The watch.

This morning my friend, Joe, set off as a crew member on a 46′ sailboat to help move her from Key West, Florida to Kemah, Texas.   The boat has Garmin navigational equipment on-board, which means people can follow their progress via a garmin web portal.  So I’m watching.  And I’m wishing them fair winds and an uneventful crossing.  Their current position is down by the blue arrow just off of Key West.  The trip will be about 800 nautical miles, and I’d guess that depending on their average speed, it will take them 5-7 days.

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I am also watching the weather (wind speed, wave height, temps, etc) through a website called windy.com.  The pinkish color below represents the current wave activity (10-20 foot seas) trailing the tail end of the cold front that moved through the southeast US this week.  It looks like they timed their departure to just skirt north of that nasty stuff.   I hope they see only blue or turquoise (6 foot seas or less) out there for the next 7 days or so.

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I’ve also recently started using an open source chart plotter navigation program called OpenCPN.  I’ve installed it on my Macbook, and have uploaded charts for the Gulf of Mexico.  There are many obstructions and hazards out there; lit and unlit; above and below sea level; as well as a significant level of ship traffic.

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Godspeed to Joe and all mariners out there.

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Scenes from a boat parade.

Last night Mike and Lori joined us to watch the Lake Travis Christmas Boat Parade.  We put a few lights on Nirvana and cruised along with the other boats.  It was a beautiful, not-cold night;  fun!

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Clean!

I spent the day at the marina cleaning. It was waaaay overdue, but it’s SO nice to have a clean boat. High five!

Cockpit and decks:

Foredeck:

Stove:

Fridge (you had to see it BEFORE!):

Rehung the art gallery (the sticky tabs last exactly one year in the heat here in central Texas):

Fixed some broken drawer hardware:

Autumn rainbows.

Yesterday was the autumnal equinox.  It turned out to be a lovely evening for a beer can regatta on the lake.   I took Nirvana out with Lori and Kurt as crew.  Marty took Stand by Me out with Monte and Kevin as crew.  There were four other boats as well.  We were treated to a pretty double rainbow as a rainstorm skirted us to the southeast.   When we crossed the finish line in fourth place, it was against the backdrop of a beautiful sunset.  A fun sail!

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Photo credit to Lori.

Beautiful view.

We spent the weekend on the lake — floating with Marty & Sue, and doing some boat chores.  I got up at 1 AM and 3:30 AM early Sunday morning to try to see meteors from the Perseids shower, but didn’t spot any.  We went for a fun sail late on Sunday afternoon in some good north winds.  The cold front that they brought in will drop our temps into the frosty mid-nineties for a change this week.  🙂

This view never gets old…

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Her third Fourth.

Our niece, Laura, has been visiting us for the last few days.  Yesterday afternoon we headed out to the lake to spend the night at our marina with a group of friends.  Today we enjoyed a great sail up and down the lake.  We figured that this is the third 4th of July that Laura has spent with us on Lake Travis.   I’m looking forward to the next one.

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Bird on a wire.

We spent a fun weekend on the lake.  Sunday morning, I was greeted by 7 or 8 little barn swallows grooming themselves on the lifelines and jib sheets of the boat next to us.  I stole this shot of one in the morning sun.  It’s hard to get a good photo of these little ones because they usually dart around and never light on anything close by.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ladies’ sail. 

Yesterday I took Julie and six of her girlfriends out for a day on the lake for her birthday.  We sailed to the cove and then anchored.  Sunbathing, floating, grilling, music, dancing and laughter ensued.   I enjoyed a beautiful day with a lovely group of young women.

(photo manipulated with iPhone app Brushstroke)

Turnback!

It’s Memorial Day weekend, and you know what that means!   Yep, the annual Turnback Canyon Regatta; a two day sailboat race up the river from the Austin Yacht Club to Lago Vista and back.  We didn’t race, but our friends Kurt, Kevin and Gordon did, so we cruised up and anchored overnight with them.   There is a festival on-shore with live music and food, and it’s just a fun weekend overall.  Marty & Sue and Lori & Mike joined us, which made it all the more fun.   Memorial Day weekend is when we all say it is time to get in the water.  Lake temps were about 74 degrees, so we all jumped in.   It only gets warmer from here on out.   Good times await.

It was a tad humid and hazy, but any day on the water is a good day.

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The view anchored off of Bar K Park for the night.   We tried to count all the masts, but never we ended up with the same number twice.   Consensus was anywhere from 40-45 sailboats.

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From the Sunday sail home.   I count 32-ish sails in this one shot.

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Sails aloft.

We ended up sleeping on the boat in our slip last night.  Lori, Marty & Sue, and Joe did the same.  Sunday morning we all hung around and visited.  In the afternoon, Monte and I went out on Marty & Sue’s boat and went for a great sail up past Windy Point and back.   The winds were sporting!  Here’s a shot from that trip.

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Sun set on a lovely lake day.

Today was one of our first days on the lake this year!   Usually we’ve been tearing it up for several months already.  But life has keps us both busy.   Julie and Ryan joined us for the day.   We were excited to see Marty and Sue and their beautiful new boat!

We both went out for a sail in light winds.  It was nice to be out there – a beautiful sunny day.

Back at the marina, we enjoyed watching the setting sun together.  The lake is at 683.66, several feet over full.   The water is flooding parts of the parking lot at the marina.  A site we have not seen for 6 years or more.   The flood gates on the dam will be opened on Monday to lower Lake Travis a bit, as more rain is expected next week.  I have not forgotten the feeling that many years of drought brought, but to see the lake brimming is truly a sight to see.

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