Here?s a real cool bunch of dots! See where Windigo has been:

Enter Windigo's callsign: W3IGO


Happy Holidays 2006


This will not be the typical blah, blah, blah Eletter ? I?m simply going to catch up on the Adventures of Windigo since the great circumnavigation of Tampa Bay [which I received much ridicule from many long-time Tampa Bay residents, until -that is- they actually read the last Eletter and found that Windigo had discovered treasures they never knew existed or had not seen in decades. No one had actually anchored IN the Port of Tampa!]


Forgive me if I break my intention, but here is a chronological account of the last six months of the Windigo Travelogue Catalogue . . .


Below is the exact list of each mooring we have occupied since the middle of July:

Gulfport, FL anchorage off Casino Dock

Fort Jefferson Harbor Dry Tortugas, FL

Marquesas Keys

A&B Marina Key West Harbor

Key West Harbor Fleming Key

San Carlos Bay Ft. Myers Beach, FL

Charlotte Harbor, Gasparilla Island, Boca Grande Pass, FL

Cortez, FL off USCG Station

Madeira Beach Marina Madeira Beach, FL

Clearwater Beach, FL just off Clearwater Yacht Club

Anclote Key off Tarpon Springs, FL

Clearwater Beach, FL just off Clearwater Yacht Club

Anclote Key off Tarpon Springs, FL

Chart House Dock Clearwater Beach, FL

Clearwater Beach, FL just off Clearwater Yacht Club

Belleair Beach, FL Belleair Causeway anchorage

McDonald's Dock, Madeira Beach, FL

Madeira Beach Marina Madeira Beach, FL

Gulfport,FL anchorage off Casino Dock

Manatee River Bradenton, FL

Bradenton Beach anchorage off Anna Maria Island

Longboat pass Longboat Key, FL

NE corner Sarasota Bay off Bayshore Gardens, Bradenton, FL

just north of Siesta Key Bridge

just south of Venice Inlet, off Quarterdeck Resort, Venice, FL

Redfish Bay Anchorage, Englewood Beach, FL

off the south end of Pine Island St. James City, FL

Caloosahatchee River, Cape Coral Bridge, Ft. Myers, FL

Redfish Bay Anchorage, Englewood Beach, FL

downtown Sarasota, FL

Longboat pass Longboat Key, FL

St. Petersburg, FL (Tampa Bay) North Yacht Basin anchorage

Salt Creek Marina launch slip St. Petersburg, FL

Salt Creek Marina boatyard St. Petersburg, FL

St. Petersburg, FL (Tampa Bay) North Yacht Basin anchorage

Islamorada, FL North side!

Rickenbacker Causeway Miami, FL

Little Maule Lake Aventura, FL

OFF ICW- Pompano Beach, FL

OFF ICW- Bingham Island, West Palm Beach, FL

OFF ICW- Lake Worth North, Jupiter, FL

OFF ICW- S. Fort Pierce, FL

OFF ICW- Cocoa, FL

North of Titusville Road Bridge Titusville, FL


The last newsletter left us in the North Yacht Basin of St. Pete, with intentions of stopping in Gulfport, which we did, provisioning at Swanson?s discount foods and leaving our bicycles with Dave & Gail for our open water voyage to the Dry Tortugas.

Karin readied everything aboard and I fabricated a new rudder for the continuing evolution of Pedigo (this new design is the best yet!) After a terrific farewell dinner with Dave & Gail aboard No More Mondays, we set off for the Dry Tortugas.


The voyage down was very enjoyable with adequate wind and no real troubles for Karin, who was just getting use to offshore voyaging again (and hasn?t really taken to it). The only interesting thing was an encounter with a squall line FULL of waterspouts. I have been familiar with waterspouts for decades, even cycling through the collapse of one in Door County, WI years ago (what a soaking!). Dozens of them danced in and out of the clouds, some stirring up a large area of ocean ahead of us.

I pinched the wind, and slowed our speed to dally for the five miles between the storms and us. We scurried around the trailing end of the squall line, using the winds of the pressure difference to sail all afternoon.


Began noticing supersonic aircraft on the 18th of July several hours prior to our arrival at Garden Key and Fort Jefferson. Turns out Castro was ill, and the U.S. felt a need to flex. Supersonic sorties continued for our entire stay, and the Rangers were very interested in discovering Cuban immigrants on the many islands of the Park. [Interesting how the USCG and Navy will shoot the engines from the ?chugs? underway in U.S. waters, but once ashore, the asylum-seeking immigrants are welcomed heartily by the Federales . . . ]


Arriving at Garden Key, we performed a bit of maintenance, then walked through the Fort, which we did every day during our stay, usually before and after the ferry full of tourists from Key West was docked. We basically had the island to ourselves most days. We toured the outside, inside, top and reefs. I finally got to use my underwater camera, even though conditions weren?t perfect, there was enough light to practice. We cleaned the bottom of Windigo using our homemade TUBA (tethered underwater breathing apparatus). A Goliath Grouper visited every night, and I made a special trip to photograph (one of) a pair of nurse sharks.


We walked through the Fort, ran through the Fort and swam around the Fort (watch out for the boats & planes). We really enjoyed the ramparts of the roof. Then I got out my new kiteboarding kite. I flew it until I could teach Karin, then she flew it! Then I went to my favorite place and flew it! While up there, I noticed how close Loggerhead key is; close enough for a Pedigo ride.


So we pedaled over to Loggerhead after the thunderhead blew over. It was a 3-mile journey across Open Ocean. We found the island covered with crabs! How cute ? they defend their property. A few buildings to explore, some kite flying, checking out the boats used by Cubans to come to America. Ever interested in infrastructure, I was impressed by the 16,000+ watt solar array installed here. Should be more of these, everywhere. (Windigo derives most of it?s daily power from two simple panels, additional electricity from the wind generator provides more than enough to run an inverter to make 120 volts AC to run a welder, vacuum cleaner, heat and soldering guns, and of course the Oster blender for the fruit smoothies!)


There are hundreds of wrecks around the Dry Tortugas and Florida Keys; one well-known sunken vessel is the Avanti, a few miles off Loggerhead. Seeing we found Pedigo very seaworthy this day, we continued on to snorkel the reef created by the wreck. It was magnificent! The crow?s nest was mostly intact after a hundred years of lying in 18 feet of ocean. Thousands of fish live, eat, and visit the site daily. (Did you know fish only live at irregularities in the ocean? Sunken trash can become rich habitats supporting huge ecosystems.) While I swam around the 150-foot schooner four barracudas followed me. It is something you get used to while spending time in the tropical water - barracudas are naturally curious and although their appearance is pretty scary, they do not wanna eat people. Karin will learn this eventually. J


The barracudas told Karin it was time to leave, so we started the trip back. It was a little tougher against the wind AND current! A well received rest for the crew at Loggerhead, then back to the Fort.


Before leaving the Park, the USCG Buoy Tender Joshua Appleby visited the Fort. Usually stationed in St. Pete, I have known a couple crew in the past. They were on a scientific search and retrieval mission out in the Gulf. I took the opportunity to sail over and say ?Hi?. I stopped into the visitor center and wrote the story of Windigo?s two visits to the Dry Tortugas. Then it was bye-bye Ft. Jefferson.


We sailed straight east to the Marquesas Islands, and then on to Key West. Good sailing through small thunderstorms, keeping Windigo nice and clean and the water tank full.


O.K., now you?re thinking we are going off to Belize at this point, but I will tell you that we weren?t quite finished in Tampa Bay. Karin had one more dentist appointment to finish an expensive crown still covered under her insurance. (It turns out we had more reasons calling us back to St. Pete.)


Living and voyaging in a sailboat requires constant maintenance and attention to the equipment. A fuel tank leak discovered during our return was priority number one. The engine had been difficult to start for a couple months, so I removed and replaced the glow plugs.


When Karin?s boss at Encore Senior Village found out through the grapevine that she was back in the area for a while, she called and asked for her services again. It seems her replacement wasn?t working out, so they wanted Karin to come after they fired the replacement, fix all the problems that had accrued, then train and new replacement (she hadn?t actually been allowed to train the initial replacement). While she went back to work, I finished up the problem list on the boat, did some bicycle brazing and Pedigo modifications and picked up a couple sailing-class teaching jobs.


We took little weekend trips on Windigo to stay in cruising-mode, and I put a lot of miles on the bike saying good-bye to many Tampa Bay friends. While in Clearwater this time, we anchored near the Deep Quest, a retired submarine now owned by an ex-Navy SEAL who plans on taking his family cruising in it. Wow.


The last place we anchored actually in Tampa Bay as we were heading south was Bradenton in the Manatee River. It was then and there that we were struck by lightning. (This is the second time- the first was in 2003.) It took a greater toll this time, but I believe some of the equipment was on its last leg, anyway. Replacements and repairs were made over the next couple months, greatly improving each system affected [We now have a 2000-watt stereo system]. It all cost about $1000. Much cheaper than insurance . . .


So we meandered down the West Coast of Florida. Stops included Sarasota, Cortez, and our favorite, Redfish Bay at Englewood. St. James City was fascinating, and wildlife followed us everywhere. The Great Calusa Blueway was an unexpected treasure find. We hid out for Alberto, but it was just a bit of wind. Ernesto scared the crap out of us as the predictions first had it going to Louisiana, and then crashing right into us, and finally it veered out into the Atlantic. They really struggled with that one! Refreshing rainstorms and beautiful sunrises ruled the day. The folks in the Pacific didn?t fare as well ? at one time, there was THREE major tropical storms at the same time! Through it all, the Canadians kept their sense of humor.


We had a little problem in Bradenton Beach with low tide and no depthsounder (lightning). Three hours of kedging to get out because of extreme low tide. Thought we should pull the boat onto land to look at any possible damage (there was none), but have other projects to do then:


So although we thought we were done sailing in Tampa Bay, with these needs calling us to a boatyard and my familiarity with the Salt Creek Marina in St. Pete, the final decision was made when David at Sailing Florida called with two weeks of teaching and an advanced course to teach. We were going back to Tampa Bay ONE more time. So we went as far south as Englewood before returning to Tampa Bay.


Upon returning to Tampa Bay, the engine starting problems were extreme, so the first thing I had done when the boat was hauled was to have an expert diesel mechanic check it out. He marveled at the fact I had started and ran the engine the day before; Absolutely no compression in one cylinder and half in the others. After all options reviewed, the best choice: NEW ENGINE!


So Karin pulled the old engine out, and I installed the new one. An M-25XPB, and exact modern replacement for the M-25 that Sandy had put in back in 1984. Water damage was the main diagnoses, so the exhaust system was reworked. Karin cleaned up the compartment better-than-new.


All the other tasks were completed, and I had time to remove the beat-up vinyl lettering and hand-paint new graphics on the hull. Man, Windigo could not be more ready for major voyaging now. Just for good measure, we went to the St. Pete boat show [right in our ?back yard?] to see if there was anything new we don?t have (there isn?t). But we helped out at the Lats & Atts party handing out a couple hundred pizzas.


Just before we were to leave St. Pete, a broker called looking for a qualified instructor to deliver a sailboat to Louisiana and give instruction to the new owners. I went on the 12-day mission, and we set sail for Miami on the day of my return (actually, and hour-and-a-half after arriving home!). Although the delivery may have made us late to Miami, it was a godsend as it paid for a portion of the new engine.


Why Miami? And why on a certain date? For Grandma Edith?s 90th birthday, of course! Sandy?s Mom and his brother live there, and we were included in the family event, along with Thanksgiving at Chuck & Hillary Bale?s in Jupiter. We made it in time for all events, as we enjoyed an almost perfect three days of sailing down the west coast and around the Keys. [NOTE: it is much too shallow for a boat with a seven-foot draft to sail Steamboat Channel above the Keys ? this is first-hand knowledge!]


Grandma Edith is doing great, and the time spent in Miami was most enjoyable; especially time spent with Matteah who flew over the country from California where she develops her art and has produced a couple of music CDs; and Andrew who came from Dallas and enjoyed a day on the water with his Mom and Karin & I. We toured North Miami and Ft. Lauderdale- waterside mansions, deluxe condos and luxury yachts, sometimes together! We saw 60? ocean racing yachts that looked as though they could be dinghies compared the vessels next to them. Is a boat impressive because it has a 10-foot radome, or a helicopter ready on its own pad? Port Everglades is a very busy shipping center, and even the troll houses on the bridges that you see when passing the drawbridges are more fabulous than anywhere else.


So when it came time to leave, we stopped for a couple days in Jupiter where the Bales once again made us feel as we were family (washer & dryer! Woohoo). A most perfect anchorage there in Lake Worth made us realize all the doomsayers predicting the end of cruising in FL and beyond are full of baloney. We couldn?t have had a more pleasant time aboard Windigo since leaving Tampa Bay.


So now we are in Titusville, across the ICW from Merritt Island for our next adventure. What?s on Merritt Island that could be so interesting that wild horses couldn?t drag me from here before the 7th of December? Lets leave the details and photos ?til the next Eletter, as conditions need to be perfect at 21:35:45 on Pad 39B of that night for me to report on STS-116.


Where we are right now:


Our permanent and EXACT address:


Capt. KL & Karin Hughes

S/V WindigoIII ? PMB 365

88005 Overseas Hwy. #9

Islamorada, FL? 36033-3087


Text-only Email addresses aboard Windigo, checked daily:


Email addresses checked when at a land-based computer:


And of course, the Windigo Travelogue Catalogue: