Thursday, March 30, 2017

Heading North on the Atlantic ICW

We are quickly (for a trawler) making our way up the east coast of Florida. This is our fifth trip through this area, so we have seen the sights we want to see. We need to be in North Carolina in just a few weeks, so we are moving along. The weather has been perfect, and we are enjoying our cruise.

Bridges are a common sight on the waterway. They come in all heights, lengths, and styles. The shorter ones have to open for us, but these are high enough for sailboats. (Usually around 65 feet)

   Today we arrived in St. Augustine, my all-time favorite city. We are docked in the Municipal Marina, known for its strong tidal currents. We had strong winds and maximum current, but no problems. We enjoyed a walk around the old city and a late lunch at the Colombia, a Spanish restaurant that we visit whenever we are here. We met several Loopers here, including Salt Lick, Karma, Rollin Tide, Tug Lee, and SeascapeThis town sustained considerable damage from Hurricane Matthew last October and they have made heroic efforts to repair and rebuild. 

Last April I was incredibly blessed to be in town for the annual Florida Birding and and Photography festival. Along a professional photographer and a small group of like-minded folks, I got to spend two spectacular sunrises on beaches- Vilano and Anastasia - photographing horses in the surf and also courting and mating birds. I also had a special photographers pass to the Alligator Farm, allowing me to go in photograph wild nesting birds an hour before the zoo opened to the public. It was such an amazing experience! Unfortunately the timing doesn't work for me to attend this year but I know someday I'll be back in Saint Augustine for the photography fest. Maybe next year!

Click on images to make them larger.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Strange Sights on the Okeechobee

It wasn't a typical dull day on the Okeechobee Waterway...

"Mark" was not having a good day-

Sunken boats are anything but rare in this part of the world.

Looks like this fella met an untimely end. Wonder if he really does taste like chicken??

Click on the photos to see more detail.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Around Fort Myers

As we prepare to leave our winter home in Fort Myers, we want to share a few things that make this place so interesting. No two days are the same!

The USCG vessel Vise, which tied up right behind us for the night.

The shrimp we bought from this boat in Matlacha were delicious!

Fountains in downtown FM

Fort Myers City Yacht Basin

The ducks around here beg for bread.

The Nina

The Pinta. No sign of the Santa Maria!

These ships struggled to leave the dock in windy conditions after a fuel stop.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Home and Back, and Boat for Sale

We left sunny warm Florida for home last month, to find Iowa a balmy 70 degrees for several days. Very nice! We drove home specifically for the birth of grandchild number 5- a 9 pound boy named Jacob Russell. It looks like his nickname - Moose- just might stick. His older brother Thomas is fondly called Goose, so there you have it. It has also been pointed out that Tom and Jake are male turkeys!

Moose is a cutie!

The older grandkids

What you see here are 5 reasons we have decided to transition to a smaller, more mobile boat. In order to cruise for shorter periods of time we want a trailerable trawler. With a trailerable boat we can explore rivers by driving the boat on highways, put it in the water, and take off. To that end, we have put Mara Beel up for sale. We want to finish the Loop this summer (North Carolina to Leland, Michigan). We hope to sell MB at the end of the Loop, but if she sells sooner, we will buy a small boat and continue. Mark says the best time to sell is when someone wants to buy! We are thinking a Ranger Tug 27 meets our needs- most of them, anyway. That's our plan, but as our friend John says, you need to have a plan so there's something to change from.

We returned to Fort Myers earlier this week and are preparing for our departure in a few weeks. There are plenty of small projects to complete, and provisions to gather.

You can see Mara Beel's listing with Curtis Stokes on Yachtworld. 

We met new friends this week-- Bruce and Bev purchased the former Fruitcakes from old friends Andy and Julie, and have renamed her Seaquest. They are a lot of fun!

Bev, Bruce and Mark

The Coast Guard vessel Vise is tied up just across the dock from us tonight.