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

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mother Ocean Marine Consignment

For years we've been collecting all sorts of flotsam and jetsam during our many visits to Elliot Key, Key Biscayne, and the rest of Biscayne Bay.  The collection of lobster trap buoys alone was reaching close to 100 and the strings of multicolor balls were beginning to overtake the backyard.  Somewhere in the back of my mind I always knew these things were going to convert into gold (ok cash).  Well that day has finally come.  Welcome to Mother Ocean Consignment in Key Largo (MM 99 bayside).  We found this place several months past.  They specialize in marine related consignments and anything nautical for the home.  This past Saturday we cleared out the garage and started working on those lobster trap buoys.  We split the buoys into strings of three and created hand painted (watercolor) tags.  The owner is selling them for $5 per string and we hope to be able to retire soon in the Keys.  The girls did most of the work and I even got a "That looks really cute!" from the wife.  Even if you don't have a boat be sure to stop by the store.  They've got a great collection of brass antiques and watershoes for $1.  Even Walmart can't beat that. 

Tuesday P.M. Update:  I just spoke with the owner and he informed me that he sold seven sets of buoys on Sunday (shortly after we dropped them off).  Bingo!  I love it when a plan comes together.  All proceeds will be used to fund future adventures aboard the Rhum Brave!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mister Don't Touch The Banana

Early in my boating career I learned that bananas on a boat were bad luck.  Regular bananas, banana chips or banana baby food.  In whatever form bananas were to be left on the dock for fear of not catching fish or running over the last surviving manatee in front of an FWC officer.  I was told one potential source of the myth originated with early sailors discovering that bunches of bananas in their cargo holds typically held hidden tarantulas.  Having one of those nasty little buggers crawling across your face while asleep in your bunk would certainly make you think you're having a run of bad luck.   Of course I believed in this myth the way other people might say "Sure I believe in ghosts but I've never actually seen one".   However on one particular day out on the Rhum Brave I finally found some conclusive truth to the myth.

The whole family spent the day off Key Largo snorkeling along several reefs including the Christ of the Abyss.  On towards sunset we anchored up with some good friends at Rodriguez Key.  We tied up the boats side by side with plenty of fenders and two secure lines, one off the bow (front) and another off the stern (back).  We had been anchored up for about an hour and everyone was having a pretty good time.  At some point I decided to hop on our boat and look for a snack in the cooler.  I opened the cooler and there was a nice big yellow banana.  This is what went through my mind.  "A fricking banana! Well, it's been a long day snorkeling.  At this point nothing bad has happen (vicious barracuda attack,  running over flipper, lost at sea, etc.) so I'll just let it go."  I grabbed a drink, closed the cooler and immediately stepped to the back of the boat to talk to the other captain standing on his boat.  Within seconds we realized that our front line had slipped apart (for the record came loose off my bow cleat) and our boats were quickly separating (the winds and choppy conditions made things bad).  The problem was that our stern line was still tied together and the boats were beginning to scissor from the aft.  Any boater will tell you this is bad especially when you start to hear crunching and see gelcoat chips flying.  We were able to quickly untie the aft line holding the two transoms together but not after my friends swim ladder decided to take several bites and gashes out of my gelcoat.  After securing our boat again I walked over to the cooler, removed the cursed banana and toss it well overboard.  After my verbal tirade I think my wife and friends have now come to believe that bananas are strictly verboten on the Rhum Brave.  Pics of the damage to come later.  The repairs will commence shortly after I first complete some long overdue household repairs.             

Monday, August 8, 2011

Our Daughter Turns 10!

Yesterday (the same day as our anniversary) our oldest turned the big 10.  She's our first baby that's growing up to be an amazing young woman.  She loves a good joke, has my mother's crazy fashion sense and the brains to be the next President (got that from her mother)!  Ten years ago my wife gave me the best 3rd anniversary wedding gift (and one that keeps on giving).  We love sharing our special day with her and look forward to being a part of her life for many years to come.  We love you sweetheart.


13th Wedding Anniversary

Yesterday was our 13th wedding anniversary.  We actually started dating over 20 years ago.  When we got married we were still in law & grad school, the Internet was really starting to take off and we never imaged that we'd have three daughters today.  We live in a society filled with so many challenges but standing together we have always been able to accomplish the truly important life goals.  Together has always been the key and I'm looking forward to being together for the next 13, 50, or 100 years!  Thank you for all the love, amazing children and devotion.  I love you Mags! 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Happy Birthday Kat!

My little girl turned the big "8" today.  The grande ocho. The maximus VIII.  She's a wonderful girl who's ready for all of life's adventures.  I'm proud of her creativity, sense of wonder and deep compassion.  I look forward to seeing her grow up into an amazing woman.  Happy Birthday!


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Key West Rendezvous

We intended to hit the reefs one last time on Saturday but despite bright blue skies Mother Nature was kicking up 4 - 6 footers off shore which makes snorkeling difficult with the little ones.  Plan B was a road trip to Key West.  My wife's parents joined us on this little adventure. 

We left Key Largo early in order to make the breakfast seating at My Blue Heaven (http://www.blueheavenkw.com/).  This is one of my wife's favorite restaurants and it was immortalized by Jimmy Buffett in the song "Blue Heaven Rendezvous".   This place is like eating in your crazy uncles backyard.  You're outside eating on dirt floors while the bar and stage are built out of what ever hasn't managed to collapse from the last hurricane. Did I mention the flock of roosters, six toed cats and comotose dogs?  My kind of place! I especially liked the ping pong table and outdoor shower that charges "Showers $1.00, To Watch $2.00".  Unfortunately despite a packed house it seemed that everyone had already taken their daily bath so I put away my lucky $2 bill away for another time.

This dog was so friendly.  My daughter loved getting licked in the ear (yuck!).  After a while we had a conversation that went something like this. 

Daughter: "Daddy can we get a doggy?"
Father: "No baby."
Daughter: "But why Daddy?"
Father: "Because."
Daughter: "Because why Daddy?"
Father: "Because doggy's poo everywhere."
Daughter: "Ok Daddy."
Daughter: "Daddy?"
Father: "Yes baby?"
Daughter"Can we get a doggy?"
Father: "Ughh."

After a 1 1/2 hour wait (well spent sipping margaritas and pina coladas) we finally got a table and ordered the lobster benedict.  Simply amazing.

For the kids we suggest ordering the pancakes. Mmmmmm.

After breakfast (now actually lunch by the time we finished eating) it was off for some culture.  We left the parents at Sloppy Joe's and headed off to the John Audubon Museum.  As previously mentioned in an earlier post John Audubon travelled through the Florida Keys in 1832 and spent some time in Key West.  This Museum is located in a three story old key west style house (duh) (http://www.audubonhouse.com/) built by Captain John H. Geiger (Audubon was his friend).  The Museum houses 28 first edition prints.  The kids were fascinated with the furniture and the toilet (ceramic bowl inside a piece of wooden furniture).  I think they now have a greater appreciation for indoor plumbing.  The wife was in love with the house and all the wood trim.  I was surprised how many plants and trees growing in the garden were also in our garden or front landscaping. 

After the Museum we wandered around Duval and Mallory Square.  Late in the afternoon the girls and grandparents took a 1 1/2 hours Conch Tour train ride while the wife and I slipped into The Hogs Breath Saloon.  We sat under the fans and I had my first rum runner of the day.  This was the Key West I always remember as a younger man. 

We left Key West hot and exhausted.  The next stop was dinner at the "No Name Pub" (http://www.nonamepub.com/) in Big Pine Key.  Good luck trying to find this place if you don't have a GPS.  Given the fact that it was late in the day we were able to see several of several of the endangered Key Deer.  

We made it to the Pub despite the grandparents desperate pleas of "Where are we? Where are we going? Are we lost?"  It was comical.  This place is a little locals only type pub famous for three things.  Pizza, the floor to ceiling wallpapering with dollar bills and the inability to find this place.  My girls were just itching to rip off a couple handfuls of bills.  What a mission to keep them in line.  We finished up dinner and made the 1 hour drive back home (home for one more day only).  I could tell it was a long day for everyone by the chorus of snores.