The end of another season

4-15-19Today is Tax Day and also what Karen and I consider the beginning of the end of the cruising season. While doing any sort of manual labor you quickly learn that it is time to leave Florida, it’s getting hot and the sun will burn even well tanned skin. Each of the last several years we venture aboard Last Mango up the Caloosahatchee River stopping in little town of Labelle to strip Mango down to her summer hurricane wear. It’s no easy task as she gets a new coat of wax which this year actually started earlier in Alva Florida, meanwhile Karen washes and oils all teak down below and gets everything organized to store and unload for the trip north. We both work to remove and wash her sails, dismantle and remove the solar panels, wind generator, wash and stow the dinghy and remove all running rigging so hopefully everything is as hurricane proof.

While discussing this past years cruising season I mentioned to Karen that it seemed somewhat uneventful. Uneventful can be a good thing. I…

Leaving the Bugs behind in FMB

1-5-19     Karen and I first want to wish everyone “Happy New Year”. Hard to believe next year will be 2020. I still remember Prince partying like it’s 1999. For as long as we’ve owned Last Mango Karen has been obsessed with the idea of getting bugs onboard, specifically roaches. We have rules, no cardboard stays onboard, most cardboard won’t even make it out to the boat, all books that come aboard are quarantined in zip lock bags for a few days and backpacks and bags are not set on the ground. Certainly everything is shaken out and picked through before it comes aboard. Needless to say many precautions are taken to prevent bugs coming aboard. This year we have been beset by bugs, the good news is that they are not roaches. Our little Yanmar motor, the Honda outboard for the dinghy and the water pump that supplies water to the faucets and shower have begun to give us problems. We think we have exterminated the bugs with a new fuel pump in Mango’s motor a new spark plug in dinghy motor…

Snowy Weather, Gay Bars and Strip Joints

12/6/18     Leaving Illinois to spend our winter in Florida aboard Last Mango this year happened a bit later than normal. According to Karen we stayed up north way too long as it seemed that the cold weather came far too soon then followed by several days of snow the last one amounting to 14 inches in our little town of Kingston.

When leaving our home Karen was overjoyed because the sun showed itself after almost a week of nothing but clouds. Approaching Bloomington the clouds returned and soon the sleet and snow started, by the time we reached Effingham it appeared we were in a winter wonderland with the ground and trees cover in white. It was very pretty but luckily the roads stayed clear and only wet. We had left later in the morning after attending a doctors appointment with my parents. Plans were to drive to southern Illinois or Kentucky and spend the night and get a good nights sleep. The little town of Metropolis did the trick and treated us well after Karen fed the cat that gua…

Tortuga's Back to Key West and Points North

3-1-18This morning at 6:45 Karen motored out of the south anchorage of Fort Jefferson while I was on deck securing the anchor to Mango’s bow. We chose this morning to leave because all of the wind forecasts we could obtain from fellow cruisers with SSB radios and sat phones stated “leave today or wait several days to a week”. Morning winds were easterly at 15 to 17 with the promise of veering to ESE and then south until they die out late in the day. Mango chose to use a north route to Key West verses the south route that two other cruisers chose. We chose the north route acknowledging that Mango can’t point as close to the winds as the 2 other boats.
After a charting and navigating snafu by yours truly we had the sails set beating into 3 foot seas speeding along at 5.5 to 7 knots, the sail trim has never been set so perfect as today. We knew we needed at least 70 miles to make it to Key West and had chosen Boca Grande as a stop off point for the night. Mango continued to speed along pa…

Marooned in Marathon

2-20-18January 9 Karen and I arrived here in Marathon aboard Mango chomping at the bit wanting to sail to the Bahamas. Our normal traveling partners aboard S/V Fracas left for the Bahamas before Karen and I were ready. There was a somewhat short weather window and Fracas has the good fortune of being able to move through the water much faster than Mango. Greg and ML have since reported that the crossing was the best they’ve ever had. Oh Well, we can always hope that we get blessed with great weather also.
Mango’s still located at mooring ball S7 and since then we have witnessed many sunrises over Mango’s bow and many sunsets over her stern. I reference the bow and stern because the wind direction and speed has been relentless. Each morning when we wake Mango is pointing east into the wind with almost the same compass heading as the day before. The wind has been great for producing power this year since the addition of the Marine Kinetix wind generator. We’ve been told that Mango resemb…