Canvas Projects and Scupper Harassing the Locals

Canvas and some odds and ends pics. These may be out of order and some a couple weeks old. 


Here is the old windscoop.

New, West Marine windscoop. I added grommets to the outer hem to help keep the scoop open while our boats hunts from side to side at anchor.

I used some scrap vinyl as backing plates for the grommets( both sides, 2 backing plates per grommet) . After install I sewed the perimeter of the vinyl.

Brian ran scupper to shore for a walk. On the way back in the dinghy Scupper took three huge strides and a flying leap out into the water towards a couple passing in their dinghy. Thankfully Scupper wasn’t hurt. After he jumped, Brian called his name but scupper just swam towards the couple in their dinghy. The poor couple, who was rather far off, didn’t know what to do, do they stop? And risk getting bitten by this demonic dog? Or run? They stopped their dinghy, but was clearly apprehensive :-). Brian caught up with scupper, who at the very last second turned around and was making for Brian. Very strange behavior. Scupper can get into these fits( like a tantrum) when he around dogs, but he has never jumped into the water before, and the couple did not have a dog aboard. Life jacket is required for scupper now and he must sit on the seat when boat is moving.

Here is the tree the Land Crab(s) live under. There was a macerated coconut nearby :-).

Again, here is the crab. That hole is easily dinner plate sized.


Fitting and refitting the new underseat storage I’m sewing

And of course the tears stage of the project when I make a mistake and must rip out all the stitches…sigh.



The zipper blew out on our jib bag. I fixed the zipper and renew the old seams. I also added about 6 inches to the bag. This allows the bag to be longer, flatter, and can get the sail a little more out of the way of the windlass( by moving the bulk of the sail aft). To extend the bag I removed the circular aft section



Removing the aft section of the jib sail bag.

The added canvas sewn onto the aft part of the old jib bag. I did not have navy canvas so I used a scrap of  linen Sunbrella. Brian is mulling over wether to get roller furling so I did not want to spend money buying all new canvas.

Done. It’s not pretty but it does do its job :-)


This houses our foot pump for the dinghy. Again I used scrap canvas, webbing, and even some thread. My stitching on the front is abysmal but I refused to fix it. It’s a pump not a Tierra :-)



I lined the outer edges of the carpet with scrap Sunbrella. I also added some Velcro to keep carpet in place


Some pics from Tarpon Belly.


Bunch of pics of Scupper

Scupper enjoying the bean bag.

Nice sunset in Boot Key Harbor

The boys resting from a long hard day of work. One was harassing the locals, the other installing solar panel :-)


Brian bought me a air cooler. You pump it up, turn it on, and it mists the air. Can drop the temps in the cockpit by 5-10 degrees!! He wasn’t sure if it was a gimmick, but thought to try it and surprisingly it works.

Our latest awning(midship) arrangement. We like this the best for wind capture down into the boat. But it has not been tested in a hard rain yet. It is about 8×8, with the aft end flat on the cabin top. Our huge 12’x14′ awning is too heavy (18oz vinyl) and not suitable for summer as it captures the heat. Thought to have it for a winter cover and rain catcher but it takes up too much room and we plan to never be in winter climates again. So I will either give the big awning away or chop up for other projects.


Boot key harbor.



My hubby peeking out the galley port as I motor back to the boat :-).

I got nothin.


Not only are the speeding, in a floating home, through a sensitive manatee area( idle speed posted) but they are towing a few kids in a big inflatable, dog almost falls off the back, and the forecast was 7 foot waves outside sister creek in hawk channel. Cannot wait for the crazy holiday weekend folks to get back to landlubbering. 

Moon woke me up last night, so bright.


Because I cannot choose which pic to post…

I’ll post all three :-)


Friends come to Visit!!

When I was a singlehander, I lived aboard my Cape Dory 30 at Waterford harbor in Texas.(2007 or 8) . I had these great neighbors Rachel and Carl, who inspired me by their fearless drive to become a part of the beautiful floating life of sailing. 

 Rachel was in town for work and a little fun with her niece. So they popped by Marathon to see the ole Rain Dog gang on their way back to Miami.

Rachel, Looking beautiful as usual, Brian and Scupper, and Rachel wonderfully interesting niece. We met at Bourdines for cheeseburgers and fries. They key lime pie is very “Limey”

Lousely resolution, but this egret is absconding with bait fish

Now he is on the tank and brazenly selecting his meal straight from the bait tank.

On the way home, a reminder about our cruiser net on 68 every morning at 9am. The folk that run it are really nice and everyone really pitches in to help each other.


Scupper giving me the ” little privacy please” look


Let There Be Light!! Solar Panel Addition

We left Texas with 200 watts of solar. On sunny days, this would replace what we used (60 – 80 AH a day), but on cloudy days we would fall behind and have to run the engine. We do not have a high-output alternator, so running the engine did not get us much, but we had no other way to charge. If things got critical, we would have to go to a marina and plug in. In 6 months of Cruising, I never saw our solar controller leave bulk mode. We decided to add one more 100 watt panel and see how that did.

New panel arrived by mail from Renogy.


The panel is not damaged and the wires look pretty stable


With scraps we had aboard, Brian fabricated the Solar Mount. This can be easily removed for monitor wind vane use.


Brian had this project done in an hour or two, so talented. Now it’s my turn to finish the wood mounts before they suck up too much moisture. I will epoxy them then paint black. BTB, the panels together, pretty much take care of all our electrical needs.

After 4 days with the new panel, I am glad to say we replace all we use from our batteries by 1 or 2 each day. The controller now goes from bulk to absorption in the afternoon and is in float by late afternoon. Even on partly cloudy days we are now able to replace all we use. I also changed the panels from parallel to series wiring. This does seem to have improved the output a bit. Before with 2 panels in full sun, I had not seen more than 140 watts on the charge controller. Now I am seeing 250 watts in full sun at mid-day.

Brian added two more charging ports in the forward berth :-) made me very happy


Brian also replaced the defective charging port tucked up in the starboard vberth bulkhead.


Brian added a fan to the galley, what a huge difference!



Memorial Day Remembrance

Letter from my mom who served in the Navy. If you don’t know your families history of those killed while in service, just ask an elder, one day it will be up to you to make sure the young know about their families’s history. Pray for PEACE. 

Hi All, just a wish for a good day for you all, and for remembering those who died in battles in far off lands. For a little history, (kids) your great-great-great Christopher Wilson died in the Civil War. You great great great Uncle Edward died in WWI. Your grandfather Langton did not die, but was afflicted with PTSD in WWII, and second cousins, Larry and Jerry Langton and Michael Hennessey were all injured severely in the Viet Nam War.  


Love to you all, Mom/Grandma
Letter from my Aunt:

The family members I remember being in the revolutionary war were the Smith’s, Nashes and a distant cousin from the Morehouse line who was 14 and died when his musket back fired.  That was not unusual since they made their own muskets.  Denise reminded me we have Joseph Nash killed at Norwalk, Connecticut by the British under General Tryon who burned Danbury and New Haven in the fall of 1777.  Then Samuel’s brother, Zac, was killed at the battle of Bennington under General Stark in August 1777.  
Samuel Nash was in many skirmishes, he was captured by the indians and escaped near Greenfield Mountains at Lake Desolation, Susanna’s (our g-g-g grand)mother also has a part in the defense of the home from night attacks of the indians”(OW3).   So even the women got involved.  


Sombrero Reef Snorkling

Sunrise at Molasses Key


And more sunrise

And more sunrise… I had a hundred pics of this one sunrise! Posting only three shows much restrain on my part :-).

After a great night at anchor(i.e. no dragging) Scupper at the helm, making for Sombrero Reef for some fun snorkeling. Brian making sure he stays on course :-)

I spy Sombrero lighthouse :-)

Sombrero Reef is in the middle of pic, south of Marathon.

Layout of the reef. Lots of mooring balls.

We grabbed the western front row mooring ball, which had a nice line to secure to our boat.

Our downwind view. One of the snorkel companies had a look out and would blow a whistle if one or more customers strayed too far or to direct swimmer to good spots on the reef. He seemed to really keep an eye on each person. I thought that was very smart and I would think would lessen accidents/drownings. Every once and a while a power boat would plow through the mooring field, this made me very leery to venture too far from my big orange buoy ( see below).


Still lots of moorings available.

Brian tied the dinghy tow line to our big orange fender for me to grab if I tire. I needed this on my second trip into the water. The current carried me farther then I expected and swimming back to the boat was a bit tough. Being able to grab this line and haul myself the rest of the way Saved the day :-)

My boys. Brian dove the prop and discovered our zincs GONE. He replaced them while I sat in the cockpit and handed him the accoutrements. Man of many talents!!

Our gear. I also use a ski float. It looks silly but we are still feeling out what I can and cannot handle.


View under Rain Dog. I’m using my Olympus TG-3.

I felt like they were waiting for me to tell them a story, so expectant!  Hard to say no to such adorable faces, so I told them the story of the little mermaid. :-)





Okay, the pics are a bit lame, but wanted to show how active the reef was. It seemed like it had a lot of new growth, young coral. So glad they put the mooring balls down, I just do not see a way to anchor around here without damaging the seabed.





There is a baby barracuda in the middle background. Brian saw a bigger barracuda and a reef shark. 


Heading back to home base. Sombrero mooring field is day use only( no overnighters)

Crazy, the way this boat plowed through the water. It had a  continuous bow wake that spayed almost as high as the deck. Not sure if he had too much weight in the bow, but we marveled at what his fuel bill must look like.


Molasses Key Anchorage

Brian grabbing some ice before we head out to Molasses Key, just 4-5 miles west of Marathon.

Molasses Key.


Uneventful trip to anchorage. Very very strong current here. Not able to swim around the boat, couldn’t dive the anchor, and no swimming from the beach either. The current is about 3-4 plus knots, crazy. We hit the anchorage at low tide.

Scupper, free at last!!


A lot of seaweed caught up in our tow lines and painter. We are in the small lagoon( 30-40 feet around), no current here :-).


Bill’s Island. Nice memorial.


Madonna and Singh Isand too.


Love this little Island.

Some weird intrusion(?) was hard but not brittle.

Lots of neat-o critters living in the rock

These little guys fool people all the time, they look like Trilobite fossils but are in fact living Chitons. Chitons are mollusks, so so are related to octopuses! This chiton looked alive but It felt just like rock. This one was just uncovered by the tide so still wet.

 If you want to nerd out like I did after seeing these little guys, here are some cool links

His buddy looks even more like a fossil :-). crazy Factoid- their eyes, which are scattered on their valves( shell) are made of rock, more specifically limestone. Creepy cool :-)

Lots of critters living in what I think is a ginormous brain coral fossil..

This little guy was alive :-)


Cool shellfish


Back on the boat, this little bird wanted down below.

 Next is Sombrero Reef for some snorkeling :-)… 

Marathon, Pretty Cool Pace.

Marathon, Boot Key Harbor City Marina mooring field

Factoid– all anchor lights on per colregs, even though we are in a designated mooring field, Boot Key harbor falls into international waters due to being outside the colregs. The demarcation line just crosses over around lower Matecombe key to Dry Tortugas. $70 fine for not displaying you anchor light from dusk to dawn. Pretty interesting aye? We also have two solar lights, one around midship and one in the cockpit. Sometimes you can power right up to a boat in the dark and forget to look up where our anchor light sits atop the mast. So having a few lights at eye level can hopefully avoid collisions. A project I plan to finish before we leave marathon is to add reflective tape on stanchions and wind vane to improve the ability to see us at night. We already have two stripes on the mast.



Isn’t she lovely :-).


On our way to dinner we saw a good old fashion mast raising party(middle boat) :-). I’ve done that before, it can be very hair raising

View looking out to the harbor entrance. Bourdines or Cheeky Tiki is a nice place for a cold beer and tasty hamburger

View looking into harbor.

That’s Manatee, they have 23 great loops under their belts!

We ran out Sister creek to do some snorkeling. Love to have the larger dinghy and more powerful outboard that can take us all around and out of the harbor. But I’m glad we left Texas with the dinghy we had, a friend sold it to us for a song. So we were able to, through months of cruising, refine our wants/needs. We broke even when we sold the old dinghy.

Slow speed for manatee zone.

Dinghy docks at the city marina

The facility is definitely geared towards cruiser. Mail boxes, large clean warehouse floor space the work on your sails or canvas project, small workshop, Laundromat and free wifi :-). They have a slip just so you can tie up the mothership to fill your water tanks or tie your dinghy up to the bulkhead and fill you jerry can from the dinghy. Water is .05 cents a gallon on the honor system.



At the base of a tree there was a bunch of softball sliced holes snaking around the roots. I was about to announce our departure for another harbor when I realized it is a crab, not a huge hairy teranchula home. The land cranes can get big though, so still a bit creepy. 


Birds do not land on our boat due to our ferocious dog Scupper. But this little brave guy was an exception :-)


Our wonderful windscoop is on its last leg. Time for a new one.


Made cheeks for the dodger. This keeps out the rain and spray from the side decks. Also keeps scupper in the cockpit.


Cutting the clear vinyl for the dodger cheeks. Used the handy floor space made available to us at the City marina.

Do not need electricity, thanks to brian buying me the monster wheel attachment for my Sailrite LS-1. I’ve learn to love love manual/ crank sewing, my stitches are much neater and placement very precise.


With left over scraps from the dodger cheep project, I made a fid keeper. :-)

Sewed little organizer pouches to tidy up the nav station table


This holds our wifi thingy :-)

A note on monkey fur( hull liner). It takes hook Velcro very well. So I’ve been adding little pouches here and there. This is made from the pant legs( my mom’s unwanted jeans, thanks mom!)

Scrap curtain material nod more scrap pant leg material. :-) I have sooooo much fabric aboard, I can’t seen to throw or give it away. But I’m determined not to buy fabric till my collection can fit into one bin( 2-3 bins right now)


The black track on deck gets so hot it WILL burn your feet

Used webbing, non skid mesh, and bungee to make this sail track cover. I also made a reflectex and canvas cover for the ( toe stubbing )block on the track. So far, a week later, it stays in place and is solid to walk on.

Underside of the webbing. Bungee hooks to the track end.



Full screen no see um enclosure.


 More sewing to come. Just finished a new under seat storage for the dinghy. Will make new snorkeling bags, racier filter cover, battery box canvas cover, and a cover for the dinghy gas can with webbing covering the fuel line. Whew! So much to do!

Brain is working his arse off with boat maintenance, plus he is taking two online college courses.