On Island Time Now! Feb 7, 2016

We have booked ourselves into a very nice marina, Leeward Yacht Club and Marina, for a month.

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It feels good  to know that we don’t have to be overly concerned with the winds and weather for awhile. (Although I should do a count of the number of times Grant goes to check the lines!! lol!)

I think we are both still exhausted from the crossing! To bed anywhere between 7:30pm and getting to 9pm is a real stretch! We awake early too – with the local roosters at 5:30am. Maybe that explains the early bedtime!

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We are a short walk to a beach on the Atlantic Ocean, made it there the first morning here for sunrise

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The little town of New Plymouth is about a half hour walk

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That first walk was kind of funny. We were walking to the rules of the road – facing traffic only to find they drive on the opposite side of the road here and mostly in golf carts!

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Things run at an easy pace here. We were lucky to arrive on Thursday – that is the only day of the week that the phone company and bank is open.

There are a few little grocery stores – all with pretty much the same expensive items – a bag of 3 romaine hearts – $6.95. This is the reason we stocked the boat with lots of canned goods before we struck out.

Our first walk to town for our Bahama phone was fun! 20160204_135522

A good workout – a few hills! Once we got our phone hooked up it was time to explore and have lunch! Met Cory at the Liquor Store/Cafe – it was packed!20160204_13233920160204_12534720160204_124000

Had to sample the local beer – not bad at all! We were wanting to try conch salad but unfortunately the weather hasn’t been great and they haven’t been able to get out to harvest any.

After lunch we toured around town and got our bearings. The cute little houses are to colourful and the roads are very narrow!

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Here is the colourful police station

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Here is the old jail still standing

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The boating community consists of many Canadians – connected once again with Al and Linda – they are on a mooring ball not far away from us.

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Docktails are always fun and great way to connect with everyone. Going counter clockwise – here are our crossing boat buddies, Jim and Gwen from Alberta beside Grant. Al and Linda from Montreal and our new friends from Pembroke, Ontario – Bev and Rob Davidge.

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Yesterday was a fun filled day! Everyone was excited! The church was having a flea market – shopping!!! Grant and I walked into town while others dingying across the sound. It was packed! Golf carts everywhere!

We wandered town and we are getting to know everyone! One local lady told us to watch for Eddy on the government dock – he has the best conch salad and makes it right there while you wait. We were excited to see him setting up!

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This complete with homemade bread from the grocery store, my new plates from the flea market made a fantastic lunch!!

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Yesterday afternoon some gals from the marina invited me to go with them to check out a open house where the couple, from Ontario, were selling then sea glass jewellery. It was about a 5 mile walk total – getting my exercise for sure!! Here’s another beautiful beach that was on the way.

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Walked back with David and Gillian, our dock neighbors, and David introduced me to coconuts. Here David is showing Grant the steps to get into the delicious meat and juice.

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It’s a bit of a workout! Grandma’s big butcher knife was a close as we have to a machete and did the trick.

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First you remove the husk, then you are down to the nut. Now you look for “the monkey’s face”. A hole is punctured into one eye and the mouth and you drain the coconut water.

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Grant wants to use this as his new profile picture on Facebook!!

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Now you take a hammer and break the shell – delicious!!

The coconut water is great in our new drink that David told us about as well – Rum and Tonic with a twist of lime!!

Cheers!

 

The Crossing!! Jan 21-Feb 5

When we last reported the shaft was coming out, apparently not without a fight, it took my new buddy and I the best part of the morning to uncouple the shaft and convince it that it was coming out.

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I took it with the mechanic to a machine shop that specializes in this stuff where I had dropped the prop the day before. The guy asked me if this was off the same boat and I told him we were bringing the boat over one piece a day.

The shaft was toast ..only 30 some years old, cheap thing….. just kidding. New shiny shaft and refurbished prop all ready to go. These guys are amazing.

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Meanwhile Cindy looking for something to do as greasy mechanical stuff is not her forte decided to set up a chair in the yard and make some jewelry. The boatyard is right beside the cruise ship terminal and parking lot. I look out the door to check on her and what the heck? She has two old guys at the fence and shes selling them bracelets and earrings lol.

Looked like a drug deal

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Paying for the boat repairs ..atta girl!

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Cindy had given bracelets to a few of the guys that had helped us in and got us settled. Phil being one had said he wanted to show her something …be afraid. But as it turned out Phil is an origami wizard with palm leaves. He came aboard and wove a bird and a fish letting us video so later we can frustrate the heck out of ourselves trying to reproduce what obviously took him a long time to master.

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Phil …great guy

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With the boat back together we headed for a marina at the north end of Lake Worth to sit out a day of 35 plus knot winds. What else is new? The next day we moved to a good anchorage at the north end not far away.

Nice sunset north Lake Worth.

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TV reception is great here and we have a dedicated weather channel. We are anchored out with 30 other boats most waiting to do the crossing. GUESS WHAT …yup another strong front with a strong possibility of tornado’s…. oh great.

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Pretty blustery

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There were two tornado’s that touched down that day, fortunately not near us.

A calm evening

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Well what you read isn’t always what you get and a sail boater weather man is still a sailor. The forecast was for “mild motoring”… perhaps we should have requested a definition.

We chose to leave from Lake Worth on Sunday January 31st after waiting a month for the window to appear. We moved the night before with our buddy boat Chimera II a 36 Monk trawler that travels about the same speed as us.

Chimera – Jim and Gwen from Beaverlodge, Alberta currently doing the great loop.

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So while we waited that afternoon these guys happened by, apparently they were fishing for shark, taking turns as bait?

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It was a very calm night.

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The day started early leaving at 6 am, a somewhat late start for a crossing but the dark isn’t comforting and there is traffic, large traffic. We knew the outlet at Lake Worth would be a rough ride due to tidal current and a predicted east wind, and it was. We had researched that this would only last perhaps a mile or two out, however this wasn’t the case. Our first traffic was a cruise ship all lit up, very pretty and Cindy went to take a picture, lost her balance and came down hard on the edge of the bench seat. She is currently nursing what we suspect is either a bruised or broken tail bone. She said she heard and felt a definite crunch. This did not bode well.

As you can see it was too rough to get an image.

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It was dark and our heading was 125 degrees … but the compass wasn’t illuminated so a flashlight was in order.

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Our second encounter was this guy, I’m pretty sure he altered course for us as we cut right across in front of him. You can see his size compared to Chimera II.

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The idea is to come out of Lake Worth and head south of West End, Bahamas because the Gulf Stream or actually the Florida current as its properly called runs north at about 5-6 mph. So when you’re crossing you get pushed 5 miles north for every hour your in it. The theory was we travel well south and then get an advantage from the current. NOPE…. we were in the current 6 miles out, couldn’t get south enough and did what was called crabbing (traveling sideways against the current) for ten hours. Our speed dropped to about 4-5 mph and we got POUNDED.

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The seas were confused in the stream, coming from every which way. And it was worsening. The forecast was for 1-2 foot waves with a east wind of about 10 knots (mild motoring). We heard a sailboat report that the seas were 4-5 with the occasional 6 footer and 25 mph winds steady from the east …crikey.

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The effect on the boat was very tiring, it would nose dive and bury the bow and then wallow and roll. Cindy had to brace herself the entire time, there was no moving around, it was simply too dangerous.

There was a 5 gallon water jug with a pump in the main salon and it decided that this would be a good time to empty itself.

The anchor popped out of its cradle and started banging up and down making it necessary to scramble down and crawl forward to lift it back in place and tie it with a piece of rope.

Heavy slogging

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(Photo Credit – Jim & Gwen aboard Chimera II)

Now I have so say Cindy is amazing, she said “well at least it isn’t raining and we have seen worse” just not for so long … and we didn’t say the  “I love you ..its been a great life ..” we just got beat up.

After ten long hours we began to see land, the landmark is a water tower …talk about euphoria… my liver began quivering I wanted a drink so bad !!

The rules dictate that you have to fly a yellow quarantine flag upon arrival. Well we had to lower the US courtesy flag and hoist the yellow one. WOW… try that with the boat bouncing 10 feet up and down, I had an arm and a leg wrapped around the mast flinging back and forth to and fro …. people pay for rides like these lol!

Land ho!! Honestly…

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Old Bahama Bay, West End Bahamas

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I got off the boat and went to immigration. They were so nice, quick and courteous … with a “Your first time to the Bahamas? Well enjoy!”

Taking down the quarantine flag and hoisting our Bahama courtesy flag WOOT!!

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Old Bahama Bay resort … deserted.

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The beach there

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The cost to stay at Old Bahama bay with the mandatory 15 dollar per day water charge and flat charge for power of $32 per day makes it cost prohibitive. Had it been cheaper we might have stayed to recover.

Our next destination was Great Sale Cay somewhere around 40 miles east in the middle of the Sea of Abaco. A half way stop that provides good protection from most wind directions.

We just had to get onto the bank through a narrow shallow channel.

The water color is beautiful, you can see the bottom 25 feet down, Cindy’s all chick-lets!!

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Blue, blue, blue …. note the anchor still tied in place lol.

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We encountered a squall but the sea was dead calm, such a relief from the day before. Here is Chimera II and you can see there’s nothing else Nada for miles.

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The anchorage was nice, nothing there, the cay was all scrub brush and low lying but the water clean and it was so, so calm.

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There were a million stars in the clear sky I’ve never seen anything like it the water a flat as glass reflecting the stars it was truly a beautiful night.

Our next anchorage was Pensacola/ Allen’s Cay they used to be two but a hurricane decided to change things and made them into one. Cindy had talked to a boater who had been coming to the Bahamas for 35 yrs and said this was a good stop on the way to Green Turtle Cay our destination.

DOLPHINS !!

Spotted a long way off on the calm waters it was incredible to see them turn and come for the boat.

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At the bottom of this picture you can see him/her about 50 feet away!

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Again a flat calm day – very, very few and far between … we are so luck as this is BIG water. A whole lotta nothin.

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We arrived about 2 pm into Allen’s Cay anchorage and settled in it was pretty, not what we expected. I wasn’t sure what to expect and was a little overwhelmed with the distances and the abundance of nothing. We had dragged a hook all day … nothing. There was lots of water but nothing else. To be honest I was not sure I really liked it.

Must have been tired, a lot of traveling, no auto pilot and worries about the boat. Cindy fed me spaghetti and we retired early ..very early.

The next day dawned sunny and warm with a brisk breeze. We are still traveling with our crossing buddy boat and had spoke to them about going ashore to see the beach. On the way in there was a fellow on the beach so we dingy over and lo and behold …. your not going to BELIEVE this. Its a guy we spoke to on a trawler on the Rideau canal system about 10 years earlier. He had told us about the Great Loop and going to the Bahamas. We had seen his boat in the anchorage, and I’d said to Cindy it looks familiar as its a one of a kind.

We asked him about it and he said yes ..I them told him “this is all your fault” lol.

Mike and Sue (not pictured here)…look at that water !

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Sheena II

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We talked on length and I asked him if there might be a guy local guy I might hire to teach me to fish here and he said he fishes and would teach me.

NEW BEST-EST FRIEND !!

We fished for a few hours I hit him with every question I could about the 15 yrs he’s been coming here. I swear it was therapeutic I felt 1000 percent better it was a ray of sunshine!!

Oh and we didn’t catch a darn thing…. lol

Mike and Sue came for happy hour I opened a 15 yr old bottle of rum given to me by Bob and Carol Sears for Christmas, Id been waiting for a special event and here it was. Cindy and I got so much information it was fantastic …thank you Mike and Sue!!

We explored the island, it was small with a lot of coral shore.

Apparently they have a sense of humor here – or they are just plain cruel… contrary to what is advertised there is no pizza on the island I looked!!

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The island has a lot of residents … bugs ..holy cow we had to do a mad dash to the beach.

Trail with conch shells to start

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The trail, run Cindy run!!

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There is a signing tree where everyone leaves their mark, its quite a fixture.

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Someone build a swing

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The section of beach is beautiful

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The coral contained tons of sea glass and Cindy was having a blast.

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Glass treasure

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This rope had been attached to something…large

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We struck out the next morning headed for Green Turtle Cay and the settlement of New Plymouth.

Sheena II ahead of us leaving the anchorage.

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We are here for the next month, with the intention of looking for nice breaks in the weather to explore anchorages on day trips. Treating ourselves to a marina with pool and happy hour bar. Most everyone is Canadian here and the community is very small.

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We currently have a nasty front coming through with winds up to 50 knots, We are off to town a 15 minute walk to see of the conch salad guy is at the ferry dock as reported and see what trouble we can get into.

We are tired but safe and relieved so cheers for now

Planes Boats and Tornado’s Oh My Jan 4-20

Well we are still looking for that perfect window to cross, call us chicken of the sea or just overly cautious. Our buddy boat Adirondack made it across all be it with a north wind, a beam sea, and arriving in the dark – not to our liking. So we fretted for days before deciding not to go and sadly we had second thoughts even after they made it there, that we made the wrong decision, but hey if we are not comfortable so be it.

Ever find yourself wishing for a dull moment? Well it’s never a dull moment, there is always that project, anchoring issues, weather or leaks and well who knows it’s a boat.

We had the joy of new crew, Laurie, joining us for 10 days, met up with looper buddies and took in West Palm Beach ka -ching!!

I tried my hand at sealing the upper deck which seemed to go well, messy as heck, but went well.(PROJECT)

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We sat in Peck Lake and Jeff and Susan on Gran Vida joined us, it was windy as all get out (weather and anchoring).

Jeff and I putted around Peck Lake looking for catch a fish or two. We did hook up with a sting ray which created some concern, conversation and a immediate shore visit to get the poor thing released, successfully.

Gran Vida

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We had to leave early the next day to get down Riviera Beach Municipal Marina to get a rental and pick up crew at the airport… woo hoo!!

The ICW (Inter-Coastal Waterway) is starting to look more and more like a canal with big houses lining it.

The traffic is all south bound and we chased and passed a few sailboats on the way down.

From here on in its very developed so there’s a lot of bridges to contend with.

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We saw a cool place advertised as Dockominiums

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This guy has a unique way of getting people out of his way

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More beautiful homes, giant gazebos

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So as luck would have it Gran Vida and Chesapeake (Joe and Connie) made it down to the same area we were in. We had chosen to anchor in the basin across from West Palm Beach but the bridge was only opening on the hour. It was and had been raining all day and we missed the bridge opening. Decision was made to go to the marina a day early but as we traveled back north we crossed paths with our looper buddies, we followed Jeff and Susan into the anchorage and hooked up for the night.

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Next morning we got up early and hurried over to the marina, lots to do, food trip, car rental and laundry. We always read that anchoring close to the marina prior to the reservation allows you to get in early and the world is your oyster, yes indeed.

This marina is so close to the inlet that the water is beautiful, clean, clear and you can see a million fish. This guy was spectacular.

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We picked Laurie up that evening at Ft Lauderdale Airport and immediately went for seafood dinner at a crab shack.

The waitress dresses you in these and then gives you each one of these043 And then delivers this

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Pandemonium ensues – there was stuff flying everywhere, Cindy was really enjoying the process …which kinda sacred me, in fact she wanted to bring one of the hammers home, not sure what for, perhaps a correction device? The crab was great!!

Now back on the boat with our new crew stuffed into the forward berth, we woke to our neighbor going up his mast. If you’ve never seen this its not for the faint of heart and you need some serious upper body strength to hoist yourself up. A great reason to own a trawler as opposed to a sailboat!

Story is he had inches to spare as he went under  abridge and of course got waked   (where a large wake from another boat that refuses to slow rocks you) and as you can image at the top of the mast 60 some feet away makes the rocking motion magnified. Long story short he clipped the lights on the bridge with the top of his mast and creamed his wind gauges. Cripes.

Now you really need to have a lot of faith in your partner, she holds your line tight. Make sure shes happy, has had her coffee (in Cindy’s case) and that you’ve made verbal plans to treat her royally AFTER this job. In Don Kerr’s case a full emotional bank account before attempting?…. right Brenda?

Half way to the top

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So what does my new friend do whilst up there? Only the coolest thing imaginable …takes a picture of our boat no less. Too Cool !!

This is a cruise ship port and they come in and out on a regular basis. Honk their horn and are best described and giant.

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So if a boater has a rental car where do they go? Walmart of course , so we treated Laurie to a trip to the Super Centre, oh the thrills. Our purpose was to gather more provisions, I’m beginning to wonder of we might be getting a little obsessive in our need to provision.

Lunch was out of a chuck wagon that had BBQ,  we saw it on the way into the Super Centre parking lot, actually it was in the parking lot. It smelled so good as we drove by and the parking lot was full.

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This is where the smoking took place, and his job was to stoke the fire. Not being one to eat out of a van in the Walmart parking lot, it was surprisingly excellent and no one died which is a good thing.

Last night at the marina, beautiful, and another cruise ship leaving.002

By this time Jeff and Susan and Joe and Connie had moved down to the basin anchorage in front of West Palm beach. Its a great anchorage but you’ve got to be careful of shoaling. The town has a free dock to dingy to and tie to during the day.

I have to say West Palm Beach is a great stop, they have no end to activities, free concerts in the park downtown, tons of bars and restaurants and a fantastic farmers market on Saturdays.

West Palm Beach by day – town dock in the background

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Dingy into the town dock, Crow, Vida and Chesapeake in the background.

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The farmers market was a blast.

There was a fresh bread vendor, one of my many vices. OK in my defense I “intended” to purchase a healthy loaf of bread. Informed Cindy that I was going to buy a loaf, got the nod of approval, which is reassuring and I headed for a loaf of whole grain or muslix or something made with organic non gluten healthy stuff.

I had my eye on the perfect bread and then …..this guy beside me says to his buddy “jalapeno cheese bread, can’t get it many places, dude it”s soooo good” …geeze…. what comes out of my mouth?..I’ll have what he’s having. The damn loaf was heavy to carry around, I had to keep switching hands. Next morning we toasted some slices and butter wouldn’t stick to it, it just ran off. But oh it was sooo good!!

Bread vendor

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There was all sorts of food stuffs

There’s a bar for the beer

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They also hold a flea market on the same day, lots of color and people. Cindy was particularly interested in the slinky bracelets for her girlfriend Julie.

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We did a side trip with the other boat folks to the arts district in West Palm Beach.  There is a free trolley and you know what, they have bars there, and a happy hour.

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We landed in the Dos Amigos, yup a Mexican bar. We had buckets of 5 Corona for 10 bucks, which was not actually happy hour. So we had a cold beer and then did the tour. And as luck would have it we landed back at the Dos Amigos at happy hour … who would have guessed.

They had their own line of hot sauce, we grabbed a bottle!

Our bartender Sarah became our new best friend bonding with six noisy northerners. She even brought us a house special gratis …WOOT!!041

We made our way back to the town centre by trolley, a little rowdier that before and found a pizza joint. You have to realize that anchorages and marinas are not built where services, grocery stores or pizza joints are located. So we ordered out and delivered back by dingy to the Crow where Jeff and Susan joined us. Excellent, even bad cold pizza is better than no pizza ….

West Palm Beach by night

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In the morning a hawk or eagle?  had decided that Chesapeake anchor light was a good perch.

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What stop in West Palm Beach would be complete without an exotic car show?

OMG Sunday was fabulous, there were all the dealers represented, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bentley , Porsche, BMW ..and then there were the owned cars.. Amazing sitting on the boat listening to these cars arrive, it sounded like a formula one race.

Cindy found Brenda’s car, reportedly stolen in December, better look under the car cover Brenda. Apparently by two old hippies that started a very successful hemp store and now have expensive taste… want it back Brenda?

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The worlds only Race LADA

Note the warnings

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This little charmer stole the show

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There was a Huey helicopter on display, it had actually taken part in Vietnam and had the bullet holes to prove it. I climbed aboard and cant believe how rudimentary the entire machine was. Hard to believe that all appendages need to be in-sync in order to fly the thing. I appear confused trying to figure out how the it worked.

We packed her in next morning, our other boater buddies moved south and we went north hanging around for the next weather window.

This yacht Anastasia crossed our path going into the Rybovich super yacht harbor, she is #44 on the list of largest yachts …wonder how many crew she has? That’s about a 20 foot tender out front.

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We chose Cannonsport Marina as it was on the Palm Beach Shores side, had a pool and hot tub. It was very nice, but we were the pour cousin, most boats were sport fishers of about 85 feet. See if you can spot us.

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Cindy trying to text at the pool (heated pool) oh yes it was nice !!

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We had access to the public beach and took advantage of the nice day…yes day,  not many nice ones unfortunately.

These guys were really amazing, how the heck do they hold their heads up with beaks like this?

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Beach

So we met up with our buddy boat folks Jeff and Sally on a Monk Trawler called Adirondack. They met us for lunch and took us to the Rybovich super yacht harbor. They were staying at the north marnia and took us down to the south marina where the big boys dock. Lunch was at the on site restaurant with some of the crew members.

Some of the boats – yachts …ships?

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Our not to be buddy boat folks, much braver than us Jeff and Sally

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Do you notice the overcast sky’s? Well while we were having lunch everyone’s phones started alerting us to severe weather by sounding a very scary alert tone. Everyone’s phone in the restaurant was beeping, everyone suddenly quiet and looking at their phones. It was a tornado alert. Yup we did a hasty walk through and I noticed that the crews were busy stowing things. Putting out extra giant fenders, and generally looking to the sky with fretting looks. I asked one crew member if he was preparing for the storm. They can view it on the ship’s radar and he told me that there was a very severe front coming about 20 minutes away …Yikes ..end of tour back to the car. Phones continued to sound alarms and we hurried back to the boat.

This picture does not in any way do it justice.

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We made it back to the marina just as the front hit, it was wild,  sheets of rain howling wind and huge wave whipped up. The boat sustained some rubbing damage against the dock but nothing a little sanding and stain wont fix.The same storm brought 85 knot winds to the West End of the Bahamas…yikes!!

Another cruise ship on its way out…

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This is the channel in front of the Cannonsport Marina, its like a highway as its the short cut to the outlet, very busy at the best of times but ridiculous on weekends.

Now look at the picture below on the left side of the house you will see the trawler Adirondack heading out to the Bahamas, zoomed in, normal view below. Kind of funny – we wishing we were going too but the boat in the foreground says it all – “Nervous Water|” – that’s us!!

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Just left of the house zoomed in and normal view.

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Well it was time to say goodbye to Laurie we had a ton of fun, relaxed and recreated. We rented another car and took her to the Palm Beach airport.

Sad to see her go

So  we returned the car, and headed out. Intending to anchor in the North Palm Beach anchorage of Lake Worth. The wind came up to around 20 knots (22-25 mph) from the north and we got bounced around pretty good (anchoring and weather). We chose to move back to the West Palm Beach basin, much more protected but there’s a lot of tide current and every 6 hours you swing 180 degrees. Now this is where it gets interesting.

They say trouble comes in threes, and we can now confirm that this is true. Tide and wind makes for strange occurrences. You might be pushed by the wind but the tide will counteract to the point where your anchor isn’t actually doing anything.

Here is where it starts, there is a boat, OK yacht in the basin about 50 feet long and he and his partner appear to be living on it. We anchor between him and shore about a 100 feet away. It gets dark, the tide changes and the wind, I look out the window, he’s 30 feet away with his stern heading our way. Now he’s 20 feet away, “Grab the flashlight” Cindy says , we have one of those incineration flashlights that can melt plastic close up. I give him a blast right into his double glass doors. Apparently they eat cheerios, they were on his kitchen counter – he was that close – I could see them!!

He comes out just in time to pull his dingy out of the way and we find out he’s on 100 plus feet of anchor rope. So imagine the centre and his total swing would be 200 feet.

We agree to watch out for each other as we will have another pass in 6 hours, monitor the radio.

That was number 1

So while this was going on a sail boat about 30ish feet long comes in and anchors between us and the shore. Cool more company, he’s a respectable distance away, excellent.

Number 2 begins

We head to bed, and I hear the bilge pump working, weird. I don’t usually hear anything Cindy says um…I hear water running…Cindy can hear a bead drop at a 100 yards. OH lord out of bed and head in the bilge. Yup – we have a river running and its coming from our so called drip less seal that seals the drive shaft where it goes through the hull. OMG we are sinking (not really – but if I hadn’t found it….) I was able to jury rig a temporary fix and got it down to a drip. Not knowing exactly how they work I wasn’t sure of a cure. We agreed that I would be checking through the night and Cindy would listen for the bilge pump.

Number 3

I awake about 2am and have a check, all ok, then glance out the window and the sail boat looks weird. Yup he’s hard aground, the tide went out, its about 3 plus feet that changes and he’s literally laying on his side not more than 30 feet away. Holy crap.

Not being able to do anything for the poor guy I try and snap a picture and go back to bed.

4am .. sound asleep, I mean DEEP sleep, I vaguely hear a hello in the back of my mind, then Cindy says I responded with a quiet hello  … suddenly realizing the cabin is full of light ..damn we left the Wine gums out he must see them, he too has a lightning bolt flashlight and is that close. Holy crap!!! Cindy said I leap out of bed and yelled HELLO !!!  in no particular direction. Ran out back and we are about to collide with this guy, he can’t move still being aground but fairly upright now, we have swung in the tide ..oh lord… what to do??…ran around front and pulled on the anchor rope and pulled us away. I can’t believe how close we were to that shoal, its a wonder we didn’t go aground ..someone is really looking out for us.

Number 2A

Ok,  we averted disaster, called the nearest marina for a lift out and got a contractor lined up. Relief, now to travel the mile or so for the 11 am lift out. Figure we will get through the  bridge that only opens on the hour bridge ..nope not this hour – don’t open on Mondays due to construction traffic -had to wait another full hour. Water has now begun to enter the boat. Bilge pump 1 is keeping up. Get through the bridge and slowly travel, it seems to reduce the water coming in. Now pump two is running,  apparently #1 cant keep up. Now I’m using the emergency hand pump as well as the two pumps can’t keep up… we get her into the lift out slip early .thank you, thank you, thank you.

All we can say is thank goodness this didn’t happen on the crossing 30 miles out.

The Crow being moved to her spot for the next few days, it is now a race to get her fixed before Monday and our first really good crossing window. Prop off and being re-balanced, apparently the vibration loosened the seal. All is good now.

Moving into our temporary home

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Our view

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New sub that the US is testing for the Navy Seals

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The yard next door

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I worry about Cindy when she goes for a walk, but she sent me this picture so I’d know she was safe

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When we brought the boat in I said do you smell cigarette smoke? Turns out is Molasses storage…weird.

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Well its been a wild two weeks or so, Tornado’s, near sinking, free drinks at the Dos Amigos and lots of fun with old and new friends. As we speak it’s Thursday the shaft will now be pulled and checked for straightness..oh joy ..but we will try very hard to be ready for Monday crossing as we have 2 days of less than 10 knot winds predicted.

Here’s hoping, cheers for now !!!

Peck Lake Dec 22nd to Jan 3rd

Our unexpected stay at Sebastian River Marina was much better than anticipated.  Jeff and Susan had their car, a Mustang convertible and they took us out the ocean beach for a little recreation.

Jeff and I fished and he was a natural.

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Question… Ive seen it done, heard of it many times and fished with others who insisted on doing it. Yes I’m talking about FISH KISSING, one great guy, Dennis Caswell who has unfortunately passed on. Well he insisted on laying a lip lock on every trout he caught. Prior to every trip he would announce that he was going fish kissing, not fishing ..just kissing. Let me tell you, pack yourself into a two man ice fishing tent with a guy that’s hell bent to kiss a fish and hes gets skunked, well you get my drift , I spent a lot of time outside the tent.

So Jeff tells me he hasn’t fished a lot and wanted to learn how beach fishing went. He’s a natural … see for yourself.

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Kissing a Catfish … well almost. It was a great afternoon, we caught a ton of catfish and a keeper whiting.

Mornings at the marina provided some spectacular sunrises.

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… Well after 5 days we are on our way, a thousand dollars lighter, as they say B.O.A.T. (Break Out Another Thousand ). We have the generator repaired and a good tune up to the dingy motor to boot. The folks were great at Sebastian Inlet Marina. One part, a bracket was $157.00 and the owner felt so bad about it he didn’t bill us for the slip!

Cindy kept busy and put all those shells she had be hoarding to good use making a beautiful wreath for Christmas.

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We actually decorated with a couple strings of lights and a few ornaments we have acquired in the last year or so, it looked quite Christmas like.

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The plan was to be at Peck Lake on the ICW (Inner Coastal Waterway) before Christmas so we could be at anchor for the 25th. We had about 120 miles to travel so that meant 1 night at transit anchorage and then Peck Lake. We travel about 40 miles a day comfortably. And with a tide opposing it slows us considerably.

We realized that one of us, namely Grant forgot a boat key in Jeff and Susan’s car. Cripes! Well Jeff to the rescue, he jumped in his dingy and met us as we on the ICW.

Big thanks Jeff!!

The trip down to Peck lake was uneventful we found a good anchorage on the north side of the Jensen Beach Bridge.

A little boat advertisement

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This is a screen capture out of Active Captain, a user based review map that shows, marinas, anchorages and hazards. We used the green #6 location. You simply poke on the number and a review and access instructions pop up. It’s great.Jensen Beach Bridge 1

This is Peck lake #4

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This location has really good access to the beach, we just drop the dingy and motor over to a path that leads directly to the beach. The only down side to the anchorage is that its just off the ICW and there isn’t a speed limit so the bigger boats really rock everyone. I also have to mention the no see ums … they are small, they get through the window screens and they BITE… Me (Grant) I’m allergic to the little mothers … they call them “ALL JAWS” cause anything that can bite like that must be all jaws.

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But the beach makes up for it big time, like Cindy says there no such thing as the perfect anchorage.

Cindy had us all set up for Christmas dinner, she had found a Butterball frozen Turkey breast, stove top stuffing, gravy and all the fixings. We decided to do the turkey on the BBQ to keep the heat down in the boat. Christmas day was somewhere around 80 degrees.

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Christmas eve was spent on the bow listening to Christmas music and watching the full moon and the other boats.

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It was very quiet Christmas morning, a beautiful sunrise and a cup of coffee with Cindy’s newest find for cream.

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We spent a total of 10 days at anchor, fishing the beach every day, Cindy walked 8 or more Km everyday, doing a beach fishing report. Anyone fishing she would check them out, what they were catching and what they were using. She was my beach intelligence.

Things you don’t see every day a blimp going by

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The beach is spectacular

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This little guy was pretty brave

Cindy became very selective in her beach combing – here is a before and after of some new pendants she created.

Well after ten days it was time to go in to a marina and wash the boat, fill the water tanks and do some domestic stuff. We needed groceries and GASP!  I’ve run out of bait !!

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Our destination is Loggerhead Marina 15 miles away in Stuart.

There are some big boats here, we are the little dark blue canvas at the end of the dock on the left.

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We met up with some Canadians, Al and Linda on Allynda from Montreal. They have become our new best friends – they have a car!!! Linda took us right away to Publix to replenish the stores – we were out of all perishables.

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Cindy enjoys her walks so we headed over the big bridge to the other marina, a might congested you could say.

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A beer later , there’s always a reward at the end of a good walk, kinda like the rainbow 🙂

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The trip gets a lot more adventurous from here on in, our plans are to anchor out again in Peck lake then head to Fort Lauderdale to a marina where we pick up Laurie, my sister, our Bahama crew member.

We have met a few folks who have similar boats and are heading across the gulf around the 10th of January. We are seeing a decent window coming around the that time and we are going to stage at the Lake Worth outlet for the 10 hour crossing to the Bahama’s.

BAHAMAS HERE WE COME!!!! FINGERS CROSSED!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Florida Bound Nov-Dec 20/15

The plan is stop through Napanee/ Kingston, collect mail and take 3-4 days to get to Daytona. Work on the boat maintenance, there’s always a ton to do on an older trawler. Work three weeks, play a little possibly and then fly out of Fort Lauderdale to the Dominican Republic for my daughter’s wedding. Come back splash the boat and sail off into the sunset, that WAS the plan.

Actually our B&B for the weekend as it were – was at Pam and Grant’s a lovely place …except for the spiders …. I hate spiders … it was Halloween and Pam had decorated the room. They were off with their grand kids tricking or treating and had left the place for us.

The spiders were hilarious and the wine she left out for us very welcomed after a drive through Toronto.

The next day I went to see my cousin Brian, he’s a veterinarian in Kingston, to get 6 months supply of pills for our dog Brewster. Cindy went to lunch with Deb and Muriel.

Grant (the nicer one) offered me Pam’s car…I recall this as if it happened yesterday..he hands me the key…saying that he had to repair it and to replace it was something like 300 bucks… Sister Mary Joseph!

I got to Brian’s and he had prepared a huge breakfast and we were to go golf the nearby course .. fast forward ..hole 4 .. reach into pocket for a reassuring touch to the 300 dollar key…GONE!!!…HOLY $%^#… yup dropped that baby on the leaf strewed course between hole 1 and 4 … all par 4-5 …. needless to say the focus was no longer golf but key recovery.

I walked the entire section twice back and forth trying to retrace steps …nothing..car is in Kingston, company coming for dinner, 40 minute drive …not good… I spy Brian on hole 3 … walk up to him ..he hands it to me … a bottle of good scotch can fetch up to 300 bucks.

Monday found us heading south, last minute items covered, car packed with bottom paint, 84 bottles of wine and, well it was STUFFED.

Border crossing smooth, drive good.

One rest stop puts you beside the Dismal Swamp, this is part of the Inter-coastal waterway – was very cool.

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Stopped in Virgina Beach for a night, deserted.

 

 

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Starting to see cotton fields …going south

 

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Stopped to see Byron and Cynthia aboard Bright Angel – the deal was Canadian Maple Syrup for Bahamas charts and cruising guide …it was a good deal – so good that we added a can of Habitant Pea soup (with ham of course) and a chunk of old cheddar.

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Next stop was a chance to see Joe and Connie aboard Chesapeake, they were doing the before launch maintenance and took time out to have dinner – good laughs.

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We made it to Sandcastle Motel

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and booked in for 17 days, having only stayed there briefly last spring we didn’t realize what a community they have there and yes 5 o’clock happy hour!!

We met great folks staying here. The owners were very involved with a real down to earth atmosphere.

Became great friends with Glenda and Bill – from up state New York.

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Meet the newest deck hand –

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Edie from Napanee – small world and at this point she just found out she would be a deck hand so she’s smiling ….sort of, and I’m thinking she might be giving me the finger!! lol!!!

The owners Lonnie and Vic are originally from Chicago and are big Chicago Bears fans so when there’s a game on they host a tailgate party in the parking lot, hot dogs, chicken legs and a big screen..it was great fun.

Sandcastle is a great spot, reasonable, very clean and right on the beach. The rooms all have a kitchenette and there’s all of the necessary stores to stock up within a mile. Did I mention it is on the beach and has a pool to boot!!

Couldn’t resist after 6 months I had to go fishing – whiting for dinner a couple nights ..yum.

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We took in a flea market near the speedway and there was an orange grower there selling. OMG … best oranges we have ever tasted.

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The Boat – ah yes … well it didn’t fair that well, Florida is brutal in the summer. The bright work survived, which was a blessing but the upper deck cover collapsed and filled with water. We had arranged to have it shrink covered before we left but the guy never showed up … thanks Mr Shrink it. Cripes it was not pretty and made for a lot more work. We had to replace the aft hatch cover as it hadn’t been built with marine plywood …thanks Mike ….and the boat  was just dirty … black from the air. No mold thank goodness the dehumidifier ran well through the summer.

Bottom sanding

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New water tanks .. had it all planned in my head, easy job …. ha ha ha ha

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Oh yes and a composting head, upon its arrival there was a brief discussion with the Admiral … apparently this is the responsibility of the captain and yes I wanted to be captain, not such a glamorous job me thinks.

The Admiral polishing and painting the mast – it looks spiffy now.

This guy hung out a lot ..not sure where he is now … stow away?

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Well we got almost all the projects completed and the bottom painted and it was time to pack up and head to the wedding.

We landed at the same time as the wedding party from Alberta there were about 38 on the flight – we had side arrangements to get to the resort so we beat em there.

Christmas tree at Now Larimar the Resort in Punta Cana – greeted by a welcome drink – ps Dana – my outfit wasn’t planned!! lol!!!

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Our pool oasis complete with Juan the semi retired cirque du soleil performer.

The wedding – simply put was spectacular – I was a wreck sorry don’t do events well. See, not really committing to the picture here ..cripes. Here we are prior to the wedding with Barry’s awesome folks – Ros and Mike

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Beautiful couple – Mr & Mrs Peyton!!!

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Maid of honor – Kim

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So I had to speak and its funny I wanted to and at the same time was uncomfortable – weird, I have it in my head what I wanted to say, should have known this wasn’t the best idea after the in head water tanks plans went sideways – anyway forgot everything, thought of my cousin Brian at the scotch club ( another one I owe him for and a good story if I ever have a scotch and you have the time to hear), started to stutter, a little emotional – in comes Kory with a K … saved the day – grabbed the mike said something , reeled me in and I finished up with a smile – to Jessica and Barry all the best that life offers your a wonderful couple and your so right for each other – we love you very much!

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Father daughter dance

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Excursion time – deep sea fishing – son in law asks if I want to go – HELL YA…

It was bumpy, in fact it was 2-3 footers in the anchorage BEHIND the reef – we loaded 10 hung over party animals into a panga and take em to the fishing boat. There was a lot of enthusiasm, were gonna catch a ton of fish, there gonna be huge, woo hoo etc etc .. a lot of optimism…

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The fishing boat – nice size, good looking boat

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Rule #1 – never drink your face off before setting sail

Two more hanging off the back – LOL

Zac’s conversation with deck hand – sweat pouring from his head

Zac – Dude… I can’t do this

Deck hand – blank look no response

Zac – how much longer ?

Deck hand – 3 1/2 hours he replies (4 hour trip)

Zac – When do we stop ?

Deck hand – we don’t stop

Zac – WHAT !!! We just drive around , this is it !!! Holy crap !!

Zac – Barry !! Barry !! I can’t do this !!! Guys !! Guys !! .. Can we go back .. seriously I’m serious….I can’t do this !!!

It was priceless – poor guy it was rough we were going through 6-8 foot swells and they were disorganized so we were back and forth and up and down. Barry came to me and said is there anything I can do and I said try to stare at the horizon and that might help with the motion sickness… we both look …couldn’t see the horizon … yup it was rough

One fish, a Mahi Mahi, I caught it, as rest of crew except for one other, Josh, was incapacitated.

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Next up was a catamaran trip with snorkeling, first scheduled for 8 am but delayed until 2 pm … all inclusive resort – put two and two together and the kids were ready to party!

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We took a count – 18  we had a blast and returned with 18 !!

It was a nice resort, met a lot of new friends and family, but we were ready to get back to As the Crow Flies, get in the water and get started, enough of the land lubber life!

Of course launch day, a Monday, and the lift broke!!! At least it wasn’t while we were in it!!

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Tuesday in the water – heading to New Smyrna Beach Municipal Marina – Cindy drove the car and the new deck hand, Edie, handled lines.

Ready to go

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On the road – literally

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Dropping in

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Ok, just want to take this moment to reassure my navigator – as there was a comment that well if I’m not needed to help you to the marina well then, maybe you don’t really need me.

Wrong… did you know that even if your sorta headed up stream in a channel that takes you to a marina its considered return or red right facing the marina… well if anyone says piloting after a 6 month layoff is like riding a bicycle poke em in the eye. I got left of the channel ran her right through a shoal and just barely got back into the deeper water. In fact I used my inside voice and said to Edie …ah I’m lost here, where am I, oh Jesus, we just ran aground….new crew, so I didn’t scream ..BUT I wanted to!!! Where is Cindy!!! I need her!!!

On our way – see Edie smiling

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Moments before …. Edie still smiling – Cindy sad waving goodbye

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At New Smyrna Beach – Edie saying how do I get off this thing LOL …no smile

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Honestly it was a great trip, Edie was a big help and it went smoothly. She even brought be a bottle of sparkling wine and a card for my birthday – thanks so much 🙂

Next up, we still had the car so we did a provisioning run to Costco and bought the place out – plus a Costco hot dog … man that was good.

Boat full … it was actually tough to divide, organize and store all this stuff. You don’t want to be buying much other than fresh fruit and veggies in the Bahama’s – last report TP – 4 rolls – ten bucks US.

Boat filled – all set we think, time to run the car to Clearwater to Bob and Carol’s place. Bob cleared their garage out – a lot of work and making Carol very happy – we are so lucky their van doesn’t fit in it lol.

We are so thankful they offered the garage and a ride back and a pick up – amazing friends we have, so very fortunate.

The garage

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Bob and Carol … and car

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Cindy got festive toes while I did a little hardware store shopping

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Back to the boat, Bob and Carol saying bye

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We are officially boaters again – live-aboard YAAAA!!

Walking downtown New Smyrna Beach festive palm trees WOOT!!

Heading south – Titusville near Cape Canaveral – anchor ball for the night

Bridge south looking to Cape Canaveral. Next evening we anchored out in Melbourne- feels great to be on the water again!!

Break down …. used the generator and it wouldn’t shut off – started to over heat (long story) boat filled with steam – Grant thought it was on fire – screamed …… called the nearest marina only 1/2  a mile away – here we are waiting for parts ….fortunately its a nice marina, good staff and we had a heck of a storm go through the last few days so we would have looked for shelter anyways… everything happens for a reason they say.

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Not a bad spot, we are tiny compared to the 750k sport fishers around us.

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Looper friends, Jeff and Susan from Penetanguishene, I feel sorry for school kids having to learn how to spell that as their home town…on the other hand I bet they kick butt at spelling bees.

They are 8 miles south of us and have their car, we got together and did a little tour for dinner. They were so kind to take us to Walmart…I bought a new fire extinguisher,  now we have 4 lol.

Having a beer a finer establishment

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So that’s where we are, waiting parts, hopefully on the move Tuesday to Peck Lake for an anchorage over Christmas. My sister Laurie is coming for a little over a week and maybe we will cross to the Bahamas in the time frame – we are getting close …cheers for now … Merry Christmas everyone and all the best to you and yours in the New Year ..have a great season !!!

Spring & Summer Back in Canada May-Oct 2015

Spring in Daytona was a fun filled two weeks of friends, food and fishing right in Daytona Beach. Pam, Grant (the good Grant), half their family and Lois and Don were here for a couple weeks in a beautiful rented condo. We enjoyed food – lots of it, and the great beach.

After that it was get serious time, put the boat up and go home to refill the cruising kitty.

There she was, not so pretty, summer-ized…with fingers crossed we headed home.

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We are blessed with an incredible network of friends – upon arrival into Canada we were scooped up at the Kingston airport by Donna our anchor, retrieved our car from storage and yes it started YAAA!!

Visited Brenda and Don, Pam and Grant and Lois and Don and Cindy got a batch of wine started at the Wine Store in Napanee.

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Yes that is 84 bottles of wine, all bagged in 5 bottle bags for easy storage.

We should have called this the summer of friends and family as we had such a fantastic time seeing so many people and enjoying their company.

We stayed with my sister Laurie for a few weeks prior to the house sitting. Our destination for the summer was Paris …. no not France …Paris Ontario. Cindy had found us a summer job house sitting an 18 yr old cat name Spirt.

Staying with Laurie was great fun. Cindy walked Laurie’s dog Jasmine

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and prepared meals for everyone each day and I started work.

Her neighbor Ann is more fun than you can imagine, being straight off the rock, and damn proud of it, I asked her if I could learn a great newfie meal. Something traditional…well she went right out to the newfie store..yes there is one and bought all the fixings for Fish and Brews.

The end product although not heart smart was fantastic!!

After a few weeks we moved to our summer home

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Spirt took to us fairly quickly. He figured out our pattern and anticipated by running ahead to set himself up to be cuddled.

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Unfortunately Spirt was not to be with us long, at 18 his kidneys began to shut down and he stopped eating and drinking. It was really tough, we had bonded with him quickly and there were more than a few tears when Blair and Denise made the difficult decision.

I had secured a summer contract providing site inspection for a number of locations where a Canadian cable company was installing fibre optic cable to single and multi family dwellings. It was driving intensive but one of the least stressful jobs I’ve ever had.

We had to once again get used to traffic

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Meanwhile Cindy embraced Paris and began using the town pool everyday where she met all sorts of great folks.

The local Red Hat group.

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Paris Ontario, Ontario’s prettiest little town

4aWe had never lived where they grew food crops other than corn and wheat. In southern Ontario there were fields of peppers, tomatoes and cabbage that we saw, it was so much fun doing the road side stands buying early corn and fresh veggies.

Sun flower field – lets all face this way !!

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Cindy not being able to sit still for any length of time grabbed a quick job, she figured hey I’m walking everyday I might as well get paid for it … Cindy became the new neighborhood paper girl!7e

She even got a job working at one of the grocery stores No Frills.

My sister Laurie is a police officer and she was promoted to Staff Sergeant this summer, we were honored to attend the ceremony and got to witness first hand the respect she has for her peers and they for her.

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Laurie’s two children Chris and Taylor play competitive lacrosse and we had a chance to watch them play this summer ..did I mention the summer of family thing ..it gets better..in fact I’d forgotten exactly how much family we are blessed with.

Back to Lacrosse – Chris plays semi pro and is on a scholarship to the U of NC.

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Taylor is attending a very exclusive school that specializes in lacrosse in Toronto and has been fortunate to be offered a scholarship with the U of Detroit.

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We saw also got to see her at a tournament two hours from Daytona this fall – even though she didn’t get over to see us!

Over the course of the summer we continued to visit and had visitors.

Donna and her boyfriend John came for a couple weekends.

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We traveled to Kingston Ontario and saw some of Cindy’s close friends.

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And attended a 40th wedding anniversary of Don and Lois – they have the greatest B&B – lol!! –  it was held at the nicest damn hunting camp I’ve ever seen.

We got to stay with of dear friends Bob and Carol in Belleville.

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We saw Cindy’s brother Brad and Brewster our dog he so graciously adopted so that we might move to this lifestyle.

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We attended the annual Crowson Tankard  – the family golf tournament.

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It had a great turn out and once again my cousin Brian won, with his son Chris taking a close second. We also got to see Chris at his 40th birthday party/ Tiki bar unveiling in Toronto.

My older sister Karen and her husband Bob came for a weekend visit, all the way from Sault Ste Marie ..a long drive, we had a great visit with tons of laughs and took in a Lacrosse game – nationals, where Chris was playing.

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We got to attend a Hamilton Tiger cats game with  Laurie… we got deal on the tickets, it was a fund raiser for a local football program. We met the guy at his house gave him cash, I briefly looked at the tickets, how bad could 40 buck tickets be? Row 30…hmm can’t be bad ..holy cow .. it was the last row in the stadium..the only higher row was the lights..lol – and man was it cold!!!

We took in the Paris fair it was an old fashioned country fair with cow showing (similar to paint drying) unless your actually showing your cow which I guess would be …um…exciting?

Sheep shearing , veggie and pie competitions and yes a midway with a Ferris wheel.

Psst..I kissed the prettiest girl at the fair at the top of the Ferris wheel… bucket list check off 🙂

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Meanwhile back at the condo our courtesy flags showed up … we were preparing for the upcoming winter and our plans to travel to the Bahamas..yellow is a quarantine flag.. they know I’m coming !!

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We even saw an ex-coworker and his partner Bob and Kathy – had a couple meals and some great laughs..  Kathy taught Cindy how to put together a rag quilt in one day …outstanding

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It’s getting late now in the summer and we are getting antsy

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My sister had us for the last couple weeks. She hosted Thanksgiving and we got to see my uncles Bill and Bud and Auntie Marion and cousin Kirk and his wife Lynn… yes this was the summer of family.

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On our Great Loop adventure we made so many wonderful friends! We were so fortunate to meet up with so many of them over the summer! Dave and Michelle Sylver who live on Lake St Clair in a spectacular home. We had a great lunch and a kick butt Bloody Mary lol!!Sylvers

We also connected with looper traveling buddies in Trenton Ontario, King and Sharon Cole and Pierre and Jennifer took time to come and see us in Paris.

We got  a quick trip in to Napanee and Kingston to see some of our friends and I got a chance to golf with Brian and Lester ( Brian’s yellow lab).

One final stop ..to Cindy’s hair dresser Muriel .. she gave me a tune up and pointers for the up coming season … and a new razor … look out!!

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There is the summer in a nut shell, tried to be short and to the point but man there was a lot of activity. It was fun and busy and we had such a family and friend filled time … to everyone thanks so much for your time, support, kindness and love!!

 

Ft. Meyers to Daytona, Florida February 20 – March 19

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Fort Meyers is full of surprises, Cindy ever the beadaholic found a fantastic bead shop, in fact one of the nicest we have come across to date. Turns out its a chain store with a number of shops across the US.

We spent another week here to wait out some wind and really liked the place, there was a grocery store within walking distance and lots of shops and restaurants.

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The marina itself was first class with a great staff and of course the most important item a great shower and restroom a standard to which all marinas are judged.

We were placed on an inner concrete wall with a great view of the river and got a really good view of the moon with Venus and Mars in near proximity…I wonder of the saying the stars aligned applies here, it certainly feels that way these days.

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This guy hung out for an hour or so trying to stare us down… he has no neck lol!!

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The City of Fort Myers is never without action during the weekend they had the annual Thomas Edison lighted parade. Its the largest lighted parade in the US.

Streets lined with chairs in preparation – different charities sell them to raise funds , I’d not seen that before its a great idea.

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The weekend started Friday with better that a hundred vendors selling everything imaginable, yes even beads!

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There was a fabulous salsa band playing and we took them in for a bit while I indulged in a decadent lunch…

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On the Saturday the marina hosted a nautical yard sale and allowed Cindy to set up a table, she sold her Nauti line to fellow boaters and was well received.

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So at the marina we were so lucky to have fellow loopers Chesapeake ( Joe and Connie). Gran Vida ( Jeff and Susan) and Twelve Stones (Elaine and Russ). Chesapeake had front row seats to the parade as they were docked stern in to the main street.

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We all met on their beautiful Krogen Manatee and had a great party!!

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They had a 5K fun run and the starting line was right in front of us, so we yelled encouragement and had a beer!!!

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We had a great sunset that night, perfect night for a parade.

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The parade started with a 20 minute fireworks display which was truly outstanding.The parade lasted somewhere around 2 hours and included trick motorcycle police and the Shriners and a giant light blub of course.

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Before we left I had a craving for Chinese take out and having been away from any sort of major centre took this opportunity to order in a pile of food and treat Joe and Connie (Chesapeake) as they had treated us way back in Cedar Key on or crossing.

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A great couple Joe and Connie

Once again it was that time, the ever dreaded hair cut …. nothing makes me break into a cold sweat more than Cindy saying simply…ah..Grant I need a hair cut… well the speed has increased , the confidence and I often now find myself saying..Cindy I got this LOL !!

Ta Da !!!

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Say adieu to Fort Myers and our great company we struck out for The Okeechobee crossing headed for Stuart FL on the east coast.

Leaving Fort Myers Heading Out

Our first day put us in Port Labelle Marina and we were warned not to cross Lake Okeechobee in any kind of wind with a north component as they say. So we sat for a few days here … this is a no frills marina , 20 bucks a night no power. It has been described as “Old Florida” which pretty much sums it up.

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Labelle Marina

It was filled with wild life

Gators

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Gator

Turtles

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Snakes

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And Manatees

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This was a very inexpensive place to store a boat in the water , 3 bucks a foot per month so for us it would be about 108 a month. So as a result lots of folk leave their boats here long term, which results in a black mold all over the boats, there were a lot of derelict boats here and this one ….

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The turtles had a new home on this sunken vessel.

Our next section of the 125 some odd miles was to Rowan &  Martins Marina on Lake Okeechobee, a famous fish camp that introduced bass fishing to the lake. Take holds monster bass in the 10lb range are not uncommon.

We had to pass through a swing rail bridge which is always open UNLESS…… there is a train ….. Cripes we were 1/2 a mile from the bridge when we heard it … we look at each other … what are the odds .. I gun her … pushing a blistering 7 miles and hour we push on…..Cindy is saying WAIT WAIT…..I’m like NNOOO DAMN IT…. WE CAN MAKE IT … they must have thought those crazy Canadians are going for it ……. well they held the train … we felt pretty special and waved like mad to the guys thanking them!!!!

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Then we were over run with bass boats – like buzzing bees

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We chose to do the ring route a channel that runs the shore line south around the lake that is protected for almost 3/4 the distance. This lake is the second largest fresh water lake in the US second only to Lake Michigan ..not to be taken lightly.

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We had been reading about Dolphins to tie to…which I thought was kind of weird lol … we hadn’t heard that term before and had no clue what they were – they are the pilings

Sail boat tied between Dolphins

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There is a swing bridge on the canal – still manually operated like most of the Canadian canal locks – fun to watch.

Swing Bridge

There is a section of about 6 miles where we are exposed to the lake, it was rough and rainy and we were glad to be back into the protection of the eastern canal section.

The lake -it’s BIG !!!

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Our stop for this day was intended to be Indian Town but when we called they were full , not a lot of transient slips as its more a storage /working yard so we pushed on to Port St Lucie lock a Core of Engineers maintained camp ground with a few slips. At 30 bucks a night it was a deal and we stayed a couple of days to relax after the huge day previous.

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The boat beside us was another Krogen Manatee – with only 99 built it was amazing to see three in the last week. They are becoming my new favorite boat – beautiful inside with tons of living space. Nice folks too on this boat “Swanee” – took us for a tour of Stuart and for groceries – gotta love folks with a car!!

The two days went quick, we struck out in perfect weather headed for an anchorage off the state park at St Lucie, however we need a little boat TLC first and bait …. 🙂

St Lucie Lock – last lock on the Okeechobee waterway, back into salt water  and tides

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I’m running down the dock with a bucket full of live shrimp …going beach fishing WOOT!!!!!

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Our new home for four days – a really nice anchorage with the beach on the other side of the key – 20 yards away.

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On the beach

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The beach was covered with jelly fish which we were told were Portuguese Man O War … not to be touched , stepped on or otherwise a nasty sting/burn can result.

They start like this

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then the sun gets em..

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It was a beautiful beach and the fishing was … um not so good – rough and dirty water ..brings catfish and crabs …got one of each

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After 4 wonderful days we headed north for Fort Pierce City marina for a couple of days of tied to a dock, take on water, clean out the boat and give her a good wash. It was a first class marina, had a farmers market and Save a Lot grocery store near by and yes a BEAD SHOP!!!

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The farmers market

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A quaint town

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Then on to Vero beach city marina- and we passed 3000 nautical miles a whopping 3300 miles …wow what a trip!!

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We are well into civilization now the ICW (Inter Coastal Waterway) is lined with big beautiful houses .. we laugh and say oh its just our winter home

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This stop was to be our first mooring ball … yes our first. These are often large blocks of concrete with a chain fixed to them an a floating ball with either a ring or a rope with an eye to tie to. Being newbies we were a little apprehensive but it turned out to be a piece of cake, Cindy grabbed the floating line with the boat hook and tied it to the Sampson post on the boat and there we were , hell we looked like pros ….(remember this for later)

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Now this is a cruiser community and it was the first time we had come in contact with such a thing… congestion at the dingy dock … where to park???

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The Nina and Pinta where here for the weekend adding to the people ashore … going from a quiet beach to this …WOW

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The beach was crowded but fantastic …

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Next up Melbourne Beach – an anchorage off the public jetty , very large open bay that can kick up pretty good in anything but easterly winds.

We took the dingy in and visited an incredible market store with every imported food imaginable, the bait store and of course the beach.

I met a couple of surf fishing guys and they were a wealth of knowledge

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Had a good chat and decided to fish there the next day 036

The one fellow was on the beach the next day and taught me a couple new knots, I caught my first Pompano..he caught two and then seven whiting … right beside me …sure showed the new kid lol!

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It was a great spot with showers to rinse off the sand ..showing a little leg for my bride

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The wind swung over to the south and it must have really been blowing as we returned to find the boat rocking like crazy and our ALGCA burgee gone …. must have been blown clear off the boat.. darn it had been with us for 3000 miles. So we hauled anchor and ducked behind a bridge for the night, to our delight we were treated to a aerobatics show!!

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WARNING THE NEXT PICTURE MAY BE DISTURBING TO SOME VIEWERS – VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED

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Cindy thinks I need to work on my farmer’s tan… comments?

Ok nuff said about that… on our way again, we are headed to Titusville to another mooring ball ..no problem we are seasoned pros (remember?)….. well maybe not so much … all I can say is I’m thankful for the small audience … 13 ton boat + 20 Knot wind + line with eye = 6 tries … as soon as we got a hold of it you had to slip a rope through the eye ..only the wind would push us away – the up side was there was no yelling – nobody got hurt and Cindy managed to get us tied off – it was truly a team effort…atta girl Cindy proud of ya !!!

The offending ball

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We are here for an Atlas V rocket launch and we have front row seats, these are the largest rockets used now that the shuttle has been retired. We didnt know what to expect ….

Our view of Canaveral

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The launch – INCREDIBLE!!!!!

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They were scheduled for 10:44 pm and at exactly that time the entire sky lit up like daytime, no sound for the first minute just the light, then came a low rubble like a giant train. We watched as it rose then it flickered and then the second stage kicked in and it continued for maybe 3 minutes and it was over just like that… TOTALLY AWESOME!!!

From here we are headed to Daytona Beach to meet up with our good friends Grant & Pam and Don & Lois all from the Napanee area. They will rent a condo on the beach so we will take a marina slip for a few weeks.

We traveled through a canal between Indian River and Mosquito Lagoon, man was it rough on the river, only the third time on this trip we have been bounced around like that, water crashing over the bow!

The canal is pretty cool as it’s where every Manatee in Florida comes to vacation, we crawled through the 1 mile canal with Cindy on the bow watching out for them – there could have been easily 50 of them.

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As we traveled we passed New Symra Beach and restaurant on the water where the year before we had sat had an ice cold beer (or two) and dreamed aloud to each other what it would be like to embark on this grand adventure. Its been nothing as I had envisioned, it’s simply been beyond my wildest dreams, traveling with my best friend in the world, seeing incredible sights and meeting incredible people some of whom have become very close to us. We simply had no idea what was in store for us.

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Daytona

We first stopped at the point at the south end of Daytona beach,near the light house for the tail end of bike week. Nice Marina and a good place to store our boat.

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I fished the point having to clear a spot of the jelly fish – apparently this is where they come to die.

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We have since moved to Seven Seas Marina for the next two weeks, we will see our Napanee friends and will be joined by King and Sharon on Blue Moon and Pierre and Jennifer from Wild Raven Adventures – its a fitting end to this segment of our life.

We are heading to Ontario in May for 6 months. Don’t really want to go but the dollar is killing us!! I got a job in my field and we are fortunate enough to get a house sitting job in Paris Ontario looking after a 18 year old cat! Going to put the boat up here in Florida. When we come back in October heading south – wedding in Dominican in November and then the plan is the Bahamas!!

Hopefully we will cross paths – Cheers for now – thanks for following!!