Sunday, March 20, 2011

Apalachicola to Panama City, FL

Thursday, March 17 - Got to White City early, having gained an hour going back into Central time. One, long floating dock was our home for the night and it was pretty decent. (Fishing boats headed into or out of the nearby boat launching area were not much for reading the NO WAKE signs, but it was a free dock, after all.)

Just as several of us had settled down for a nap, a pack of dogs came along with one particularly loud one who looked like a pit bull. And he was crazy! He would bark at anything (waves coming in!) and attempted to "chase" fishing boats as they came by. Turns out he was pretty tame, or so it seemed. Lucy kept wanting to take him on and we held her back. :-) Next day we're off to Panama City....

Friday, March 18 - A day I'll not soon forget. We got to the marina around 2 in the afternoon. Last Dragon went to an anchorage but we decided the marina would be best for us since we're having some head issues. We both worked around at different projects all afternoon (Wayne removing one of the pumps in line with the head and I doing laundry.) We also identified what sounds like a real "find" in a marina: Alan's Little Marina in Niceville, FL, at $15/night.

I was carrying laundry back when I had an accident boarding the boat. My laundry container hit the boat railing and I lost my balance, falling off the boat and onto the dock, hitting my left ribcage on the side of the dock. ER visit confirmed a broken rib, and they eliminated a worry about damaged internal organs with a CT scan. We got to the ER around 7:30PM and didn't get back to the boat until 2AM. Spring break, weekend, full moon...what an experience the ER was!

Fortunately I only came out with a broken rib and a bunch of sore muscles. Wayne and I both thought I was headed into the water after the smack on the dock. Considering I had the wind knocked out of me, that would have been much worse. As it was, I had no scrapes or cuts, only bruises...since my hands were full and I just hit full force with the ribs. Scary, though. We are both usually so careful about moving around the boat because there are so many opportunities for something like this to happen. We both have a renewed commitment to mindfulness.

Sunday, March 20 -I'm taking meds for soreness/pain and it seems to be working well, so far. The plan is to leave here tomorrow morning for Alan's Little Marina with Sharon on board Segue to help with navigation in case I can't ride on the bridge. Ben is excited about handling Last Dragon on his own. We promised him a "medal" of honor made from a scrapped impeller if he is successful. :-)

On another topic, we saw some great wildlife coming into Panama City on Friday. Dolphins, eagles, and even an alligator. You know me and dolphins, if you've read the Loop blog. Well, this dolphin beat anything I've seen. It was romping in the water...then turned over on its back and sailed along with it's nose kicking up a spray:

More later....

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Gulf Rim Route: Done!

Tuesday, March 15- Well, we're "over" the Gulf! We left Dunedin on Saturday the 12th thinking we had a good shot at doing our three legs of the trip in three consecutive days. The first day out was great: smooth waters by the end of the day as we made our way into the Cross Florida Barge Canal to anchor. The Canal runs alongside a greenway now, and there were several people out fishing from the banks as we found our spots in the middle of the canal. We saw only a couple of fishing boats that evening and found it to be a very nice anchorage. The next morning we were treated to a gorgeous sunrise.

Day 2, Sunday, March 13, we left the canal and went 80+ miles to Steinhatchee and River Haven Marina. We left Yankeetown around 8 AM and got to Steinhatchee by 5:30PM. Again, good water for the day.

Day 3, Monday, March 14, saw us leaving Steinhatchee around 7:45 AM in the fog. Last Dragon led and it was a tense experience for all of us. The fog didn't lift until we were out of the channel that leads into Steinhatchee...about 5 miles. From then until noon the water was fine. We thought we were drawing the best 3 days in this spring for our passage. So much for thinking. Around noon the waves picked up and before we knew it we were being pushed on our beam, rocking us sideways. Not comfortable! We tried various alterations in our course to see if we could take the waves better...and some worked pretty well for a while. Nothing, though, was a solid winner. We ended up going back to our original course and pretty much gutting it out through the rest of the trip. This is the third time we've come through this section of water and every time the waves have been coming from all directions.

We anchored last night in the Shipping Cove at Dog Island. What a gorgeous anchorage on a night when winds were low and from the south. We took Lucy into shore and she romped up and down the beach. (She'd heard talk of dog island for a few days now and was surprised to be the only mutt there.) We took her sandy body back to the boat and gave her a quick shower afterwards. The evening was calm and clear and we woke up early to a spray of stars across the sky.

Today we came to Apalacicola and the Water Street Hotel and Marina. We have stayed at Scipio Creek Marina the other times passing through, but decided the paved parking lot here would keep Lucy cleaner than the powdery lot at Scipio. We had concerns about the depth of the slips, so did bow in (which is better for our view since we're looking at the marshy grassed area behind the boat).

Thursday, March 17 - St. Patrick's Day

We're leaving Apalachicola today for a short 20+ mile run to White City and the free city dock there. Apalachicola is one of our favorite spots in Florida and the weather here these two days has been perfect...springtime in Apalachicola.

As I was looking through my last download of photos I spotted a few to add to the Dunedin experience. The first is of Jack, the troubadour.

According to a local, Jack (who seems to be of Italian heritage) lives in a retirement home right by the Dunedin Municipal Marina. Several times a day he would walk down to the pier and...when he found a pretty lady...break into song. He would end by blowing a kiss...and with a flourish, wish her godspeed. It was interesting to watch the reaction of the people being serenaded. One time he approached a car that was parked nearby and ended up singing to the couple inside.

The other photos are of a Great Egret that stayed on a pole by our boat during our stay at Dunedin. I read up a little on the bird and it seems that the feathery plumes and green lores (area between the beak and eye) mark it as a breeding bird.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

1984 Californian 43 Cockpit Motor Yacht(CPMY) Trawler for sale!

Oh, by the way...we're ready to sell Segue! We've been considering this move for sometime and both feel really good about the decision. We have a few ads out on the internet for the boat...and have a website with complete description and photos:

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ft. Myers Beach to Dunedin (Florida, not New Zealand)

Tuesday, March 1- Our lovely time in Fort Myers Beach is over for now...and we're ready to leave for the 2 month journey home. The weather here has been just gorgeous...dare I say a little too warm at times if there's no shade around.

We did rent a car and drive over to Miami Beach for the boat show. We left on Thursday, the 17th of Feb., and got there in time for Wayne to meet with a supplier for his business. We spent the night in an area of Miami called Miami Lakes and it took us a while to find it following the Google map we had. (As in...the map was mistaken.) The next morning we drove down to the convention center on South Beach and I dropped Wayne off at the show. He spent about three hours there while Lucy and I went back to Miami Beach and walked around the gorgeous neighborhoods and beach. (Miami Beach has wifi available to visitors at no charge so I was even able to check my email once we were back in the car! Ah...the little pleasures.)

Wayne didn't buy anything at the boat show...but came back to Ft. Myers and ordered an AIS system for the boat. This technology will allow us to "see" commercial vessels (tows) for miles out. Should come in real handy on the Tenn-Tom.

Wednesday, March 2 - When we left Ft. Myers yesterday we had thoughts of meeting Ben and Sharon at Cayo Costa for an anchor out before heading into Sarasota today. As it turned out, the winds were due to pick up Tuesday night...and we have another "issue" with our generator, so we opted for a marina a little further north. We stayed at Cape Haze Marina and fueled up there since their diesel was...well, I started to say reasonably priced. Let's just say diesel is, like all oil products, inching up in price daily and their price hadn't reached the extremes yet.

Cape Haze was a friendly little marina based around a community of townhouses.

We could see signs of their having started new construction and then, like many, cut it short because of the economy. Still...a nice feeling place.

So today we left Cape Haze at around 9AM and the Birdwells left Cayo Costa at 7AM. We were traveled within easy hearing distance most of the time and both came into Marina Jack's in Sarasota at around 2PM. After taking time to dock, register, and clean up some...we walked up to Patricks for drinks and dinner.

Thursday, March 3 - We met Bob at First Watch for breakfast and got back to the boat in time for Wayne and Ben to evaluate the generator problem. Looks like they've got it working.

We all set out for a walk then to St. Armand's Circle, across the John Ringling Causeway Bridge. It was a gorgeous day, even if a little windy!

We went to the Columbia restaurant for lunch and, after a brief spin around the circle, back to Marina Jack's. That evening Bob and Shirley came over for a visit. We had hoped to sit outside on the deck...but came inside because the winds were too high.

Friday, March 4 - We left Sarasota early knowing we'd have a long trek today to Caladesi Island. Fortunately, the trip across the Tampa Bay area was not bad and we ended up making pretty good time. Segue found one of the two wide slips open and hopped on it, while Last Dragon took a slip near the end of Dock D. (Last Dragon later had to move over to a narrower slip on "C" dock. The marina was by no means full...and we think there was a "regular" scheduled to come in that weekend who used the slip on "D" dock.)

Caladesi was just as beautiful the second time around...and Ben and Sharon seem to agree. Despite my resolve to leave shells where they lay...I came back with another baggy full! Oh, well. I just couldn't resist!

We were watching the weather daily, hoping for a 2-day window that would get us from Caladesi to Yankeetown...then Yankeetown to Steinhatchee. We were determined to anchor on the Cross Florida Barge Canal near Yankeetown instead of going into a "marina" (most would agree there are no REAL marinas in Yankeetown...least none that willingly take transients.) It looked like we had a chance to leave on Monday morning so we moved to Dunedin on Sunday afternoon. The low tide is just about sunrise when we'd want to leave...and the channel into Caladesi is pretty shallow for us at low tide.

Dunedin Municipal Marina had a slip for Last Dragon inside the sea wall...but Segue ended up tying up to the transient docks just out side the protected basin. It may have been the roughest conditions (high winds, tall poles, etc.) that we've done in a long time, but we made it in just fine. This is our view from the transient slip that afternoon. Uh, we were the only boat in the slips that evening. Wonder why?

After putting out every fender we own to buffer the side next to the dock, we went over to Last Dragon for a final check of the weather at 4PM.

Were we ever surprised to see the weather prediction for Tuesday had changed drastically...and there was no way any of us wanted to be traveling in the waves that were forecast. We stood the chance of getting "socked in" at the Yankeetown anchorage for maybe a week if we couldn't leave Tuesday morning. So...reluctantly...we decided we'd be in Dunedin for the week.

Monday, March 7 - Waking to a leisurely day plan, Wayne checked the weather, as usual. Suddenly Monday and Tuesday looked good for a run! We called Ben and Sharon and started the process of gearing up for a 75-80 mile day when we realized it was just going to be too rushed. There wasn't a way for us to get out before 8AM and we really needed all the daylight we could get. The other problem was, there wasn't a backup plan for us: no where to go if for some reason we were unable to anchor at Yankeetown.

OK. We're in Dunedin for the week.

Wednesday, March 9 - Lucky us!! We love Dunedin! The historic downtown is near the marina with all kinds of good restaurants and shops. There are several long walking/biking trails nearby. And we hear from a fellow boater who stays here a good part of the year that Dunedin loves to throw a party. The day we arrived they were wrapping up an art and antique festival and a "taste of Dunedin." Last night they celebrated Mardi Gras, complete with a parade! Ben, Sharon, and I decided to wait out the parade (Wayne headed back to the boat). Here we are decked out in our beads...most of which Ben caught!

Oh, wait. That's the wrong photo. Here we are.....

We're watching the weather and might get out on Saturday. No problem-o, though, for this bunch. Friday and Saturday the town has a great Green Market nearby...and on Friday night they will have the second Friday Wine and Art Walk. We'll be just fine, thank you!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sarasota, FL, to Ft. Myers Beach, FL

At last, we're ready to check in again on the blog! Here's they way we made our way from Sarasota to Ft. Myers Beach...

We totally enjoyed our time in Sarasota...and the visit home to see family in December. We got back to Sara Bay on January 2 and spent the rest of that week finishing up a few boat projects and visiting more with Bob. On Wayne's birthday, January 5, we went to St. Armand's Circle and had lunch at the Columbia restaurant, a long-time favorite. Here's the birthday boy enjoying the day out at their sidewalk cafe.

Interesting neighbor on the Sara Bay dock...the Chapel on the Bay, a floating chapel used for weddings, renewal of vows, funerals at get the picture. It was really weird to see this floating up to the fuel dock!

Talk about weird, how about this reindog we spotted on the streets of Sarasota before Christmas...

Sunday, January 9 - We waited on high tide to leave today since we need all the water we can get in this channel. Around 2PM we let loose the dock and headed across Sarasota Bay to Buttonwood Harbor, an anchorage near Longboat Key. We chose a spot just outside the channel in the harbor, a short dinghy ride from the Dock on the Bay where we paid a daily fee to land the dog. The area is peaceful. We were the only boat anchored there and very little traffic in and out.

This was another great location for a cruising boat to land. The bus stop was right in front of the Dock on the Bay and the beach was just across the street. We had some mail to collect from Sara Bay...and some other small business to care for before we took off down the coast... and this was a perfect spot from which to work.

It was a little breezy Monday night and into Tuesday, but we were comfortable with the way the anchor was holding. Until Tuesday night.

I woke up at midnight and Wayne was nowhere to be seen. I went up on the deck and there he was, huddled up on the fly bridge, watching the boat spin and turn in winds that were howling. He was going to sit up and make sure we didn't move. I entertained, for a minute, the idea of going back to bed...then got dressed and took my place up on the fly bridge with him. It was a night to remember. We ran through every possible "disaster plan" we could come up with...and sat up all the rest of the night, talking and watching.

We kept thinking the winds would die down a little with sunrise...but I'm not sure they did. I was concerned about Wayne being out on the bow trying to dislodge the anchor (heaven knows it was SET!), but that went smoothly. We gingerly picked our way out of the shallow channel and into Sarasota Bay. Fortunately, the winds died down enough that it was not an unpleasant ride from Sarasota Bay to Venice. We went into Marine Max for the night in Venice, right off the ICW. We ate lunch and went to sleep! A drowsy afternoon spent walking along the Venice waterway...then early to bed. A new resolution made: don't anchor out if the winds are going to be high. I think we underestimated how close we were to the Gulf in Buttonwood Harbor? The winds weren't supposed to be outrageously strong, according to the standard weather sources. The thing is...once it's dark and you're anchored, you just have to hang on for the ride!

Thursday, January 13 - Having recovered, somewhat, from our all-nighter, we went from Venice to Gasparilla Marina in Placida, Fl, on Charlotte Harbor. (Longest walk we've ever had from our slip to the marina office!)

Friday, January 14 - We decided to go into the Ft. Myers Yacht Basin for a night or two. Our generator had stopped on us that fateful night in Buttonwood Harbor and Wayne wanted to take some time and figure out what the problem was. In talking with our friends Ben and Sharon Birdwell we decided to go up to LaBelle where they keep their boat and let Ben, the mechanic, help out with the repairs. Ben and Sharon actually came down and helped us into our slip at Ft. Myers...then Wayne and Ben scoped out the generator problem. We finished off the night with dinner at Joe's Crab Shack and made plans to go up to Port LaBelle Marina the following day.

Saturday, January 15 - The trip from Ft. Myers to LaBelle was a beautiful one. I see why many boaters choose to cruise the rivers of Florida because from our limited experiences this year they are prime areas for lush vegetation, abundant and varied wildlife, and gorgeous views. Speaking of varied wildlife, this is one variety we hadn't expected on the Okeechobee...

Loved this sailboat all decked out in bright colors...

We spent the next week at Port LaBelle Marina, taking one of the TWO slips with power hook-ups. (There's a whole TV series worth of oddities here...lots of stories. So entertaining, was this week!)

LaBelle is a beautiful location, right on the Okeechobee Waterway. Here we are towards the end of this dock with Last Dragon.

Wayne and Ben fixed the generator in between side trips to Ft. Myers Beach, Clewiston (we saw Lake Okeechobee), Leigh High Acres...and, of course, LaBelle downtown and surrounds. I can see why Ben and Sharon like this place!

Friday, January 21 - With the generator fixed and all four of us ready to be "cruising" we all left LaBelle today for a night or two in Ft. Myers at Legacy Harbor. We had a little rain and fog going down, but it wasn't bad.

Saturday, January 22 - A really blustery day! We'd given thought to going to the Ft. Myers Beach mooring field for a night or two before heading down the coast a ways...but the wind predictions made us decide to stay close to the dock for another night. The wave action in the marina was so bad at times that we had a hard time being comfortable! Bonine to the rescue!

Sunday, January 23 - We moved on down to Ft. Myers Beach mooring field with Last Dragon. What an ordeal picking up a mooring ball! Half the balls in the field were missing their pendants so Ben actually had to use the dinghy to help us secure a line to the ball. Looks as though the mooring field isn't being cared for: missing mooring balls (or submerged) and few pendants still attached. We went ashore for lunch out at Nervous Nellie's. Good hamburgers!

Monday, January 24 - Off to an anchorage spot just down from Naples, FL, called Rookery Bay. It's on the Old ICW, so we were hoping for enough water to float Segue safely down. We ran up on some ground at one point because we'd strayed slightly out of the channel. Fortunately, we were able to get out of the problem with no signs of injury to the props.

Rookery Bay was well worth the trouble. Beautiful bay right next to a wildlife reserve area...and plenty of water to anchor in. The best part was the beach on Keewaydin Island, a short dinghy ride away... few people and lots of shells.

Ben and Sharon leading the way down to Rookery Bay...our depth finders!

Tuesday, January 25 - The winds were predicted to kick up again this week so we pulled up anchor and headed up to Naples City mooring field. We were anxious to see where/what/how of this field. As popular as mooring fields are to cruising boaters, this field never seems to be more than half full...and it only has about 10 mooring. Well, it didn't take us too long to see what the problem was. None of the mooring balls had pendants.

The winds had picked up, as predicted, just as we were ready to moor. Each boat had to go into the City Dock and get a pump out before going into the field. We finished first and headed out to tie up while Last Dragon registered and got pumped out.

We decided to try accessing the ball from the side of our boat, since the bow is so high. Wayne positioned himself on the port side and did actually get a hand on the ball for a few minutes. Trouble was, the wind was blowing against the boat and there was no amount of holding on that would have prevented us pulling away from the ball. When Last Dragon came onto the field they had the same problem. Ben finally got the dinghy out and secured their boat, then ours. Both boats ended up putting about 3 lines onto the ball to try and secure the boat against the winds.

Naples was a great place to be from our vantage. We were in the Old Naples section, being close to the City Dock, and within easy walk of shops and the beach. Most days were spent exploring the area by foot. The weather was sunny...and windy.

Saturday, January 29 - There is a four day limit to staying on the mooring field in Naples...and we were ready to move on when Saturday came. The waves were predicted to be 2 ft. and the winds were light. The ride up to Ft. Myers Beach was a little rocky-rolly because of the direction of the waves, but it was tolerable. We found our way to Snook Bight Marina on Estero Island and took our spot for the next month at the end of a T-dock with great views of Estero Bay.

We've been here for two weeks now and can honestly say this is the best place we could have chosen for the winter extended stay. The weather has been fantastic! Mostly 70's during the day and mostly mild nights.

Yesterday was a strange weather day with fog that was there in the morning and didn't lift until well up in the afternoon. We took the trolley to the head of the island and walked over the bridge to lunch at Doc Ford's. It was mild enough to enjoy eating outside...with views of the fog, even at 1PM.

We walked back over the bridge and had intended to walk about mid-way down the island before stopping for a trolley. The clouds finally congealed and started spurting rain, though, so we hustled to a trolley stop and only got slightly soaked before getting a ride.

Today has been the first really rainy day since we've been here...and it feels chilly (in the 60's). We've taken advantage of the rainy day by working on our computers and sipping hot tea. :-)

We have a couple more weeks here before beginning our trip back up the coast and home. Ben and Sharon have decided to take Last Dragon home this year, so we will have some company on the trip back. They will drive home this weekend and leave their car...flying back in late February to be ready around the first of March for the trip home.

Last Sunday Ben and Sharon drove down from LaBelle and picked us up to go with them to the Everglades City Seafood Festival. We'd never been to Everglades City before and thoroughly enjoyed the trip. What a crowd there was on that nice, warm day! The food was plentiful and good. All in all, a great trip.

I'd like to pick out a couple of possible rentals for this area for the years to come. We both really like the area here and can see coming down for a couple of months in the winter. There's a great art center here, the Ft. Myers Beach Art Assn. I attended an all day workshop last Friday and have since joined the association and participated in a couple of painting groups that meet regularly.

Next week we're renting a car and driving to Miami for a couple of days to check out the Miami Boat Show. We probably won't communicate by blog much until we start moving again in March. Ta ta for now...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Steinhatchee, FL, to Sarasota, FL!

Tuesday, November 23 -

Finally, after 4 days in Steinhatchee waiting for a time when the tides would be right for our exit, we took off for Cedar Key anchorage. "We took off" is a little less descriptive than it should be: The tide was going out at Steinhatchee and Segue was docked alongside a dock that was perpendicular to the tide flow. It would have been OK if we could have just taken off the lines and floated (rapidly) away from the dock...but there was another dock and an abandoned crab pot in our path. Oh, and we were bow into the dockage (so our propellers would be in the deepest water). We have less power and maneuverability when trying to go in reverse.

It was 6:30 AM, but we found someone in the office to come out and help us get out safely. The dock hand had to hold the stern in towards the dock until we got in position to take off. Always something new in docking...or un-docking.

Crab pots were out, and we were running pretty close into shore so we saw a good number of them. The water today, though, was beautiful! Smooth riding! So smooth, in fact, that we just couldn't stand to make the most of it. Mid trip we decided to go on down a little further to Yankeetown, FL, and spend the night at Yankeetown Marina. While making for a longer day today, it would shorten tomorrow's run.

The river into Yankeetown, the Withlacoochee River, was stunning. We felt like we really were in "old Florida" now.

The marina...well, that's another story. Let's just say I've come to compare it to Bobby's Fishing Camp on the TennTom, minus the catfish. The fee was $40/night, including electric and water (OK, one of the reviews on Active Captain already warned that you would be really lucky to find either). We talked with the manager earlier in the day and she told us we'd be docking next to a shrimp boat named Anna Maria. When we got there we saw the Anna Maria, but questioned which side to take and called out to her on the shore. She pointed to the outer position (not quite a slip...more a half dock) and, when asked whether bow in or stern, she said, "whichever you want!"

We docked and worked with the ties to account for what locals at the dock said would be a nearly 4 ft. tide. The crew from Anna Maria was very helpful, as was everyone we encountered that evening. As I walked Lucy up to the office to settle up (we planned to leave early again), one of the shrimpers called out that the manager had already left. It was 4:30. I asked when she got in on the next day and he said around 6 AM. OK, we'd settle in the morning. Anna Maria pulled out of the marina around 6 PM for a night out shrimping.

Wednesday, November 24-

As the shrimp boats were coming in...we were leaving. The manager never showed up so we left a check stuck into the crack of the door. If you come to this marina, just know what you're getting ahead of time and you'll be OK. It's a safe feeling place, a neighborhood street right beside the marina, but it's pretty much a rickety dock with no power or water.

We were headed out as the shrimp boats were coming back. Again today we had smooth waters on the Gulf.

Some crab pots, but they were actually easier to spot today than yesterday because of the angle of the sun and our course. We were hoping to get into Caladesi Island State Park for a day or two, provided they had a slip to fit our boat. We knew we could tie up to a t-dock, but that would cost $2/ft/day...and we weren't interested in spending that much. (Slips were available for our sized boat on a first come, first served basis.) We called a couple of marinas as backup and settled on Dunedin Municipal Marina if we couldn't get into Caladesi. When I talked to the ranger at Caladesi he sounded willing to work with us to find dockage.

There were plenty of spaces available when we arrived. Two of our boating friends, Blue Angel and Sea Estate, were already at the marina and we docked next to them.

Caladesi Island is gorgeous and accessible only by boat. A ferry runs between Clearwater and the island several times a day. The beach was voted Florida's Best in 2008. White, powdery sand and lots and lots of shells.

Being used to the Carolina beaches, it was neat to find totally different shells...and sand dollars that were still all in one piece! We walked the beach daily.

We ended up staying five nights at Caladesi, partly because of tide issues and partly because we got sort of hemmed in with boats on the opposite side of our dock. The "runways" between docks are a little close and if you have a long boat across from your long can make getting out a little difficult. Thanksgiving Day saw a few boat visitors (the ferry didn't run)...and even more boats came for the weekend.

Monday, November 29-
We left on Monday morning when the marina was pretty empty and we still had to wiggle our way out due to little turn room. With help from friends on the dock, however, we came out without injuring our boat or any one else.

We traveled about 55 miles today, crossing Tampa Bay and ending up at Sara Bay Marina in Sarasota, our home for a month. The marina is right on a bus route so we figured it would be a nice (and less expensive) alternative this time to Marina Jack's in downtown Sarasota. We'll visit with our friend Bob, catch up on various chores, play, and travel back to Knoxville around the 20th for Christmas visiting.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Steinhatchee to...

Saturday, November 20...continued
So what, you might ask, does one do in Steinhatchee on a Saturday night when the no-seeums come out at 5PM? Did I mention we can't pick up one station on the TV? Most of the time in these out of the way places we can at least pick up a couple of educational channels and we catch up on episodes of Rick Steves. No NPR on the radio, either.

Tonight we resorted to our good old standby...National Lampoon's European Vacation. Oh, that's not all we have in the DVD genre, mind you. The reverse side has National Lampoon's Vacation! Holiday ro-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-oad, holiday ro-o-o-o-o-o-oad. Love that Lindsey Buckingham. The good news is that we just discovered there's a "comments" version, too. We were tempted to watch it tonight but decided to pace ourselves. Something to look forward to tomorrow, honey!

All I want for Christmas is Monty Python's All Time Greatest Hits.

Sunday, November 21-
We were restless today. We'd checked out the diesel prices at Sea Hag yesterday and they are $3.95/gal. for diesel. We paid $2.79 in Carrabelle...and calling down to Clearwater we got prices in the low $3 range. Hmmm. We decided to look around at the other marinas here in Steinhatchee to see if someone else might have a better price. River Haven Marina is on the same side of the river as Sea Hag...just under the 25ft. fixed bridge.

We decided to take a walk this morning, then, up to River Haven and see what the price was...and see about whether we could get in there or not. What a fortuitous decision! We walked up and talked with Shari Powell, one of the owners, and found out that 1) price of diesel is $2.89, 2) dockage (including power and wifi) is $25/night and 3) there's enough water around for us to get in here. Guess where we are tonight???

After the marina visit we walked on up to Fiddlers, a local restaurant that has been recommended to us by several different people. Turns out they were having a Sunday lunch buffet that began at 11AM. We were there waiting on the doors to open...and we weren't disappointed. For $10.95/person we had fried chicken, brisket, black eyed peas and rice, a variety of side dishes, 3 soups, salad bar, and a delicious peach and cherry cobbler. We'll be back!

Then we walked over to the grocery store and bought a bag of dog food for Lucy. (BTW, Lucy got a little razor burn at her last grooming (not unusual) and developed what looked like an infection in that area. [I know, I know, TMI!] This morning I called our dear veterinarian, Denise Frazier at Northshore Animal Hospital, and talked with her about the situation. Denise had put together a great first aid kit for Lucy when we went out on the first trip and updated it for this round. I have an antibiotic in the kit that she suggested I begin giving Lucy. Thank you Dr. Frazier!! :-)

So...our new location is great. It's like being off the main drag and in a quiet, more intimate neighborhood. The marina is great, the owner dropping by the boat this evening to tell us about the proximity to Fiddlers Restaurant. We'll be here tomorrow, at least. Our aim was to move on down to Cedar Key asap...but there's a full moon this week and a phenomenon called the "negative tide."

Monday, November 22-
What is this negative tide, we wondered? Our charts show depths and those depths are expressed in feet to represent the mean low water. So when we go into a channel that's showing 6 ft. (with our 4.5ft. draft)...we're expecting that most of the time the water is at least that deep. With a negative tide the water will be below that charted amount. Notice a tide chart sometime and look at the days when there's a full moon. Often those days will indicate a negative tide expressed with a negative number like -0.6. The full moon is responsible. We know the full moon makes people we know it makes the tides crazy, too.

This morning we spent several hours figuring out the tides for this location, Cedar Key, and Tarpon Springs...charting the course for each leg of the weather resources for information about wind and waves tomorrow and the next day. After a nice breakfast at Cackleberry's (adjacent to Fiddlers) we made the firm decision to go on Tuesday to Cedar Key and anchor out...then to Caladesi State Park (near Tarpon Springs) on Wednesday. Both days we'll need to be on the water by 6:30AM to avoid being around for a negative tide period. Tomorrow's trip will take around 7-7.5 hrs. and Wednesday's will take at least 9 hours. By Wednesday night, though, we will be back in the ICW and, therefore, in more protected waters.

A few pictures of Steinhatchee before we leave. First, Wayne sitting at the colorful bar at Sea Hag Marina..."it's five o'clock somewhere."

And a view from our dock looking up Steinhatchee River on the last evening here.

BTW, a little factual info on the town, the name (pronounced STEENhatchee) came from Native American words meaning river (hatchee) of man (esteen). A big improvement over the community's original name, Deadman's Bay.