clear.

Day 55 11/03/2009 1850hrs

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

25⁰29’47” N – 081⁰31’05” W

We made our turn to the north today, towards Fort Myers, “Somedayers”. We started out before the sun came up, and were treated to a magnificent sunrise. We had been planning to go down to Key West today, but the weather is predicted to get lousy and we didn’t want to get stuck down there. I know what you’re thinking “Somedayers”. If you have to get stuck somewhere, Key West is the place, right? Well, we agree with you to a degree, but we are on a time constraint. So, we cut through the Keys at Marathon, we went right under highway 1 and the Florida Keys causeway, and headed into the Gulf of Mexico.  It was kind of creepy though, there was no wind at all and the sea was dead calm, I mean DEAD CALM!!! There was barely a ripple for about three hours. I took a lot of pictures so you can see what I mean. It was so calm… (HOW CALM WAS IT?) It was so calm that we had a hard time even seeing where the horizon was. The sea and the sky blended into one color. It was quite a sight. The wind did eventually pick up a bit when some clouds formed on the horizon. They say that every cloud has a silver lining. We must be doing something right “Somedayers” because, as you will see in today’s pics, our clouds have gold linings. Our final destination draws closer by the minute, and until we get there, we’re still Banana Winds standing by on 16… Clear.

Update 11/03/2009 1958hrs

25⁰35’27” N – 081⁰35’25” W

We must be really close to our destination, because… WE JUST RAN OUT OF FUEL!!!!!!!!!  In our port tank. So we switched over to our starboard tank, which is full, and re-primed the injector pump and restarted the motor. It really gets your attention when the engine just stops in the middle of the ocean and the Captain lets loose with a string of profanity that could melt the ears off a nun. But, all is well… now. Banana Winds standing, by with paddles at the ready, on 16… Clear.

Day 54 11/02/2009 2110hrs

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

25⁰03’40” N – 080⁰26’21” W

Today can only be described by the single word, “blue”. We saw Jim “LT” Bryant leave the boat today and head for the chilly autumn of Ohio. It was sad to see him go, he will always be a member of our crew, whether here with us or not. I hope your trip was safe LT, and I hope you had a good time among us “Pirates”. So dropping him off on a dock in Ft. Lauderdale this morning was “blue”. We saw some huge motor yachts in Ft. Lauderdale; the boat show is this week. The decadence of it all was profound, and many of them were “Blue” as well. But mainly the “blue” that will always punctuate this day in my memory was the “Blue” of the ocean. As I have said before, I am no new comer to the seas and waters of our coasts, but the color of the sea down here is an unimaginable shade that words cannot describe.  When I was in high school I longed to be an artist, I’m not however. But I spent a lot of time trying to be one, that is to say I spent a lot of time in art classes. There was color of oil paint that I always tried to use a lot of, “Thalo Blue”. I loved it because it is so unnaturally blue. I felt it gave my works an unearthly quality, a look of something to brilliant to be real. Today, I felt like a fool, for as looked over the edge of the Banana Winds, I saw a sea that was “Thalo Blue”. I had a hard time excepting that it was real for a moment, but as I did except it, I couldn’t resist it. I was pleased when Capt. Greg agreed to stop the boat and let drink in the “Blue” by entering into it, it was an experience I will never forget. Our journey is drawing ever closer to its end. We are right now anchored in Rodriguez Key, and only about 90 nautical miles from Key West. We should be there tomorrow evening. And from there, we turn back to the north to Fort Myers, and the final destination for this trip. I can’t help but feel a little “Blue” at the thought of that. I believe that the Journey, not the destination, is what matters most, so what happens when the journey ends at the destination. I guess finding the next destination is the start of another journey. To quote Eileen Quinn (a cruising musician) “I can only stand to see it end… if another one is born”. To that I bid you all fair winds and calm seas. With but a few days left in this journey, Banana Winds, still, standing by on 16… Clear.

Day 53 11/01/2009 2150hrs

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

26⁰15’08” N – 080⁰05’25” W

Well we ran into an old friend of Capt. Greg last night. Actually “Somedayers” he’s an old friend of the Banana Winds as well. He was the owner before Greg. We anchored in a little cove called Peck Lake near the Saint Lucie Inlet with Dr. Rory Nassif, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Nick. The captain and I dinghied over to their boat, Freedom, and spent a relaxing evening with them and caught up. This morning we got up and underway at about 0630hrs. (It’s interesting that even though we were supposed to gain an hour like everyone else on the “fall Back an hour” part of daylight savings time… if you only ever get up with the sun it feels like you lose and hour. Normally we get underway at 0730hrs… damn it!!!) We stayed with Freedom for a couple of hours, until they got back to their place and pulled in. It was nice meeting them and being able to put a face with the stories I’ve heard Capt. Greg tell. After parting ways with Nassif’s at Jupiter, Florida we continued on through West Palm and Palm Beach, and are tied up on a wall just north of Fort Lauderdale. Let me tell you “Somedayers”, if you have ever wondered where all the money is at in our country, look no further, it’s in south Florida. The homes and boats that we have seen down here are the most decadent I have ever seen. It’s almost like they’re not real, they seem almost surreal. Tomorrow we say good bye to LT, we’ll be dropping him off at the Fort Lauderdale Marina sometime in the morning. Please keep him in your thoughts and if you are saying your prayers tomorrow, throw something in for his safe trip home. Stay tuned tomorrow and see what happens next, until then, Banana Winds standing by on 16… Clear.

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