Monday, January 20, 2014

On the hard...January 2014

I sure wish I had a Genie up my sleeve...
We decided that it was a good time to spruce up the galley while we are 'on the hard'...sailor speak for shored up on's time to attend to a few cosmetic issues.  We saw an older boat in Tampa where they had painted problem areas (in our case those would be water damaged teak veneer and about 7 screw holes in the walls for each of the previous 5 owners), it had the additional plus of brightening things up a bit (lots of wood on this old boat) so we decided it was the way to go.  Gary is doing his usual fabulous job and has spent hours sanding and painting  and varnishing and I am doing an equally fabulous job of finding more things to varnish.  

Galley with lots of wood

and a new look............

A new way to wash dishes...

F.Y.I.....the head does not function on all is not as it appears.
This is what is called "living outside the box".. (or as Gary likes to remind me, it's part of the adventure) hmmmmm??
Makeshift galley...Nuke Zone

We even have a 2 level galley now
Lower level ....crockpot and toaster territory
This is the "serve yourself" zone

Nasty old helm....
miracles do happen.

I've been waiting for this for 3 years!  Hip, hip, hooray!

This part is getting pretty old about camping......
I am gaining ground day by day on learning how to go with the flow......

What about Bob? He doesn't know what to make of this.  The other day we caught him under the table in a basket in the sun with a "this isn't what I signed up for" look on his face!  

It'll be ok Bob!!!!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Crossing our Wake...My thoughts on the Great Loop and more....

Jann & Bob in a wake crossing moment....

We crossed our wake in Charlotte Harbor Florida on Sunday January 5th. This means we have officially completed The Great Loop !!  
Synopsis of this fantastic journey:
350 days
6400 Miles
93 Locks
Were there arguments and cabin fever, you bet, where there scary moments, you bet, did we meet interesting people and see places we never could have seen otherwise, you bet, are we glad we did it, YOU BET!!  It was our trip of a lifetime and we saw America and a small portion of Canada from a view not seen by many.  We made many new friends and it is odd that in the boating community we will likely see a few of them again on the water somewhere. We met people doing the loop from Canada, Brazil and all over America.  Some of them were seasoned boaters and others had purchased a boat to do the loop with the plans on selling it on completion, we met one couple who planned on continuing around again but only half way where they would have their boat shipped back to the West Coast.  Would we recommend anyone else doing it?  Without a doubt.

We've been asked where we liked the best, it is so hard to choose....The Hudson was interesting and dodging the logs from the floods definitely kept us on our toes. Lake Champlain was beautiful, Canada was awesome. We had perfect weather through the St. Lawrence and although the 44 locks on the Trent Severn got very tiring the scenery was great. The 30,000 Islands in Georgian Bay was the highlight of pretty much the entire trip though.  They were spectacular.  Lots of rocks, not very nice weather but it was such raw beauty it made a huge impression on us both. A lot of people we talked to were to scared to try weaving among the rocks knowing there were more under the surface, but where's the adventure in that??? It was cool, especially since we didn't run into any.
Then there was Michigan...the shoreline of Lake Michigan is awesomely beautiful, especially the dunes. The ports were welcoming and had lots of shops to explore and if it hadn't been so windy we probably wouldn't have been so anxious to get off the lake and into the protected waterway again.  Made me a little home sick, because even though we choose to live in Florida Michigan will always be "Home".
The Illinois was interesting because of all the barges and the commerce with the moving of goods by barge. The Mississippi was a let down.  The vast river in my minds eye turned out to be the least scenic on the entire trip. No paddle wheel sight seeing boats running by, just barges and shorelines with nothing on them and no where to stop.  Very dull territory.  The Ohio was so short I really can't comment much.  But then we hit the Cumberland and the Tennessee.  Now these were some beautiful rivers.  We missed the fall color but I would go back there in a heartbeat to explore more, especially the Tennessee as we didn't make the side trip to Chattanooga (had to leave something for another trip :_).  Maybe someday.  After the Tennessee the weather started to turn chilly and the Tenn-Tom offered very shallow anchorages and very few marinas.  We made it through but it was not our favorite.  We had expected lots of anchorages but I guess do to the shallow water this year, most were unusable for us.  
Since we were trying to get a crossing to the west coast of Florida before Christmas and they were few and far between we had to rush through the panhandle and didn't see much but we are close enough to make a trip back in early spring when the north winds aren't as prevalent as they were in November!  So that's it ....
As you can see too many favorites.
We had a great Christmas  with our kids and even got a boat ride in!

Gary Jann and the 'grands' Sydney and Cole

Kent, Sydney, Cole, Chris

Our 'pay it forward' on boat ride day. Four rather clueless young guys.  There motor quit and after giving them a gallon of oil to put in it we ended up towing them back to the marina.  They returned the oil a couple of days later but were still pretty clueless. They had tied the boat up to the fishing dock  and left it while they returned to Orlando, the wind was viscous for a couple of days and after they realized there boat had damaged the dock they got it off of there pronto and anchored in front of the beach where the next morning their boat was high and dry at low tide.  It was gone the next day and we never found out if they had it towed away or the marina did.   

 Dorian and Todd 

Cory, Kingston (grand dog) and Jessica

Sorry Kingston it is SO NOT gonna' happen!

The Apollo Beach Power Plant from the Manatee Observation Deck

The gray bumps in the water are Manatee in the warm power plant water basin

Animal lover Dorian 'smooching' a manatee

Todd's find...a 'tree crab' high up in a mangrove at the Manatee observation area.

We left Ruskin late Saturday morning because we wanted to get to  Charlotte Harbor before the weather turned to North winds 35 mph on Monday.We spent Saturday night in the mooring field at Marina Jack's in Sarasota. We'd been there often by car when we lived in Venice.  It was a gray windy night but the party was still on at the bar.  Not that we made the effort of course.  Oh, how our priorities have changed over the years!!!

Sarasota skyline...we took the ball closest to shore after reading the reviews on the mooring field and the rocky conditions due to a very limited no wake zone.  As it was it was pretty quiet for a Saturday night and the rocking and rolling was kept to a minimum.

Sunday morning we rose to a picture perfect Florida Winter Day....mild no wind ......PERFECT!! and everyone was on the water enjoying the lull in the bad weather.

Ooooooo...Daddy, can I please have this one!!!!!................  
"Only if you win the lottery honey"

Pelican graffiti

Sunday scullers

Usually it is the Dolphins who like to play in our wake and today was no different but we also had a couple of Kayakers' who said it was much easier to paddle your way down the ICW if you could find a nice boat wake.  They stayed with us for a few miles paddling away!

Sunday was a calm beautiful day on the GIWW
(the gulf intracoastal waterway)

We have been treated to lots of wildlife on this leg of the trip...

White Pelicans near Boca Grande

 and the Boca Grande Swing Bridge opening to some of the prettiest boating in Florida!!

But as they say "all good things must come to an end"

It was an incredible journey and we have some awesome memories . For now Tie A Knot is getting some R&R, but never fear we'll have her ship shape and ready to start a new adventure before you know it!!!!