Makara Maintenance: Part One – Getting hauled out and being held hostage in the travel lift. Off to a bad start.

The first of many video blogs (vlogs) about our silly boating adventures aboard MAKARA. This one is the first in the series of a major (expensive) maintenance program that addresses several issues related to the vessel’s age.

Please be aware that we are giving you the day-by-day reality of shock over prices, disappointment in other people, general let-downs in situations and some of the profanity that ensues.

These are the shitty days in paradise. Sorry.

Blackish to Brackish: The Beauty of the Bull Rush

This is a spring called Three Sisters in Crystal River. Springs are fed from rain water that is filtered through the ground and as the pressure builds up it gets pushed back to the surface. That is one way that nature filters water until its clean.

So the locals organized and preserved the property from development. In 1994 Jacque Cousteau filmed “Forgotten Mermaids” here, and now the  Dept. of the Interior owns it. Pretty cool.

We rode this trolley that was made decades ago out of cast iron and merry-go-round parts to get out to this refuge so we could walk around and learn something.

My parents were interested in taking us to see Manatees on the Three Sisters Springs, but it was not the right time of year for that.

So I’m guessing that there were at least ten of these diesel-spewing monsters made.

I think Dad’s having a nice time but his mouth doesn’t know it.

We got a guide that was retired from the Dept. of the Interior, who volunteers a couple times a week to talk about the local wetlands project. We walked around the newly created wetland, which is a successful experiment in cleaning the nutrients out of runoff water.

Here is what water looks like when you and I are done with it. This is the water that comes into this very small wetland for cleaning.

The Bull Rushes were hand planted a year ago. They’re thriving.

The birds came almost immediately afterward.

Blue swamp iris. That’s wild.

The birds eat the Apple snails that are plentiful here.

Remember, this is just over a year old.

This is a Lantana. Also wild.


A reminder of Scotland for Lindsay.

Towards the end of the small wetland the water ran clear.

This is Northwest Florida, called the nature coast. It’s hasn’t been developed with condos like the rest of the State.

One of the springs. I’m told the manatees love the steady temperatures here in the winter. Me too.

Nobody there could identify this orange stringy plant.

We’re coming back next year when the gulf is colder so we can swim with manatees!

The Good and Bad Parts About Visiting our Nation’s Capital


The good: Monumental reminders of our great founding fathers. Fantastic!

The bad: The horrible photos people take. Here’s our homage to bad tourist pics. 

Taking pictures of a monument with  people in the foreground. Surprising. 

Cutting out part of the monument in their photo. Disappointing. 


Badly thought out composition: the Narwhal. 

Jets flying overhead every 15 minutes. Unexpected. 

And the next one. 

Selfies in front of non-descript federal buildings on the tour bus. Funny. 

It was a nice day that afternoon. Lots of sunshine. 


Not paying attention to all the details. 

Strange lighting without explanation. 

Tour buses with their engines running. Noisy. 

Another great shot of the Jefferson memorial! Maybe not. 

Cars honking at each other at the traffic lights. Uncool. 

The cherry blossoms were pretty. Why are we here again?

Selfies with shadows on their faces. Unbelievable. 

The gift shop tent. Delightful. 


Lunch at the memorial. 

Lincoln Memorial Potties

Or cherry blossom potties?


Lack of focus: the Jefferson Monument. 

Did I mention the jets?


A tourist impressing his family with a paddle boat ride and picking a cherry blossom-sized booger out of his nose right when I took a picture. So awesome I cropped it. 

Trying to take selfie and getting a tourist in the background. Brilliant I’m a Narwhal #2.

This is as close as we got to the White House. 


But there’s always time at the end of the day for a bad attempt at food photography. 

Cool aerial videos of Makara

We just recently had a family aboard on charter. They had a 14-year-old son with a brand new toy. A drone with a video camera attached to it. He was kind enough to allow us to have some of the footage. We have updated our webpage “About the boat” to include four cool videos of Makara and the reef in Key West. Here’s a sample.

Makara – What’s In A Name?

When we bought our catamaran, she came with the name Makara. We could, of course, change the name of the boat. Even though it is considered by some as terribly bad luck, there is a delightfully elaborate ceremony that you can perform (as we did to change Tadd’s original sailboat from Praxithea to Third Aye) to appease the gods of the elements and the great Neptune. But as Makara didn’t pose the difficulty of having to constantly spell the name out to all the world over the radio, and because we liked it, we chose to keep the name (and just change to home port to Key West).

Sailing Key West

 

So What Does Makara Mean?

Makara, chosen by the previous owners, means ‘sea dragon’ or ‘aquatic-monster,’ in Sanskrit (मकर). Long thought to be a mythical creature in Hindu and Buddhist traditions, paintings and sculptures of this fantastical creature are found in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan — practically everywhere in Asia.

Ganga being carried by Makara
Ganga being carried by Makara

In India Makara  is known to be the vahana (vehicle) of Ganga-devi – the goddess of the river Ganges and the vahana of the god of the sea, Varuna. And in Hindu astrology the Makara is also the astrological sign of Capricorn. A little research reveals this strange mythical creature to have been very popular both in ancient times and in our present day.

The Makara is often depicted with the head of a crocodile, horns of a goat, the body of an antelope and a snake, the tail of a fish or peacock and the feet of a panther. Varuna is said to be the only one who can control the Makara and does not fear them.

Makara are considered guardians of gateways and thresholds, protecting throne rooms as well as entryways to temples; it is the most commonly recurring creature in Hindu and Buddhist temple iconography, and also frequently appears as a gargoyle or as a spout attached to a natural spring. Makara ornaments are a popular traditional wedding gift for the bride; these makara-shaped earrings called Makarakundalas are sometimes worn by the Hindu gods, for example Shiva, the Destroyer, or the Preserver-god Vishnu, the Sun god Surya, and the Mother Goddess Chandi. Makara is also the insignia of the love god Kamadeva, who has no dedicated temples and is also known as Makaradhvaja, “one whose flag depicts a makara”.

Varuna riding Makara
The Sea God Varuna

The leading Hindu temple architect and builder Ganapati Sthapati describes Makara as a mythical animal with the body of a fish, trunk of an elephant, feet of a lion, eyes of a monkey, ears of a pig, and the tail of a peacock. A more succinct explanation is provided: “An ancient mythological symbol, the hybrid creature is formed from a number of animals such that collectively possess the nature of a crocodile. It has the lower jaw of a crocodile, the snout or trunk of an elephant, the tusks and ears of a wild boar, the darting eyes of a monkey, the scales and the flexible body of a fish, and the swirling tailing feathers of a peacock.”

All in all a pretty cool name for a boat… so we’ll keep it!

Tropical Storm Plan

Based on the latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center, the wind speeds for this potential tropical storm will be around 50 knots. We just don’t know where those winds will be located and from what direction they will blow.

Here is the predicted location of the center of the low for 8pm tomorrow, Friday night, the 26th of August, 2016.

48 hr wind and wave forecast for 8pm 26-aug-16

That is approxiamately 300 nautical miles away from Key West, and although there is a note that says possible gale, the wind speed arrow in front of the system is forecasted at a mere 15 knots and below the system is a measley 5 knots.  We hope that will be true, because it looks like it’s headed directly for us.

Here is the predicted location of the center of the low at 8pm Saturday night, 27th of August, 2016. That’s about 100nm away from Key West.

72 hr wind and wave forecast for 8pm 27-Aug-16

Again, forecaster Mundell is predicting the gale-force winds will remain to the northeast of the center of the low.

I think that second “X” to the left of the big “L” is a second low pressure system, due to predicted disorganization.

Right now the plan is that we are moving the boat Saturday morning out of the mooring field to our boat slip at Safe Harbour Marina and working out how best to tie a bunch of lines in all directions so it stays put.

Approaching Storm Threat

The forecast is now 80% of tropical storm formation by the time this disturbance reaches Florida this weekend, with a possibility that it will reach Hurricane strength as it passes through the warm waters of the Bahamas.

Invest 99-L 23-Aug

So that means we have to monitor this system’s strength and direction closely.

We need to make a decision soon to either sail out of it’s path or to try and get into our new marina slip before it gets here.