October 5, 2011 - November 18, 2011
Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
I am encouraged by the way the engine room caps are coming
together - so far - in my head.

The freakishly odd shaped pieces at the top and bottom of the
two cap frames are now made and installed. I am now in that
weird phase where I have to let the glue completely dry, then
see if the frames will come free, or if they're glued to the boat.

I pulled the frames from their locations and they are strong and
go right back into place. Now, I'll add a few more cross braces -
with the frames re-secured to prevent any distortion - then
begin fitting the rigid insulation and fiberglass.

I have also been coming up with ways to hold them in place and
make them easy to put in and take out.
Monday, October 10, 2011 - Seafood Shack
Marina - Cortez, Florida
The engine room caps got screwed firmly back into position and
I added 3 more stiffeners on each side. They have a bunch of
weird angles and are screwed into the uprights from the back. It
didn't always go well and the fasteners will be removed and
redone after the structures fully cure. Next part of the project
will be to laminate 2 layers of the rigid foam on, then do
whatever glassing is needed, the engine side shielded sound
deadener Don gave me and the final headliner on the outside. I
have come up with an excellent method of attachment and will
install it once the caps are done.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - Seafood Shack
Marina - Cortex, Florida
The caps are coming along nicely. These rigid foam panels are
held in place with 4200 Fast cure and will get a second layer of
the stuff later. If I do this right, I'll be able to just staple the
material on over the outside, wrapping it around the top and
both sides, and that cushion will serve as a seal. A small piece of
firm rubber on the bottom will seal it and a single block with a
thumbscrew at the inside bottom will hold them in position. By
golly, I don't know why I don't get more awards for cheap-ass
inventive brilliance. And they're light!
Monday, October 24, 2011 - Seafood Shack
Marina - Cortez, Florida
I am presently making minor adjustments to the rig and sailing gear and will probably mount the sails today. There is still a
minor issue about where to locate the turning blocks for the staysail. I do not expect it to be a problem.
The Staysail is rigged and the sheet blocks have been installed on the cabin sides. There is also a separate set on the toerail for
reaching. I'll go back outside and do a little lashing to secure the sheets and hauldown, then bag it in place so it remains ready to
deploy.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida

Six days left - give or take. More take than give. I may stay for a day or two extra so I can get the Boat US tow insurance and
provision a little. The trip from Longboat Pass to the Anclote anchorage is about 60 statute miles (52 nautical miles - the
conversion factor is 0.868976242, reciprocal is 1.1507795). Motoring all the way, I can make it in 10 hours. Right now, the winds
during the beginning of next month look very good for the passage. If they stay looking good, I may be able to sail the whole
distance in the same time.
The second sail is rigged and ready. I'll be working on the next one later.
It's 12:40 and the foresail is rigged and adjusted.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida

I have to get back in the water and finish the scraping of the boat. There is one more sail to mount and a lot of inside cleaning
and prep to do.

I've been using the propane system. It's awesome and I love it. I will need to put together a short list of passage rations to stock
up on for the trip to Panama City. I'd like to buy a dozen Hoagies and be done with it, but I'm afraid I'll have to put some thought
into it. For this trip, I only intend to run the reefer while the sun shines or the engine is running. I have no desire to test the
limits of the cheapie batteries I installed in Marathon. On their best play, they've got about a year of life left.
The mainsail is always the heaviest and most cumbersome to install, being about twice as big as both the jib and foresail
individually. I couldn't really get it all the way up today because certain adjustments still needed to be made and the breeze was
straight on the beam. All the adjustments have been made - with the exception of safety-locking the swivels on the bottom of
both throat halyards - and I'll wait to set the mainsail until I'm in the Gulf.

As it stands, the winds for the trip look to be perfect - 10 to 20 knots flush on the beam from the East North East - and proximity
of an Eastern Coast means wave heights of a foot or less. The last Passage Weather wind and wave information I got only goes up
to the 2nd of November, so I'll keep an eye on it for the next few days to be sure what's going on. There is still a little part of me
wanting to make a straight passage from Longboat Pass to the Panama City Inlet opposite the City Marina.

The last of the little details in mounting the sails have been attended to and I believe they are all set for the trip. There are still a
few minor concerns I have as far as the Garhauer pins and pivots on the blocks I'm using. Frankly, I think some of them look
small. I have a degree of faith in the manufacturer and believe they will hold, but won't know until they either explode or don't.
Thursday, October 27, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida

Each morning is a little warmer now. Passage Weather now has information up to the 3rd of November. All still looks good. I'll
pullout of here on the afternoon of the 1st and stay overnight at the Moore's Anchorage, then leave at high tide at 6 AM the next
morning. I can get into the Anclote Anchorage with plenty of daylight left, and slip out of there at first light on the morning of the
3rd, arriving at the Dog Island inlet some time near the middle of the day on the 4th.

After that, I may take a little time to enjoy the area and the trip through the ICW past White City. It might be a good idea to enjoy
some solitude and sightseeing until the middle of the month. Or not. It could get cold and blustery and I should be getting some
writing done.
Friday, October 28, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida

The weather on the first few days of November - according to the Passage Weather site - is deteriorating and I'm not sure how it
will be for the trip to Panama City. It looks like I would be facing 25 knot winds right on the nose halfway between the Anclote
anchorage and George's Sound inlet at Dog Island. I'm pretty sure I don't want to do that.

I just started the engine and ran it for a bit while I checked out the anchor windlass, depth sounder, cockpit VHF, and both GPS
chartplotters.

I spoke to Scott and told him I might hang a bit for a better weather window before leaving and he has no problem with it. Of
course, the forecast may change between now and then as well.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida

I went upstairs to see Suzanne and we went to lunch on the island and I got my West Marine membership renewed and TowBoat
US insurance for $149, a savings of $21. Also, the insurance activates at midnight, which means I can leave first thing tomorrow
morning and still be on schedule for a November 3-4 passage to Dog Island Inlet - or whatever it's called.

Impatient to stage for departure, I got out of the boat and just started taking off the lines. In a couple of minutes, both Eddie and
Scott were over helping. I started the engine and motored out between Randy's and Eddie's boats, then just went to back gear and
motored into the slip opposite Tarquin. A strong current pushed me into the dock and one of my chainplates tore a piling free of
the dock. Okay, I just laughed out loud when I wrote that. Not because the dock was mildly damaged, but because - once again -
there was not the lightest damage to Falcon. Never, ever try to tell me this boat isn't a tank.
I got a call from Espin telling me there had been a sudden and unwelcome change in the Passage Weather forecast. In fact, if I
stick to my present schedule, I will get slapped right in the teeth by a cold North wind of 30 knots while I am just about half way
across the open water. A second call and we both went through the maps carefully and I knew I would have to wait right here.

I retied a couple of the docklines to get a more secure sleep and went below to study the wind charts again.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida

It's a beautiful, calm morning and I feel silly saying I can't leave yet due to a weather window. However, I can leave safely on
Monday morning at first light and have a good non-stop passage from the Seafood Shack to the East Inlet next to Dog Island.
Winds and waves all look good, for now, we'll see how it progresses. If the weather turns again, I'll move to Tarpon Springs and
just wait there, knowing the weather window I need will be smaller. No matter - I'm not suffering here. A little anxious to move
along, but that's all.
To the left, sheet handling gear for the inner jib. I have a book
somewhere with the right name for that sail, but it's like a good
guard dog - if it does its job, it doesn't need  name. I just
finished installing the cleats and the little bullseye fairleads to
minimize the rub on the cabin sides. The sheet just barely
touches in 2 spots. I can either put a small shim under the
fairleads or two - yeah, never mind - shims it is. Later.

I will also pack more stuff away until the entire cabin sole is
free and clear. Every few minutes I think of another spot for a
specific item and jump up and stash it. I wonder if a day will
finally come when I just jump, grab something, and huck it
right out a freaking porthole. I sense it near. Each time I hurl
something or give it away, then realize I need it, but just go buy
a new one for a couple of bucks, it teaches me again the days of
hoarding to finish the boat are over. I have too much stuff. Talk
without action is stupid, so I'm taking more action all the time.
A lot of the boat is all cleaned up and stuff is stowed away. The decks are all clear and ready for sea. I am looking forward to being
on my way.
Thursday, November 3, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
The lashing of the solar feed cables to the Outback Charge
Controller is done. I also now have inside and outside handles
on the one door inside the boat, and the opening from the main
saloon forward is opened up - a messy, sawdust spreading job -
so I can now move it full swing and add the bolt to prevent its
swinging around.

It really is much easier to do jobs in the boat with the sole
almost completely clear.

The weather Espin warned me about is in the panhandle and
Northern Gulf and I would certainly have been at anchor
somewhere had I not been given the heads-up.

I am continuing to clean up and ready the boat and it's getting
better all the time. The extra time here is a real blessing as far
as making me more comfortable with the readiness of Falcon.
Friday, November 4, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida

It's windy and raining this morning. The front is upon us. I expect the rain to end quickly, but the wind will be here for a couple
of days. I'll be leaving on Sunday morning at about 7 AM, the first day we will have daylight at 7 AM, due to daylight savings, and
I'll be heading for Tarpon Springs and the Anclote Anchorage. Might as well take a little time and enjoy the trip. Monday and
Tuesday look fine for heading to the East Inlet next to Dog Island.

I've doubled up the lines on the starboard side to better absorb the buffeting of the wind, waves and current just now. The rain is
gone and the sun is already out.

It looks to me like the wind I'll be expecting has increased a little, but not much. Fifteen to twenty knots for the entire trip.
Waves no more than a meter - at most - and only on the nose during the Sunday trip to Tarpon Springs. It may make for a wet
day. I have rain gear if I need it, hanging right by the companionway.
Above are the first 2 shots of the day - one to the Sought and the other to the North - taken through the portholes. It started
raining soon after and by 8 AM I was out on the dock having coffee. A little while later, the rain stopped and buy 9 AM the sun
began peeking through the clouds.

The two shots below are of Falcon's extra lines and the spume created by the wind and tidal current.
Saturday, November 5, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida

It was an especially cool start to the day, but is warming up nicely. The wind blew pretty good - 15 to 20 knots - all night, but had
laid down this morning and there is only a little breeze. The weather looks good for the trip to Panama City. I'll keep my eyes on
the weather and have a good time. There should be opportunities to take some video on the way.

Falcon looks good, all ready to go and such. Low and lean in the water. Pretty and powerful.
Sunday, November 6, 2011 - Anchored off Mullet Key - St Petersburg, Florida

I left at exactly 7 AM this morning and missed the Anna Maria Bridge by a minute or so. After circling and playing for enough
time to get the next opening, I went through and headed out to the Bay. It was exactly what I was afraid it might be - steady 3
foot waves with occasional short sets of 5 and 6 footers, pushed by steady winds in the 20 to 25 knot range. Unable to raise any
sails - and not at all sure I wanted to in these conditions - I worked through it for about 15 minutes until I noticed the cutter jib
had been torn free of its shredded sailbag and was trailing off the port bow, its sheets streaming past the prop and trailing behind
Falcon. My headway at this point was down to 3 knots and I was taking green water over the boat and into the cockpit. One wave
splashed completely over the top of the dinghy, upside down on the cabin top.

I pointed up into the wind and dropped the anchor, letting out about 60 or 70 feet of chain, then idled the engine and took it out
of gear, hopeful the jib sheets were not involved with the prop. Going forward, I was much surprised to see the violent lunges
Falcon made at the rode caused the windlass winch to slip her clutch and feed out additional chain with every tug. I quickly
snubbed the chain with a simple slip loop tied in a dockline and made fast to the big cleat, then went to work dragging the cutter
jib and its sheets aboard. The boat pitched and rolled wildly and I had to pay careful attention to avoid being chucked over the
side.

Stashing the sail in the partially flooded cockpit - I had the drain plugged because propwash pumps seawater into the
ill-conceived cockpit drains when under power - I returned to the windlass with tools and determination, but even furrowing my
brow and grimacing as I worked failed to make the slipping clutch hold. Stashing the tools below, I brought out a knife and cut
the knot holding the anchor chain, then went to the cockpit with the winch control, engaged the prop and brought in chain as I
motored toward the anchor. I wondered how deeply the anchor would be buried after all the nasty jerking at it, but the windlass
brought it up easily and snatched it into the chock.

During the entire affair at anchor, I'd considered turning back or going forward, knowing I still had at least five to six miles of
this slop to bust through, but once I was again under way, forward seemed the only rational choice. I couldn't possibly go back
and withstand the chiding from the others at the Seafood Shack.

I noticed my radio was on channel 16 now and a message
"Distress Call" was scrolling on the screen. At the same time, I saw the
Coast Guard C-130 circling low overhead. I'd been anchored for the better part of an hour and wondered if the aircraft spotted me
during routine patrol. I turned to channel 22 and hailed the Coast Guard. When they came back, I briefly identified myself and
explained that if I was the subject of a distress call, I was not in distress - just attending to a minor problem - and was now back
under way (is it 'way' or 'weigh'? as in, 'weigh anchor'?). A different voice came back, which I took to be the C-130, thanked me
and the plane made one more circle before moving off. As I proceeded, I was not surprised they might have considered me in
trouble, as Falcon's bowsprit was occasionally still burying in the water and I took green water over the decks all the way to
within spitting distance of Mullet Key.

Early after getting under way again, I noticed my phone got wet and would not work. Soaked to the skin from nose to toes, there
appeared little I could do to help, but I did find one dry spot on my T shirt just behind my left side. I took out the battery and
wiped everything there, then just hid it in the same area, hoping it would dry out and come back.

Getting through the swash channel at Mullet Key presented something of a problem as my glasses were wet and i couldn't see
the depth markings on the charts. Still, I was able to pick my way through and circled in and around near the beach and dropped
the anchor in 10 feet of water and very small waves.
The phone started working after a while and I called Espin and Don. I left the anchorage at Mullet Key and am now anchored in
the wrong spot in Johns Pass. I suppose I could have gone to the correct anchorage, where Espin directed me, but it's crammed,
packed full, so I went in here. I have 7 feet of water and expect to be able to get out easily in the morning. From here I'll go to the
Anclote anchorage, get there early and stage for a Tuesday morning passage to India - or East Inlet, whichever is closer.

I think the autopilot might be operating backwards. I'll swap the + & -  wires feeding the drive and see if it straightens it out.
Now, I need to find my chain hooks so I can bridle the anchor chain and end the rattling out front. - - - - - - Okay, that's fixed,
though I still haven't found the chain hooks.

I know you can't see anything in the pictures above, I just thought it would be funny thinking about you guys trying. One is
North and one is South and it really doesn't matter which. Time to stop draining the batteries. Be back tomorrow.
Monday, November 7, 2011 - Johns Pass Anchorage - St Petersburg, Florida

An excellent morning to get up to - warmer than yesterday and less wind. I swapped the cables on the Autohelm and filled the
batteries last evening and we'll see what happens today. I'm going to get out past the bridge, anchor and set the sails, then raise
anchor and see if I can manage to get the boat sailing.

Below are shots of last nights sunset and this mornings sunrise shot of the channel I'm about to go out. Be back from Anclote.
It's 3:20 PM and I've been here at the Anclote anchorage for 20 minutes. The sails are down and ready for the morning, the
anchor is set and bridle installed, the halyards are all tended and tied away from the masts, and I have heated and am eating the
last of Scott's spicy chili. It's excellent.

Top of the 'good news' list is (drum roll) ta-dah! The autopilot works and operated flawlessly all day. Also, I set the foresail and
jib and sailed for a while (not very fast without the mainsail), motorsailed for the rest of the day (though I had to drop and stow
the jib as I rounded the big bend - it was backwinding and just creating drag). The foresail stayed up and I sheeted it in tight to
keep a good feel to the boat. I suppose it helped a little, but the wind was really too far forward for a schooner. I did get some
pictures of the sail and the shoreline.
Above are the Clearwater inlet channel and bridge and a pink
building on the adjacent beach. I may never get over the pink
buildings.

To the left is the foresail - taken while Ollie, the autopilot, was
at the helm and I was free to roam about the ship.

Below it is the Tarpon Springs Power Plant, from the anchorage.

I have to post this now and check passage weather for the next 2
days, as I'll be leaving here in the morning and heading for the
East Inlet at Dog Island.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011 - Anclote Anchorage - Tarpon Springs, Florida

After a couple of long discussions, and one short one, with Espin last evening, going over and over the Passage Weather and the
charts, I decided I would not leave this area until after the cold front went through. There was a nasty pocket of stiff winds
predicted in the Gulf at about 10 PM tonight. 20 to 25 knots on the stern quarter. Schooners do not do well with those winds with
their mains up. The problem with bringing the main down is that I'd have to do it before the sun sets. I've been watching the
night skies and they have often been clouded and dark - like right now - it is black outside - I would be very uncomfortable
hanging off the sides of the hardtop in high winds and total blackness trying to lash down a huge mainsail. All in all, I waved off
the crossing.

This morning, however, it looks good. Conditions look perfect for a straight shot from right here to the East Inlet at Dog Island. I
will start putting the sails up as soon as I can see and head off for Panama City.

I'm sorry I'm not keeping up with emails just now. I will catch up once I'm at a dock and have all the power I could want.
These are two shots of a nice sunset in the Anclote Anchorage last evening. I do not expect to be able to post anything for a day or
two, but will be back on as soon as I can.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - At Sea In The Gulf Of Mexico

First thing I'll do is bring yesterday up to date. I am actually making this Log entry on the morning of tomorrow - proving once
and for all that I AM capable of time travel - but on that day, I'll explain how I had no chance to complete the November 8th Log
on Tuesday because I was too busy and exhausted. Now you see how I can also see into the future. Any way, I took plenty of
pictures and even some awesome videos, which I haven't reviewed yet, but since I was there when they were made I feel free to
applaud them early. Some of the pictures will be posted here. Until I discover the black art of posting videos, you will have to
imagine them.

Leaving the Anclote Anchorage at 7 AM sharp, I called Espin and Don to say I was on my way. My noble little phone is still
working, despite being washed down with salt water. It makes and receives calls, but has a little problem charging the battery and
now walks with a limp.

All sails were up before I weighed anchor - that's right, I said 'weighed', you get that privilege after completing a solo overnight
passage - and started trimming them as I went. The autopilot is remarkable. The one adjustment knob on the control head
marked 'rudder' has no effect whatever - and it just now occurred to me it shouldn't - it's an adjustment for the rudder feedback
transducer which I do not have installed. Still, it maintained course in all conditions I encountered on the trip with no problem.

Though I'd never had the sails up before and never sailed the boat, it only took about 15 minutes of trial and error to have the
plan balanced enough to allow the autopilot to have the rudder perfectly centered and only requiring minor adjustements either
side of center to maintain the heading. I was not surprised to find the autopilot compass and the GPS compass in disagreement
concerning the heading, but it makes no difference as I naturally set the course with the GPS number and let the autopilot work
with whatever number it liked.
For the first 7 1/2 hours I averaged 6.3 to 6.7 knots. The boat hardly heels (overweight, granted, but stiff as can be under sail) and
the press of sail prevents rolling and too much hobby-horsing. By 2:30 PM the wind vanished and what small puffs there were
went increasingly to the nose, backwinding the jib against the foremast shrouds. I dropped the jib and main, bagging the jib and
leaving the main ready in the lazyjacks for another deployment. Falcon motored at 5 knots. By the way, I never shut down the
engine while motorsailing during the first part of the trip.
By 7 PM, the breeze on the nose dropped the average speed to 4 knots. The foresail, hardened up as tight as I could get it, still
helped the motion and progress was comfortable. At 9:30 the sea state brought a sudden and odd change: a pretty good swell
came from the East-South-East and by 9:45 was tossing Falcon around quite a bit. The excellent autopilot was able to maintain
heading, but the motion was exhausting for me and I could find no easy way to be comfortable. This wave action kept up for 12
hours, during which it tossed Falcon's stern so high in the air she pulled her prop clear of the water 7 times. On the 6th such
occasion, when the prop once again plunged into the water, the gearbox popped out of gear with a horrendous gears-grinding
howl that made me dive for the helm, drop the throttle to idle and push the gear lever to neutral. The obvious possibility of a
trashed gearbox had plenty of time to stab through my brain in the 1.2 seconds it took for me to push the gear lever back to drive
and hear it thunk in with a reassuring thud. Up goes the throttle and crossed go my fingers as I recognize I am at least 40 to 50
NM from Dog Island in lumpy seas with an unfriendly breeze.

Obviously, I got no rest on the trip.

It is 10:15 AM and I am over due leaving this anchorage for the next. I will post this and be on my way, to continue the 9th later
today.

It is now 6:15 PM and I am in the North Prong River. I ran hard aground trying to get in, but two guys already here in sailboats
gave me a tug back into deep water with a powerful dinghy. I'm only 4 hours away from a new slip in Panama City and will head
that way first thing in the morning. I'll write plenty more tomorrow.
Thursday, November 10, 2011 - At Sea In The Gulf Of Mexico

The sea conditions continued about the same all night and the rising sun found me tired and wanting nothing more than to
sleep. The closer I got to the East Pass, the more the swells shrunk, but until I got inside and began approaching the Carrabelle
Anchorage, they still followed. The autopilot never hiccuped.

Espin called, or I called him - I forget - and he told me I should continue to Apalachicola, another 4 hours, because the cold
Northerly front coming in would make that passage a real nasty jog the next day. I tried to rest in the lee of St George's Island for
a while, to eat and get some rest, but I couldn't fall asleep. I got back to the helm, weighed anchor and moved off to the small
anchorage at Apalachicola, arriving there an hour or so before sunset. I'd been up for 35 hours before I finally got to sleep.
Two views of the Apalachicola Anchorage: One at sunset the night I arrived, and the other as I was leaving in the morning. I got
12 solid hours of sleep at the anchorage.

The slog up the river against the day-long current  was cold at times, but never dull. This was mostly through Cypress Swamps,
something I hadn't seen before.
The chart just showed green swamp forever in both directions. As I looked at beautiful scenery, I could not imagine explorers
struggling through this quagmire for mile after mile, let alone stopping to live here.
Many of the trees at the waters edge were dead and I passed several floating along the waterway, needing to be avoided. One
chunk of log got missed and I heard my prop give it a good thunk. Fortunately, there did not appear to be any damage. Below are
a couple of shots of White City. I did not stop here as Espin recommended another anchorage at the North Prong River which
would make my last day only 4 hours long. I kept going.
Saturday, November 12, 2011 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida

My son Ben called me yesterday and informed me his grandmother, Alice, had died rather suddenly. She fell and broke her hip
and almost immediately contracted pneumonia in the hospital and died within two days. She was almost 90. My sincere
condolences to all her friends and family. She was a wonderful woman.

I was up very early this morning and will probably go up to a little place Espin brought me yesterday and have breakfast. It's
beautiful out this morning and not nearly as cold as yesterday. I'm already working on the boat and getting things done, inside
and out. I'll be changing the dock lines and making getting on and off easier, possibly with a plank of some sort. We'll see.

I've changed all the dock lines to independent lines, and skewed the boat in the slip to make it easier to get on and off. While
doing this, I noticed the cable TV cable hanging under the dock - the one Volker mentioned - and after a little of this and a little
of that, I now have 68 cable channels for zippity-doo-dah. Life is good. I can't watch because I have a life to live, but it's good to
know it's there in case I get depressed and can't get chocolate.

The jibs are off and stuffed in a sailbag, waiting to be taken to flat land and folded. Both square sails will be coming off next.
Here's the trip stats:

Sunday, November 6 - Seafood Shack to John's Pass - 21.7 NM - 6 Hours
Monday, November 7, - John's Pass to Tarpon Springs - 32.5 NM - 7 Hours
Tuesday/Wednesday, November 8&9 - Tarpon Springs to Apalachicola - 157 NM - 33 Hours
Thursday, November 10 - Apalachicola to North Prong River - 31.5 NM - 7.5 Hours
Friday, November 11 - North Prong River to Laid Back Boat Club - 21.4 NM - 4 Hours

Seafood Shack to Laid Back - 264.1 NM - 57.5 Hours
304 Statute miles = 5.28 MPH - 4.6 NPH

I'll have to dip the tanks to see how much fuel I used, but I would bet it'll be around 50 out of 105 gallons, possibly a little more.
There were times when I was working against current and wind, and times when I just pushed it up into the less efficient range
trying to cover ground a little faster. Previous passages resulted in fuel consumption around .66 gal/hour @ about 5 knots. This
trip might be close to a full gallon per hour.

I went back and checked all my fuel tank measuring and filling stats and calculations and know I had about 110 gallons of fuel on
board. Some time tomorrow I'll dip and calculate what remains and come up with a fair approximation of what I used on the trip.
Above are two shots of the near end of the waterway as I approached the North Prong River. The wind has all but stopped and the
scene is lush and peaceful. A beautiful area. Ten minutes later I was hard aground. Peacefully hard aground.
Friday, November 11, 2011 - Anchored In The North Prong River - Overstreet, Florida

I left the North Prong River anchorage sometime around first light - probably 6 AM - and headed into the coves and bayous at the
easternmost end of East Bay. The cold was a little surprising. I was bundled up pretty good and perfectly suited to spend a few
hours in it, but it bit at my face and made my hands ache. The only gloves I could find were the orange knit Kevlar units Brian
gave me. I'd used them for bottom cleaning and they were still wet with salt water, so they were worse than no gloves at all.

Fortunately, the course through 20 miles of meandering bays was easy to follow and I let Ollie steer while I kept my hands in my
pockets. There were twisty sections where I steered with my knee against the heavily served wheel. The last minor issue was
spray blowing back on me in the more open sections, forcing me to jump below and don the blue Stearns rain gear. It actually
served as a good windbreaker and kept me warmer.

After 4 hours, I was passing through the Massalina Bayou Bridge and starting a merry dance against the wind trying
unsuccessfully to back into the slip Espin had arranged for me. Volker, Rick and Kingsley were with him. After about ten
minutes, I gave up and we brought Falcon in bow first. It absolutely works for me. I love the privacy of the open companionway.
In Cortez, people would stop on the dock and watch me at the computer. It's a little creepy and I would often close the
companionway doors.
Views around Falcon in her new home. Above left is directly behind her. Above right is straight ahead toward the Massalina
Bayou Bridge I'd just come through. Below left is the view across Massalina Bayouto Falcon's left front. It is calm and peaceful
and there are no wakes. Granted, it's not QUITE as peaceful as when I was peacefully aground in the North Prong, but I feel
better about the peace here. Below right, I use the steps to get on and off Falcon. It's a bit trickier than being at a full dock, but it
keeps the Hairy Krishna's and other religious groups away from the door.
Above left is the bathrooms and laundry room, and to the right is some kind of restaurant or bar across the little cove this marina
is in. Below left is a shot back at the main part of the marina, with Falcon blocked by the building, then turn around and you see
Minnie Pearl, Naked Lady, Extasea, Raindrop, and Volker's boat. I'll have to get the name of that one. He and Masha's boats are
tucked just out of sight to the left.
Espin took me around with him as he did errands. He also showed me around the town and brought me to the marina office,
which is a ways off. I paid the rent and security - with a little help from my friends - had to borrow some money - but will be all
caught up on the first of next month. The rates here are low and the place is nice. I want to get settled in quickly and begin to do
what I've come here for: to write.

I'm also going to make a clear list of the days of the trip, the miles and the hours. Poor weather windows made it another 'rush'
job, but I would still rather be here now than not. This cool phase will pass and things will be better soon, I'm sure of it.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
These are the scoops I bought just before I left Cortez.

I folded the jibs and removed the foresail. It waits in the cockpit
to be flaked and stowed. The mainsail is also partially pulled. I'll
do more on it when the others are finished and stowed.
The picture to the left shows the present condition of the tired
old unit. The screen is a cycling bar moving left to right and
never allowing the software inside the unit to advance. There
have been several brief periods when it seemed to straighten
out, and I thought it might be coming back, but it always
returns to this.

Okay, just as I was typing that, it started doing other bizarre
behavior - much like an old dog that starts growling at it's own
foot - it might be time to put it down. Or, it might have just put
itself down - it won't come up at all any more.
This is as good as I ever got the 182c to come up, and this
picture is deceptive - the screen was blinking on and off to this
'Creating Maps' page. It took me 4 tries to get a shot that was
not a plain black screen.

I gave the unit to Espin who gave it to Rick. Yes, it's entirely
possible it could be dried out by leaving it opened up inside by a
window in the sunlight, but only 'possible' and I have no time or
patience for it. Besides, in my experience, there's only about a
20% chance it will come back and last any time at all.
Friday, November 18, 2011 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida
I'm sure the area forward of the galley sink will come in handy for something, but I haven't yet decided what. My clothes have
been stacked there for a couple of years and I've never liked it. Other items stowed forward will be moved to the after storage
lockers, such as the lines and fenders, and I will only keep the fishing and diving gear up there - except the wetsuit, which
presently resides on a heavyweight hanger behind the head door.
The lost and misunderstood area of the desktop, now holding
most of my clothes in the picture to the left, will become a
cabinet and shelf - with fiddle - and contain the clothes, the
automotive AM/FM radio CD Player, and store the cockpit GPS
and VHF when not in use.

It may also hold, on its forward panel, an electrical answer to
lighting up my external hard drives, flatbed scanner and
printer/copier. I'm sure there will be stages in this construction
where things may change.

I took some aluminum strapping I had and made 8 'J' hooks
and installed the - one set at a time, installing the rods as I went
- against the forward anchor rode lockers. A couple of cleats
secured the tackle box and slap and tickle, Bob's your uncle, and
it's done.

I forgot to mention, before starting the rod hanging project, I
finally installed a 110v light fixture in the forward galley. For now, the biggest spiral fluorescent bulb I have is in there. I hope it
inspires me to keep this area clean and clear now.

On the other hand, the cockpit is full of line and the cabin sole is a mess. It's the price you pay for progress. I have to clean this
all up or sleep standing up tonight.
Monday, November 14, 2011 - Laid Back Boat Club - Panama City, Florida

The fuel tanks have 12 and 10 inches of fuel. Together, that represents exactly half of the total of 22 + 22, or 44 inches of fuel.
The estimate is therefore 55 gallons used, or .96 gallons per hour. Higher than previous situations, but understandable under the
circumstances. I probably don't have to do these calculations any more. For years I have been telling people the fuel
consumption of Falcon is .66 gallons per hour in ideal conditions and 1 gallon per hour in higher speed or otherwise bad
conditions, which will now include wind and/or current in my face.

The windlass took on a very small amount of water, but the new and improved water separator and drain system caught it and I
have already bled it off.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - Laid Back
Boat Club - Panama City, Florida

One item I've been working on in particular is the Garmin
GPSmap182C. It began acting badly almost immediately and
failed altogether by the end of the first day. I have it connected
on the bunk right now and I'm letting it run and run, hoping it
will dry out or whatever. There is considerable corrosion in the
connector on the back, so I've cut the wires to it and have the
power leads soldered internally. I was hoping that would cure
the problem, but so far there is no improvement.
I got excellent use of it for only the cost of a $50 chart chip, which Espin gave me back to sell on EBay. I used it to get from
Marathon back to Cortez. It owes me nothing.

The foresail is flaked and folded and only the cumbersome mainsail is left. I may try to get it done on the boat, using the solar
panels to fold it.