Three named storms occupy the world's oceans as I write. Hurricane Igor is a major, category 4 with winds of 145 MPH. Hurricane Julia is but a shadow of her predecessor, at Cat 1 with winds of 85 MPH. Today, Tropical Storm Karl was identified in the Western Caribbean, threatening Belize and the Mexican Riviera. The good news is none of these storms threaten the US mainland.
I am spending the work week in the Boston area, having flown up Monday and with a return flight home Friday. The weather here is very nice, with overnight lows in the upper 50's and afternoon highs in the 70s. Today I visited Foxboro for the first time and had lunch in the shadow of the New England Patriots Gillette Stadium. Lately, my travel calendar has taken me from our nation's capitol to south beach and from Hampton Roads, VA to Virginia Beach. Next week it's right back to DC.
I turned a year older since my last blog posting. I'm officially closer to 50 than I am to 40. Over my birthday weekend Kathy and I managed to crash a private party, Trop Rock concert/dinner dance, in our little town. For those who don't know, Trop Rock is a genre of music surrounding the lifestyle of beaches, boats, booze and (some would say) broads. (Of course, I wouldn't say that). Another way of putting it is Jimmy Buffet style music. We also got ourselves invited to a Trop Rock singer/songwriters showcase the next day. We had a nice time and met a few new friends. We have decided to join the local chapter of the Parrot Heads, which is the name given to Jimmy Buffet fans. There are over 500 members in our little village on the harbor. They meet monthly for a private concert and are very active in local charity work and environmental cleanup work.
Our boat still sits on the lift out back. I devoted a little time to it last Sunday and got the starter to crank over once before the battery gave out from lack of use. I don't know if it really needs a new starter, a new solenoid or what, but I know it doesn't need new batteries. We replaced both of those in the last year. They do get drawn down from the automatic bilge pump during the rainy season though. I need to get it fixed, cleaned and shined and sold. I am browsing 17-18 foot center console fishing boats without outboard motors in our area. There are plenty to chose from. If I make that change, I will be able to launch without worry of tides too high to fit under my short bridge. The downside of a smaller boat is very few days I can handle the seas of the Gulf but with Charlotte Harbor having 830 miles of shoreline, the Peace and Myakka Rivers, there will be no shortage of water to explore. Plus, if I get enough on the sale of my current boat, I will be able to look into taking sailing lessons and earning credentials to be able to charter my own sailboats and explore the deep blue sea. One of the world's most esteemed sailing schools, Steve and Doris Colgate's Off Shore Sailing School, is 45 miles away on Fort Myers Beach.
I sat next to a gentleman on a flight last week and listened with great interest to his many tales of cruising the Eastern Seaboard of the US, the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands. Someday...someday. My goal is to be cruising blue water before I'm closer to 60 than 50.
From Jimmy Buffet's "A Pirate Looks at 40"
Mother mother ocean, I have heard you call
I've wanted to sail upon your waters since I was three feet tall
You've seen it all, you've seen it all.
I've watched the men who rode you, switch from sails to steam
And in your belly you hold the treasures few have ever seen
Most of them dreams, most of them dreams.
Yes I am a pirate, 200 years too late
The cannons don't thunder, there's nothing to plunder
I'm an over 40 victim of fate
Arriving too late, arriving too late.
To listen to the whole song, click here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPYNL5ioo8E