Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Buffalo Wild Wings
Richmond, VA
High of 93

Tropical Storm Debby is no more.  She made her way across Florida, dumping 22" in one day in Central FL, continued drawing moisture from deep in the Caribbean, 900 miles away, flooding towns, spurning tornadoes and reeking havoc along her way.

At our house, the rain continued through today.  Our total for the past seven days exceeded 8 inches!  That's nearly equal to Phoenix's annual rainfall.  (our former home)

My poor bride, stuck at home, who usually loves every drop of rain that falls...was sick of it by yesterday.

Our dock was submerged from Saturday through today, when the tides finally fell.

I've worked Maryland and Virginia this week.  I was lucky enough to get a free upgrade of my rental car at the Baltimore airport on Monday night.  I reserved a standard class car, which is usually a Ford Fusion or a Toyota Camary.  What they gave me is pictured below.

Tomorrow, I head back home.  I have a week of jury duty.  I'm secretly hoping to be selected for the trial of the century and be in town for 6 months.

The 3' storm surge put the dock kids up to their necks in water.

2012 Chevy Camaro SS.  426 HP.  It's a beautiful ride.

Monday, June 25, 2012


Ready to drive to Miami and back
Low of 80, high of 81 (seriously)

Tropical Storm Debby provided lots of excitement around here yesterday, although areas North of me got it much worse than I.  Here in Port Charlotte we got 2.5 inches of rain, 5" since Friday.  Tampa got over 7" yesterday alone, with wide spread flooding.

I lost track of how many times the NOAA radio went off with tornado warnings.  The closest was in North Port, the town next door to PC.  There were damaging tornadoes in Naples, Arcadia, New Port Richie and a killer in Lake Placid.

Our canal experienced a storm surge of 2', as evidenced by the photo below.
However, most of the bad rain was done by 4PM and I was able to mow my grass by 7PM.

Our chance of rain today is 70%.  Charlotte and 14 other counties remain on a tornado watch, which is less severe than a warning.  Other than the storm surges continuing with the high tides, I believe the worst is past for us.

I have to drive round trip to Miami this morning, for a meeting, and then fly out of Ft. Myers to Baltimore tonight to start my work week.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Home in Port Charlotte
Raining like there's no tomorrow

The 4th named storm of the season is upon us.  This is the first time in history there have been 4 named storms in June.  Tropical Storm Debby is currently in the Gulf at 27.5 N and 87.0 W.  This puts her hundreds of miles away from us in SWFL and continuing to slowly move away.

We are, however, getting days and days of rainfall.  A wide trough of tropical low pressure preceded Debby  and has brought rain, winds, tornado's and lots of excitement to our area.  There was a touchdown in Naples yesterday, doing roof damage and putting trees atop cars but no injuries.  Another tornado was reported in Eastern Charlotte County near Babcock Ranch (not near us) this morning.  No damage reports yet.

What we are getting is rain, rain and more rain.  We are expecting 5" accumulations over the course of this weekend.  At high tide this morning the canal waterline was level with our lower dock.  We have about a foot more water in the canal than the tidal forecast and the next high tide, tonight at 6:30 is supposed to be another half foot higher than that.  Both docks could be underwater for the first time.

As I write this at 10:00 AM, the NOAA weather radio just went off for the second time today; Tornado warning for Arcadia, in DeSoto County, about 45 minutes away from us.  This is a lot of action considering Debby is so far away.  The storm continues to daze and confuse the experts.  It could make landfall as a Category 1 hurricane anywhere from Texas to the Florida panhandle.

Last week I worked in New England.  I flew up into Providence, Rhode Island and was picked up by my friend and colleague, John.  We spent Monday night at his cottage on Cape Cod.  It was my first trip onto the Cape and he gave me a little tour.  It's much bigger than I imagined.  I particularly enjoyed seeing the Mass. Maritime Academy.  Below are some photos from that trip.  Click photos for full screen image.

This bridge lowers and raises many times a day for the trash train to cross Buzzards Bay

Beautiful homes on the banks of Buzzards Bay
Mass. Maritime Academy where Captains have studied for over 100 years.

John's little slice of heaven, a block away from Onset Bay.

Onset Bay

Onset Beach

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Home in Port Charlotte
Forecast high of 94*

The premier bait and tackle store in Port Charlotte is called Fishin' Franks.  They carry a huge selection of all things fishing.  The owner, Frank, started working in his Dad's store in 1984 and he bought it in 1992.  He is a wealth of fishing knowledge and big fan of little kids.  I remember bringing my little Billy in there 4 years ago and Frank giving him a lure for free and telling him how to use it.

Every summer Fishin' Franks hosts "One Night to Fish," an annual tournament for shark, catfish and stingray.  The fishing begins at 3:30PM on a Saturday and weigh-in/measuring occurs Sunday morning between 8 and 9 AM.  The buy-in was only $30 and thousands of dollars in prize money was paid out.  Although I've never fished it, this year I decided to attend the results.  Cash was paid down to 4 spots with the winning shark and catfish each netting $1,000 and the 4.68 pound catfish netting $800.

It was great fun; I always enjoy getting a few minutes of face time with Frank.  Below are some photos from the event:  (Click on images for full screen)

The lighter colored ray won the $800 first prize for Rays. The darker one took 4th and cashed in $140.

The 2nd place Ray; lines are from sitting in his truck bed all night after he caught it at 7PM.

Fishin' Frank displays his dorsal hat while talking with the 2nd place Ray winners.

The 2nd place (Bull) shark, caught inside Boca Grande Pass, near the Cape Haze Reef.

The $1,000 winning bull shark. Nose to fork measured 68". Overall length was 85".  Caught near Tampa Bay using a 5lb Bonita Tuna as bait on 150lb test line with a 12/0 hook.

The shark meat was kept fresh for donation to the homeless  shelter kitchen.

My favorite photo of the day.

This couple wasn't even close to the cash but I wouldn't argue with them.

Fishin' Frank and his mate Robert measure the winning Ray's wingspan.  It was over 41" wide.

2nd place shark paid $700

Personally....I'd need a bigger boat. 
1st and 3rd place

3 sharks, no waiting

Marine Biologists take samples to analyze the age, health and habits of the sharks.  Frank says the data collected from this one tournament would take scientists many years to collect on their own.

Can you imagine?

The second place shark measured 66" to the fork of the tail. 
In this photo borrowed from Fishin' Franks facebook page, he shows his love for the fishermen of tomorrow.

Friday, June 8, 2012


Home in Port Charlotte
79 degree, 84% humidity, passing showers

My bride and I are presently sitting outside in the lanai in the above weather.  It's not bad, really.  When the showers pass through, dare I say, it's a little chilly for us.  We're playing a Gordon Lightfoot CD and each have our laptop as we play Words With Friends (scrabble) against each other.  We have some real battles between us.  It keeps us connected while I'm on the road, as well.

My travels this past week took me to Philadelphia and New Jersey.  It was a long week but not a bad one.
I spent today doing my work reports and then mowed the grass for us and my neighbors.

Kathy has to work all weekend but today we were together and made the most of it.  We had a Sears repair man over to fix the clothes washer and dishwasher.  We got away fairly cheap.  We had dinner tonight at Whiskey Creek, a spot we've wanted to try for years.  My steak was just okay but Kathy's bacon wrapped barbeque shrimp skewers were really good.

I will likely spend Saturday pruning palm trees until the dump closes at noon.  I also have some minor repairs to do on the boat; bait well motors are frozen, need to service batteries and check for loose wires on the GPS.  There's a nighttime fishing tournament but without a partner, I don't feel like being out all night alone.  I may go over to the local bait shop on Sunday morning to see the winning catches.  There's prize money for the biggest shark, stingray and catfish.

I haven't been out for a couple of weekends but I've got too much to do around here on weekends lately.
I also want to continue my canal bank renovation project.