Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Sesame decked out for Christmas in Hancock Creek, North Ft Myers

We spent about a week on a mooring in Vero Beach, taking the free bus into town almost every day and shopping until we dropped. Then we went around and anchored in Manatee Pocket, handy to a West Marine, to take care of some minor problems with our deck wash and VHF radio. From Manatee, we headed into the North Fork of the St. Lucie River to Kitching Cove and a spot at the dock at the Tarpon Bay Yacht Club, courtesy of some old Nonsuch friends, Karl and Libby Johnson. We also shared a pizza with Peggie Dravis who lives in the same condo.

From Port St. Lucie, we headed past Stuart, and anchored in a small ditch just east of Lake Okechobee. We saw a couple of alligators swimming by, but they both disappeared as we pulled out the camera. The next day, we had a somewhat bumpy ride across the lake in a following breeze and scattered showers. We ended up anchored all alone in a pretty little canal, just east of the Ortona Lock, called "Lollipop" by the locals. The Admiral spent much of this time with a major project -- knitting grandson Michael his Christmas stocking.

The next day found us across from Ft. Myers by ourselves in Hancock Creek for a few days. Allen did some exploring up the miles and miles of canals while Judy concentrated on the stocking. We left the boat in a slip at the Ft. Myers Boat Basin and drove to Kissimmee for Christmas with Lyz, Chris, and Michael.

Our mascot Bernie, guarding the shrine to our grandsons.

A good metaphor for life in general?

Next week we're off to the west coast, perhaps as far north as Sarasota. Then we'll head south to the Keys for a while.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to Everyone!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Blizzards Knock Out Air Transportation Throughout the US

Just as we were about to join the Bushies and declare that the "theory" of Global Warming was nothing more than a radical, hippy, pinko, commie, tree-huggers conspiracy -- we found the sun and the warm. A day after the above headline hit the papers, we anchored off our own private tropical island about 20 miles north of Vero Beach, Florida. Actually, the islands are made from dredging spoils which naturally generate vegetation. This island has palms, pines, flowers, and all kinds of other stuff. At times, it seems that most of the "nature" in Florida is man made.

Up to a few days ago, the trip has been a might chilly, with a number of lay days for cold fronts coming through. Now we seem to have broken through to the tropical paradise we were looking for. Here's what the little island we anchored behind looked like this morning.

Not too shabby, huh?

We left the boat at a marina in Jacksonville for a couple of weeks and went to our daughter and son-in-law's house in Kissimmee to play with our grandson and get ready for a family Thanksgiving which included son Sean's family (who we flew down for a few days) and Allen's brother Jock who is working his way south with his own boat. All the kids spent a day at Universal's Islands of Adventure while Grammie and Poppie stayed home with Michael. A grand time was had by all!

We took care of a broken anchor windlass before we left Jacksonville (neither the mechanic or the skipper knew what fixed it -- it just started working after being taken apart a couple of times). We have done more reorganizations of our little boat than Aetna did in the 20+ years Judy worked there. We got back to the cruising mode by heading down to anchor off St. Augustine for a couple of nights. A tour of the fort, a great lunch ashore, and a few frozen rum drinks at the "oldest lounge (aka: bar) in the country" and we were ready to head a bit further south. We anchored just off the bridge at Cocoa Beach where Allen rediscovered the crab shack and fish market that he had found a couple of years ago. The crabs are identical to the ones in the Chesapeake, but they charge far less. Actually, most of the crabs from the area are "exported" to the Chesapeake where they are sold as Chesapeake Bay blue crabs. Next up, Vero Beach (aka: Velcro Beach because people tend to stick there for a while with their inexpensive moorings and free bus to every kind of shopping imaginable -- plus a lovely ocean beach.) Then across to the west coast from Stuart to Fort Meyers via Lake Okechobee.