Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Left you hanging again....

Well you know we made it, but made it where??  We are in Little Harbor Village Marina on Tampa Bay in Ruskin, Fl.  It is a 45 minute drive from the Grand Kids and a great small marina at a small resort.  With Dorian and Todd coming for Christmas we wanted a place with a few amenities (at a reasonable price of course) and after searching all of Tampa and Bradenton area this was the one that fit both requirements. We've only spent two days here so far though, been visiting with our kids :-) and getting ready for Christmas (shopping....not my favorite thing, I am not a good "decision maker").

 This was an old motel, now a condo on the GIWW (Gulf Intracoastal Water way) spoke to me in an "old Florida" way...

versus the' Don Cesar' luxury hotel (in the distance) on St. Pete Beach...

the Sunshine  (huh) Skyway bridge on Tampa Bay.....another beautiful day on the water, hopefully when we head further south the sun will be shining and the bridge will glow!

St. Pete (the city, not the beach) skyline on Tampa Bay

Our new berth, we are the closest boat to the resort in the picture

Street View, not only the hotel to the right but condos on both ends of it

I was assured (that as far as they knew) this was real...pulled up by Mel Fisher when he was searching for the Atocha..it was a pair of them in a REALLY weird place and supposedly the original owner of the marina ( this being the second marina) was a friend, yada, yada I know it's confusing but just let it flow through you, I'm sure you don't want to hear the LONNNGG version

 and we have .......THE BEACH.....very nice even though it's not on the Gulf
A restaurant......


Tennis Courts...nice, but we'll pass, due to bad backs and ....too much information

A nice little store...they also have the usual beer and junk food assortment

Ummmm....probably not gonna go there either!

another restaurant....

beautiful pool on a quiet back bay

 and THE BEACH....as you can see not a lot of action here....

Gee, I feel like a travel host...maybe I should go global, or postal or something!!  Anyway, as our friend Chuck says  we are "lovin' life"! I fully intend to send a Christmas Greeting to Y'all....but if I forget (which is more than likely)


and Thank You for following our journey!!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


It was a long 22 hours and my eyes were spinning in my head (that's not a joke) from exhaustion but what a feeling to have actually done something you dreaded doing and having it go so well.  We left Carrabelle with three other boats at 2pm on Monday and when we reached East Pass, the entrance to the gulf, we added another three boats to our flotilla.
This is Kim from C Quarters wishing us a perfect voyage...

Heading out....

and these were the seas as we reached East Pass and the dreaded ( by me) Gulf of Mexico......
  yup', you got it pretty much P.O.P.

We saw an awesome sunset....

and spent 13 and a half hours in the pitch black of the Gulf of Mexico. Thank God we were with buddy boats, the VHF chatter back and forth tends to keep one somewhat alert and since we were the second boat from the rear we had lots of heads ups. there were actually big fishing boats anchored about 40 miles offshore sleeping I guess, that was a surprise. All we were expecting to see were the two sailboats that left Carrabelle at 8 Sunday morning. I mean really who else in their right mind is out on the Gulf Of Mexico at 2:00 in the morning!!! It was a total blackout with the stars so dim and no moon.  If there would have been anything adrift there was no way you would have seen it until it was too late.  A rather scary proposition.

Bob passed out at the helm... He is the only one that slept ....we would close our eyes for an hour or so while still being aware of what was going on...so much for the watch system...we just aren't built that way...must take practice.  Journey the trawler in front of us were doing 4 on watches and they each slept like rocks on their off hours giving them 8 hours of sleep!!!  What is up with that!!!!!!!!!

The wind kicked up a little (as predicted) at midnight but it was kind of like being rocked very slowly in a big ole' cradle, and although it still didn't put us to sleep, it didn't make us seasick either.....that being one of my biggest fears.

When the sun finally started to show that it was somewhere hidden behind the clouds ...it was a YAY moment!

We arrived at Marker I Marina in Dunedin at noon.  First thing on the agenda....SLEEP!!

Synopsis of the trip....it was excellent for an overnight crossing one did not want to do.....would I do it again...not unless I had too....lack of sleep is not pretty on me....

It took 22 hours dock to dock

180 miles running at 8 miles per hour ( we still did the alternating engines as usual)

Burned 45 gallons of fuel  which equals 2 gallons per hour and get this .....

4 miles to the gallon !!!  that being our all time record for fuel consumption, unheard of !!!

Friday, November 29, 2013


What a GREAT Thanksgiving....We layered our attire, soaked up the sun after days of clouds and rain, gravitated to the burn barrells for warmth, talked boats and places we'd been and survived a 55 degree Thanksgiving dinner with smiles and contentment.  I'll let the pictures tell the story.

Pre- dinner conversations by the burn barrells..

Carving the birds...

So much food

Let the feast begin....

A few samples...

Seeking the sun....
 Our Chef, James from C Quarters Marina who smoked a turkey and 2 hams and deep fried another Turkey, cooked up a big pan of squash and grilled sweet potatoes...
I wanted Gary to take notes

And we loved it...only the bones left....

The chef not only loves to cook he loves to work with wood. A very talented guy.

If the current forecast holds we will all be heading south Sunday around noon....The winds have died down, the seas are calming and our Great Loop weather guru says a Sunday to Monday crossing is looking very good!  

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Life in Carrabelle

As we sit in Carrabelle on the day before Thanksgiving (freezing our butts off) it is a good time to reflect on what I am thankful for.  

  • I am thankful that we were able to do this trip which has enriched our lives in so many ways.
  • I am thankful for the wonderful people we have met and the friends we have made along the way.
  • I am VERY thankful for our family who have supported us and encouraged us in doing this.
  • I am thankful that although we cannot spend Thanksgiving with our family we are lucky enough to be able to spend it with new friends, a like minded group of people who love the water and have learned to embrace a simpler life.
Carrabelle is a very small town.  Really, you can pretty much see the entire commercial part of town in fifteen minutes on a slow walk!   Cammo clothing is everywhere, and the people are very friendly even though the town is like a lot of small towns on the water, pretty depressed. One of the cruisers wanted to go shopping on Black Friday...well good luck with that ....the closest "mall" is an hour away in Tallahassee.  
One odd thing, on the main intersection of town there are not one but four different real estate offices. You have to wonder how they support themselves.  Although we are seeing it in inclement weather...make that damned cold weather...and any snow birds are probably, like us, hibernating.

The people who work at this marina have gone out of their way to make us feel like one of them. They are including us in their Turkey potluck dinner for us for heavens sake.  One of only 2 marinas that we know of that are doing that. We don't have to eat turkey cooked on the grill...how lucky are we!!!

The IGA or as Angela and Daniel who are from Brazil called it the "EEGA"

House???   Nope, this is the Fisherman's Wife. One of 4 restaurants we've seen, of which one was in the BP gas station and one was closed for the season.  It's a good thing we don't eat out much.  

We couldn't figure out this sign.... these must be really HIDDEN because we sure haven't seen them.

This is the Carrabelle River taken from the bridge going to Appalachicola

Also taken from the bridge our boat is just behind the green marker sign.

The river at low tide behind our boat

Angela looking very content in a rocker on the porch at C Quarters  'the porch' seems to be the hub of information with locals stopping by all day to drink beer and swap stories.   

I had to laugh this morning when I got an email from my sister saying we probably spend a lot of time in the marina's "clubhouse" staying toasty warm.  THIS is it folks...the "clubhouse"

And the toasty warm part.....

We had quite an interesting talk with Chuck at the marina today.  Several of the guys wear these lanyards around their necks with an apparatus that they are puffing on all day.  I found out that they are actually "vaping"  which is a new way to quit smoking with an electronic type cigarette system
The lower portion of "the pen" is a battery and the clear cylinder holds flavored nicotene (yuck)...They say it is smoking nicotene without the carcinogens in tobacco. The battery heats the liquid in the cylinder and then they suck on the end and "smoke" the vapor. It smells like whatever 'flavor' they mix it with.  
It doesn't sound healthy to me but to each his own on kicking that habit.

And onto other habits......

This is the only bar in the downtown area.... cool old place reminiscent of "No Name Bar" on Deer Key 

Although the bar tender wasn't too glad to see the eight of us...she said " I go home in 10 minutes", we're like whoop dee do!

 from L to R ..Chris & Richard (former Michiganders) Daniel & Angela (from Brazil), Gary, Tom & Melissa (from N.C. and one of the boats we were with our first night into the Champlain Canal you may remember her 90 year old dad Hank the former marine whom we talked with in Port Edward N.Y. he looped with them from North Carolina to Chattanooga where he lives.

Yesterday, a miserable rainy day...stayed aboard all day.

One of the marina "mousers", isn't he a handsome one.

Guess I'm not going to get any fresh shrimp here either...looks like they're all taking time off....DARN!

The 'World's Smallest Police Station"...a phone booth actually served as a police station here in the 60's

 Funky little sandwich shop with lots of memorabilia....like this guy....."It's Howdy Doody Time" started running endlessly through my head!

Main Street 

As you can see, Gary doesn't have to worry about me and Black Friday....    
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!