Saturday, January 30, 2010


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Sparky's landing is in the little town of Key Colony Beach, in Marathon

We watched the Captain bring this big boy boat in like a champ

Okay, so our canal home is not quite this nice...

Key Colony Beach is definitely a hidden gem, but don't expect the buy here.
We looked at a 80x120' residential lot house yet....$585,000

Sunset Beach looks toward the Atlantic Ocean

Long walk down a short pier

Some of the resident's backyards on the block where the dirt lot cost a half million before you build the house...or the dock....or buy the boat...or pay the HOA fees....just where, exactly does all this money come from?

I love shimmering water

and freshly washed sand

Rocky Point?

Outside of the incorporated limits of KCB, the building codes a slightly more relaxed.
But don't be fooled, we saw 1960 model, single wide mobile homes in Key Largo for 300,000 and the further down in the Keys you go, the higher the prices.
As our day and latest Keys adventure comes to a close, we watch the sunset in Key West at Mallory Square

In the United States, this is as far south as you can get

Unless you are lucky enough to climb aboard...
and sail away right into the setting sun
Key West, FL
71 at wake up, going to a high of 77
Each time I come down here it gets harder and harder to leave. Realizing that if I stay, I'd have no viable means of support and my boat is lying 180 nautical miles north of here, I pack my bags and head home.
We found a new hideaway, on the way down, in Marathon. Key Colony Beach is a little known incorporated town about mile marker 50. Like all the rest of The Keys, it seems the recession never happened there. Home prices are out of sight. I can see why the average Joe who wants to make this area his home lives on his boat, anchored down in the bay.
Friday night we made our way to Key West's Mallory Square, where each night the sunset is a celebration. There are street performers, art vendors and musicians to entertain you as you wait for the dusk of another day. Kathy was partial to a Golden Retriever named Cleo, who was trained to retrieve dollar bill tips as his master played a banjo, sang and made giant soap bubbles with a rope. Me, I just come to stare at the nautical wheelers who steer their ships into the setting sun and I dream of one day going "cruising" to points much further south than here.
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Thursday, January 28, 2010


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On the road, Grassy Key, Marathon, FL
high of 75, very nice
Morning broke for me at 5AM and it's now almost 11PM. I'm very tired from a long week of work but I wanted to share these photos I shot this morning while riding (as a passenger) to Key West. Everytime I see sunbeams shooting through the clouds like that, I think of souls being taken to heaven. The last shot is a new park in Key Largo, behind the new Monroe County Government Center.
Kathy is travelling with me this week, staying at the hotels as I go to work each day. Tonight for dinner we found our way to a new place: Key Colony Beach. It's a little incorporated town in the Keys, near Marathon. We will post more pictures as time allows. For now, good night.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Home in PC
64* and heavy showers at wakeup, clear and 72* by 8AM

I purchased a new (to me) used Raymarine fishfinder/depth sounder. I bought it off a guy's classified on a Florida fishing website. The digital technology with color screen is quite an upgrade from my old cheapy humminbird model.

Sunday I removed the old unit and, with the help of my neighbor Ronnie, drilled a new hole in the transom and ran the new transducer cable. Ronnie was a huge help in getting the new cable run through the gunwale chase and into the helm station. He also helped me troubleshoot some existing electrical wiring problems with my other electronics, which I will be fixing as time allows.

Kathy and I are driving to Key Largo today to begin my work week.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Home in Port Charlotte
66 with fog at wake up.
High of 81 later today.

I returned home from my road trip late Thursday. It was sad seeing the empty space in the yard, where Dad's RV has been parked since December 13th. He left on Wednesday and is headed home to AZ. We had another great time and it's always sad when he leaves.

I spent all day Friday writing reports from my work week and beginning to make travel plans for February. I'll be teaching CPR classes in Philly, Boston, Richmond and Newport News. I'm hoping for decent weather up there because I'm going to drive 4 hours from Philly to Richmond. The flight is over $400 and that just doesn't make sense to me. The flights in and out of Florida are only $89. I will need to rental car in each city anyway so I'm just going to rent my car in PA and drive down to VA.

The cold weather gave way to a few beautiful days for the past week. Yesterday we had enough humidity we actually turned the on the air conditioner. We had some heavy rains, mid-day, then gusty winds. The tides have been lousy for trying to get the boat out. Winter tides are always lower than summer tides. I have to have enough water to get the boat off the lift. Unfortunately the periods of rising tides are in the middle of the night, lately. Pete from Buffalo comes in soon and we'll go fishing, even if I do have to launch at midnight. One I get out of my canal, the tide in the Harbor is always high enough to navigate the known channels. The problem only lies in coming/going from the canal and getting the boat on/off the lift. In the summer, I only have to worry about sneaking under the short bridge. I know, right?

I plan on spending the weekend at home, doing little projects. I have to take down the dog run we put up for Dad's girls. Next week Kathy will travel with me as we make our way to Homestead, Key Largo, Marathon and Key West, all for work but it's always a joy to be in Keys.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Newly added: Boat lift cover

Our boatlift as it appeared when we bought the house.

The framework is rated to 145MPH winds winds (without canvas)

When the canvas is on, the wind rating is 70MPH

If hurricanes threaten, the company will send reps to remove the canvas (for a fee)

Once the threat passes, they will come back and repost it (for a reasonable fee)

Below are pictures of our "barn raising"

Dad consults and helps with ground labor

The 20+ year old metal roof was leaking into the shed

We went with 15/32 plywood and rolled roofing

One of Dad's jobs after Phx PD was working for Paul and Son's Roofing

77? He's still got it!
Home in Port Charlotte
Gorgeous weather, highs in the mid 70's; lows mid 60's
The cold snap is long behind us and normal temps prevail. Dad and I elected to take advantage of the warm weather and change out the roof on our shed. It has been leaking for too long. We used nearly 1/2 inch plywood, dry sheets and rolled roofing to replace the old metal roof. I learned a ton from my Dad, as usual.
The previous weekend we had a local vendor install a frame and canopy over our boatlift out back. It's 29' long and will provide years of protection to our little boat. After the install was done, I fired the boat up for the first time in a few weeks. She ran perfectly. I charged up both batteries on the trickle charger and checked all systems. Everything is a go except my schedule.
I will be on the road the rest of this week working from Homestead to Miami to Delray Beach.
I'll be attending the funeral of a passed colleague on Thursday. At 49 he lost a 15 month battle with pancreatic cancer. He was very popular with his men and will be sorely missed. God Bless Frank Ferraro. I'm glad I got to know you.

Monday, January 11, 2010


Home in PC
Overnight low of 28* (wind chill 22*)

They say the end is near. Depending on how much time you spent outside lately, in Florida, you could take that two different ways. Florida has frozen over and some may think THE end is near. The optimist in me says the end of the cold is near. It has to be. Since weather records began, there has never been a winter in Florida that was as real a winter as this winter. It's never been this cold for this long.

There are homes in Miami and points further south where people have no central heat installed.
Airports in Tampa, Fort Myers and Miami have cancelled countless flights because they don't have de-icing equipment. And closer to home (ours) boat owners have had to take steps to winterize their boats for the first time ever. To keep my engine block from freezing and cracking I took my Dad's advice and purchased a shop light and Home Depot and placed it in the engine bilge. It worked nicely, as the standing water in the bilge stayed fluid when ice had formed all over our dock and the topside of the boat. Kathy's birdbath is more like an Audubon ice rink.

Last night my Arizona Cardinals entered the NFL playoffs, at home, against the Green Bay Packers. Very few people outside of Arizona and a little known neighborhood in South Florida gave the Cardinals a chance. When Red Birds scored the game winning touchdown in sudden death overtime, our house erupted in joyous screams reminiscent of last year's Super Bowl season. The air temperature Port Charlotte was 35*. My neighbor and fellow Cardinals fanatic, Chuck, and I fulfilled our tradition of the victory splash. We drove from my house to his and jumped in his pool. At the last minute, Chuck had "cold feet" but I persuaded him with a polar "bear hug" and pulled him in to the frigid depths below. Five seconds of hell, a lifetime memory. We love our Cardinals through thick and thin, for better or worse, in sickness and health and through the heat of the Arizona desert or the arctic blasts of South Florida. Go Big Red!

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Home in PC
Currently 45, has been 31 every morning this week!
This cold snap is unreal. The news says it's the longest a cold front has lingered in SWFL in 20 years. I feel like we got Phoenix's winter and they have ours. Give us back our warmth! I worked all week, close to home and got to sleep in my own bed. I get the weekend at home and then hit the road for the Atlantic coast of Florida next week.
Boat has been sitting, unloved, on the lift since early December. If the waves have been decent, the temperature hasn't. On the occasional warm day, we have 6 foot seas. This should all break soon. By next Tuesday we are supposed to be back to normal. This Saturday is forcast for blustery winds, rain and temps barely making the 40's. Shhheeeeeeesh. My grass has gone dormant and several plants have frost damage.
Monday we are having our boat lift covered with a 29' framed canvas. It can be easily removed for hurricanes. That will help keep the boat clean and dry.
I need a new fish finder. A guy has a good used one for sale in Miami and I am thinking about buying it. The one I have is cheap and mostly useless. My Garmin GPS unit still works good but it has a few horizontal lines showing across the display. I am going to call Garmin and ask if they can repair that.
Above is a picture we took of my Dad and his "girls" in our back yard.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Home in Port Charlotte
46 degrees!

Brrrrrrr. The entire country is enveloped in a cold snap and we are no exception. We have hit the upper 30's in this young new year and I don't like it at all. I didn't get to launch the boat over the holidays but we still had a lovely holiday season here.

For those of you who have been reading the blog for the entire 2 years, you may remember my first fishing friend in Florida. Pete from Buffalo was a snowbird who vacationed in my former condo complex here in PC. We had a great time fishing together in early '08. Last year he and his wife, Bonnie, skipped their annual trip south in favor of a kitchen makeover at home in Buffalo. He called me the other day to say they would be back this year, starting on January 27. I'm confident we will get out on the water.

Kathy and I saw the new George Clooney movie, "Up In The Air." It was good but not what I would call a Best Picture winner. I could certainly relate to the lead character, who spends his life in airports and hotels. I got my annual statement from Hilton Honors and found I have spent 125 nights in hotels in 2009. I didn't even take on the Northeast States until October, so 2010 will like exceed 200.

In reading the local fishing bulletin boards on the web I found another guy who shares my last name. He actually has the same name as my brother, Mike. We have corresponded a few times on email and his roots are also from Illinois. I gave him some more branches on my family tree and am awaiting his reply to see if we may be cousins. My Dad doesn't recall any nephews named Mike but you never know. It's funny because in all the years I lived in Arizona, I never met another Scully outside of my own family. I am now finding them all over the east coast.

Our new year's eve was spent next door at Rolando and Kathy's house for the second year in a row. Her brother and sister-in-law, Larry and Sue, are visiting from Michigan. We are enjoying their company, as well.

We have booked our tickets to Phoenix for May. My youngest daughter will graduate high school and my son, 8th grade. We hope to again have a get together at Chili's in Tramonto to catch up with many of you.

This week I will work the Gulf coast and sleep at home all week. I will get all weekends at home in January, as my travels keep my in Florida. I will spend 12 nights in hotels, 15 days visiting branch locations and have 5 office/travel days with which to do my 15 reports. My Dad and wife will meet me in the Keys for a few days of R&R coupled with my work there. You know what's missing? I won't be Up In The Air for the whole month. That alone is something worth celebrating. Happy New Year.

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