At kinkos laminating copies of passport etc
Today was the fourth and final day of my training for the Bahamas. The ride was to be about 70 miles. The ocean conditions were not good and there was a small craft advisory so I had planned on taking the Inter coastal.
A few important things I didn't know about the inter coastal. It goes through many residential neighborhoods where the speed limit is 5mph. There are dozens of protected Manatee zones where you must also go 5mph.
I also learned there are numerous police boats and they are very active. The waverunner I am on is new as I just purchased it last wednesday; as such I don't have official stickers. Between the 5mph zones and getting stopped 3 times by police boats wanting to see my proof of ownership (which I had but a 20+ minute ordeal each time) It took me about 2 hours to go about 10 miles. At that rate it would take me another 8+ hours.
In addition to 8 hours just being ridiculous I was trying to make a 5:55 flight out of Miami. Logistically a pain as I needed to ride up to palm beach, get the waverunner picked up, get a rental car, drive back to Miami beach (only nonstops to LA) and get on the plane. I had figured if i could get to palm beach by 2p the plan should work. I left Miami around 9:30 so I thought 4.5 hours for the 70 miles would be fine. Thought wrong I did.
So a few hours had gone by and I had only gone about 10 miles. I mentioned to one of the police officers that I keep getting stopped and asked if there was anything I could do to stop it from happening over and over again. He gave me a form showing that they checked me out and everything was good. However he said that the next time I get pulled over (because as he informed me it would keep happening) show them the form and they wont have me go through the entire inspection.
So tough choice. Do I stay on the inter coastal and have it take forever and keep getting stopped or do I go out to the Ocean in a small craft advisory with winds at about 25mph and seas at about 6ft and try and muscle through it. You can go back and forth but there are only cut ins/outs about every 10-15 miles so you have to commit for at least a bit.
I couldn't take the 5mph and the stops so at the next cutout I ventured out into the ocean. It was rough. It was uncomfortable for sure. I didnt feel it was dangerous, just tough so I thought I would go until the next cutout in about 11 miles and then go for some refuge.
After the first 11 mile ocean run, the thought of getting caught on the inter coastal again seemed much worse. So I went and went and went. I stopped every 5 miles to rest a bit and then tackled the next 5 miles. I kept this up for about 45 miles and then with about 10 miles to go to Palm Beach I took the last cutin where there are very limited 5mph zones.
All in all the 70 miles took me about 6.5 hours. I only got off the waverunner once in that 6.5 hours and it was in the first hour to get gas. At one point my hands hurt so bad I wasn't sure I could stay out there. Then my lower back hurt and I forgot about the hands. Then that area on my arms just above the elbow, felt like someone was jamming their thumb into a pressure point right there. But I realized that these pains would subside over time as I remain focused entirely on working the waves and the swell. It became very zen like. I would go into a mode where I wasn't thinking anything. My mind did not wander. My focus was on the task at hand. I was 1000% consumer by it and although cliche the best way to ride it out was to relax and become one with the waverunner.
By the time i finished I was physically exhausted in a way that words cant describe. I was right on the verge of pushing myself too far. I was having a little trouble concentrating and was beginning to not feel quite right. I pushed to the edge and I realized that I shouldn't push quite that far. Some of it was simply how strenuous it was, some was imperfect planning on my part which I hope to learn from
I did learn several lessons including
I woke up this am to see that the storm had passed! I had a quick breakfast and packed up my stuff to take off as i learned you cant rely on the weather
the winds were still blowing about 20mph so it wasnt calm but much better than friday. The ride was nice. Given that I was going back over thr same waters i traveled yesterday i was much more comfortable and listened to music almost the entire way. I did have a few close encounters
1) Rookie Maneuver-The Rope. I am getting this loading and unloading of the ski thing pretty down. I put all my equipment and bags down somewhere with easy access like a beach. then i go get the ski and bring it to that spot. this morning i pulled such a rookie maneuver....i let the rope dangle in the water and it got sucked up and jammed the prop.
I tried to turn the ski on its side but at 800+ lbs no go. I was able to get a guy named Sean to help me turn the ski on its side. Yep rope all around the crankshaft and in the prop. Spent about 20 minutes unwinding the rope (its hard to get your hand in there) to find that the rope was really jammed in the prop. I pulled and pulled but nothing. Sean who was much beefier than I am pulled with all of his might but it wouldn't move. Then Sean suggested we call a mechanic and one couuld come by.....tomorrow. With that I planted my feet and pulled with more than all of my might and the rope came free. Made me think "strength is the mother of necessity".
2) Biscayne National Park. There is a 15 mile long stretch of the Intercoastal just sooth of Key Biscayne which I learned is off limits to personal watercraft. I know this very well as I was pulled over by a national parks service boat, siren blaring, blue lights flashing etc
He explained to me that this 15 mile long part is not ok for wave runners and that the no waverunner zone (waverunners are the snow boarders of the ocean, the coolest but dissed by older dudes :-)) extends to about 20 miles offshore.
Problem is I was about in the middle of it heading N. He asked where I came from and I told him Key Largo. He told me i needed to turn around and go back. Really. No Shit. Then he gave me an opening, he said hook back up to your trailer in Key Largo and drive past this area. I explained, but Ocifer, I don't have a trailer or a car. I am just on this lil ole waverunner and I need to get to Miami today
He then noted I didn't have the registration stickers on my waverrunner and asked for identification. Luckily I was prepared and showed him a copy of my bill of sale, my insurance, and my drivers license (just for ID-you don't need a license to drive a boat in the US-scary huh).
He reviewed everything and asked what I was doing in FL with a 2 day old waverunner if I live in CA. Door # 2 opened. I explained about the fundraiser and that this was practice. He nodded his head as he listened and I saw him beginning to weaken his stern tone. After about another 5 minutes of conversation he instructed me to head N to Miami. Stay on the Intercoastal. Don't get too close to any boats. Don't jump any wakes. Don't do any donuts and don't ever get caught coming through there again. I thanked him very much for his understanding and I took off, jumping every single boat wake on the way back (just kidding :-)
I checked on the weather conditions last night and they had issues a small Craft warning for today with winds at 25. I am on a mission so I figured I would get up very early and take off to get as smooth a ride as possible.
I woke up promptly at 6a (that's 3a pst and for those of you that know me I am not a morning person. I went downstairs in the hotel to get a quick breakfast. The restaurant told me that they were not letting people sit outside because of the wind. I asked the waiter when the wind picked up and he said it was windy when he came to work at 5p.
I sat and ate my Oatmeal Brulee (was really good) and tried to digest the fact that I was likely grounded for the day. And if so what that meant schedule-wise. I wouldn't have enough time to get to Key Largo at all, i would spend a few days in Miami then back to Palm Beach and that's it.
There were two really big problems with being grounded
This is my trial run. I feared that if I didn't go for it my confidence for the actual bahama trip would be way down
I was not looking forward to just hanging out in Miami. I did not come here to hang out in Miami
So I figured I would get packed up and head out. If it got too too rough I could always turn back (this is how I trick myself into going.u see I know once I start unless it is really too dangerous I will keep going but....I tell myself I will just check it out).
When I took off from the Miami Beach Yacht Club around 9:30 Gus, the Commodore there, brought me two big zip lock bags each with a sandwich, chips and cookies. An amazingly generous move on his part and was much appreciated.
The I arrived in Key Largo a little before 3. It was a pretty treacherous ride. Ocean condition wise I have been in worse but in waters I am very familiar with. I am not familiar with the waters here at all. Shallow comes out of nowhere and you have to be extra careful and focus 1000% on where you are going,
As a result of the requirement for this focus i took almost no pictures or video; i really would like to document the trip more with media however when you are out there it just requires too much focus and energy on the the task at hand. I never even listened to music. All senses were on the surroundings. Here are some highlights from today:
Number of times I had to stop and pee into the ocean, note: piss in the same direction that the wind is blowing: Number of times it got shallow and I got stuck and had to pull weeds from the pump: 1 Most money I paid for gas...ever not just today: $10/gallon at a marina in Miami Beach that charges personal watercraft 10 fricken dollars per gallon Number of times I was actually afraid: Many Nicest Person encountered, Gus, see above Most apathetic person encountered, Phil at the Marriott Key Large, he is the dock master, or at least has that as a title Thing to be better prepared for: GPS Mount doesn't stay on tight in rough conditions
Number of times I had to stop and pee into the ocean, note: piss in the same direction that the wind is blowing:
Number of times it got shallow and I got stuck and had to pull weeds from the pump: 1
Most money I paid for gas...ever not just today: $10/gallon at a marina in Miami Beach that charges personal watercraft 10 fricken dollars per gallon
Number of times I was actually afraid: Many
Nicest Person encountered, Gus, see above
Most apathetic person encountered, Phil at the Marriott Key Large, he is the dock master, or at least has that as a title
Thing to be better prepared for: GPS Mount doesn't stay on tight in rough conditions
Thunder and Lightening like I have never seen in my life. I am at the hotel safe just hope this lets out by morning. Its like a tropical storm from Gilligan's Island outside. Here is the special weather warning posted
... STRONG SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS APPROACHING KEY LARGO...
AT 745 PM... KEY WEST NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A CLUSTER OF SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS MOVING WEST NORTHWEST NEAR 20 MPH ACROSS THE NEARSHORE ATLANTIC WATERS... APPROACHING THE UPPER KEYS NEAR KEY LARGO. THIS CLUSTER OF STRONG SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS IS EXPECTED TO IMPACT THE UPPER KEYS IN KEY LARGO BETWEEN 750 PM AND 815 PM.
THIS ACTIVITY WILL PRODUCE WIND GUSTS NEAR 40 MPH... HEAVY DOWNPOURS... AND CLOUD TO GROUND LIGHTNING STRIKES. MOTORISTS SHOULD BE PREPARED FOR RAPIDLY CHANGING AND DETERIORATING CONDITIONS... WITH VISIBILITY REDUCED TO NEAR ZERO AT TIMES IN VERY HEAVY RAIN.
I am pretty beat so I will keep this brief. Today was the fun from Palm Beach to Miami. The wind REALLY picked up here today so the ocean conditions were pretty poor. I started by going down the intercoastal as its protected. However there are so many 5 mile an hour zones it was taking forever so I popped out into the ocean.
The bad news is that it was really rough. One of those time where I rode for what must have been at least 10 miles, seemed that way, then looked down and i had only gone 3. The good news is that they told me its not usually luke this, i was afraid it was a common day
I went back and forth. 10 miles in open ocean 10 more on the intercoastal. Full ride of 70 miles took a little over 5 hours. Gus and the people at the Miami Yacht club were great in helping me out.
Tomorrow I am supposed to go to Key Largo but the weather is getting worse per below so I am not sure I can/should pull it off. I will get up at 6a and give it a try. We will see
Tomorrow I fly to Palm Beach for a trial run for the Bahamas Trip. When I came home this evening my wife and two daughters were standing in the family room and greeted me all wearing t-shirts they had made for my trip. How call is that!
But we have a new neighbor that is a total butt-head and I am not sure what to do about it. There are many many reasons why they are butt heads and I will spare you the long list. Here is one telling example.
They have someone come wash their cars for them every Saturday morning. They live directly across the street from us. They have their cars washed on our side of the street. They even drag a hose across the street so that they can wash the cars in front of our lawn, not their own
The soap and chemicals causes damage to the lawn. On several occasions they have driven their tires on the lawn and left tracks, generally,... they kill our lawn. So my wife who is much nicer than I am has asked me to let her take care of it. She politely has asked them several times to please not wash their cars in front of our house as it kills the lawn. They always say ok, stop doing it for a week or so (Important note, when they stop doing it in front of our lawn they move down to our next door neighbors lawn and do it there-damn butt-heads) then after a week or so they are back to our front lawn.
I have had it. My wife thinks I need to chill out. Do I
Put a bag filled with dogshit on his doorstep and light it on fire Install 1000 watt external lights on our front wall facing across the street and have them turn on for 10 minutes at midnight Wash my cars in front of his house ..your suggestion here
Put a bag filled with dogshit on his doorstep and light it on fire
Install 1000 watt external lights on our front wall facing across the street and have them turn on for 10 minutes at midnight
Wash my cars in front of his house
..your suggestion here