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Saturday, April 30, 2011

The DIY advantage

One day while sailing out in the Gulf of Mexico, the whole electrical system on my boat went dead. In a powerboat, that can be crisis. On a sunny day on a sailboat, the first temptation was to not even bother with it. The wind was still working. However, I did want to at least listen to the VHF radio, so down into the little cabin I went. It took less than 15 minutes to diagnose and fix the problem.

The boat didn't have an electrical system when I bought it. It's nav lights were those cheap flashlight types that I didn't even bother taking home. Now the little boat has proper navigation lights, a cabin light, radio, and a 12 volt power outlet with a 200 watt inverter. Pretty basic and simple, but easy to fix. Since I am a do it yourself kind of guy, there's a multimeter and a fair assortment of wire, connectors and fuses on the boat.

When I got home and turned the water back on, there were some leaks. Nothing too terrible, but I did have to go to town to get a T connector. Since I did most of the plumbing on the house myself, I knew how to fix any problems. One thing I'd done is put a number of shut off valves to isolate parts of the system. That proved very useful as I have the cold water side up and running fairly quickly. Being able to flush the toilets is a huge plus. The hot water side had to wait until I came back from town with the proper parts.

The point is, one you build something yourself, you pretty much know how to fix it. It's a huge time saver too. For example, a professional plumber could have sorted out the plumbing problems, but it would have taken longer. Much of his time would have been tracing pipes and figuring out how the heck the place was plumbed. Since my hot water system is set up for alternative energy inputs, it would have been a head scratcher for him.

Of course, the downside of being a DIY guy, is that I'm pretty much stuck maintaining the systems I put in.

-Sixbears

Friday, April 29, 2011

The freedom of failure

A lot of people are struggling right now. Struggling to keep the job, the house, the car, maybe even to keep the marriage. Not everyone is going to win the struggle. They will lose what they are trying so hard to keep.

Maybe the struggle shouldn't be framed in terms of winning and losing. It's just change. Things change all the time. Change is rarely either all good or all bad.

The job might be killing you by inches. The house could be an albatross around your neck. The car's high payments and upkeep might be a nightmare. The relationship could be toxic and you don't even know it.

Now usually the first response to loss is to replace it as soon as possible. Day one after being laid off, many get right back on the gerbil wheel. The car gets replaced as soon as possible. The newly separated gets right back in a relationship with someone much like their last partner.

When change happens, take a breather, and look around a minute. This is change. You might want to embrace it.

Huh?

Okay, you lost your job at Spacely's Sprockets. Do you want to turn around and go back to work at Cogswell's Cogs? Maybe it's time do something else with your life . . . or not. At least look at your options. Maybe this is the chance to do something you always wanted to do. Maybe losing your job is a good thing.

Of course, the job thing is a big one. We are still in a money economy. Losing the job might mean losing the house, the car, the spouse, your friends and any status you had in the community.

Yep, that could happen. Happens at the time. What are you going to do about it? Get really bummed out? Okay, that's fair. Do that for a bit, but then what? Maybe you want to do everything possible to rebuild your old life. If that's what your really want, go for it. However, be conscious of what you are doing. Don't just fall into your old life style. Now would be a good time to think everything through and decide what's really important to you. Do you really want that new Beamer, or is it a status thing? Would you be happier with a junker? Many people are. I don't spend my Sunday's washing and waxing my truck. I figure it'll rain again sooner or later, and that's good enough.

For many people, the possibility of rebuilding their old life is remote. Fine. You might just have to accept that change. Build a good life anyway, even if it's on a shoestring budget. A little soul searching is in order. Why were you doing the things you were doing in your old life? What is really important to you?

Many people find relief when the struggle to hold on is lost. Sure, the car's been repossessed, but that $400 car payment is gone to. The house is gone, but you were under water with the mortgage anyway. It doesn't just apply to the few examples I've been using. It could be the lost of anything held dear. Even if you miss it a lot, there can still be elements of relief. At least the struggle is over.

Sometimes people will talk about something bad that happened to them and then add it was the best thing that every happened to them. It's because it sent them on a new path that they were happier with in the long run.

Here's a bold though experiment. You may not even be struggling, but imagine if things in your life changed dramatically. Could be anything. What would you do? Can you even imagine doing anything at all? Maybe you should practice this exercise until you can picture a satisfactory path to set out on. It's a great comfort to know there is a good life in another life path.

There's a danger here. The imagined path might look a lot better than the one you are struggling so hard to keep. Temptation may lead you to give up the struggle. Then again, is that a bad thing? Why wait for failure to induce change? Get your freedom now.

-Sixbears

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Outlander

People talk to me. They tell me things. Sometimes they tell me things they wouldn't tell their best friend. I'm not sure why. Maybe I'm just a good listener.

There are two ways of dealing with strangers: fear or fascination. I really want to know what makes other people tick, so I've no time for fear. What's it like to grow up where they did, what they were taught to believe, things they've learned along the way? What makes other people tick? What motivates them, gives them comfort, or causes them concern? Have they discovered any tricks for living that they are willing to share?

Growing up in an isolated culture, it would have been easy to turn inward and shun the outside world. However, I went in the opposite direction, searching out novelty. It's been so much more interesting that way.

One thing concerns me about the tough times ahead. People often close down. They are less open to outsiders. The outlander is feared. Differences are frowned upon. As the Japanese say: The tree that sticks out gets cut down.

It's a dirty shame, really.

There is so much to discover from other people. That doesn't mean you have to accept their philosophy, join their religion or political party. It doesn't mean you have to change your sexual habits, your job, or your life.

Then again, it might be a good idea to examine those things with a fresh viewpoint. After all, so much of what we are is an accident of birth. We are raised in a certain culture and religion, using the tools of our birth clan. It doesn't hurt to look around. Maybe you were raised by apes and never knew it. Wouldn't it be nice to know how to live like a human being for a change?

-Sixbears

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Harvesting the tourists

One of the things I've noticed in my travels is a much more aggressive assault on the tourist wallet. It really struck me this past winter how bad things have gotten. The big one that jumps out is parking. That's the first place they get you.

I used to know some great, sorta legal, and free parking places in Key West. Those have been either blocked, or have brand new shiny high dollar meters. It's like that all over the state. On the opposite end of the state at St. Augustine, parking prices have also skyrocketed. They've gotten a lot more serious about their enforcement too.

They've even hit up the boating crowd. In an area that was free anchorages is now a mooring ball field. I'm told that there are sensors on the mooring ball that send a signal when a boat is attached. A boat comes out from the town marina and collects the fare. Lovely.

When so much of the economy has gone south, the harvesting of tourists has gotten more aggressive. It's reached the point, at least in my case, where it's begun to backfire. My wife and I cut our shopping short one day because we had to run back to an expiring meter. Once there, we decided to leave rather than feed the beast once more. Might have saved me a few dollars in the long run, but the merchants lost out.

One day I was looking out over the new mooring field. Way in the distance, I saw a couple shabby looking sailboats at anchor. They weren't paying for those mooring balls. Later, I saw a dingy coming down the channel. They'd come from far enough out that I could not even see their boat. It warmed my heart to see people dodging the exorbitant fees. Bet they were my kind of people.

-Sixbears

The Empire Unwinds

This prison was built not too far south of where I live:
http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/vp/42717207#42717207

To sum up, the Federal government built the darn thing, but the money to actually run the place has been cut out of the budget.

. . . and so the empire begins to die.

Right now, the Feds are spending 4 million dollars a year to keep the lights on and the place ready. Maybe they'll cut that out of the next budget.

A cousin of mine traveled to the Ukraine last summer. The country is littered with old Soviet era projects that have never been completed. Russia itself is also full of abandoned government areas. The money ran out. The workers wandered off. Often, the locals stripped the buildings for scrap.

No doubt when funds to finish and run the old Soviet projects ran out, a lot of people must have thought the problems were only temporary. I'm sure most of my neighbors think the prison will eventually open. Then again, since the whole area has been in a long death spiral, maybe they know better.

These budget cuts are thought of as temporary at first. Then bigger problems crop up and an empty prison in the wilds of northern New Hampshire gets forgotten.

Sure, some people were hoping for jobs there. It's tough to be out of work -I know. However, I'm not a big believer in prisons. The US imprisons more people than Russia or China, and that's just wrong. Working in a prison is no great shakes either. A guard is as much of a prisoner as the people behind bars. It diminishes the human spirit.

If the politicians want to generate some local work, hire people to dismantle the concrete monstrosity. Get a jump on collapse and sell those cell bars before scrap prices drop. Maybe they can restore the wildlife habitat that's been buried under all that concrete.

Oh, it is possible that the prison will open, but at the cost of other projects that won't be finished or staffed. The crunch is on folks. I've a good view of the collapse from where I sit.


-Sixbears

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hunkering down and bugging out

I seem to be moving in both directions, judging from my recent book orders. Half of them are concern sailing away on the cheap. The other half cover how to live on the old homestead. One pile of books on getting away and other pile on staying in place.

On the surface, it looks like I'm going in completely opposite directions. That's not really the case. There are some common themes to both impulses. Both concern frugality. No matter what I do, it's going to be on a shoestring budget. It's about back up plans. If I have to bug out, I'd prefer to do it by boat. If I can't travel, I want to stay home in some sort of comfort and safety.

Maybe what I'm getting in touch with is the old Native American way of living around here. In precolonial times, no one spent winters here. During the summer, they'd catch salmon, hunt, mine stone, and enjoy the good weather. In the winter, they'd migrate down to the coast, where they'd eat seafood, and enjoy a somewhat milder climate.

Historically, a semi-nomadic way of life was pretty common and normal. Rather than struggling through a region's bad season, they'd move to a better place. In hot climates, it was natural to head to the cooler mountains in the summer. Sometimes people would follow herd animals and take advantage of their migratory patterns. I suspect that part of the nomadic impulse was to have a change of scenery. There's something in some people that just pushes them to see what's over the next hill.

Then there are the modern snowbirds. Summer in the north, and winter in the sunny south. It was easy to do when energy was cheap. A big RV is a comfortable way to travel. Many prefer to fly. Both the airline and RV industry are very sensitive to rising fuel prices. I expect both to suffer major contractions.

That doesn't mean that people won't still want to travel. Maybe passenger rail will make a comeback. I would not be surprised to see passenger sailboats come back. It could start small. Personal yachts could advertise to take on a few passengers. As the demand for that type of travel increases, boats could be built with the passenger trade in mind.

On a personal level, my wife and I would like to do a lot less driving and a lot more sailing. There's a certain magic when the wind fills the sails and boat starts moving along -all without burning a drop of gas. Sure, it's not the fastest way to travel, but life is all about the journey, not the destination.

-Sixbears

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hospital trip

Just got back from the hospital. Not the best way to spend one's Easter. Last night, my lovely wife complained of chest pains and shortness of breath. How many seconds do you think it took to decided to take her to the hospital? 2? 3? Yeah, we bugged out of here in a hurry.

It is a cardiac issue, but appears to be a very minor one. Her blood tests came back good, so no damage was done.

Of course, we've follow up tests to do, and all that. In December, we had some suspicion (from a stress test) that there might be something going on. Results were inconclusive. She was put on a new med and told to come back for tests when we get back from Florida.

Since we got back, she'd been overdoing it, with all the unpacking, house care, and grandkid time.

We should have stayed on a never ending vacation.

Anyway, I'm exhausted, but pretty relieved.

-Sixbears

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Front Row Seat

I ran into my cousin who got himself elected to the New Hampshire legislature. Asked him how he liked it. It sucks, he said. I've a front row seat to see the destruction of everything I've ever worked for.

That sums up how a lot of us feel right now. It's like we are on a run away train heading to disaster. Not only can we not convince anyone to put the brakes on, we can't even convince them to stop shoveling coal into the boiler.

It's gonna crash, and a lot of people are going to get hurt.

At some point, most people are going to realize that the system doesn't work for them. Later, they realize it works against them. Eventually, the streets fill with protesters who've nothing to lose and they have no fear.

If it can happen in a place like Egypt, it can happen anywhere.

-Sixbears

Friday, April 22, 2011

Changing captains on a sinking ship

The Titanic has hit the iceberg. It's taking on water fast. Changing the captain won't alter those facts.

That's how I feel about the upcoming election. The politicians are already sniffing around New Hampshire, visions of Primary victories dance in their heads. I've never been this uninterested.

The ship of state has hit the iceberg and is taking on water fast. We are going down. Changing to a new captain isn't going to fix the problem. What we need is a someone to give the command to man the lifeboats. That's about the only useful thing a politician could say right now.

There's going to be a lot of people thrashing around in the water, wondering what happened. Just like a big cruise ship, it takes a long time to change directions on the ship of state. The brakes weren't put on years ago, and it's too late now.

It was too late at the last election. President Bush and President Obama are about as different as they could be, but their policies are actually quite similar. All a President can do right now is rearrange the deck chairs. The bankers, corporations, special interests, and the military industrial complex, these are the guys who really steer the ship. They said full speed ahead, and crashed us. Their repose to taking on water is to give it more power and throttle up.

That's how we ended up in three simultaneous wars, the financial mess, the environmental degradation, social upheaval, and who knows what else? The complete collapse of modern industrial society?

Some of the officers and crew on this ship knew exactly where we were heading. They have well appointed life rafts. They've got an exit strategy. Their life rafts are ready to go.

Do you have a life raft? Have you prepared for the cold waters you are about to be tossed into? Are you going to be thrashing around, trying to piece together a raft from the wreckage around you?

-Sixbears

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Back to the Tribe

Travel is great. My lovely wife and I enjoying seeing new places, meeting new people and doing new things. If we can also do it in a warm climate during the winter, all the better.

Now we are back home, and it's cold and snowing. I actually had to dig out the scraper to take the ice of the windshield. It's a shock after a couple months of shorts and sandals weather. Still, it's good to be home.

That's where my tribe is.

No, it's not some Native American tribe, properly registered with the United States Government. It's my people: family and friends. We are each other's strength. It's something money can't buy.

My daughters grew up to be intelligent interesting people. They are good people to be around and we help each other out all the time. They have cool kids and good men in their lives -low drama. It's a pleasure to share with them, be it a home cooked meal, campfire, party or a home project.

I've an extended family in the area, aunts, uncles, and a whole lot of cousins. We keep in touch. In a pinch, we are there for each other. Blood is thicker than water.

I've friends that I can call on. They have skills and talents. Heck, sometimes I just need another strong back. True friends are people you call ask to borrow a shotgun and a shovel, and they won't ask questions.

Then there are people I've established long term relationships with, who aren't really friends or family. Take my car mechanic for example. We don't hang out. We don't send Christmas Cards. We only see each other at his garage. Yet, we have more than a business relationship. My truck's trailer hitch broke, stranding my boat 150 miles away from home. I called my mechanic to see if he could put a new hitch on. He couldn't fit me in until next week, but lent me his personal vehicle to tow my boat home. Will your mechanic do that for you?

Money can't buy a tribe. Money can only buy goods and services. Relationships have to be built one person at a time. If the money is gone, I still have my tribe. We'll do what we can to keep each other healthy and happy. Of course, I'll do what I can for all those people too. That's how the system works.

-Sixbears

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The second to the last thing

The second to the last thing I wanted to do yesterday was to drive over 300 miles to fetch my boat. The very last thing I wanted to do was to leave the boat and trailer where it was -half blocking the driveway to a city park in Massachusetts. Eventually, someone would take offense and report it to the town. Next thing I'd be trying to retrieve my boat from an impound lot.

So after a short nights sleep, I borrowed a truck and drove back to Massachusetts. I'm glad I had a friend with me, as the boat had to be turned around by hand. There was no room to maneuver a vehicle. The trip home was uneventful -just long, as I hadn't gotten much sleep the night before. After a quick supper, I collapsed in bed.

This morning the boat and trailer are parked in my snow covered driveway. The lake is still frozen over. It's 37 degrees. The house is a mess. We aren't even half unpacked.

It's good to be home.

We got to see our daughters and granddaughters, so we are feeling fine.

-Sixbears

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Longest 1000 mile journey

My lovely wife and I just made it to my daughter's place in Massachusetts. We left from South Carolina on Saturday morning and pulled in Massachusetts on Sunday morning. It's about a 1000 mile trip, and we made terrible time.

We had bad weather most of the way up. First, there was all those tornadoes in the Carolinas. We stayed ahead of them -sometimes just barely. A huge thunderstorm in Virgina hit as we were having dinner. It seemed like a good time to linger over coffee. Even so, we got caught up in the outer edges of it. On our left was bright sun, yet at the very same time, we were pummeled by heavy rain. Weird.

Hit some very rough roads in New Jersey and New York. In Connecticut, we discovered the trailer hitch was riding very low. One side of the heavy duty hitch had broken loose. Rust had taken its toll. I jacked it into place, then wrapped it back together with anchor chain and heavy duty strapping. The field repair lasted the additional 200 miles to my daughter's place.

Monday morning, I'll try and get a hitch. If it can't be put on right away, I'll leave the boat at my daughter's and come back for it later.

Not in New Hampshire yet, but you can almost see it from here.

-Sixbears

Monday, April 11, 2011

Still Alive

Just a quick post. Still on the road. Made it to St. Augustine. Had a nice visit with friends -friends without Internet. Yes, there are still people out there without Internet. Have yet to download any new photos.

My lovely wife got to spend some time in St. A with her sister. Haven't seen her in a few years.

Record heat here today, so we took it easy.

Pretty iffy Internet connection, so I'm wrapping it up. We are fine.

-Sixbears

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The long meander northwards

We are slowly making our way north. My lovely wife and I will be spending some time with off grid friends, in state campgrounds and on the road. No idea when we'll be able to update next. It could be in a few days, or up to a week or so.

Just assume that no news is good news. I'll fill everyone in when I get the chance.

-Sixbears

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Next winter's plans

My lovely wife and I have already been talking about what we are going to do next winter. Will we be able to travel next winter? It all depends on what the world's going to be like by then. There are lots of wild cards out there.

Michael Ruppert expects the collapse of industrial civilization within 6 months. Now I respect Mike. He's put it on the line. His predictions have often come true, but who knows what will really happen?

As far as he's concerned, the Japan disasters have broken the camel's back. He's not the only one. George Ure at Urban Survival sees where Japan's problems have impacted the just in time production model. There are industrial plants all over the world suspending operations due to problems with parts availability.

My guess, is that if everything else stayed stable, the shortages could be worked around. Other countries could ramp up production. Parts substitutions could take place. Production could be re-engineered to use more available components. Japan itself could bounce back. They have a lot of problems right now, but they are a resourceful, intelligent, and organized people.

All things aren't staying stable. We hear about revolutions in the Islamic world. Oil supply concerns are pushing prices higher all the time -some say high enough to kill any sort of economic recovery. We shall see.

Looks like food is going to be in short supply in a goodly part of the world. That can't but help fuel unrest. There's the old saying that no country is more than 3 meals from revolution. It's a fair bet that at the very least, we'll be paying a lot more for a lot less food. Just look at the shrinking food packaging and it's plain that's already happening.

In the middle of this all, my lovely wife and I cruise around Florida and dream of renting a little place right on a canal. There are some amazing deals out there. Of course, cruising the neighborhoods, seeing a good 1/3 of the houses empty is quite the experience. Even some occupied property show the results of sever income contraction: peeling paint, dead cars in the back yard, boats for sale, and lawn care ignored. Right next to them, however, may be an immaculate mini mansion with a quarter million dollar sailboat in the canal out back. Something tells me things have a ways to go before they shake themselves out. Who knows how the pieces will land? At the very least, I personally wouldn't buy anything down here. A buddy of mine bought a place for 57% of list, and admits he probably paid too much. He doesn't mind, as he can afford it and is taking the long view.

So . . . what do we about next winter? We keep our options open. I'll make sure that we could spend the winter home if need be. The wood pile gets rebuilt and insulation and weather caulking gets an upgrade. At the same time, we check out our travel options. Maybe we'll do a mix of camping, staying with friends and relatives, and sailing like this year -perhaps altering the mix. We might do something we've never done before, because that's what we do anyway. We don't need a hard and fast plan -we need options.

-Sixbears

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Word of the Navigator

My lovely wife and I headed down the Florida coast to the Punta Gorda region today. It was raining too hard for sailing, so we decided to visit an old buddy of mine.

Over years I've learned to listen to my wife's hunches and suggestions. Today she suggested we take a break and grab a coffee. So I pull off the highway and find a coffee shop. About a half hour later, we head back out on the road.

Apparently, we'd just missed being in the middle of a highway accident. There were a couple tow trucks pulling cars out of a ditch, and a truck pulling a big home made utility trailer had jackknifed on the bridge. High winds on a slick bridge seemed to be primary cause. Even though I'm a husband, I've learned to listen to my wife. Her hunches can be spooky.

She's come a long way as a navigator. When we first met, she was so consistently wrong about direction that is was like a reverse super power. Now I trust her more than the GPS. She's come a long way. My wife's pretty good with a road map. She can even fold the darn things. Now she's added chart reading to her skill set. On the water, I've discovered her long distance vision is better than mine. That gives her an edge. She'll spot something in the distance and often I'll need the binoculars to find what she's pointing at -and my eyes are still pretty good. Hers are just better at those distances.

One of the cool things about being in a long term relationship is seeing the significant other develop and grow over the years.

-Sixbears

Monday, April 4, 2011

Little Electric Cars

I've been spending some time with my dad in his retirement park. It's the land of the little electric golf cart, the main form of transportation around here. The park is big enough that walking is inconvenient. Bicycles work well too, but cargo space is limited. It's also too hot to pedal some days.

Electric cars have been around for over 100 years. The new Nissan Leaf is supposed to have a 100 mile rage. Electric cars back in the old days also had 100 mile ranges. Doesn't seem like much progress, does it? What's changed? The Nissan can travel at highway speeds. The old electrics topped out at about 20 mph. That's about the speed of the golf carts around here.

Golf carts make sense here: warm climate, relatively short distances, and low speed limits. Where people around here get into trouble is when they sneak out of the park to go to stores down the road. The cops are always busting people for driving their carts on the highway. A slow golf cart doesn't stand up to well to 40 mph car and truck traffic.

Will electric cars make sense in the future? I'm really not sure if any cars will make sense in the future. Japan just lost 40% of its grid power. Will Japanese people be willing to use their reduced electric capacity to power cars? Will that be the best use of their reduced capacity? Our grid is falling apart, even with a major natural disaster. Japan gives us a glimpse into the future of rationed power usage.

Short, slow distance trips might be all we'll be driving, no matter what we have for vehicles. Infrastructure is falling apart. Roads will be less well maintained. Already, many roads are being depaved and turned to gravel. The slower speed of an electric probably won't be the hindrance it is today.

Will we be more likely to have gasoline or electric power? There are many ways of generating home electric. It might make sense to have a small electric vehicle for the occasional trip into town. Something like an electric ATV like a Bad Boy Buggy might be just the thing. It's designed for off road use.

Personally, I wouldn't mind adding a few more solar panels to my house array to charge a small electric vehicle. Beats the heck of feeding a horse.

-Sixbears

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Fuelish days

It took some effort, but I finally scored some waste vegetable oil to run my truck. Not that many years ago, it was fairly easy to get restaurants to let me pump their waste tanks. Those days are gone. Biofuel plants are now paying for it, so supplies are tight. It's a symptom of the overall tightening of all liquid fuel supplies.

I was able to pick up about 175 gallons of WVO for just under $1/gallon. After paying over $4 for diesel in the Keys, it's a bargain. Sure, I save a few hundred dollars, but I also have fuel security. There's just about enough for me to get home. It took a lot of phone calls, Craigslist Ads, e-mails, and Internet searches to find this waste veggie. Not only that, the guy I got it from is getting out of the business. He wants his backyard back.

I've heard stories of grease burners who have resorted to late night grease bin raids. I wasn't there yet. However . . . in an emergency . . . I have the equipment necessary to do the deed.

I've given some thought to other alternative fuels, but I don't think I'll put my efforts in that direction. If things get really bad, darn few people will be traveling by private car. With government plans to tax travel by the mile, it doesn't look good. Of course, most of us alternative fuel guys don't pay road tax because we burn untaxed homebrewed fuel. Most states don't bother with us because there's aren't a lot of us. (there are exceptions.) With the potential of electric cars and high efficiency vehicles, the government figures a mileage tax would get everybody.

They won't get me. I'll stop driving first.

-Sixbears

Friday, April 1, 2011

Wee little sailboat in a big slip




Those who know the Florida Keys may recognize the old Bahia Honda bridge in the background. The very tiny sailboat in the big slip is mine. We were the only live aboards in the marina. There was a fair amount of day use, but the big boat on the right never moved the whole time we were there. All in all, it was a very quiet marina.

Which is odd, considering how hard it is to get a campsite in the park. They sell out 11 months in advance. Since our boat is short, only 19 feet, it only cost $2/day more for a marina slip than a tent site. There was no problem extending our stay at the last minute. Try and do that with a tent site in a busy state park.

Sailing conditions were not as good as we'd like, but we went sailing anyway. It gave us a chance to push ourselves a bit more. The little old boat is surprisingly good in the rolly polly seas. Of course, since my previous sea experiences were in canoes, a sailboat is a big step up in safety.

Bahia Honda has a great beach. It would have been criminal not to do some beach time. Even did a little snorkeling. I convinced my lovely wife I needed snorkel gear in case the boat needed underwater work. Of course, it works just fine for chasing fish around the bay too.

We'd seriously thought about spending a few days anchoring out. Weather conditions would have made it a lot less fun than originally planned. Flexibility has kept us out of trouble. Plenty of sailing days ahead of us yet.

-Sixbears