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Monday, September 25, 2017

Cruisers going dark



I follow a lot of sailing blogs, podcasts and YouTube channels. The Caribbean and Florida interests me so I've concentrated on those who sail in those waters. Lots of those boaters got hit by the hurricanes. Not all of them have been accounted for. Only a handful have survived in relatively good condition.

A few got out of the hurricane zone in time. Some got lucky and missed the worse of the storm. Those who survived in the zone did so with good planning and lots of luck. Even if your boat is well prepared, it could get hit by another boat that broke loose. It appears that's what happened to many boats in the Boot Key mooring field in the Keys. Boats would break free and collide with other boats and so on.

One of my concerns are some of the boating communities that don't have a public presence. People like to think of boaters are wealthy people who have expensive toys. While there are some like that, many are people without much money. They are eking out a living on old boats. They live at anchor, working low wage jobs or living on small pensions.

There are anchorages of those people all over Florida. The anchoring field off of Key West comes to mind. It's a pretty sketchy anchorage at the best of times. Even minor storms cause boats to drag at anchor. There's also a significant low rent boating district off of Bradenton Beach. My lovely wife and I have anchored there a few times ourselves.

What concerns me is that these people are pretty far off the grid at the best of times. Many of them could go down with their boat and nobody would notice. People come and go all the time. Who's to say whether or not someone moved on or sank to the bottom?

Why should we care? Well, first of all, they are human beings like everyone else. That should be enough. There is more though, they are free people, not tied down to the rat race. I, for one, was excited to learn that there were people out there living good lives on less than $500/month. It's like they found a cheat code to life.

At the best of times, they are tolerated. Often they would be harassed by waterfront property owners who did no like to look at them. Law enforcement knows who pays their wages, and it's not the sea hobos on old boats. I'm sure many of those rich property owners don't care if those boaters survived the storms or not -as long as they are gone.

-Sixbears

11 comments:

  1. At this point, all we can do is pray.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, prayers, because it might be too late for the Coast Guard.

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  2. For those who were killed during the hurricanes, I hope their families find out what really happened to them for closure. Not knowing 'For Sure' surely is not good for them. Every person who has no family or friends should have at least one reliable contact that they call at least once a month to make sure someone knows they are okay. I understand the difficulties of maintaining contact when off-grid - but its the responsible thing to do.

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    1. Good point. It is the responsible thing to do. One problem is that many of these people are only in close contact with others like them. Makes it hard.

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  3. always recommend that sailers get a ham radio license. Then get a cheap under $100 radio to keep in contact. It's a good skill to have

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    1. Yes, it's a good skill. Some of these people don't even have basic VHS, a bare minimum in my opinion.

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  4. Most folks were smart enough to bail out in time and hole up at the local shelters. Key West proper did not get hit too hard, but up the road on the lower keys they did get the brunt of it.
    Key-West-kayak-Fisherman's page on youtube has a good tour of the aftermath.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkGY6yxE8kogYHKXisMhA2w/videos

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the link. Key West did well, at least compared to Marathon.

      Just came across this link:
      http://jimbaughoutdoors.blogspot.com/2017/09/riding-storm-out-irma-and-leap-of-faith.html?spref=fb

      It's an interview with Ed Robinson, the writer. He's boat, "Leap of Faith" survived with only minor damage. I know his stomping grounds so have a fairly good idea where he anchored.

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    2. Seems like he made out OK, but unlike others he put in a bit effort and forethought in his preparations with the extra anchors and good choice of shelter. Looks like there were some that did not do much at all. I'd have been inclined to have the boat hauled out before the storm. Strip all the electrics, mechanicals and perishables out of it, stick the garden hose in it and put several tons of water in it to weigh it down.
      On a slightly different topic there are a couple of very affordable Pearson 26s up for grabs on ME Craiglist.

      https://maine.craigslist.org/boa/d/ft-pearson-sailboat-needs/6259511846.html

      https://maine.craigslist.org/boa/d/26ft-pearson-sailboat/6296237699.html


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    3. There's a spot in the mangroves on the west FL coast where I'd hide a boat. Sat out gale force winds there so have some idea how it would fare.

      Those Pearsons are pretty decent boats for little money.

      Those are some good deals over in Maine.

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