Welcome to the Rhum Brave Chronicle. A collection of posts, pictures and videos from our adventures aboard the Rhum Brave.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Mother Ocean Herald Article


Reuven and Lysa Benami opened Mother Ocean Key Largo, a consignment shop for everything nautical, a year ago.

Well my favorite little marine consignment shop in the Keys has finally made it big.  Check out the article from the Miami Herald.   http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/11/18/v-print/2508413/ahoy-bargain-hunters-marine-consignment.html  In case you were wondering I was the consignee who ok'd selling the model brigantine sailboat for $60.  After 20 years in Miami I finally made into the Herald (sorta!)  I actually found out about the article after delivering a new load of items to Reuven yesterday.  Stop by and ask about the salt n pepper shakers or large brass portholes.   Very cool stuff.  Best wishes to Lysa and Reuven. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Story of Burdines - Seth Bramson


Mr. Bramson was one of my favorite professors from St. Thomas University.  He was recently interviewed by the Miami Herald about his latest book.  Burdines was a South Florida icon.  I'll never forget my mother-in-law pronouncing it "Bur-Dee-Ness" with the thickest Cuban accent.

Mother Ocean Marine Consignment - Update

Like Hannibal Smith said... "I love it when a plan comes together!"  I received this week my first return on investment from Mother Ocean.  My oldest daughter even said "High five dude... and you owe me $30 dollars."  Ok we're not talking about four digit figures but it's enough to keep my interests moving forward.  Certainly a first installment towards next summer's adventure (or even a down payment on a sailboat I have my eye on).  With the cooler weather comes garage sales and the buys have been really good.  My next consignment will include several wooden model sailboats, a tandem kayak and a turn-of-the-century ship lamp.  My best score was a set of bronze ship portholes (rectangular and round) plus various teak blocks & tackle.  I cleaned up several of the bronze pieces and have been varnishing the teak wood.  Check back in a few days for pictures.  And yes Vic... you'll get your cut!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Birthday to My Sister

Happy Birthday Lisette!  You were here recently and we had a great time catching up.  I was not able to call you yesterday being that it was Halloween (and crazy).  It's always been an issue but there's hope.  Senator Rob Kane (R) from CT has proposed changing Halloween from the 31st to the last Saturday in October.  I say yes! We love you and wish you many more birthdays.

And no that's not me sitting in the chair.  That's my older brother Ed. Good looks run in the Moore blood!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Reflections on Turning 40

Today I turned 40.  I’ll be pleased if I could say with any certainty that I’m at the exact midpoint of my life.  I’ve been on a steady road of reflection as the months turned into weeks and the days into hours marching toward that milestone day.    I could review the weight of my mistakes or my little triumphs but I thought better and decided to record some of my distinct earlier memories.  Here’s what I remember.  

Some of my earliest memories include being alone in my crib staring at the wooden Disney character cut outs hanging on my wall, the comfort of wearing pajamas with feet and the fear of monsters under the bed.  The cool feeling of my security blanket and favorite “doggy” stuffed animal that was passed on from my older siblings.  My mother taking me to the Bay School and her wild garden that surrounded the house.  The first time a trout started tugging at the end of my line and how I had the bones mounted on a wooden display board for show-n-tell at school.    Picking the offertory candelabras clean of wax drippings while in Mass which was a family affair so as long as my mother’s back was turned. Watching my father pray on his knees on the hard Mission clay floors.  The whistle sounds and steam coming from my mother’s pressure cooker and her idea that syrup on cornflakes was a good replacement for when we were out of milk.  Standing on the edge of our driveway with my brother & father throwing hard pine cones at the row of metal mailboxes across the street.  The thrill of riding in my grandfather’s green mustang and how he always kept a steady supply of mini candy bars in his trunk.  Or the bags of used tennis balls he’d give us and how my brother and I would have tennis ball wars in the darkened hallway of our house.  My sister swinging me around her hips when I was four or five.  My grandmother taking me to buy my first pair of Levi 501’s from Dick Bruhns in Salinas and meeting Mr. Bruhn who later gave me my first job at 13.  Giving my sister my weekly allowance to buy candy and the great taste of chewy coke bottle gummy bears.  The very first day of T-ball practice down at the middle school lower fields and never hitting a home run but being good enough to make the All-Stars team my final year.  The thrill of sneaking over the school fence and rushing over to the Mission Ranch general store in order to buy Fun Dip packets and ice cold Coca Cola in a bottle.  Exploring the tidal pools down at the Carmel Beach and hearing my mother screaming to stay away from the edge.  The driftwood bonfires with smores, popping seaweed, fireworks on the Fourth of July and the way the white sand would bark when you walked on it barefoot.  The smell of pine and the pollen that would coat the cars in yellow dust every spring.   The day my brother started building me a fort in the oak tree behind our rear patio and how that simple structure later became my castle.  The dozen cats that were always around; Mama, Moco, Angel just to name a few.  Going for hours long hikes in the woods surrounding my house and feeling totally free, alone and independent. Dreading going to school with kids that always seemed older than I.

Summer road trips to Mexico in the VW van, peeing in a Sprite bottle because dad “Had to get through to Guyamas before dark.” Spending hours in the hotel pool while dad got caught up on his sleep.  My parents portable suitcase bar complete with cork screw, jigger, cocktail shaker and strainer.  The excitement of reach my grandparents house in Guadalajara.  Eating refried beans, conchas and freshly made hot chocolate for breakfast.  Never drinking the water straight out of the tap and telling my parents (to their horror) that I wanted to shine shoes in the street for pocket money.  Real piƱatas that you had to hit blind folded in order to get the candy and everyone enjoying 5 pm tequila shots with salted cucumber slices and peanuts.   The smell of Papi’s pipe tobacco and Mami’s warm hugs.

I remember middle school dances and trying to break dance.  My Levi jacket covered with pins from Def Leppard, Van Halen and AC/DC.  Cursing the purple corduroy bell bottom hand-me-downs I was forced to wear once a week and always scheduling P.E. as my first class so I could change into OP shorts even in the dead of winter. Playing Dungeons and Dragons until 5 am and falling in love with the girls from the local Presbyterian church.   Sleep away summer camp at Santa Clara and scoring my first kiss.  Losing my first fist fight but not my last.  Joining the water polo team and making a lifelong friend who called me today to say happy birthday. 

Of course I’ve many more great memories from the past 40 years but I’ll save those for another post.  Thank you to my wonderful wife, amazing kids, loving family and dedicated friends.  I appreciate all that you have meant to me.  Here’s to the next 40 years!     

Monday, October 24, 2011

October Cool

I love Miami in October.  After suffering through the worst of the summer heat and storms October brings the dragonfly swarms that eat mosquito's by the truckload and what seems like the wettest week of rain.   Usually during the second week of October we'll get a solid week of rain.  We're talking Biblical with a steady deluge morning, noon and night.  It's like mother nature wringing out the last summer storms and then magically here comes dry cold air from the north.  Sometimes you can actually see the cold front moving down and suddenly we're into the winter months.  At this point I stop worrying about hurricanes and start thinking about boat camping on Elliot Key, buying a nice 12 lb pork shoulder for the smoker and one day bagging my first buck.  One day.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Slow Time

I've not posted recently because we're back to school, soccer, cheerleading and homework.  August and September are really tough times to be out on the boat or near the mangroves (mosquito hell).  We did manage to go down to Sands Cut last Sunday.  We met up with some school friends on their boat and had a nice bar-b-que with steaks from Martinez Distributing (check them out).  I also brought along recently purchased used single sit in kayak from a local garage sale.  I was planning to sell it at Mother Earth but we've had so much fun we'll be keeping it.  October is my favorite time in the year since it usually means the worst of hurricane season is behind us, the weather starts to turn cooler and the days are still long (until daylight savings).  Hopefully we'll make it out several  more times this month.  Cheers to my sister for visiting with us this week.  She and the girl's had a great time catching up.  Here's some recent pictures.  Enjoy.

                                      A bad reaction to shrimp.  Looks worse than it felt.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Happy Birthday to My Wife - Weekend in the Bahamas

Happy Birthday Sweetheart (Sunday)! This past weekend was spent aboard the Norwegian Sky in celebration of my wife's birthday.  Well actually there were lots of other families from our kids school and several close family friends that were also on the ship being that the trip was organized by one of the parents (thank you!)  We left Friday afternoon under grey skies but that did not dampen the mood as all the kids joined the poolside DJ for some impromptu dancing (boys included).  Later we had a welcome aboard cocktail party and family dinner.  The next day was spent on NCL's private island where the the big hit was the forty foot waterslide.  The girls are usually 24/7 in the water but the slide proved to irresistible.  I did a little exploring along the waterfront.  We've sailed before on the Sky (twice on the same 3-day cruise and once in Hawaii) and found that they've made some dramatic changes with the addition of a marina and building of several new shorelines.  All I can say is that some of the "improvements" would never pass muster in Florida.  Vic and I did manage to get some snorkeling in and we observed large yellowtail snapper, lobster, barracuda and grouper.  Vic said that she was glad she gave up hairbraiding on the beach in order to snorkel with her dad.  I melted.  The next day was spent in Nassau walking around the downtown and then venturing over to the Fish Fry.  I've spoken before about the conch shacks under the return bridge from Paradise Island and this place was similar in respect (but more upscale).  The Fish Fry consists of about a dozen restaurants serving authentic Bahamian seafood.  We dined at Bruno's where I was impressed with the yellow birds, cold Kalik Gold, conch fritters, fried fish platters and conch salad.  At the end of the meal we challenged the girls to eat fried fish eyeballs in exchange for a dollar.  They took me up on the challenge and I felt so guilty afterwards I gave them $20 each to spend in the Straw Market.  One of the older girls ate the eyeball in exchange for getting to stay out later (on the ship) with her friends.  Priorities!  A special thanks to everyone who broke out in spontaneous "Happy Birthday" renditions for my wife.  I've included some pictures.  Enjoy. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Blast from the Past - Dry Tortugas

My best friend from Carmel (or anywhere for that matter) recently sent me some photos of our past adventure aboard the Rhum Brave to Key West and the Dry Tortugas.  He flew out to Miami for a week's worth of fishing and we "slew em".  Joining us was my former neighbor aboard his 27 foot Contender.  My neighbor had done this trip before and a trip out to the Tortugas is best when travelling in at least pairs.  We started out by trailering down to Key West where we got the boats settled into a marina on Stock Island (last island before Key West).  After stocking up on some live baits (for the next day's fishing) we cleaned up and headed out for a nice dinner on the town.  Up early the next morning we found perfect conditions and flat calm seas.   The plan was to head out to an area called "Woods Wall".  This was a location about 20 miles southwest of Key West.  The wall was a pronounced ledge several miles long (and several hundred feet deep as I recall).  There were several shrimp boats in the area but by the looks of it everyone was already asleep (they work at night) so we avoided bothering them for by-catch.  We trolled and pulled up a nice dolphin and even witnessed a large sailfish tailwalking (Joe missed it because he was making lunch in the cabin).  We arrived back into Key West with our catch of the day and headed out again for a short night on the town.  We were up early the next morning to top off the gas tank, ice coolers, water tank and frozen bait (pilchards, squid, mahoas and ballyho).  For the next three days and two nights were going to be fishing in one of the most remote locations in the U.S.  The Dry Tortugas is exactly 70 miles due west of Key West but on that day we covered well over 100 miles.  We spent the day slow trolling and visited several remote fishing sites.  About 2 hours before sunset we were well south of  Fort Jefferson and began to make our drive north to our anchorage.  It's not a good idea to try and arrive into Fort Jefferson at night due to the large coral reefs and dangerous shoals around the island.  Follow the markers or beware.  One interesting note.  As we cruised north we came across a significant wreck.  We marked the wreck and will one day return.  On my most recent trip to Key West (see earlier post) I picked up a shipwreck chart which I think identifies the wreck.  It'll be interesting to visit it again.  We met up with my neighbor and after anchoring off the beach it was time for ice cold beers and fresh ceviche (a combination of blackfin tuna and dolphin).  As the sun set in the west we grilled up some huge grouper slabs and washed everything down with rum and cokes.  That ended up being the first time I had slept on the boat.  Fortunately the fresh ocean breeze kept things cool and comfortable.  The next day we stayed close to the Fort and concentrated on catching yellowtail snapper and red grouper.  Things got interesting when several very large barracuda (the reeper) decided our hooked yellowtail snappers would make a fine snack.     We limited out on yellowtail and landed several legal sized grouper.  In the afternoon we took a break to visit the Fort and even made a visit to Dr. Mudd's jail cell.  The return tripback from the Tortugas was a straight 70 miles due east but a significant chop made for a long ride back.  We were able to make it back to the marina and pull the boat out before closing.  Somewhere in Marathon we stopped for a celebratory dinner and worked off the swaying effects of being on a boat for three days.  Here's a couple pictures from that trip.

This last one was not taken in the Tortugas!  Somewhere near Three Mile Island I think.