One of the little discussed aspects of living on a boat is the different smells you encounter different than living in a house. The smells come from the dried salt water on the deck, excess of dirty damp clothes and towels, sheets that are on the bed longer to stretch out time before going to the laundry, clothes you wear longer than on land before putting in the laundry basket, extended time between showers and washing hair, garbage and the ubiquitous king of smell the head. Cram all of these lovely aromatic items, including you, your mate and a dog, in a space that is the size of a large overstuffed closet and voila it becomes a banquet for those of us with overactive olfactory glands!
I have been blessed with overactive olfactory processes. I smell everything! I smell to determine if something is clean or dirty, fresh or old. I smell things that smell wonderful just because. Smelling is what I do. Anyway…this is now a problem.
Oh, but I have found the solution. I have put away the Vicks and the air fresheners, the candles and oils. The solution is simple, you can’t smell yourself. If you smell worse than everything around you, the other smells are much less powerful. Yahoo! Personal hygiene. Hundreds of years ago people rarely took baths, but they stood by fires. The smoke hid some of the odors. I do not have a fire, so I shall forgo the sink in order to stink and itch to save my nose.
If you are planning a visit, please give me warning so I can shower.
(I forgot to post this. It is out of order.)
In the marine world the toilet is more commonly known as the head. Mine has a diaper due to a fresh water leak. I wrap doggy pee pads around the head base and pump. The diapers need to be changed a couple times a day. Luke is working on this issue and has ordered parts. A dry head in is our future. It is great to have a handi husband!
Speaking of handi, he just replaced our battery charger for a more powerful unit. Now our batteries will have a full charge most of the time.
Life on the mooring ball is easy breezy. No worries about wind waves or local yahoos cutting your anchor line. No huge wakes and no bugs. We also have a front row seat to the sunrise and sunset. We are one mile from Publix, Winn Dixie, Kmart, and West Marine. Our feet and our bikes are all we need to get around. Taxis are $5 to go anywhere on the island. The weather is mostly balmy and warm. We can participate in yoga classes, bocce ball, softball, dominos and more. This is a nice community of boaters that we will not forget.
Please look closely at the top photo. The clouds are actually deep blue on the bottom.
Feb 21, Tuesday
Played dominos at the marina cruisers lounge. This is a regular event, every Tuesday. I took this opportunity to quiz the other ladies on their boating experiences.
Feb 22, Wednesday
Weather is sucky, high winds and rain. I was devastated when it was announced on the Cruiser’s Net that yoga class was cancelled. I actually started to cry. Not sure why. We read books for the whole day. Went to the marina at that end of the day for water.
Feb 23 Thursday
Luke biked to the dentist today. A crown had fallen off and fortunately he did not swallow it. The dentist was unable to do anything for the tooth, it will have to be pulled. That will be another day. He also went to the fancy bike shop and got a rack for his bike. OMG there is a whole story behind the bike rack. I will let me tell that story when he sees you.
I am working on concepts for my “Weather Window” series of paintings. I want to have the perspective correct before I start to paint. A weather window is what every boater is waiting for so they can cross a body of water safely and quickly. Wind speed, wind direction, wave height, travel time, etc all play into the decision to move to another location. Many boaters come to the keys to visit and then wait for their weather window to go to either the Bahamas or Cuba. Just like sex, some like their window hot and rough and some like it cool and soft…
Feb 24, Friday
The generator is now fixed, $650 later.
I took my painting equipment to the small tiki hut at the marina. It is very secluded and a perfect spot to paint. I completed one painting of a small dinghy tied to a post. I am getting better at plein air painting. I just need to get over being shy about painting in public. Luke worked with the repair guy to get the generator running. Now we have a/c, hot water and I can use my electric appliances.
Great day. Luke and I went to the marina for the flea market. Then we went sailing. After sailing we went to the marina for showers and then out to dinner. It was like a real date night!
Feb 26 – Sunday
I walked to Home Depot as my morning exercise. Returned to the boat and cleaned the mildew off the wood in the bedroom. Did laundry which took 4 hours and $12 for 2 loads. In the afternoon, I returned to the marina and worked on my website and blog. Luke worked on figuring out how to attach the “new to us” battery charger.
Ran into Barbara and Jorge, of Diadema. They were in the office because they finally got a mooring ball. They were going to have their first night no-see-um free and be able to stay on deck through sunset. They were ecstatic.
Barbara is an art quilter and has a studio setup in her boat. We compared current art projects. She is working on a sunset and is working out the details of how to do the clouds so they appear more round.
Feb 28 – Fat Tuesday
Let the Good Times Roll! Mardi Gras in Boot Key Harbor.
More later… Brenda
My only excuse for not posting sooner is that we are just enjoying life in the keys. You might say we are on island time which means I will do this mañana man. Don’t worry be happy!
I have always enjoyed and benefited from a yoga practice. There is a yoga class at the community park Mon, Wed and Fri. I do my best to make it to all of these classes. Emily Hughes is our current instructor. She is amazing. Emily makes yoga a learning and inner thought provoking experience. Of all the things in Marathon that I will miss, Emily’s yoga classes will be missed the most.
March 1, Wednesday
Chores: Preparing for weekend storm and Laundry
March 2, Thursday
Luke and I rode our bikes a 6 mile round trip to buy 2 stainless nuts.
Then to Publix for groceries. Filled our tanks… water, fuel etc
March 3, Friday
Spent time in the cruiser’s lounge for downloading books and watching art videos with the WIFI.
Late in the afternoon the wind started to blow and blow. Hunkered down for a few days. Due to our position in the harbor the waves should not get big and we will be able to go to shore.
A few days of rest. Wind blowing 20 knots and sun is shining. We stayed on the boat. Luke read, I painted and read.
The cruisers are getting anxious to get out of Boot Key Harbor. Most are heading to the Bahamas or Cuba, but no one can leave until the wind calms down. We talk about where we are headed when we get our weather window.
Life continues to be good. In another week we will have been in the Keys for 1/2 have of our journey. Where has the time gone? It is time to move on.
We finally made it! We are uptown in Boot Key Harbor on mooring ball S2 with over 250 other cruising yachts. We are in a great location, close to the marina, dinghy docks AND (drum roll…) Showers! The basic essentials of life have become the joys of my life.
The photo is of Ozzy going for a dinghy ride. He LOVES the dinghy adventures. Miss that boy! He will be rejoining us when we head north up the east coast.
Jan 25, Wednesday Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, FL
Moved to our mooring ball. We had a delightful 1/2 mile cruise. Hooked on the to ball without too much drama. Met our new neighbors and settled in.
Jan 26, Thursday
Water in the bilge. Hmmm where does this come from? Can not be from the engine. We will monitor. We dry the bilge and keep and eye out for more water.
Jan 27 – 30
More water in the bilge. Gallons and gallons of water forming a little stream as it flows in. Not good. Luke decides we need to pull the boat out of the water, let it dry out then fill the hull with water to find the leak. It cannot be the engine since there is no access from the engine compartment to the bilge. However, the water only seems to appear after the motor has been running. Hmmm…
Luke makes arrangements at a yard for this work. Since we cannot stay on the boat, I make places to go to Orlando and Luke will be staying with Diesel Don on Lady Trianna. Mr. Diesel will be helping Luke with this repair. The theory is that when the motor is running a crack is opening more to allow water intrusion. Hmmm…
While Luke was working with another repair person to get the generator going. I dried out the bilge again and keep an eye out for water. I found a very small leak and marked that. Later, Luke ran the engine so we could have hot water and water started streaming into the bilge. When he turned the engine off the water stopped.Hmmm… Ok, so according to Luke there is no way it is coming from the engine. I make arrangements for a rental car to go to Orlando.
We picked up the rental car today. I am looking forward to being with my twin sister for our birthday, Feb 4th. Also, very happy to be going to see Ozzy who is still temporarily living with Anita and Chuck.
Luke does some more checking into our bilge water issue. OH NO Mr. Bill! the water is coming from the engine!!! We have a leak in our heat exchanger that is spraying water on a wall that drains into the bilge. I am ecstatic that we can avoid pulling the boat out of the water for repairs, but crying because I want to go see my family and Ozzy. Boohoo Boohoo. ( I can be such a whiner). We decided that I should still go to Orlando. I still need to take care of taxes and insurance issues. So, Tra La La off to Orlando I go.
Luke and I picked up the rental car that evening and then went to Herbie’s for my birthday dinner. Later it was early to bed, very early to rise (2:00a). Dinghied to shore and hit the road at 3am to avoid Miami traffic. Sections of the turnpike through Miami are 10 lanes!!
Feb 3-11- Orlando
Arrived in Orlando. Had a great time with family.
Luke reported that the repairs on the boat were successful. No more leaks!!
Feb 11 – Saturday
Left Orlando at 2:40 am, passed through Miami at 7am, light traffic. Traffic was bumper to bumper going into the keys. I made it back to Marathon about 9am. We used the rental car to run some errands and then I returned it to the airport.
Enjoying life on a mooring ball. Must be 5 o’clock somewhere! Oh too bad my margarita days are over.
Monday, Carol and Todd Mason arrived. They drove all the way from Canada for a little sunshine and warm weather. They joined us on the boat for two days. We introduced them to marina life and that includes the SHOWERS! Carol and I took two showers in one day.
Tuesday we went sailing. Very light wind, but it was great to be out on the water with a cool breeze. Later Carol and I were in the marina and there was a huge manatee getting a drink of water from a dripping hose. It put forth quite an effort for about a ½ cup of water.
It is against the law to feed or give manatees water. I read that they do not need the water but it is like candy to a child, if they can get it they want it and will return to find it. This causes problems because they come to marinas that have heavy boat traffic and they can be fatally injured. It is impossible for them to get out of the way of a boat. Boaters must watch out for them and travel as slow as possible. Hmmm… ladies, when you ask your significant other to slow down do they? Always in a hurry, but not sure to where.
Wednesday, Carol and Todd left. I believe they enjoyed their stay. We certainly enjoyed their company. Their visit showed us that we can accommodate two visitors that are flexible and tolerant of early to bed, early to rise and marine toilets.
Feb 20, Monday – Presidents Day
Yoga! We have an amazing instructor, Emily Hughes
“Blessed are they that laugh at themselves, for they shall never cease to be entertained.” -Chinese proverb
That’s all folks! See you real soon. 🙂
The Keys are warm and balmy and very casual. It is nice to be spending some time relaxing and not moving to new locations. I feel like my brain is taking some time to process where we have been and are going. It can be unsettling to always be on the move without some sense of continuity.
Cruising on a boat is different than RV cruising. There are more variables that you need to consider. In an RV weather can be a problem but in most cases is not life threatening. RV repairs may be able to be put off but in the boat most repairs if not fixed soon could cause critical issues. We also have safety equipment not required for camping. Life boat, food and water rations, EPIRB, PFD (personal flotation device), Life lines, flares, spot lights, flags, etc. Also, learning procedures for man overboard situations and how to properly use the VHF radio certainly are not required for camping.
Living on a boat is absolutely enjoyable, however the time and brain power required to make the change from roots on land to floating on water are unknown. It is a different life that is closer to no frills living where simple chores are now all day events, i.e. grocery shopping, laundry.
The painting is one I did while in Apalachicola.
Jan 14 – move to Boot Key Harbor, Sister Creek
Winds subsided so we moved out of Faro Blanco and over to Sister Creek. Faro Blanco and the City Marina are about a mile from each other on the road, but to get there by boat, we had to sail down to the 7 mile bridge pass and around the island. It took us about ½ day as we maneuvered around crab pots and buoys.
Anchoring in Sister Creek is “Med Style”. We put two anchors in the channel and pull the stern of the boat around and tie off to the mangroves. Unless you have anchored like this several times and are proficient, it takes at least 3 crew and a dinghy to properly set your lines and anchor. Let’s just say we had a few more tense boating moments before we were settled. We currently have 6 lines to the mangroves and two anchors. Soon after being settled and safely anchored, Luke decides he needs to change the anchors. Then change the lines. If I was a drinker, I would surely be downing a 5th of something to calm my nerves.
Jan 15 – Sister Creek
Luke changes more lines and concerned about the abandoned “pirate” ship next to us. This abandoned boat is huge and heavy. If it broke loose of its lines in a storm, our boat could be smashed.
We woke up this morning and found the pirate ship about 10 feet from us. Another boating moment. Luke decides to move the boat over closer to our neighbors. For the next few hours we moved anchors and lines to put more room between us and the huge and heavy pirate ship. Luke is still not happy. Now we are too close to our neighbors and low and behold Luke apologizes to John and Valerie for our intrusion. They are most gracious and say it is no problem.
Jan 16 – Sister Creek, MLK day
We listen to the cruiser net and Luke wants to buy a bike. So, we motor off to a few boats that have bikes for sale. None of them were suitable. Ah Ha! An excuse to go somewhere… we walk down to the local bike shop but found nothing suitable so we took a taxi to Kmart. Still no bike for Lukey. While at Kmart, I bought a towel and soap so I could get one of those so greatly coveted showers before returning to the boat.
For our return trip, we agreed to walk back and get lunch along the way instead of paying a taxi. The Cracked Conch Diner was excellent. We hope to return there when Luke’s sister and BIL visit next month.
Jan 17, Tues, Sister Creek – #12 on waiting list
We stayed on the boat all day. I painted and Luke sewed. He made shade covers for the overhead windows in the cockpit and finished the no seeum screens for all of our hatches. My paintings were color studies. I also did some sketching of the pirate ship in prep of doing a few paintings plein air.
Jan 18-19, Wed, Sister Creek
Listened to Cruiser Net. Another big blow is headed our way.
We moved the boat again. Argh! Luke did not want to stay close to the pirate ship. No plein air painting for me. I missed my opportunity to paint the ship – lesson learned.
Jan 20. Friday, Inauguration Day, # 7 on waiting list
We were up early had coffee and headed into shore. Walked to Winn Dixie for provisions and took a taxi back. I met Philomena and asked her about the yoga class. Found out it is M, W and F at 10 and is free. I hurried Luke bak to the boat, unloaded the groceries, grabbed my yoga mat and mde it to the last 30 minutes of class. The location is an outisde community ampitheatre, mostly shaded with a cool balmy breeze. The instructor was amazing. I plan to attend yoga a much as possible. It is good for my soul.
Jan 21 Sat, Sister Creek, #7 on waiting list
We listened to the Cruisers Net. Then it was off the the marina flea market and much anticipated “walk” with Luke. We bought a device that closes your hatch when it rains.
The “walk” was very short. Luke decided he did not want to walk far. Knowing that we could be unable to leave the boat for days, I wanted as much exercise as possible. Did not happen. (sad face)
Jan 22 Sun, Sister Creek, #1 on waiting list but due to the storm it will probably be Tuesday or Wednesday before we get the mooring ball.
Hunkered down for the storm. I painted two abstract mangrove paintings and napped.
Jan 23 Mon, Sister Creek
3am the storm squall came thru. Luke and I are up to monitor storm. Back to bed at 4:00am. 10:00am still laying low due to high winds and limited quantity of dinghy fuel. It is a long ride to the closest fuel dock. The water is rough and it would be a miserable trip to get fuel.
We are now leaving the mainland of Florida and heading south to the Florida Keys. Very excited. This will be our southern most port. We will spend the rest of the winter in the keys.
The painting is of our first sighting of the keys as we crossed Florida Bay.
Jan 5 – Heading to the Keys – Lv Shark River going to Long Key
Up before day break and ready to pull up anchor at first light. We have a long day ahead of us crossing the Florida Bay. It was a beautiful passage. We found that as long as we stayed in the park boundaries there were no crab pots. WooHoo!!
We arrived at Long Key anchorage at 4pm. Anchored and jumped in the 78 degree water for a quick swim and Joy bath. It was refreshing after a long day of travel.
Jan 6 – URGENT heading to safe harbor, Faro Blanco Marina, Marathon, FL
Up at 5:00am preparing to move…A storm with 35 knot winds will be moving in on Saturday. Since we are unfamiliar with the area, we decide to find a marina in which to weather the storm. Luke called many marinas and only found space at Faro Blanco in Marathon. Another long day going 30 miles to Marathon. Crab Pots everywhere.
The high winds were supposed to pass by Monday but stayed for a week. We were unable to leave this marina for 10 days ($$$). Hey, they gave us free ice and use of the gym at the Marriott. Our boat was the little dog at the dock and the only one that needed at bit of TLC. It is a great facility and the dock crew were excellent.
Jan 7-13 – Faro Blanco Marina, Marathon, FL
We weathered the storm. I got whiny on a couple of days. I need rest, exercise and sunshine or my mood shifts. After the nights of anchor dragging and moving to safe harbors then sitting on the boat due to weather, I was a moody mess. Yes, even in paradise you can have cranky days.
Luke started making an effort to get me off the boat more. Oh, did I mention, I could not leave or get on the boat without Luke’s assistance. The boat was tied too far off of the dock and it was a rockin in the waves.
The wind was too stiff to comfortably take a walk or ride my bike so I went to the hotel lobby to read or to the gym. I also did the laundry and a couple of Publix runs. Laundry in paradise is still better than a day at an unrewarding job.
We spent Christmas in Marco Island, Smoke House Bay. Trevor, our neighbor cruiser on White Pearl, joined us for a little Christmas Eve cheer. Later, we continued south to Goodland. The only businesses in Goodland are a marina and 5 restaurants. There is no place in this town to buy milk or bread, but if you want to drink beer and do the Buzzard Lope at Stan’s Idle Time bar, you are in like flint.
The painting of the green sailboat is from Goodland. This boat dragged on its anchor and ended up on the other side of our boat. We have no idea how it could have moved past us without bumping into Nice Lady. Must be the magnetic vortex.
Dec 26 – Dec 31, Goodland, FL
We stayed in this location for about a week. Great out of the way spot with services not too far away (3 miles in Marco Island). Local marina is not cruiser friendly, so there was no dinghy access to shore except at the city park.
Jan 1st, New Years Day – moved to Hog Key
We stayed here one night. Anchor held well. It felt good to be on the move again.
Jan 2nd – Lv Hog Key to Russell Pass close to Everglade City
We pulled up anchor and sailed across the bay to the beach at Panther Key. We took the dinghy ashore flipped it and scraped off the barnacles. Returned to the boat cooked breakfast. Then decided to move on to the next anchorage. The Gulf water was flat with a slight cool breeze and NO CRAB POTS! A perfect relaxing day on the water.
The islands are pretty and a few have sandy beaches. People kayak out to these islands and camp on the beach and fish. If you like remote deserted islands this is for you.
Our passage was pleasant and we anchored in Russell Pass about 5 miles outside of Everglade City, home of the Rod and Gun Club. No SeeUms sent us indoors early.
Jan 3rd – Everglade City
We dinghied into Everglade City for fuel and water. We navigated our way thru the 10,000 islands with an app on my phone. Many spots were too shallow to cross. We finally made it out into the channel and continued our trek. We found a fuel dock at an exclusive gated RV park. Each RV site had pavers and was landscaped. We filled our gas and water tanks and cruised back down river. We stopped at the Rod and Gun Club for an early lunch. The seawall does not accommodate small boats. There was another boat there. The captain of the boat, Jim, offered that we could tie off to his boat and crawl over to the seawall. Very nice gesture. He is a merchant marine and on his way to the Dry Tortugas to snorkel. His boat is made by the same folks that made ours except his boat is a very low slung trimaran.
The Rod and Gun Club is an old historic building. The food and service were excellent. President Truman had a private lunch here the day he dedicated the Everglades National Park. These photos are still on Luke’s phone… Argh!
Jan 4th – Russell Pass to Shark River
Anchors Away… 4:30a a small storm blew through causing our anchor to start dragging. Our boat was heading down river at about 3 knots. YIKES! Luke woke me up this is an EMERGENCY! We are in the mangrove swamps and could run aground on oyster beds, run into the trees, or worse.
In the pitch black, Luke started the engine, pulled up the anchor and I was on the front deck in the rain with a spot light. I was trying to guide us out of the mangroves, but Luke kept turning into the swamp since the Garmin Chartplotter was indicating something different from what I was seeing. We must be in some magnetic vortex that is confusing our equipment. To communicate to Luke I had to go from the front of the boat to the rear to give instructions (in the dark and stormy rain and wind). He continued to turn towards the swamp. The current was fast and the boat was difficult to control. Luke could not see anything from the helm and was dependent on me for guidance, but was not listening well. 🙂
After about 30 minutes of this type of blind navigation and fighting rain, wind, current, and magnetic vortex, we made it out into a marked channel. The Gulf was probably another mile out from our current location. We continued down the channel towards the Gulf always aware that we could be heading into very rough seas and bad weather. We kept an eye on the weather radar monitoring an approaching storm.
Once out in the Gulf, the waves were not too high but there are approaching storms. With no moon or stars to light our way we are concerned about the ever pre
sent millions of Crab Pots which could damage our prop leaving us stranded! We continued motoring south while monitoring the incoming storms. The radar indicated that the worst part of the storms should pass north of us. Fortunately, this was the case. Phew!
6:30am we began seeing the light from the sun peaking over the horizon. Most anticipated and welcomed sunrise of my life! Oh No Mr Bill! Wait, Luke finds something that he must do that requires hanging off of the stern of the boat. Lordy! The plug in the dinghy needed to be pulled out. The dinghy was filing with rain water. This can cause problems with weight on the back end of the boat and problems if we have higher winds and following seas.
At this point in my day, I have not had any coffee or gone potty. I need a break from all of this morning joy. I rested for a bit and had some cold coffee. The rest of the passage was routine, arriving at our Shark River anchorage at 1:30pm.
Shark River is amazing. It is located just north of Cape Sable at the bottom of Florida in the Everglades National Park. It is at the end of the world, absolutely isolated and beautiful. In just a few hours I saw many birds, a few shark, a ray leap out of the water, dolphins and a manatee. Perfect end to an exciting day.
That evening I was unable to get to sleep, Luke is peaceful snoring away. I was concerned about the anchor holding through the night due to the swift current. I attempted to sleep in the salon with one eye on the chartplotter which shows the distance from where we dropped the anchor.
The ChartPlotter is a GPS used similar to the one in your car. When we put down an anchor we mark that spot in the chart. Luke keeps track of how much chain (anchor rode) he lets out (scope). You should put out 7 feet of rode out for each foot of depth. As the evening goes by you can watch the ChartPlotter track the path of the boat the moves with the wind/current/tide. This should correspond to the amount of scope you have. If this changes the anchor could be dragging. The boat made several complete circles around the anchor which I had not seen before. WELL… about 1am the Chartplotter showed that we were moving. I woke up Luke. We monitored the system and our location. The boat stopped moving so it appeared the anchor was holding again. Where are my tranquilizers? Not much sleep…
To be continued.
Catfish that is… All my attempts at fishing produce multitudes of catfish.
Our journey continues south with a few delays, but we are still moving.
Nov 24 – Thanksgiving
We have moved out of Gulfport to Snead Island. Had Monte Cristo sandwiches for our turkey day dinner. They were marvelous.
We stayed in this anchorage for a couple of days. We were waiting for mail to arrive general delivery.
Snead Island is a wonderful park that was someone’s homestead. Hundreds of acres of trails and wildlife. I saw a rosette spoonbill. The last time I saw one of those in the wild was probably on a camping trip with my family.
Nov 26 – DeSoto National Memorial.
We moved across the bay to DeSoto National Memorial. This is another nice park with a visitor center and hiking trails. Ozzy and I took full advantage of this park.
Nov 30 – DeSoto National Memorial, Bradenton
My mail has arrived, so I took a LYFT to the post office and Winn Dixie.
Dec 1 – Thursday, motored to Sarasota
Oh my, FOG. This was my first experience in dense fog. Thank God for Radar! We took it slow and followed our GPS charts and watched the Radar for other boats. One boat must not have
had any GPS, because when he saw us he turned and tailgated us until the fog lifted.
Fog rolled back in and we were due to go under a bridge. Whoa! We knew it was there somewhere, but it just appeared large a looming before it was expected.
Dec 2 – Friday – Sarasota
My cousins, Marguerite and Tom Hankins took Luke and I took lunch. Great time catching up on family happenings. Then they gave us a ride to the grocery store. We filled their car with food and wondered how it was all going to fit into the dinghy. Magically, it all fit, the next challenge is to get it all in the boat.
Many thanks to Marguerite and Tom for a pleasant visit.
Now, it is time for laundry. Due to a line, it took way too long to finish. As I was finishing, it was almost sundown and I still had to get back to the boat to get Ozzy to shore for potty time.
Met a nice guy named Russ in the laundromat. He has been in the mooring field since May and shared much useful information about Sarasota and other areas that we might visit.
Dec 3 – Sarasota
Luke and I went to the farmer’s market and splurged on brunch at a cute downtown café the strolled through the market. It was a nice relaxing morning. Later in the day we had the boat bottom cleaned and I had a marvelous long and hot SHOWER! I washed my hair multiple times. Great showers at this marina.
Recently, a hair dresser told me that you can buy products that make your hair look like you have been in the salt water. REALLY!!?? Ain’t nothing glam about itchy gummy salt water hair.
We went to the Sarasota Christmas Parade. We only had to walk a block from the marina. It was a real treat. Tons of tiny dancers, Shriners, marching bands and veterans. Then it was back to the boat for blueberry pie and whipped cream! Another pleasant day.
Dec 4 – Sunday – Lv Sarasota motored to Englewood/Manasota Key
28 miles on the ICW, took longer than expected due to outgoing tide. We were averaging about 3.5 knots. We could have walked faster. We made it to our anchorage in time to get Ozzy to shore. We begged someone for dock access and climbed up on the dock, stepped over a fence and made it to a road where we could walk Ozzy. Along the way, a fisherman had some smoked fish for sale. We snatched that up and that is what we had for dinner. Yum.
Dec 5 – Monday – Manasota Key and Stump Pass State Park.
At sunrise, we moved Nice Lady about a mile further up the pass and anchored. Luke was concerned about the wind. I got Ozzy in the dinghy and we went to Stump Pass State Park for potty time. When we returned a woman on shore called to me. I headed towards her, I was concerned that she was going to reprimand me for going to fast or something… I was wrong. She was very sweet and offered that I could walk Ozzy in their back yard and bring any trash we had and put in their cans.
Later that day, she and her husband took us for a sunset cruise and made dinner for us. I cannot say enough about how we appreciated their generosity.
When moving the boat, we had more engine problems. This begins a whole long saga.
Dec 6-Dec 19 – Engine problems, towing and Olsen Marine.
Trying times for all. Engine decided to not work while we were going down the ICW. Fortunately, we had been motorsailing and the wind was in the right direction. We continued to sail and called for a tow to a boat yard for repairs. When it was clear that the repairs would take a few days Ozzy and I went to Orlando to spend time with my family.
I returned a week later, boat work was still not completed so Ozzy stayed in Orlando. We were finally able to get back on the water the next Monday.
Dec 20 – Leave Ft Myers Beach arrive Marco Island
Smokehouse Bay is tucked in the middle of the island. It is surrounded by condos, but it is quiet and breezy. We enjoyed our stay here and met a fellow named Trevor on S/V White Pearl. He was having engine problems, so Luke assisted.
Dec 25 – Marco Island
We took Nice Lady out in the Gulf for a Christmas Day cruise. The weather was perfect. Later we had our Christmas dinner and a well deserved nap.
Dec 26 – Leave Marco arrive in Goodland
Goodland is a cute little fishing village in the 10,000 islands. There are two marinas and 5 bars and that is it. No groceries not even bread or milk. There is constant dolphin activity in the bay and low boat traffic. I attempted fising (again). Just call me the Cat Lady. All I every catch is catfish.
It is very pleasant here, in fact, a couple we know is staying here in the marina for the season and they got local employment. We considered staying for a month, but we get too antsy and want to move. We are staying here until after Friday – predicted high winds and cold temperatures.
We are still moving south trying to stay ahead of the cold weather. Stalled in a marina for some more repairs, but plan to be further south for Thanksgiving. My suggested Thanksgiving menu is Monte Cristo Sandwiches and a salad – still to be determined.
Nov 15 – Tuesday – Destin, FL – on anchor
The anchorage is nice, not too much fast traffic and waves. It is close to the city marina and services. Dunedin is a very clean, interesting town. Artsy Fartsy and the bike path runs through it, along with the Jolley Trolley.
We had our first experience with Uber. We hired Uber to take us to Luke’s aunt’s house in Top of the World. We had a really nice visit with Aunt Grace. Talked about old times and family vacations. Luke’s family drove from Ontario to Clearwater during Christmas Holidays. The family car was a Ford LTD station wagon. This is the equivalent of a current day mini-van and required for the family of 9.
We found Poochies, a dog supply and grooming salon. It is two blocks from the water. Ozzy’s tail and ears were getting knotty so off to the groomer. They did a great job and even offered to keep him while we ran errands around town. Nice folks. We took this opportunity to go out to eat at Sea Sea Riders.
Uber, grooming and restaurant – not on the original budget. Oh well…life is short!
Nov 16, Wednesday, Boca Ciega Bay and Gulfport – on anchor
We traveled down the ICW about 20 miles to Boca Ciega Bay. We chose this anchorage due to the north wind protection. Forecasts of 25 knot winds and a cold front coming our way. We anchored close to the dinghy dock at the City of Gulfport so Ozzy’s trips to shore would be short rides.
Nov 17, Thursday – on the hook
Gulfport is a cute small town, with shades of Micanopy. Somehow this little town has not been torn down and replaced with high rises and McMansions. Pleasant and friendly atmosphere with the two main streets catering to tourists and snow birds. We found a salon and Luke and I had our grooming. Now, the whole family is clean and neat.
Nov 18, Friday – Gulfport Municipal Marina
Well… the head has decided to not work so well. This is not something that you want to mess with at anchor just in case it cannot be repaired without replacement parts. Got to have a working potty. Heading to a marina.
We are in the Gulfport Municipal Marina. Luke worked on the head and I rode the bike to Save-A-Lot, Advanced Auto for parts, Family Dollar for T-Shirts and one load of laundry. The best part was that the rides back were all downhill.
Luke got the potty working splendidly!!!
Nov 19, Sat -Gulfport Municipal Marina
We went to the Gulfport 3rd Saturday event. Street musicians filled the air with interesting tunes and there were many vendors selling their wares on the street and most of the shops and restaurants were open. I love poking my toes into the waters of new places to see how it feels. This could almost be home.
Nov 20, Sun -Gulfport Municipal Marina
Laundry – Luke and I took a Lyft and hauled all of the laundry to the laundromat. Later I rode the bike downtown and cruised around.
Nov 21, Monday – Gulfport Municipal Marina
Ray Rodriguez, boat mechanic, worked with Luke on our generator. It had stopped pumping water, the impeller needed to be replaced. Then they worked on the heater and plan on labeling and streamlining some of our water system hoses. Looks like we will be in the marina one more day. Hmmm maybe more. Seems like a “special” nut on the generator has fallen into an inaccessible cavity.
As the Wind Blows…
The twerking cult let the dogs out. Just kidding. It has been an interesting few days.
Nov 10 – Shell Island- over night anchorage
Nov 11 – Anclote North Sand Bar – outside of Tarpon Springs
We pulled up anchor at Shell Island about 6am heading for Anclote. Our Gulf passage was smooth and uneventful except for the crab pots. Argh! We had to be constantly vigilant with watch to navigate around the dang things, constantly changing course.
Arrived at Anclote about 4pm. This is a sand bar on which people camp and fish. There were quite a few campers here for Veteran’s Day weekend. The water was clear enough for us to see the grassy bottom about 12 feet deep. Took Ozzy to shore for potty/run time. There were hundreds of birds on the shore. People would chase them and take photos. I am sure years ago after a few beers, I would have done the same thing. Now, I feel sorry for the birds. Funny how our perception of things change.
Nov 12 – Saturday
The sunrise was the most amazing that I can remember seeing . It filled the sky and water with color. We decided to move from this spot due to incoming high winds. It would be very rocky in this anchorage. Luke needs to do a repair to the hydraulic lift on the out drive. We are headed to a marina.
Tarpon Springs City Marina is full, so we are looking a moving further south maybe to Clearwater. Then the marina called back, they had a cancellation. We are heading into downtown Tarpon Springs.
Arrived at the marina about noontime. The town is ramping up for their seafood festival so the marina is fill and the boat slips are very tight. The boats are about 10-12 inches apart, just enough for a bumper between. This was our first experience of 4 point docking.
Soon after docking, the folks in the next boat woke up and came on deck with music cranked up playing “Who Let The Dogs Out”. I normally keep a bark collar on Ozzy because he is loud. However, considering the song and the decibel level. I took off his collar and let him sing along with the music. It was pretty funny.
The festival was an interesting diversion, but I never found the seafood??? We did run across the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile and joined in with a few others singing the Oh I Wish song… The festival vendors were all resellers, no original art (bummer). We got a couple of items and yummy desserts from the local bakery. Also, at the suggestion Mike, the dock master, we went to the takeout Greek restaurant. I had the best gyro ever!
As we returned to our boat our neighbors in the marina were in full party mode. LOUD music and large older women twerking each other in front of their husbands (?). Very interesting. There was a time when we would have been the loud drunks on the block, but we changed our ways. I reminded Luke so he would not say anything to dampen our neighbor’s fun. It gets better… the next door outside bar started their live music. So, we had our neighbors music and the bar music competing with each other. This was our lullaby and goodnight till midnight.
Nov 13 – Sunday
I assisted Luke with the out drive repair. We were able to fix it without new parts. One of the lines had become pinched. Problem solved, so we can leave the marina tomorrow.
To prepare to leave we need to decide where we are going and do we need anything. I need to get some mail from my sister so we looked for a post office near to the water in Madeira Beach. Ooops! Sister is on a week long cruise and cannot mail my stuff. Hmmm, another plan B. Good thing we are flexible.
Plan B – go to Dunedin.
Sunday afternoon, I took the Jolley Trolley for a ride. It went from Tarpon Springs to Dunedin and through downtown Clearwater. The oddest thing I experienced was Fort Harrison, the headquarters for the Scientologist (cult). The members were walking in lines between buildings all dressed exactly alike like little robots. The Jolley Trolley is an open air bus and they would not even look at us. I had read the book “Beyond Belief” by Jeanna Miscavige Hill describing her life and escape from this group. Wow! Those poor souls.
The Tarpon Springs dockmaster, Mike, took us to Winn Dixie on his Kubota. Fun! Thanks Mike.
Shout out to Brian and Gerri on Raven! Great to meet you. Looks like you had a fun sail!
Nov 14 – Monday
I had a meltdown this morning… still trying to adjust to our new living quarters. All is good, it is just difficult sometimes.
Nice Lady got a well-deserved bath and so did we! High tide is at 12:30 so we left about that time so we had an outgoing tide on the river. Getting out of the slip was tricky with the wind and the current. The slip was maybe 15 feet wide and our boat is 14 feet. Every boat I watched leaving that marina had troubles getting out. Just part of the daily life.
We traveled down the ICW to Dunedin. In the channel we did not have to worry about the crab pots. Luke has contacted Aunt Grace to see if we can meet for lunch.
We anchored out from the Dunedin City Marina. We are within walking distance of the shopping district and a bike path. Looking forward to exploring Dunedin and seeing Luke’s family. Thankfully, I have not seen anymore twerking.