Category Archives: American Tug 395

Florida Keys after Hurricane Irma

This trip to Florida was essentially un-planned, so we had no reservations other than one we made in Key West a year ago.  We had made the reservation because we could cancel it without penalty, so why not?  Now, although Key West isn’t actually our favorite destination on the planet, it’s not so bad in February so to-Key-West-we-will-go.

The Keys were hit hard by Hurricane Irma last fall and we were curious about how they had fared.  While we knew Key West was spared the worst of Irma, the middle Keys were reportedly hammered.  Evidence was apparent even in Key Largo, where we passed empty lots that had become depositories for boats and trailers and other debris that had been damaged or destroyed.  img_6824Along Overseas Highway we passed lot after lot that had been razed and bulldozed.  In some cases, debris was piled high on the lots, or even dumped along the roadside, yet to be trucked away.

As we proceeded west down Route 1, damage increased and work crews were evident everywhere, on public works projects, commercial developments and private homes.  A lot had already been done, but clearly it will take some time for full recovery.

img_6841-1Sombrero Beach, a neighborhood on Marathon, was badly damaged.  The lovely little beach was in use, but there were huge sandpiles everywhere and brand new housing was obvious.

img_6813-1The worst area we saw was around Big Pine Key, just west of Seven Mile Bridge.  Whole blocks of homes appeared to have been bulldozed, and others were obviously struggling to recover.  img_6855Gutted and destroyed mobile homes and boats were lying along the side of the main highway, apparently dumped there by the storm or pushed off the road and left by work crews.  Roofs up and down the key were weather-proofed by sturdy bright blue tarps, still waiting repair.

img_6763Our campground, Boyds on Stock Island, looked great, but they had obviously lost a large number of the lovely tall palms which had provided shade.  The staff talked about the enormous amount of work to remove tons of debris.  Some Key West resorts appeared to be recently renovated, but most were open.  Timg_6775he main harbor on the north side of the island was in good shape, although one or two piers had sustained significant damage and were being re-built.  There was a large amount of debris still piled on the breakwater, including large chunks broken-up boats, coolers, and furniture.  img_6863Sunset Pier was open for business, but most of the pier was damaged and closed off.   Duval Street was business-as-usual, with no sign of the hurricane at all.

While in Key West, we enjoyed a number of our favorite restaurants and watering holes, especially Roostica, near our campground on Stock Island.  We walked around Duval Street, neighborhoods, and Schooner Wharf, enjoying the scenes, but limited ourselves because the dogs can only take so much of the heat.

img_6792We also did some scouting for our trip next year, which we plan to make by boat!  We made a reservation for a slip at The Galleon Marina, right under the breakwater, where we will be in the heart of Key West but slightly removed from the nighttime craziness.  There were two American Tugs there when we visited.  A big adventure to look forward to!


Awesome Swag Bag!

Spencer Drake, our broker from East Coast Yacht Sales (the American Tug dealer for the East Coast and Great Lakes) had been trying to get down from Maine to Rhode Island for some time to see our boat.  When he finally was able to make the trip, we suddenly had to be out of town so we missed him.  It’s very sad to miss an opportunity to show off our new boat, but alas, it wasn’t to be.  We told Spencer to have a look without us.

Spencer had a surprise for us!

Continue reading Awesome Swag Bag!

Putting Her Back Together

Floating for the first time on the East Coast.

The boat finally arrived at New England Boatworks on Thursday, June 8 at about 12:30 in the afternoon.  Thanks to the quick response by our driver, Alan, and the NEB travel lift crew, she was floating by 1:20.  After so many delays getting her here, including a 10-day stint at a truck stop in Maryland waiting for permits, this quick splash was a welcome relief.  She was very dirty from all the road filth, but aside from that and a few superficial scrapes from tree branches and other flying debris, she was in great shape. Continue reading Putting Her Back Together

Back to LaConner – Cruise Over

Wow, the end of our shakedown cruise in the PNW was emotional.

IMG_2046We had grown to love LaConner during the three weeks we spent there prior to taking delivery of the boat, while living in our Airstream at the LaConner Marina Campground.  So while we did have reason to celebrate our return to the little town, we were very sorry that our excellent cruise on our new boat was drawing to a close. Continue reading Back to LaConner – Cruise Over

Shakedown – Part 10 – The Last Hurrah

As we hauled up our anchor after a pleasant layover at McMiken Island State Park in South Puget Sound, we could smell the end of our Pacific Northwest cruise, and the finale to our shakedown of Esmeralde.  In order to deliver the boat back to the factory in time for them to hit our punch list and prepare the boat for her truck-ride across the country, we had to think about getting her back to LaConner.  We figured we had two more nights.   Continue reading Shakedown – Part 10 – The Last Hurrah

Shakedown – Part 9 – Gig Harbor to McMicken Island

When we woke up in Gig Harbor, the skies appeared to be clearing.  As I sipped my coffee in my PJs and slippers in the salon, an apparition appeared as I gazed out towards the harbor entrance: seeming to float above the clouds to the east, in the distance, a hazy but massive rugged snow-covered mountain peak loomed.  I learned later that this was Mt. Rainier, and that it is a special sight.  Indeed.  A good start to the day, a good omen.   Continue reading Shakedown – Part 9 – Gig Harbor to McMicken Island