Thursday, June 25, 2009


Home in Port Charlotte
High of 90

My apologies to my faithful readers. After a very busy week of vacation I returned home and found myself down with flu-like symptoms. Six others in my family have the same illness. I will be back online just as soon as I can. Happy Independence Day.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Four Seasons Hotel
Westlake Village, CA

My annual meeting is halfway done and it's going good. I received my review which also brought good news. Tuesday morning I did 4.75 miles on a treadmill at the hotel. They have a really nice fitness center with tons of machines, free weights, a huge pool and spa. This morning I woke at 5 AM and did some laps in the pool, followed by some stretching in the hot tub.

I was feeling poorly yesterday afternoon, with some stomach/abdominal pains but it went away by dinner time. Today I woke up with a sore throat and some congestion. I haven't been sick in a few years. I'm hoping it's just climate change, like the headache I had in Phoenix. I took some Airborne and will take another couple of doses later. I really don't want to be sick.

Today it's more office meetings in the daytime and a company hosted beach party in Malibu tonight. I will evaluate my health before deciding if I'm going out in the cool, damp, night air for three hours.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Phoenix, Sky Harbor
91*, going to 105

The weekend flew by. Friday I started the day at 330AM, local time, and ran 4.4 miles in beautiful 81 degree, dry weather. I had a 7AM conference call and did some office work. We went to see the twin grandsons, Dylan and Devin, play baseball in Fountain Hills. We went to Lake Pleasant to see our former boat neighbors, Nolan and Nancy. We saw some other friends there as well but came away with the conclusion that the marina has changed in so many negative ways we have no regrets being gone, except for missing our friends who mean so much. We went for a little boat ride on the lake and that brought back some more nice memories from the past. Friday night we met with about 20 friends and family at a Chili's restaurant and closed the place down.

Saturday morning I did more office work from 6-2 then my eldest son, Ryan, and his wife, Bonnie, arrived with their two sons, Ethan and Owen. It was our first time meeting baby Owen and he was just as precious as we could have imagined. Ethan, who turned 2 in February, is already speaking clear sentences. Ryan and Bonnie are wonderful parents are we are so very proud of them. We spent the day playing with the kids and catching up, as our hosts Heather and Curtis readied the grill for Pappy's barbecue baby back ribs. It was a great day for all.

Sunday, Father's Day, I awoke at 5AM local time and did another 4.4 mile run. The morning was spent at Heather's house with Grand-twins, Dylan and Devin, in the morning while Mimi (Kathy) made her famous bacon, egg, cheese bagel sandwiches for breakfast. In the afternoon Kathy and I picked up our teens, Stephanie and Billy, and went out to eat and saw a movie. The movie was "The Taking of Pelham 123," and I predict an Oscar nomination for John Travolta. The movie was great. I got a call from my 22 year old, Kimber, so I had contact with all of my kids on Father's Day, which was all I wanted.

This morning, Monday, I fly to Burbank for 4 days of business meetings in Calabasas. The weather in Phoenix is going up all week to an expected high of 110 on Friday. I guess I have quickly acclimated to the tropics of Florida because 102 yesterday was a scorcher on me. I'll check back some evening this week for another update. Thanks to all those who read the blog on a regular basis. We recently topped 10,000 hits on the site.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Click on pictures for full screen

You can see two of the three babies beaks in the left side of the nest

Daddy Cardinal watches from his perch in the orange tree

Big Red comes to check on his new recruits

Momma Cardinal feeds her young

By the time we get back from vacation, they will likely have left the nest

Home in PC
High of 93*

For the past few days we have played host to a male and female Cardinal, who chose our South Florida home to birth their three babies. The nest is located in a tree just outside of our hot tub lanai, in perfect view from our family room. We have taken great delight in photographing the happy couple as they, in turn, feed the young hatchlings. What better place to raise a Cardinal family than in the yard of the Arizona Cardinals biggest fans?

This afternoon, after coming home from work, I was watching the nest and waiting for the proud parents to return for the afternoon feeding session. Suddenly I spotted a 2' black racer snake making his way up the branch toward the nest. I quickly entered the lanai and pounded on the screen window, startling the snake as I hollered for help for Kathy and Billy. They responded and kept him occupied while I armed myself with a shovel from the shed. Hearing the commotion, Bob and Eleanor came to help. Bob identified the serpent as a racer, not dangerous to humans, but he confirmed that it would certainly eat the baby birds if we didn't kill him.

83 year old Bob, newly nicknamed "Snake Charmer", reached into the tree and snatched the snake with his bare hands and quickly threw it to the ground. The predator took cover in a nearby bush but was flushed out by Bob and I. It made a break for it, slithering around the back of the house but I cornered it and made two quick strikes with the shovel, mortally wounding him two inches below the head, saving our beloved Cardinals from a sure fatal encounter. We had seen this fella in the last few weeks, making his way across our grass and our dock. He is now resting comfortably on the floor of our canal, awaiting a new kind of dinner.
I went to the nest and verified all three of our precious newborns were safe and sound. Minutes later, mother and father were back feeding their young. If karma means anything, the Arizona Cardinals should be back in South Florida for Superbowl 44 in Miami and we should find our way back to the big game for having saved the franchise. . . or at least a few future mascots.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Home in Port Charlotte
High of 91

The past week was spent working on the road, with young Billy as my travelling companion. We had a great time together and he showed a genuine interest in my work. By the second day, he knew what sort of things I would look for as we drove around inspecting the work crews safety practices. He sat in on my CPR review classes and he was very polite and well behaved. Both Kathy and I can't get over how he has matured in the past year. We have had a very nice visit with him and we're sure he's glad he came.

Today I completed a project in my storage shed/shop. There was a badly decaying 2x4 in the ceiling. I don't know how old the shed is, but the house is 27 years old. Someone had cut a hole in the roof of the shed to install an air vent and while the overhang of the house roof covers the vented hole in the shed, it was apparent that years of rain had worked it's way into this wood beam and destroyed it. I removed the bad wood and the vent screen, installed new beams and applied caulk to the seams to try and limit new water exposure.

My neighbor Bob had his shop repaired this past week and he had some left over R19 ceiling insulation that he offered to give me. I accepted and installed it, covering about half of my shop.

Kathy is working on a a few backyard art projects but I can't reveal them until they are done. One of them involves some woodwork help from me so I bought the materials for that today, along with a miter box and saw. I haven't used a miter box since 8th grade shop class but it was just what I needed today. I brought Billy out and showed him how to use it and let him saw one of the boards for the project. He's going into 8th grade this year but he said woodshop is a high school class now.

So far this month the Atlantic Hurricane season has been quiet, with no activity in the tropics.

We are looking forward to coming to Phoenix late next week and would like to invite our friends to join us for happy hour on Friday night, at Chili's near our old house. If you're interested, send an email and we'll get you the details.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


Motor vessel Messing About, a 26' walkaround cabin, out of Port Charlotte, FL
Captain Bill Scully (43)
Crew Billy Scully (13)

Launched from home port 6-6-09 at 640 PM

704p cleared short bridge at 0.7 ft above mean tide.

721p cleared final bridge to charlotte harbor.
Captain and crew wearing life vests.

735p Charlotte beach complex too shallow to anchor. Heading to cayo costa's pelican bay.

746p eng temp 170. Volts 13.2. Oil 40 psi. Speed 20 knots at 3750 rpm. Engine hour 401

810p reached #6 marker west of burnt store marina. Head break. Turn west 270*

819p bear 240* toward lee side of cayo costa island.

853p anchor down in 6 feet at 26 41.600N, 82 13.305W.

940p almost no wind. Anchor holding with no swing. We will spend the night here.

1230am up for deck watch. Cabin is warm and stagnant with very little air coming throught the window. We had to close the door to keep the noseeums out. Billy is sleeping soundly. I might have gotten 30 minutes. Topside, there is a nice breeze going and its a relief to feel it. GPS shows our anchor holding nicely. Breadcrumbs feature is in a tight circle as we swing on the hook. Dark clouds are moving over us from the west. I hear.a dog barking on Cayo Costa island. My bride sent me a goodnight text but she must have immediately shut down and gone to bed, as she missed my reply. I'm thinking of you, babe.

1250am. There's lots of fish breaking the surface under this nearly full moon. Wind is about 5-10 knots and steady. Water has a constant ripple now and is gently slapping the boat hull; enough to keep me from sleeping thru it.

1am. Moon now hiding behind an ever-darkening sky. Wind is sustained at 10 or better. Re-check long/lat position; A-OK. Sure glad I recorded that three hours ago.

110am. Everything is under control. I'm going downstairs to try some sleep.

245am. Deck watch, all secure. Anchor holding nicely despite 30 minutes of nasty winds. The moon is shing brightly again, after storm clouds threatened. Temperature is very nice in the upper 60s. I've been on deck since my last entry, laying seat cushions on the deck sole and getting very comfy rest, if not sleep, in the cool winds. The harbor is experiencing a decent chop but up here the sounds of the water slapping don't seem to slap me with it; not quite as loud. We had lightening over Gasparilla Island, about 2 miles northwest of my position but no sign of the wet stuff. The dark squall that cast over me earlier can be seen about 15 miles east of me, looking like rain at Cape Coral.

255am. Winds back down to 5-10 knots. Harbor waters flattening out again. Despite my fatigue, this is a great summer night to be at anchor. I'm ready to lay down again and hopefully experience an hour or so of R.E.M. sleep.

315am. The storm cell that was over Cape Coral is building above me quickly. Lots of lightening but the thunder is still distant. I may have to clear the deck and be ready to close Billys cabin window. Strange, the winds here are still out of the west and the cell is east of me yet it continues to climb atop my position.

330am. Lots of lightening strikes in that cell. Looking around, it's an isolated system but it's a big one.

415am. Deck watch, all secure. Anchor is holding perfectly. This is a good boat. The lightening cell is gone and I got a few winks. The wind is back and dare I say, I'm a little chilly. If I had a blanket, I'd be covered up in my makeshift deckbed. The reason I'm up here is mostly to watch our anchor. I have the Garmin monitor screen angled down to the floor and I can see it whenever I need assurance that we're holding. Oh wow, big dark clouds covering my moonlight. There's so much around us yet we continue to be, well you know....I don't want to jinx it, right Kath?

510am. Worst, darkest, biggest and most windy cell yet, upon us. It's really low too. White caps all around but the anchor holds tight.

513am. Here's the rain. I jumped downstairs with Billy and batton the hatches. The rain lasted only 5 minutes. Billy is still sleeping soundly. He's a good shipmate.

605am more brief rain. I'm up for the day. Finish rigging rods and call my bride to say good morning.

705am. Anchor up. Billys not.
Anchor has big load of muck and weeds. That's why it held so well. It took me a while to clean the anchor.

730am. Motor out through Boca Grande Pass. Waves are very heavy; much more than forecast. There are plenty of boats on the pass fishing the annual tarpon tourney.

800am. Seas so heavy, unable to do above 6 knots.

900am. About 10 miles out, Billy feeling the seas down in the cabin. I ask if he wants to turn back and he says no.

1000am. We not making much progress. We're about 15 miles west of Boca Grande and I can't even stand up without holding the wheel. I manage to send a couple of trolling lines out while Billy holds the helm but this is ridiculous.

1030am and now I am feeling sick. There's no use in going further out. I feel bad for Billy. He's not complaining but I see it in his eyes. I make the decision to turn back. He's okay with it.

With a following sea I can now make 18 knots heading east. I run the waves hard because I don't want to be out here anymore. I have to get Billy to a safer position.

1130am we reach Charlotte Harbor and I give Kathy an update. I can't get the boat home until tonight due to the tide.

1235pm. Tie up at Punta Gorda's Fisherman's Village. Even the harbor is a choppy mess. Kathy graciously comes to pickup Billy. I will guard the boat here at Fishville's public dock until 6pm and I head for home. I've been awake since Saturday at 5 am. Home is right where I want to be.

600pm. Depart Fishville for home, clearing the short bridge at 650pm, in a tide of 1.0.

730pm. Boat is on the lift. Flushed salt water from engines, washed boat and fishing gear down.

Trip meter shows 85 nautical miles travelled.
Engine meter hour 409.


Home in Port Charlotte
Heavy downpours with thunder & lightening

Billy and I launched the boat at 7:20 and headed out. The low tide was scheduled for 7:36AM at 1.1 feet above mean tide. I can normally clear the short bride up to 1.2 feet and anything below. As we navigated the canal I could tell by looking around at the neighbors docks, this was an abnormally high tide. It was higher than predicted already. My GPS indicated the current height was at 1.1 but that's just a forecast. My depth finder showed 4-5 feet in the center of my canal, where I am used to seeing 3-4 feet. I told Billy to be prepared to scrub the launch.

We got to the short bridge and I slowed the boat to a stop. Not only wouldn't my GPS antenna clear to bridge, my entire hardtop was 2" too high today. For the second time since owning the boat, we had to abort a scheduled departure. The last time was last summer following Hurricane Gustav, which hit Texas hard but brought tons of additional water into the entire Gulf region. On that day I recall the tide was at 1.0 and I still couldn't get out.

Last night we had VERY high winds and rain that may have brought enough extra water into the canal to create a tidal anomaly.

Kathy has been telling me that since the day we met in 1999. I also am a firm believe that sometimes God tries to intervene in different ways to help us get a strong hint. I had woke up at 2AM this morning, thinking about this off shore adventure and had some normal nerves. I told myself then, the tide is going to be really close and if we don't get out I will accept that we are not meant to go out at this time. As we pulled away from the short bridge to go back home, I shared my thoughts with my son. I told him of a well known prayer that my mother taught me decades ago; I think it goes, "Lord grant me the strength to change the things I can, the patience to accept the things I can't and the wisdom to know the difference." I could have disassembled the GPS antenna and tried to muscle the hardtop beneath the bridge but it didn't feel right. Billy understood and we headed for home.

We had 2 dozen live shrimp in the bait well and those will keep. We will fish them on the canal today, when these heavy thunderstorms pass us by. I put the 30 pounds of ice and the frozen rigged ballyhoo bait in Rolando's garage freezer and it will keep. Everything else will be good to go if we decide to launch tonight and try again. I know the tide will be falling from 2.3 to -0.2 during the evening tonight. We can launch at about 7:00PM, if the weather looks favorable, and spend the night on the harbor. Then we can still fish all day Sunday and come home to a falling tide Sunday evening at about 6:30PM.

This all may sound like a pain in the butt to some of you but here in South Florida, it's all a part of MESSING ABOUT!

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Upper Matecumbe Key, Islamorada (FL Keys)
82* partly cloudy
After teaching a CPR refresher class and dealing with a few minor emergencies in DC and Florida, I headed back to the hotel and family. Billy and I did some fishing along the seawall. I landed a 12" ladyfish, which I successfully released. Billy spent most of his time being teased by a sheepshead that chased his lure everywhere but wouldn't bite the bullet.
We had dinner at Islamorada Fish Company and window shopped the Worldwide Sportsman (Bass Pro Shop). After letting dinner digest a bit, Billy and I hit the hot tub and then the swimming pool. In the 50 meter pool we did 3 sprint races and the old man in the sea took 2/3 from the kid from Arizona.
Yesterday Billy joined me for some of my afternoon workout. We walked a mile and ran a mile together and I followed that up with four more.
This evening Kathy and I spent some quiet time on a bench on the hotel dock; looking out at the Atlantic and generally relaxing. This has been a nice trip for all three of us. We head back home tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009



Hampton Inn, Islamorada
High of 88, nice evening sea breeze
Last night my son Billy arrived from Phoenix. I can't believe how tall he has gotten and how long his hair has grown. His voice is quite deep too. My youngest is quickly becoming a young man.
He and I fished the dock behind our house and I actually landed a fish. It was an Alligator Gar Fish; lots of nasty teeth and he was none too happy to be caught. Since they are federally protected fish, I was happy to give him a successful release back into my canal. I'm sorry I don't have a picture but you might want to google them. They are nasty looking fish.
This afternoon Kathy and Billy and I made the 4 hour drive to Islamorada in the Florida Keys. On the way down, as we crossed the Florida Everglades on US 41, we encountered a huge gang of gators hanging out on the roadside, near a Park Service station. We stopped for the above photos, then got on our way. Once in Islamorada, we got our usual room, 109, at the Hampton Inn. Tomorrow I will head to work in Homestead and Kathy and Billy will hang out on the beach.
Monday morning I ran a strong 5.1 miles. I will run again on Wednesday. I have a 5AM wakeup call.