Sunday, September 25, 2011


Here it is, more than a week since our "last day".  Time flies when you are busy catching up with being a CLOD.  First there is the pool deck to be cleaned because of 9 months of all day project....then there are the two truck loads of trim work from overgrown plants and those that were given the old 'heave ho' for being too labor intensive!  I have decided that when one retires (sort of) one should rethink labor intensive yard issues, etc. At 40 it was fun to dig in the a considerably advanced maturity....not so much!  Besides life is about change, without that what would be the challenge.

We spent the weekend with 'the grands' and had a ball being kids again ourselves, Grandma even went down the water slide!

Tomorrow TIE A KNOT will be hauled and shored so that she may also take a break from her travels.  Gary had a compression check done on the smoking port engine and compression is evidently not the problem. So he will have fun, I'm sure, figuring out what she needs replaced....or hopefully just repaired.

The one thing for sure about boating....if you can't do it yourself...DON'T DO IT!!  

'Full House'... off of Redfish Pass, Captiva Island
did you notice how the Osprey have been replaced?

Captiva Pass

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Entering our last lock into South Gulf Cove
Waterway which takes us to the storage yard.

Tiny, tiny little self operated lock


Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Okeechobee Waterway

This is the promised slide show for the Okeechobee Waterway, one of Florida's very hidden treasures. Since it can only be seen like this by water and most boats are out of luck for getting through it. It is South Central Florida 'Cowboy' country with farms, orange groves, boat facilities, cattle ranches, horse farms, camping facilities, Mobile homes to McMansion and some beautiful scenery. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


We arrived home late Tuesday afternoon.  We left Charlotte Harbor Storage on November 14, 2010 and here we are back again September 13, 2011.  I cannot believe that almost a year has passed.  They sure are right when they say time goes faster as you get older, this year has been like 30 winks!  I don't know exactly how many days we were on the boat and frankly I am too lazy to figure it out.  We were home for about 4 1/2 weeks  so rough guess about 250 days?  If anyone else wants to figure it my guest.
I do know this for a fact though, (Gary has a GPS that keeps track of his figures, I have to use my brain which I sometimes think I no longer have) 
                                            WE TRAVELLED 3,548 MILES!!!
We had an adventure that not many people are able to have and even though it was much harder and more costly than we had planned it was worth it. We learned about being tougher, just like the pioneers, no air conditioning, no dishwasher, washer, dryer, and a biggie, no TV! Things we all take for granted when not available lose their hold over us.  Although, we have segued back into life 'with ammenities' quite easily except for TV which we still don't have. We will never have to say, "We wish we would have taken the leap" ...... we did!! For now, we are going to be 'CLODS'.  Cruisers Living On Dirt.  

We figure in 3 months we will know where our hearts are.  On land or sea. Right now we are hoping to be able to go to the Bahamas in the late spring.

I will continue with the blog.  It won't be as interesting but I'm kind of used to it now. Some people have Face Book to keep in touch but I have my blog! I am going to really think about the best and worst of cruising and will attack that next. Sometimes you have to have some space from something to find its full value.  I also still have pictures that I haven't gotten to post.  So if you are into "our life" and my view of the world through my Panasonic Camera....stay tuned.

Jann, Gary & Bob...and TIE A KNOT

Monday, September 12, 2011

Here we are...once again, in the 'sweet spot' with the sailboats. We definately did not get the memo that power boats do NOT anchor! We are firmly planted close to Pine Island with Sanibel in the background. SWEET!!

And an update on my crossing blog.  The 7-1-7 locks were the St. Lucie (not the Myakka) and the Franklin.  The St. Lucie went up 8' the Ortona down 8' and the Franklin took us down about 2 1/2 ft. The middle of the state is higher than the coast so they bump you up let you get across and then bump you down.  They are trying to keep the salt water from encroaching on the fresh water in the Okeechobee waterway.
Sorry about the picture of the vultures...I don't always review the blog and sometimes they don't show up...  here goes
....They circled for awhile but decided we were not worth it.....

Piece of Cake

Crossing Okeechobee ended up being a piece of cake.  Noaa's weather forecast turned out to be a total bomb, thunderstorms that were supposed to start late am never appeared at all.  The lake was a sea of glass.  We left the lock at 6:50 and had crossed and were in Clewiston by 1:30.  We were prepared to run on 2 engines (OMG) if need be to skedaddle across, but we did just fine on one. We passed to East bound sailboats today and a bunch of little bass boats one we were in the west canal. (These long days are killing us unfortunately it is the early bird who gets through this waterway.  

By the way I had a question about the 7-1-7 at the lock.  To clarify, the 5 locks are all supposed to be operating on demand from 6am to 9:30 pm but the Franklin & Myakka locks (which are the entry locks) are only opening at 7am, 1pm, and 7pm.  We think it must be because of the very low water levels. We rose 8 feet at the Myakka Lock and rose 8feet last night at the Ortona Lock.  The other 2 we just drove through.....weird.

We travelled 10 hours yesterday and tied up to the dolphins at the Ortona Lock.  We were underway at 6:40 to make sure we make the Franklin lock 1pm opening.  The dolphins are a great way to spend the night.  Each lock has a campground by it and although they are pretty empty now it is cleared land and the dolphins adjacent to them are not too buggy.

The St Lucie River and Caloosahatchee, which with Okeechobee comprise the waterway are a hidden gem of Florida.  The waterway is very beautiful.  I am taking a lot of pictures and will post a slide show of the great scenery hopefully later today.

So, we are safe, tired and should be back in Charlotte Harbor on Wednesday.  To think, if we had a car we could drive home in 2 -1/2 hours  !!!   (This is way more fun)!!!!!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

We Should Have Known!

Things were going way too well.  We left Vero at 7:30 and the water on the Indian River was like glass all the way to Stuart.

My vote for photo of the day.  The water so calm on the Indian River which is about
3 miles wide you could see the reflection of the clouds at 11 am.

Plan A: (1st mistake, making one) was to get to the Port Mayaca lock, which is the gateway to Lake Okeechobee, today so that we could cross the lake bright and early tomorrow while we had calm seas.  The controlling water level in the lake is only 4.77 feet ....the controlling level being the shallowest on the route. and we draw 4.6. The lake level itself is about 10.6 feet but there are two dicey spots...getting into the lake and getting back out on the west side. You don't want to chance this in wind, since the lake is so shallow the wind itself can change the water levels so you don't want to get caught in any storms.  Storms are usually in the afternoon so we want to get across in the am.

Back to the plan..... B that is.  As we came into the Okeechobee Waterway at about 2:15  from the St. Lucie River we passed a boat going East.  Gary hailed them and asked them if they'd crossed Okeechobee and how the depths were.  They said no problems just be careful and go slow at the trouble spots. (Like we go anything BUT slow!)   When Gary said "We are hoping to cross early tomorrow morning".....when the guy came back on and said "You do know that the St. Lucie Lock is on a 7-1-7 schedule?"!!!  I immediately called the lock and contrary to the info given on the Corp of Engineers website they are on a reduced schedule. We had talked to the lock earlier in the day and they weren't giving out that info either. That meant we had to hang on the dolphins ( the big clusters of piling used by the commercial traffic) for 5 hours and hook up to them again on the other side of the lock to spend the night.
The St. Lucie Lock

The Dolphins....and not the cute kind.

I must pat myself on the back....I hooked these lines up all by myself....all the things I think I can't do....guess what....I CAN!!

So here we sit....through a dandy of a thunderstorm which thankfully cooled things off a little but will probably bring the bugs out in force at dusk....since this is pretty much a mangrove lined ditch crossing the state of Florida., Plan B is now to sit on the dolphins on the west side of the lock tonight and leave "when the sparrows fart" (a new nautical saying we've picked up) tomorrow and hope the weather is cooperating to get us across.  If not we will be sitting on another set of dolphins tomorrow night.  Oy Vey!!
And as you can see by the following pictures the Vultures are checking us out to see if possibly they can get lucky!  That's why I'm inside doing the blog....fool the vultures.    
Stay tuned for more tomorrow!!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

A little this and that.....

We had a lot to do in a was not part of it.  Thanks to John & Sue, we accomplished what we needed to and had a good visit that was too short!!  We also got to visit with Andy Manzi, always a treat.  We left yesterday morning at 9am and made it to 'Velcro Beach' (in a thunderstorm thank you) at 5:00.  We circled the mooring field (in the ICW) waiting for the storm to go by. As always I was the one on the front deck trying to catch the mooring ball.  They have some serious upkeep issues here.  The line on the mooring ball was so full of barnacles it wouldn't slide on the hook.  After 2 tries I finally grabbed it and ended up with broken skin on my fingers from the barnacles.  Of course, I freaked out because we had just had a discussion at lunch with John and Andy about people getting water born bacterial infections.  So I immediately used a half bottle of alcohol (not the drinking kind mind you) and a good douse with Bacitracin!  Hopefully that got all the little devils.

You can see from this picture where the rope attached to the ball ends (the dark spot) and the barnacle encrustation begins.

Now that I have finished with today's update lets see if I can remember 4 days ago???

Travelling on the Intracoastal on Labor Day Weekend in Florida was a trip for sure.  Boats everywhere! Actually it made the days go by quickly....although we began to feel like Phillip & Elizabeth, waving to everyone that went by ( our water etiquette says you must wave to all, and we have ALWAYS followed that), we being the oddity a boat over 30 feet!  After not seeing a boat for mile after mile we were encouraged to find we had not been in the 'Twilight Zone' after all, there were other people left on earth!

The scenery was new.  I don't know what zone I could have been in before but I realized, I haven't seen any of this before.  That my friends, turns out to be going South versus going North.  Everything looks different seen from a different angle. So it was not a boring rehash of where we had been it was where we were going!  We saw everything from humble and funky....

To OVER THE TOP....and through all of our 3,200 miles (unbelievable at 7 mph) nobody and I mean nobody does over the top better than Florida!

We saw St. Augustine and Ponce Inlet Lights in an entire new light.  They again became new...sunshine and clear skies instead of haze.  Again, it is amazing the way the eye sees things.  They look totally different on a clear and in focus.

A tug we saw on the way up the coast still had his laundry out, hopefully new laundry  and another house had added an awesome totem in the yard.  The barrier Islands of Florida are so beautiful and I feel very fortunate to have seen them up close and personal from the 'back door', always the most personal.

After making it through Mosquito Lagoon in a very stiff SW wind we saw foam on the water that looked like floating chunks of ice. I don't know what causes the foam must have something to do with rough salt water.  

 Traversing the ICW is hard work, especially above Mosquito Lagoon which is just north of Titusville.  The ICW is mostly a channel dredged in a large but very shallow body of water.  There appears to be plenty of water BUT don't stray out of the channel or you will be in 2-4 feet !  When there is a lot of traffic, as in Labor Day weekend in North Florida, all the boats and jet skis are in that little channel and it makes it HAIRY.  Some of the boats came whipping by so close to us that we just shook our heads in amazement.  So, we are thankful to once again be travelling with very little boat traffic.  We can only imagine what it is like in October when all the Cruisers start returning to Florida.  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Little Teaser...

We made it safely to Merritt Island...this is just a little teaser to get the day started.
How would you like to wake up and find yourself in these situations??

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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Charleston to Fernandina

A 350 Mile Week

After leaving Myrtle Beach on Sunday we have travelled over 300 miles in 5 - 10 hour days. Our best day was 84 miles. Remember we are at the mercy of the tides and wind and mostly they have been on our side.
We stopped in Charleston for an hour to get groceries (seems like that is a necessity that is a real pain in the you know what when you do not have a vehicle) so we must do it where it is most convenient. We left there just as the tide was turning and ended up on a real joy ride through Elliott Cut into the Stono River. We started through at 3.8 mph and ended up going 10.4 mph through what could be described as a 'rip current'! Fast and furious through a very narrow channel.....whew, that was a real trip.

We anchored in a beautiful, peaceful anchorage every night. We appear to be one of a very few cruising boats on the waters. Whether it is the economy or time of year I don't know. We have passed maybe a total of 12 boats headed North and only 3 or 4 going south. This does allow us our choice of prime anchoring space though, so every down has an up! We've had great weather this week, 10-15 mph winds which have kept the bugs green headed biting flies thus far....and cool air at night, it has been ideal so far.

From Beaufort (that is Bew-fort) S.C. to Savannah and on to Hilton Head the houses were really something. Therefore I was shutter happy and there are lots of pictures of houses we saw that were just so graciously beautiful. After Beaufort we were headed for Port Royal Sound and had to wait out some weather across from Paris Island Marine Base with their "Go Marines" water tower. After the weather moved ashore and we headed out into the sound we saw this futuristic looking thing headed for us in the distance....a shrimper in full "shrimp mode"....another cool photo op. The next night a shrimp boat chugged by us with its accompanying sea gulls and dropped the hook for the night. We saw juvenile dolphins frolicking in the water near us rolling and tossing each other and splashing up a storm....The next morning after these visual treats was the most beautiful sunrise we have seen! You can see by the photos..the progression is the beauty...not always "the moment".

So to sum it up, it has been a week of intense travel, and intense beauty. I am especially in love with the marshes of Georgia. I could look at them forever. They are just so ZEN. The birds the scenery change with the tide, the wild horses of Cumberland Island grazing in the marsh bogs. The smell of the pluff mud at low tide, blue skies, white puffy clouds. Travel Heaven!!!