Thursday, December 30, 2010

Day 126  Snook Bight Marina, 
Fort Myers Beach, FL
Wednesday, December 29, 2010


A quiet day on the boat – cleaning, laundry, and a trip to Publix for groceries.   We rented a movie and had dinner on board.

Total miles: 0       Total bridges: 0       Total locks:  0

Day 125  Snook Bight Marina, 
Fort Myers Beach, FL
Tuesday, December 28, 2010

 Karen, Brittany, Lisa, Lori, and Steve at Parrot Key

Brittany and Lisa on the beach at The Mucky Duck

Another day with friends from the Quad Cities – Steve Cotton, Lori, Lisa, Karen and Brittany Lambert picked us up in their rental car about noon.   We went to lunch at Parrot Key in Fort Myers and then drove out to The Mucky Duck restaurant on Captiva Island.  However, the holiday traffic was heavy, and it took a long time to reach our destination.  Since Lisa had to catch a 5:30 flight back home, we didn’t stay long.  But it was interesting to see the huge mansions on Captiva. 
Steve dropped us off at West Marine, and the rest of the group continued to the airport.  We got some supplies and then caught the trolley back to Snook Bight. 
The Iowa versus Missouri bowl game started at 10:00 Eastern time, so I was sleeping by the time it was over.  Jim stayed up to the end and cheered the Hawkeyes on to a 27 – 24 victory.   Go Hawks!        
Total miles: 0       Total bridges: 0       Total locks:  0

Day 124  Snook Bight Marina, 
Fort Myers Beach, FL
Monday, December 27, 2010
 Anita's birthday at Corie and Mike's townhouse

Brenda, Jim, Michaela, Mike, Anita, Corie, Bob 

Brenda's first mojito

Mike and Corie generously loaned us their car for the day so we were able to get a lot of things done – including hair appointments for both of us, shopping at Walgreens, and a stop at Walmart.  About 5:30 we arrived at Mike and Corie’s beautiful townhouse at Fort Myers.  Everyone had cocktails, and Corie, Michaela, and I had pinot grigio.  It was Anita’s birthday, so we celebrated with dinner at Doc Ford’s Rum Bar and Grille.  We found seats at the bar while we waited for our table.  Michaela was sitting a few seats down from me.   The bar was very noisy, and I thought that she asked if I wanted a pinot grigio, so I said yes.   Oops!  I was surprised to discover that she had asked if I wanted a mojito!  (Okay.  Stop the old people with bad hearing jokes!)  I had never had one, but it turned out to be delicious!  As Corie said, when you’re in a rum bar, you have to drink rum!           
Jim and I enjoyed a wonderful dinner compliments of Gussie and Bailes – they sent us a gift certificate to Doc Ford’s for Christmas!  Perfect!  It was a fun dinner with surprise birthday cake for dessert to celebrate Anita’s birthday.   A great day!  

Total miles: 0       Total bridges: 0       Total locks:  0

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Day 123  Snook Bight Marina, 
Fort Myers Beach, FL
Sunday, December 26, 2010

High winds blow the trees and flags at Snook Bight

Not much was planned for the day so we slept in – only to be surprised by a morning visit from another friend from home – Steve Cotton.  He is here for a week with Lori Lambert, Lisa, Brittany, and Karen.  They rented a beach house close by. 
The weather changed dramatically from yesterday.   Temps were in the 50s with high winds.  Dream Catcher was bouncing a lot, so we took a walk to Publix and shopped a little.   We rented a movie and had Christmas dinner leftovers.         
Total miles: 0       Total bridges: 0       Total locks:  0

Day 122  Snook Bight Marina, 
Fort Myers Beach, FL
Saturday, December 25, 2010

Sunrise on Christmas morning

 Christmas morning

 Corie, Anita, and Bob

Mike and Michaela

Merry Christmas!   
It was a beautiful day with temps in the 70s, and we walked about a mile to St. Peter’s Lutheran Church for the 10:30 service.  
Back at the boat we enjoyed baked ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, and corn.  Then we opened our gifts from home, so it really seemed like Christmas! 
Later in the afternoon we had our first visit from friends from the Quad Cities – Anita and Bob Robacker, Corie and Mike Montgomery, and Michaela Montgomery.  All are visiting Fort Myers Beach for the holidays.  It was great to see familiar faces, and we had a fun afternoon. 

Total miles: 0       Total bridges: 0       Total locks:  0

Day 121  Snook Bight Marina, 
Fort Myers Beach, FL
Friday, December 24, 2010

 Dock from Bayfront Bistro to our slip

 Bayfront Bistro from our slip

 Fort Myers Beach

 Christmas eve sunset

Snook Bight sculpture with Dream Catcher in the background

Flu shot day – or so we thought.  We rode our bikes a couple of miles to CVS to get a shot, only to discover that CVS does not accept our insurance for the shots.  So we opted to wait until we can get to a Walgreens where our insurance will cover them. 
We biked home, did laundry, and believe it or not, more boat washing.  This time we took down the isinglass and washed the canvas around it.  Not as hard to get back up as the top. 
About 5:30 we walked to the beach for a beautiful sunset.  On the way home we stopped at Publix to stock up for Christmas dinner. 
Homemade tacos for dinner on board.  We haven’t had those for a long time, so it was a treat. 
Total miles: 0       Total bridges: 0       Total locks:  0
Day 120  Snook Bight Marina, 
Fort Myers Beach, FL
Thursday, December 23, 2010

 Jim cleans the canvas top in beautiful 74 degree weather

Our Christmas tree

It was another boat washing day, but this time it was the canvas top.  We took it down, washed it inside and outside, and hung it on the bow to dry.  Getting it back up was a major project, but we finally won the battle.
The highlight of the day was the arrival of 2 packages from home – one of mail and one of Christmas gifts.   One gift was a little Christmas tree ornament that looked like a palm tree decorated with Christmas lights and surrounded by presents.  Yippee!  It’s our Christmas tree for this year!
 Total miles:  0       Total bridges: 0       Total locks:  0

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day 119  Snook Bight Marina, 
Fort Myers Beach, FL
Wednesday, December 22, 2010

View from the stern of Dream Catcher at Snook Bight

Jim washed the boat, so I took a walk on the beach (not to mention any names, but some captains are very picky about boat washing and prefer to do it themselves …)  Anyway, the weather was beautiful, and it was a wonderful day to enjoy whatever a person chose to do!            
Total miles: 0       Total bridges: 0       Total locks:  0

Day 118  Snook Bight Marina, 
Fort Myers Beach, FL
Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Full moon at Winter Solstice

A quiet day on board.   We did some organizing and blogging.   Brenda got up at 3:45 am to see the red moon eclipse.   Awesome.    
Total miles: 0       Total bridges: 0       Total locks:  0

Day 117  Snook Bight Marina, 
Fort Myers Beach, FL
Monday, December 20, 2010

                   Dream Catcher on very far left at Snook Bight Marina

Seamoore left early, had a little trouble with low tides, but called in the afternoon to say that they had made it to Marco. 
We took a bicycle ride to the south end of the island, stopped at CVS for a few things, and ate lunch at Subway.  We also stopped at a hair salon that we happened to pass and made appointments for next week. 
A quiet dinner on board.          
Total miles: 0       Total bridges: 0       Total locks:  0

Day 116  Snook Bight Marina, 
Fort Myers Beach, FL
Sunday, December 19, 2010

Up at 6:00 to serve as “dock hands” for Seamoore’s departure for Marathon.   However, the wind and waves were predicted to be high, so they decided to wait for one more day. 
 Since we were up early, we opted for the 8:30 service at St Peter’s Lutheran Church rather than the 11:00 service we had planned on.    We had to walk about a mile, and it was very windy.  Since this is a “seasonal” church (snow birds come and go), the pastor asked if anyone new or returning to the area would like to introduce themselves.    So Jim introduced us, and we were welcomed by the pastor.   
After the service we had coffee, cookies and conversation with several members of the congregation.
In the afternoon we had cabin fever, so along with Becky and Carlton we took a walk on the beach and ended up at Junkanoos again for a drink. 
Peel-and-eat shrimp dinner from Publix was on Seamoore tonight.          
Total miles: 0       Total bridges: 0       Total locks:  0

Day 115  Snook Bight Marina, 
Fort Myers Beach, FL
Saturday, December 18, 2010

Jim and Carlton worked on charting a course on Seamoore’s chartplotter for the trip to Marathon.  Becky and Carlton have to leave soon in order to meet their daughter in the Florida Keys for Christmas. 
We had peel-and-eat shrimp (from Publix) on Dream Catcher with Becky and Carlton.            
Total miles: 0       Total bridges: 0       Total locks:  0

Day 114  Snook Bight Marina, 
Fort Myers Beach, FL
Friday, December 17, 2010

 Lunch at Nervous Nellies with Seamoore in the background

               Ever hear that people shrink as they get older?  Hmmm ....

Becky and Carlton

We had a Christmas package to mail home, so we hopped on our bikes for a “short ride” to the post office.  Obviously, we didn’t know where the post office was located, and it turned out to be several miles away.  But eventually we found it, got our package mailed, and got back to the marina. 
It was fuel day for Seamoore, so we took a ride with Becky and Carlton to a nearby marina where the fuel prices are the best in the area.  After fueling we boated to “Nervous Nellies” restaurant and had a great fish and chips lunch.  The 4 of us walked downtown, had a drink at Matanzas, and boated back to Snook Bight. 
In the evening we joined other boaters and restaurant patrons around a fire pit at the marina’s  outdoor patio.  It was a lot of fun, but it’s been a long time since our clothes smelled like a camp fire!            
Total miles: 0       Total bridges: 0       Total locks:  0

Day 113  Snook Bight Marina, 
Fort Myers Beach, FL
Thursday, December 16, 2010

We caught the trolley with Becky and Carlton and headed to SOB (that’s Smokin Oyster Brewery!) for lunch.  We walked around the downtown area and out the pier where we were entertained by dolphins swimming close by.  A walk on the beach turned out to be a walk all the way back to the marina – about 4 miles.  We kept looking for that trolley, but it never came by. 
Dinner was on Seamoore where Carlton used their Jennaire grill to fix the steaks that we bought together at the Acropolis Meat Market in Tarpon Springs.  After dinner Becky and Carlton taught us a new card game called “Phase 10”.   Great game!              

Total miles: 0       Total bridges: 0       Total locks:  0

Day 112  Snook Bight Marina, 
Fort Myers Beach, FL
Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Today was a good day for Seamoore.   She was pulled and her rebuilt prop was put on so she’s ready to travel again. 
We spent quiet day on board, but enjoyed a delicious dinner from last night’s leftovers!         

Total miles: 0       Total bridges: 0       Total locks:  0

Day 111  Snook Bight Marina,
Fort Myers Beach, FL
Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dinner at Bayfront Bistro with Carlton and Becky

Mom’s birthday.  Happy birthday, Mom!  
It is cold in Iowa, but record low temps in Florida.  Brrrrr!!  We did a lot of laundry at the marina laundromat and some cleaning on the boat.  Carlton and Becky on Seamoore were back from their trip home to visit friends and family, so the 4 of us went to dinner at the Bayfront Bistro which is the restaurant at the marina.  Delicious.     

Total miles: 0         Total bridges: 0         Total locks: 0

Day 110  Snook Bight Marina,
Fort Myers Beach, FL
Monday, December 13, 2010

Another blustery day at Fort Myers Beach.  We put on our winter jackets and walked a block to the main street to catch the 50-cent trolley to go downtown.   And we waited.   And we waited.  And since the trolley stops are only a couple of blocks apart, we started walking to the next trolley stop … and the next  … and the next.  After walking a little over a mile, we arrived at Junkanoos Restaurant, so we stopped in for lunch.  The waitress had a trolley schedule and explained that the trolleys run only once an hour this time of year.  So we timed our lunch to catch the next trolley and finally made it downtown.  We shopped in numerous stores without finding anything to buy (after all of that!)  so we caught the trolley back to the marina which is located close to a Publix grocery store.   After some light grocery shopping, we were back at the boat for a quiet night on board. 
Total miles: 0       Total bridges: 0       Total locks: 0 

Day 109  Snook Bight Marina,
Fort Myers Beach, FL   
Sunday, December 12, 2010

We left South Seas Resort about 11:00 in sunny skies and 70 degrees.  However, the wind was around 20 miles per hour, so we had a “moderate chop” crossing San Carlos Bay.   Finally we arrived at Snook Bight Marina in Fort Myers Beach.  We got into our slip and hooked up utilities when a storm blew in.  Wow!  Good timing!  The wind picked up with gusts up to 45 miles per hour.  We were cozy on board, but the wind blew Dream Catcher around in her slip for most of the night.   
Total miles: 25        Total bridges:  2      Total locks: 0

Day 108  South Seas Island Resort,
Captiva, FL  MM 38 
Saturday, December 11, 2010

We left Venice and headed south with no specific destination in mind, but we heard that the weather was changing.   We decided to go as far south as we could since we had several large open-water bays to cross.  We crossed Gasparilla Sound and Charlotte Harbor at Boca Grande pass.  By 4:00 we were at Pine Island Sound, and we started calling marinas for overnight dockage.  We had never had a problem with finding a marina, but this time we could find no marinas that would answer the phone.  The wind and waves were picking up, and sunset was getting close.  Due to questionable weather coming in, we wanted to be in a marina.  Finally South Seas Resort answered their phone and said that they had water deep enough for us to stay overnight.  Whew!  It was pricey, but sometimes you get what you pay for.  It turned out to be a great resort with lots of shops and restaurants.  There was a free trolley to take us to all areas of the resort.  We took it to Holy Smoke Restaurant and enjoyed delicious brisket and barbeque chicken.  There were lots of holiday decorations, and the resort was very festive.           
Total miles: 43        Total bridges: 7        Total locks: 0 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 107 Crow’s Nest Marina, Venice, FL MM 58
Friday, December 10, 2010

 Jackson's American Grille

Using the courtesy bicycles in downtown Venice
Tiki bar

With Mary and Clyde

We borrowed the marina courtesy bicycles and rode a couple of miles to downtown Venice where we had a late breakfast at Jackson’s American Grill.  We rode back to the marina where Clyde and Mary were ready to pick us up.  We spent the day touring the area and checking out Mary and Clyde’s favorite watering holes.  We ended the day with supper at Turtles on Sarasota Bay.  A great day!  Thanks, Mary and Clyde!       

Total miles: 0       Total bridges:  0      Total locks:  0

 Day 106 Crow’s Nest Marina, Venice, FL MM 58
Thursday, December 9, 2010

 Rumor has it that the draped home is being fumigated

 A University of Iowa flag flies near Venice

 Blackburn Swing Bridge

 Our slip at the Crow's Nest

 Historical marker at Venice

120-foot neighbor at the Crow's Nest

We left Sarasota about 1:00 and arrived at Venice about 4:00.  We were greeted by friends Mary and Clyde Kurrle who have moved to Nokomis from Colona, Illinois.  (Good move!)  It was great to see them!  We had cocktails and appetizers at the Crow’s Nest, and then went to see their new home.   They had been living in a smaller home, but bought a larger one in April.  We first saw their previous home which they now rent and then their current home.  Tangerines, lemons, limes, and grapefruit grow on trees in their own yard!  Sweet and delicious!  We had dinner together at Frankie’s Italian Restaurant. 

  Total miles: 15        Total bridges:  4       Total locks:  0

Days 105 Marina Jack   Sarasota, FL  MM 73
Wednesday, December 8, 2010

 Sarasota fountains off our bow

 Entrance to Sarasota waterfront

 On Main Street, Sarasota ... hmmm....

 Sample wine on your own with this automated system.

 A toast to Sarasota

 Huge sculpture of the famous WWII photograph taken at Times Square on V-J Day.

 Marina Jacks

 On the dock at Marina Jacks

View from our bow at Marina Jacks

We had a short ride from Bradenton Beach to Marina Jacks at Sarasota.  The marina is top-notch with floating docks (no worries about the tides), a helpful staff, and a beautiful location.   It is also right downtown, so after a bowl of chowder at the marina restaurant, we took a walk.   Main Street had lots of shops and restaurants, but all were virtually deserted in the late afternoon.  We eventually chose Sarasota Vineyard for a cheese, meat, and French bread tray.  It turned out to be a lot of food, so along with a glass of wine, it turned out to be dinner.  We walked back to the boat and enjoyed a beautiful view of the Sarasota fountain and city scape.        
Total miles: 13       Total bridges:  1      Total locks:  0

Day 104  Bradenton Beach Marina, 
Bradenton Beach, FL  MM 86
Tuesday, December 7, 2010

 Approaching Sunshine Skyway Bridge

 Sunshine Skyway Bridge

 View from our slip at Bradenton Beach

Our slip at Bradenton Beach

 A true houseboat

Sand sculpture promotes recycling

Sand sculptures on Bradenton Beach

 Lunch at the Beach House

 Beach House Restaurant

 Historic Bridge Street

 Clocktower on Bridge Street


 Gorgeous sunset

Sunset and Christmas tree at Bradenton Beach

We crossed Tampa Bay in a “moderate chop” as predicted by the weather channels and arrived at Bradenton Beach on Anna Maria Island.    A few days earlier, the town had hosted a sandcastle competition on its beautiful white sand beach.  Although the weather had taken its toll, the remaining sculptures were amazing. 
We checked out lots of shops and ate both lunch and dinner at the Beach House where we also enjoyed an incredible sunset.         

Total miles: 20       Total bridges: 2       Total locks:  0

Day 103  Loggerhead Marina,
St. Petersburg, FL MM 106  
Monday, December 6, 2010

 Leaving Clearwater Marina

 Clearwater Memorial Causeway

 Our slip at Loggerhead Marina

 Loggerhead Marina mascot


At "Moon on the Water" we found possibly the longest city name in the world.
In Welsh (the oldest language in Europe) it means "By St. Mary's (Church) by the white aspen over the Whirlpool and St. Tysilio's (Church) by the red cave". 

Loggerhead Marina in Boca Ciega Bay is close to the intracostal waterway, but turned out to be a long taxi ride to St. Petersburg.  However, it was worth the trip, and we enjoyed the shops and restaurants in the downtown area.  We especially liked “Moon Under the Water”, an English-style pub.  It got its name from an 18th century custom of recruiting people into the British army.   As a way to trick a person into joining, a recruiting sergeant would visit a pub and drop a shilling into an unsuspecting person’s tankard of ale.  If the person drank from the tankard, he was regarded as having accepted the shilling and was pressed into the British army.  In order to counter this practice, the glass bottom pewter tankard was introduced.  A person could then look at the bottom of the tankard before taking a drink.  The sight of the shilling under the ale with the froth above was likened to that of “The Moon Under Water”.   A fun name and a fun pub.   

Total miles 30        Total bridges: 11        Total locks: 0

Day 102  Clearwater, FL  MM 136 
Sunday, December 5, 2010
A blustery day outside, so we spend a quiet day on the boat.  Jim checked the oil and engines.  We worked on the blog.
Total miles: 0       Total bridges: 0       Total locks: 0 

Day 101   Clearwater, FL   MM 136   
Saturday, December 4, 2010

Lynn and Jack arrive on Felix as we leave Tarpon Springs

 Clearwater pier

 Tom and Jim relax

 Barnacles revealed at low tide

Our slip at Clearwater

We left Tarpon Springs Marina about 11:30, got fuel at Anclote Village Marina, and headed down the Florida west coast.    About 3:00 we arrived at the Clearwater Municipal Marina where we were greeted by several other loopers who had just finished crossing the gulf including Kim Jo III, The Old Grouch, and Q’s End. 
We enjoyed our first walk on a beautiful white sand beach even though the cool temperature required jackets.  We went to supper with Brenda and Dave from The Old Grouch and Tom from Q’s End.
Total miles: 15       Total bridges:  2      Total locks: 0

Day 100  Tarpon Springs, FL  MM 151 
Friday, December 3, 2010

We ran lots of errands today – including another stop at West Marine and Publix grocery store – before returning the rental car.  About 4:00 Enterprise delivered us to the marina where Dream Catcher was in the slings and ready for launching – her rebuilt port prop ready to go.  We motored to the fuel dock at Tarpon Springs Marina and tied up for the night.  Finally on board again. 
Total miles: 0        Total bridges: 0        Total locks: 0