S/V Panacea: June 6, 2004

Hey all! Sorry about the delay in emails as we have had radio trouble.
Benny had figured out the problem and made the corrections so we should
be up and running again.  He checked in to a HAM radio net and they
confirmed the radio was working again. So, a brief update. . .

We stayed in the Dry Tortugas through Thursday morning.  On Wednesday
night, we were invited to a Cruiser's Potluck followed by a candlelight
tour of Fort Jefferson. It was a lot of fun meeting and talking with
fellow vacationers as well as full-time cruisers living the life. We all
walked over to the moat wall to watch the sunset after dinner. A 4'
nurse shark came cruising through just as the sun was setting.  The
water is so clear we could watch his pathway.

The candlelight tour of Fort Jefferson was led by Park Ranger Mike,
dressed in complete 1840's WOOL Union uniform.  We were given
candlelanterns (no flashlights allowed) and proceeded to learn about the
technology advancements and living conditions of the time.  It was
fascinating.  He shot his British Infield gun. This was one of the
weapons used during the Civil War. We were glad we had stayed another

On Thursday, we pulled up anchor and headed north. About 8PM, while
Benny was napping, something grabbed the fishing lure we had trolling
behind the boat.  I yelled, "Something is on the fishing line!"  He
sprang out of bed, grabbed the rod and set himself for landing the fish.
After 20 minutes of fighting, we saw the first fin.  Benny landed a 42"
Barracuda with some serious teeth! Of course, we do not eat them so
after a few photos, we released him back to the sea. A man is a true
fisherman when he can come out of a deep sleep and land a fish without
even a though about what he should do.

Friday evening we were approaching Venice for a landfall.  The weather
looked threatening so after listening to NOAA weather channel and
hearing of the Severe Thunderstorm Warning (complete with high winds and
possible hail) we opted to stay offshore.  We readied the boat, tied the
sails, secured anything that could blow and motored about 5 miles
offshore to watch.  We had one seriously black cloud float over us but
we had no rain. When things settled down (about midnight) we went within
2 miles of the beach and dropped anchor.

Saturday morning, we entered Venice for fuel and to find a place to
rest.  WE had two options: the marina or the free dock.  I told Benny I
would prefer the marina for one night. We could regroup, do laundry, and
rest.  He agreed so that is where we have been.  I have done several
loads of laundry, Benny had made repairs and tinkered.  We used the
marina bicycles to go into town and get a belt for the alternator and an
ICE CREAM! We have run the air (not because we were hot but to help cut
down on the humidity -- yeah right). But the best part of it all besides
not having to worry about the anchor is that we had showers-- fresh
water, hot water, no limit of water!  That doesn't sound like much but
go without a real shower for two weeks and you will REALLY appreciate a
good shower.

It is now Sunday morning and we are almost out of time at the marina.
We have to make a decision about what we are doing next.  So, I will
close for now and write more later. Things are working and we should be
able to keep in touch again.

Hugs to all,
Benny and Timber

P.S.  Rebecca called tonight and said that the radio for communication is broken  for e-mails so this will be the final email until she returns (or so she thinks) But that they are all doing good and should be leaving the Sarasota area on Tuesday and will be back in PC around Thursday or Friday.