Monday, May 4, 2009


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The weekend started with a trip to Miami for the Corporate Run 5K

With 20,000 runners it was the biggest run event for us so far

Somewhere...way back in this crowd, my wife waits with the walkers

Some of the 2 dozen participants from our corporate team

We both finished successfully, setting personal records

We stopped for lunch on South Beach, while in Miami

This is no time for falling coconuts

Back home Saturday, Bill went fishing on the Gulf

Sunday, Kathy and Bill boated for brunch
Home in Port Charlotte
64* morning, going to a high of 89
This past weekend was very busy. It started on Thursday, when Kathy and I went to Miami for a day of working and playing. After work on Thursday we participated in the 29th annual Mercedes Benz Corporate Run 5K. It is a charity event that features South Florida corporate employees doing a 5k run or walk. This was Kathy's first registered event and she successfully completed the 3.1 miles, even jogging the last bit of the course. I ran the course and came in with a new personal best time of 34:59. After the race we got a little lost on the Miami Metro train system but eventually ended up back in our hotel in Coconut Grove. We ordered Chinese food for delivery and even though it wasn't the best quality of food, we tasted victory in every bite.
Friday was an office/travel day for me. We made the trip home from Miami and I did a couple of hours of conference calls and a couple of hours of paperwork.
Saturday morning I took a colleague, from Sarasota, and his wife fishing on the boat. We launched at 10AM and fished for about 5 hours. A good omen occurred when I caught a Spanish Mackerel while trolling through my canal system on the way out. The weather was excellent with clear skies and light winds, about 10 knots. These folks love fishing but don't have the highest of comfort level when it comes to baiting the hooks and handling the fish. Since they had paid for my fuel and bait I was happy to act as their Captain and crewman. I did most of the work and just let them pull fish out all day. It ended up being the best day fishing in a long time. Between the three of us we caught grouper, snapper, jack cravelle, spanish mackerel, porgies and a catfish. We caught so many fish we lost count. We had gone out with 48 live shrimp and returned with only 9. We only had a few baits stolen, so it adds up to well over twenty fish landed on the boat. The Spanish mackerels were the only keeper size but we released all fish live and unharmed. The grouper and snapper have to be at least 24" and the largest I caught was only 18" but it didn't matter as we had a ball out there. Some of the fish presented real challenges with hook removal and we had to manually revive them in the water before releasing them but we took great pride when each and every one headed back deep under their own power. After returning to the home port they thanked me for taking them fishing. I thanked them and told them they don't realize it but they are the ones who took ME fishing.
Kathy brought me a couple of beers while I flushed out the motor, washed down the boat and checked my trip meter. 53 nautical miles travelled on the day. After seeing the joy on the faces of my guests and hearing the story of our day, Kathy asked me to take her out on the boat Sunday; just the two of us to brunch on the water at Burnt Store Marina. She didn't have to ask twice.
The Sunday morning marine forecast was for winds a bit higher than what I'd faced on Saturday; winds 15-20 knots and a moderate chop. I warned Kathy that it would be a little rough out there but that I would be happy to drive really slow and keep her dry. We launched at 10:15 and felt the wind in the canal, well before hitting the open water. Kathy piloted the boat through the canal for about half the trip out, which was a great experience for her. After 2.6 miles through the canal we hit Charlotte Harbor and saw white caps. I recognized the conditions to not be nearly as bad as Rolando and I had faced on the previous weekend so we kept going.
We had time on our side. Brunch is served until 2 and the tides would allow us to return anytime between 3:30 and 8:30 tonight. On the trip there we took 90 minutes to go 16 miles. Kathy was a little nervous but she gained calm through my confidence. She asked me, "Do you call this a moderate chop?" Assuring her it was, she decided she wouldn't want to be out in anything worse than this. I told her it was a great experience for her to be out here because there will surely be days when we get unexpected weather out here and making it through days like this will make her a stronger sea mate.
I managed to keep the sea spray out of the cockpit for most of the trip there. I remember a trip last summer when Kathy, Rolando, Kathy and I made this trip and the girls arrived "looking like drowned rats" (their words, not mine). The big difference today was how I handled the boat, taking it slow and adjusting the trim tabs like Rolando taught me.
Brunch was excellent, as usual. Burnt Store Marina is one of our favorite boating destinations. It reminds us of our days in Phoenix, living weekends on Pleasant Harbor Marina about our former yacht, Peaceful Easy Feelin'.
After brunch I moved the boat to the pump out station and we cleaned and flushed the potty. I am so glad this boat has the pump out option, which removes the "porta" from porta-potty. I would hate having to take the whole thing out of the cabin, dump it out and re-install it. Even though this boat doesn't have all of the bells and whistles of our last one, it suits us just fine. Who needs a shower, 3 beds, a full galley satellite TV and Sirius radio? I'll take no boat payments, no slip fees and the convenience of a backyard boat lift. We do miss our marina lifestyle though. Having all of our boat neighbors with us every other weekend was like a twice a month vacation. We are reminded of all of those memories every time we visit Burnt Store Marina. (If you guys are reading...WE MISS YOU!!!!!)
The ride home from brunch featured 3-4 foot following seas but we had the 20 knot winds at our back, so it allowed me to get the boat up on a plane and travel about 16 knots. We got splashed but not soaked. We cleared the short bridge right at 3:30PM and docked her with no problem. Everything fore and aft of the helm was saltier than a fifty cent margarita. After flushing the motor I spent about an hour washing the boat down. Today's trip metered 33 miles, finishing at hour 398.8. What a weekend to remember.

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