Thursday, September 22, 2011


Hampton Inn, Richmond, VA
73* at wakeup

I've been sick with a sinus thing all week long in VA Beach, Newport News, Richmond.
Monday and Tuesday were both poor nights of sleep.  Last night was a little better after I tried one of those Breathe Right nose strips that looks like a bandaid.  I certainly opened me up a bit and made it easier to breathe.

I'm working Richmond today and have a 4:30 departure, so it will be a short work day but a long day of travel.  I'm up at 4:30AM.  I will be changing planes in Atlanta at 6PM, with a 3 hour layover.  Departing at 9 and landing at 10:47PM in Fort Myers.  With the drive home, I should be at my door at midnight.  I'll take that over another hotel night and Friday afternoon arrival.

Next week I will be working the 5 locations closest to my home so I'll be in my own bed all week.
That's a rare treat for me.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


San Juan, Puerto Rico
High of 85 low humidity

After a week of work here on the island I'm more than ready to head for home.
I was able to get a free upgrade to first class on my flight from Tampa to PR and my return flight tomorrow has every first class seat available again, so I'm hopeful again.

The weather here has been nice all week.  Tuesday we had off and on rain from the outer bands of TS Maria but I have spent much of the week indoors, leading training sessions.

The days here are very long, as there is much work to do and limited time to do it.  I have been waking up at 430 and 415 each of the last two days.  I went out on the ocean front patio at the Marriott last night before dinner and was promptly biten by dozens of mosquitos.  Even in Florida I don't think I'll soon get used to skeeters.  My skin is so sensitive to them and I itch like crazy.  Of course this could be controlled with Deet or Off but the bugs are not always present, so I don't always have spray with me.

It's 730 and my class started at 6AM.  I have been done for about an hour but my colleagues are still working in the office and they are my ride back to the hotel.  It will likely be a very late dinner tonight.  My flight leaves at 11 tomorrow so at least I can sleep in until sunrise.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Home in Port Charlotte
High of 90, humidity easing off each day

Last night I used one half of my catch to make baked, blackened Red Fish.  For blackened seasoning I used Zatarains Cajun spice, lemon pepper, coarse black pepper and Mrs. Dash.  I baked the fillets for 20 minutes at 350, halfway through adding a slice of butter and splash of lemon juice on each one.  For a side item I used Zatarains Dirty Rice, minus the ground beef option.  It was delicious.

Tonight my Dad sent over his recipe, borrowed from Rubios Restaurant.
I used the same spice mix from above, added to flour and beer to make my batter.
My wife pitched in a hand to help at the fryer, while I dipped the fillets.
We used the left over dirty rice to really fill those corn tortillas shells up, topped with a special yogurt based white sauce, garnished with cabbage and a splash of lime.

Photos of the finished product are below.  Click on photos for full screen image.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Home in Port Charlotte
High of 89, nice breezes

After work today I headed out for a quick fishing trip on Charlotte Harbor.  Little did I know what I would come back with.

Finally got my first keeper Redfish. 26" long, 6 pounds alive, 1.92 pounds of fillets.

Tackle: 30lb braid with a 30 pound floro leader, 3/0 circle hook, free lined, no swivel.
Bait: huge hunk of cut pin fish.
Caught in Bull Bay, near Boca Grande Pass, on a falling tide.

The live shrimp available today was really slim pickens. I hit two bait shops but no one had a delivery nor were they expecting deliveries after the storms and waves in the Gulf last night. I took 3 dozen of the smallest shrimp I've ever fished with, LOL. But it was enough.

I was catching and releasing handsize sheepshead and grunts, using a 1/0 hook, freelined with shrimp. Finally, after releasing so many babies I caught the biggest pin fish of my life. I cut him up to a huge hunk of meat and put it on a 3/0 circle hook. I left it on a 15 minutes soak and decided today wasn't going to be my day. The tide was going down and I had come through 1' of water to get to the 3' hole I anchored down in. I needed to go before I couldn't get out. I started putting my gear away and the corner of my eye saw my rod, pop...pop........pop....pop.

When I realized what it was, I sought devine intervention. "Oh God, please let me get him in the boat." With no net and no crew I just let him fight until he was wore out. When he rolled over at the side of the boat I used the lipping tool to get him landed. I measured him at 26" and dropped him in the live well. I kept him alive for the ride home so he'd still have nice color for the photos.

You can't keep Redfish if they are smaller than 18" or bigger than 27".  It's what Florida calls a slot limit.  A redfish this big is known as a bull.  Funny, he was caught in bull bay.

Click on any picture for full  screen image:
Bull Bay

Red Drum, also know as Redfish

So beautiful, you almost feel bad killing him

Until you taste those Redfish fillets

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Home in Port Charlotte
High of 89, morning and evening downpours, sunny mid-day

The active hurricane season continues.  Tropical Storm Maria is out in the Atlantic. I will be watching her closely, as I'm flying to PR on Monday.  Early models give her a chance of landfall there on Sunday; others have her following Hurricane Katia away from land. Another tropical depression is forming in the southwestern Gulf near the Mexican peninsula. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile in Southwest Florida our rain continues.  We rec'd three inches yesterday.  I was awoken by our NOAA weather radio alarm at 3AM for a severe thunderstorm warning with tornadic conditions possible.  I stayed up until 4 and went back to bed.  Sunrise brought light showers until 10AM but there's a huge squall headed our way that will make for an interesting afternoon.

Photos are below.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Home in Port Charlotte
High of 88, rec'd 3 inches of rainfall

Without a tropical storm or hurricane, we experienced the highest tide ever since moving here in 2007.  There have been days of consistent off shore winds blowing water from the Gulf, into the Harbor, and into our canal.  Our dock has 2 levels and the lower level was well under water this morning.  Our little canal shore beach area was completely flooded.  I'm happy I added 25 yards of rip rap to our shoreline last Christmas or I'd have really been concerned about our salty piece of land getting eroded away.  We received 3" of rain today.  My 85 year old neighbor told me about a day in the 90's when our area received 15 inches in 15 hours.  Wow.

The winds have been so high I haven't launched the boat over the labor day weekend like I wanted.  I did however get some projects done.  All 4 batteries were serviced and charged.  Both my baitwell and my live well had stopped working on my last trip.  Turns out they were each solved with new fuses.  The automatic timer for the livewell has never worked right.  I found the timer module and ordered a new one for $20.

I fished aboard the floating dock on Sunday behind the house.  I had 3 strikes, 1 hooked and zero landed in 2 hours.  I used the floating dock to trim the neighbor's pepper tree up off the water to cut down on getting my lures stuck in it.

Out in the tropics, Hurricane Katia reached major category 3 strength today and then dropped back to a 2.  She doesn't appear to pose a threat to the US mainland.  Tropical Storm Lee came and went on the Louisiana Gulf coast without too much fan fare.  Today there are 2 other systems being tracked.  A tropical depression has formed 920 miles west/southwest of the Cape Verde Islands and may become TS Maria before the week is over.  I'm watching that one closely because I'm flying to Puerto Rico on Monday.  It is expected to pass by PR on Sunday as a low category hurricane.  Another low pressure wave is being tracked in the far western reaches of the Gulf of Mexico.  I don't think that has a chance of travel east toward Florida.

Today I discovered my company credit card had been cloned and used for fraud purchases in the Miami area while I was in Virginia and Mass.  I'm not responsible, of course, as my card is in my wallet but it still feels like I've been victimized.  I'm pretty sure the number was skimmed by a server at a particular Miami area restaurant on August 14.  No one else in the area had my card out of my sight.  I'm sure enough to not return there, even though it was really good food.  Sad.

I'm still hoping to get out on the water before the week is over but the winds will determine my fate.  Below are a couple of photos from the high tide at our dock today.
The recently broken low boy dock would be submerged even if not broken

This is supposed to be a beach, not a pond.

The dock kids are dipping their toes in the water for the first time ever