Friday, May 30, 2008

30 days: all moved in

Click on any picture to enlarge

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Breakfast Club

click on the picture to enlarge

Home in Port Charlotte, 84 degrees, 41% humidity. Beautiful day.

We launched this morning at 9AM, est, and headed across Charlotte Harbor to Burnt Store Marina for brunch. The winds were much more boater friendly today. We travelled 39.1 miles. Our top speed was 31 and our average speed was 24. Our run time was just over 3 hours.

We returned at 1:00 PM, est with no bridge problems. We were joined by our neighbors, Rolando and Kathy, and a great time was had by all. Of course, we forgot to bring a camera.
On the other side of the North American continent, my brother Mike just finished a great weekend of fishing the Mexican Pacific waters and returning to his slip at San Diego's Shelter Island Marina. I told him he needs to start a blog too.

I just spent 2 hours cleaning the boat and I am exhausted. I'm gonna hit the shower and get a well deserved nap.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Ch, cha, change

Last Monday, we got over 50 hits on the blog site. Thanks to all who have shown interest. I am working a couple of days in the Miami/Homestead area so I thought I would post some pictures for you all to enjoy. The building under construction has a pool on the 10th floor. The winds up there were really strong. The building itself goes 40 stories.

We saw this homeless guy holding a sign we couldn't resist. When he saw me pointing the camera at him, he turned away. When we asked him to show the sign he said it would cost us a dollar. After a few minutes of negotiation he agreed to pose for the unknown amount of change my colleague had in his pocket. The reward ended up being 57 cents. We offered him a chance to upgrade to what might be in the ashtray by trading us his fine tee shirt, but I'm sorry to report he said NO DEAL!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Almost Paradise

This is our tricky bridge. We have to be close to low tide or we can't clear under it.

This catamaran is owned by a friend of our next door neighbors. He keeps it moored at the Charlotte County Beach Complex.

Leg 1 of our journey was 22 miles out to Boca Pass. This is where Charlotte Harbor meets the Gulf Of Mexico.

As we approach, we notice dozens of anglers anchored down in the pass.

Click on the above to see how many boats were there.

Hard to take photos in 3 foot seas.

South of Boca Pass is the Island of Cayo Costa. This is where we anchored down for lunch.

This Gibson reminded us of Nolan & Nancy's Holiday Mansion.

While anchored down, we called Nolan to tell him we were thinking of him.

Others anchored down near us.

Still more anchored down at Cayo Costa.

My bride shows off her new ultra comfy life vest.

We have committed to wearing these at all times when underway.

These fools loaded 5 into a dingy made for 2.

Usepa Island is for the super rich. There are no bridges to the isle, only boats.

Usepa Island homes.

Usepa Island homes.

More Usepa riches.

At the helm.

She leaves a nice, pretty wake.

Click to enlarge and see the water crashing about.

A dream come true. After nine months of dreaming, we docked our boat at Burnt Store Marina for lunch.

As we head back out to open water, we had no idea what waited on the other side.

The 9AM departure was perfectly timed to clear the low bridge. The float plan was well thought out and geographically accurate. The noon break at Cayo Costa reminded us of why we moved here. We saw so many dolphins, we lost track. Unfortunately we were unable to photograph any of them. As we approached Burnt Store, it was a moment I had dreamed of: "Burnt Store Marina, Burnt Store Marina, this is the motor vessel Messin' About." The harbor master gave us permission to dock on the seawall right in front of Porta Bellos at Lattitude. We had a nice late lunch and set out for the final leg of our journey, right on time. The above video was shot as we exited the marina back to the harbor.

When we got into the open water, the winds had picked up substantially. The 2-3 foot seas had been replaced with occasional 5 footers crashing over our bow. The wind was out of the west at about 20 knots but we had to cross the winds, heading north for 20 miles. Sorry for not capturing video of that excitement but we were busy trying to hold on to the boat. There were some tense moments but the experience of handling the boat in the conditions was priceless. I felt confidently in control the entire time. Kathy would have NEVER let us launch in weather like this at Lake Pleasant but the fact was, we were here and the only way to get home was to cross these rough seas. We averaged 20kph across and got completely drenched from head to toe by the salty sea. Kathy was on the wind side and took the brunt of the breakers. She may have suffered some nerve damage but was supportive of my efforts to get us home safe, which I did.

The bridge re-entry was timed perfectly and we docked at the home port at 6:00 PM, just as planned. The trip results were as follows:

73 miles traveled; 7 hours and 33 minutes underway; 34 minutes at idle; average speed 24; top speed 31; fuel usage, approximately 20 gallons. Time flushing and cleaning the boat - 2 hours.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Float Plan revised for Sunday

Home, Port Charlotte; 73 degrees at wake up
Marine forecast calls for a slight chance of light morning showers, 2' seas on the Gulf with a light chop on the coastal bays, high of 86.

We have planned a local cruise for Sunday. We will set out about 9AM, crossing SW across Charlotte Harbor toward the island of Cayo Costa. We will cruise the isles of Patricio, Useppa, Cabbage Key, Middle Key and Bird Key for sightseeing.

We will then head back into Charlotte Harbor to Burnt Store Marina, just so we know the way when friends come visit and we take them to the fabulous Sunday brunch. After a break, will start toward Punta Gorda and Fishermen's Village for dolphin watching.

The final leg of our first cruise will take us north across the harbor, where we will cruise the marked channel in front of the Port Charlotte canal system, looking at the waterfront homes, past the Charlotte Beach complex, back into Alligator Bay then home with an e.t.a. of 5 PM.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Ring

Home in Port Charlotte, 88 degrees at sunset

I just got home from a 3 day business trip to the Atlantic coast. It takes 2.5 - 3 hours to cross the peninsula. On my way back here, something happened over there, so I will wake up and drive right back over there tomorrow. The Florida wild fires continue, although an arrest was made today. I drove through a great deal of smoke from the fire burning on the western shore of Lake Okeechobee.

My bride took some pictures of the new boat, resting safely, on our boat lift in the backyard.
Kathy has decided she is ready to set out this weekend for an afternoon of cruising. We will invite the new (parttime) next door neighbors to join us.

The other day Kathy was working the farm, er...uh..., I mean doing some gardening in our big yard. She noticed something shiny in the soil and thought it might have been a key ring. When she picked it up she realized it looked like a man's wedding band. It bore an inscription inside reading, "CMH to ESS 12-30-61". I knew our seller's were Ceceilia and Ed, with a last name beginning with S, but I didn't think they could be old enough to have been married for nearly 47 years. I called Ceil and asked her if their anniversary might be December 30. She answered, yes, why? It turns out Ed had lost 40 pounds last year and then he lost his wedding band. They always thought it had been lost in Vermont. They were thrilled to know we were sending it back to them. A lost symbol of love, returned to it's rightful place. May it be proudly worn for another 47 years.