Sunday, December 5, 2010

Day 99   Lighthouse Marina, Tarpon Springs, FL 
Thursday, December 2, 2010
New shaft and prop in place

Another day waiting for boat repairs to be done.  The new starboard shaft and propeller arrived and were installed.  However, the port propeller needs to be rebuilt and will not be ready until Friday afternoon.  We had a steak dinner at Cody’s Roadhouse which is close to the Hampton Inn. 

Day 98   Lighthouse Marina, Tarpon Springs, FL 
Wednesday, December 1, 2010

We checked on the boat and then shopped at West Marine for a few boat supplies.  Spent the afternoon working on the blog and went to Rusty Bellies for supper.   We ordered a crab cake appetizer and a pound of peel and eat shrimp.  The waitress said that the order would be 16 to 20 shrimp, but there turned out to be at least 30 huge shrimp.   For the second night in a row neither of us could finish a delicious meal. 
Day 97   Lighthouse Marina, Tarpon Springs, FL 
Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A slow day – did laundry at the hotel, worked on the blog and other projects.  Dinner at Mr. Souvlaki’s which was recommended for Greek food by a clerk in one of the downtown shops.  Huge proportions that we could not possibly finish, but delicious.
Day 96   Lighthouse Marina, Tarpon Springs, FL 
Monday, November 29, 2010

The damage is revealed at haul out:  broken shaft, missing prop

The day of reckoning:  Dream Catcher was pulled at 7:30, and we discovered that her starboard prop was at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.  We ordered a new prop and shaft which should be here on Thursday.   The port prop was also removed to be checked for damage.  The boat yard insurance does not allow us to live on the boat while it is on the hard, so we rented a car and checked in to the Hampton Inn. 
We joined Bruce and Chris for sunset at the Riverside Grille.  We were also joined by loopers Pam and Ted from “Patience”.  All of us enjoyed dinner at Crabby Bill’s. 

Day 95   Lighthouse Marina, Tarpon Springs, FL 
Sunday, November 28, 2010

A quiet day on the boat – working on the blog and other projects.  A nice touch was a free lunch and dinner at the marina restaurant. 

Day 94   Lighthouse Marina, Tarpon Springs, FL 
Saturday, November 27, 2010

Acropolis Meat Market

We had a huge brunch on board – fried potatoes, eggs sunny side up, bacon, fruit, and mimosas.   Just as we finished, Becky and Carlton came by on their bikes so we decided to ride to town with them.  Becky and Carlton went to the grocery store while we strolled through a small craft fair.  We met up with Becky and Carlton again at a bike shop where the owner recommended that we stop at the Acropolis meat shop around the corner.  Excellent recommendation!  We shared a filet that the butcher cut into 6 steaks for each couple.  We stopped at Seamoore for a short while and then biked back to the marina for a delicious steak dinner on board. 

Day 93   Lighthouse Marina, Tarpon Springs, FL 
Friday, November 26, 2010

Sunset at the Riverside Grille

 We were up early so that we could contact Howie, the manager of Turtle Cove, to get some repair work done on Dream Catcher.   Howie called a mechanic who needed to look at the props.  We managed to get the boat to the dock on one engine, but the fork truck could not lift Dream Catcher out of the water.  So no hope of getting fixed at this marina.  We called Lighthouse Yacht Services (next to Port Tarpon Marina) where they have a bigger lift.  We were told to come over today so that they could pull us first thing on Monday morning.   We called Boat US again and got another tow to Port Tarpon.  Bade Boomer also changed marinas with us.  The 4 of us walked a couple of miles downtown for sunset cocktails on the top deck of the Riverside Grille.  What a view!  We then stopped by Seamoore, and all 6 of us walked to Crabby Bill’s for a fun, lots of laughs dinner.  
Day 92   Turtle Cove Marina, Tarpon Springs, FL 
Thursday, November 25, 2010

 Tribute to sponge divers

 Sponge boat

 Oompah!  Flaming Greek cheese

 Hellas Restaurant

 Greek flair at Hellas

Carlton, Becky, waiter, Chris, Brenda, Bruce at Hellas Restaurant

Thanksgiving holiday, so there was no hope for getting any work done on the boat today.  Tarpon Springs is the next best thing to being in Greece.  We walked downtown with Chris and Bruce and got our caffeine and sugar high with Greek pastry and coffee at Hellas restaurant.     As we walked around town, we passed the city marina and discovered Seamoore at the docks!  We had talked to Becky and Carlton over the past few weeks, but we hadn’t seen them since Joe Wheeler.  The six of us walked and shopped and enjoyed a great lunch at Hellas – including saganaki (flaming cheese … oompah!), Greek salad, and Greek beer.   
Chris and Bruce decided to have dinner on board, so in the evening we met Becky and Carlton at Mama’s for Thanksgiving dinner … or the Greek version of Thanksgiving dinner.  Not exactly what we would have had at home, but it did include turkey!  After dinner we walked across the street to the Tiki bar and enjoyed watching (but not participating in) the karaoke.

Day 91   Turtle Cove Marina, Tarpon Springs, FL 
Wednesday, November 24, 2010

 Dream Catcher is towed to Tarpon Springs

Dream Catcher and Bade Boomer at Turtle Cove Marina, Tarpon Springs

Our day to cross the Gulf of Mexico – up at 4:00 and off the docks at 5:00.  It was a challenge to find our way out of an unfamiliar marina in the dark and heavy fog … and our electronic chart plotter was not working correctly.  Fortunately Bade Boomer’s electronics were okay and they guided us out to the gulf with each of us slowly feeling our way from marker to marker.  Even with sunrise, the fog did not lift and we traveled for several hours without being able to see where we were going.   But when the weather cleared, we were able to enjoy a beautiful, calm gulf.  The beauty lasted until about 2:00 in the afternoon when we were winding our way through a field of crab pots.  Suddenly there was a loud clank and we lost all propulsion on the starboard side.  We checked our charts for the closest marina and hailed it on the marine radio.  They did not answer, but another boater responded that we would need to call that marina on the phone.  We explained the situation and he said that he was a representative of Boat U.S. and that since we were members, he would send a tow boat to get us.  Great!  We dropped anchor and waited for help which arrived in a little over an hour.   That also turned out to be a very smooth ride, and we ate appetizers, watched a beautiful sunset, and each took a shower before we arrived at Turtle Cove Marina in Tarpon Springs where Bade Boomer was waiting for us.   What a day!    
Total miles: 170       Total bridges:  1      Total locks:  0

Day 90   The Moorings Marina, Carrabelle, FL 
Tuesday, November 23, 2010

 Another long boating day from Panama City to Carrabelle, but we arrived about 4:00 – enough daylight to check the oil and engines.  We discussed plans for the crossing and finally got to bed about 10:30.
Total miles: 88       Total bridges:  5      Total locks:  0

Day 89   Bay Point Marina, Panama City, FL  
Monday, November 22, 2010
A long boating day from Destin to Bay Point Marina in Panama City, Florida.  We were happy to see other loopers including Keith and Bobbie on Kim Jo III. 
Jim talked to Carlton and Becky Moore on Seamoore and heard that Tuesday and Wednesday will be good days to cross the Gulf of Mexico.  A group of trawlers is positioned at Carrabelle to start out on Tuesday afternoon.  It will take them over 20 hours to get to Tarpon Springs.  Since we have a cruiser rather than a trawler we will be able to cross in approximately 8 to 10 hours depending on our optimum fuel speed and the water conditions.  We discussed the situation with Chris and Bruce on Bade Boomer and decided to run to Carrabelle on Tuesday and cross on Wednesday. 
Total miles: 61       Total bridges:  8      Total locks:  0

Day 88   Harborwalk Marina, Destin, FL
Sunday, November 21, 2010

Finally in Florida

 White sand dunes

 Approaching Destin


 No finger docks on the slips, so we had to use Bade Boomer to climb onto Dream Catcher

 Catch of the day at Destin


 Tommy T's

 Destin sunset

 Chris and Bruce at McQuire's with $900,000 over their heads

 Choose your door carefully

Be sure to read the fine print

Destin, Florida
A 7:45 start put us in Destin, Florida about 3:00.  Harborwalk Marina is close to lots of shops and restaurants, so just like Orange Beach yesterday, we went to check them out.  Big difference – lots of people and activity.   Tommy T’s restaurant had great oysters on the half shell and Rockefeller.  Then on to McQuire’s for 18-cent Senate bean soup.  The story goes that the U.S. Senate cafeteria used to sell bean soup for 18 cents.  However, since Congress does not know how to control costs, bean soup now costs $2.99 in the Senate cafeteria.  McQuire’s still boasts 18-cent bean soup since they understand the concept of cost control.    Also at McQuire’s the patrons can sign a dollar bill and staple it to the ceiling … and so many have done this that the value is estimated at over $900,000. 
 Total miles: 70       Total bridges:  7      Total locks:  0

Day 87   The Wharf Marina,  Orange Beach,
Saturday, November 20, 2010

 Dream Catcher and Bade Boomer at The Wharf

 Bruce at Shucker's

 Top of the Ferris Wheel

 Ferris Wheel at Orange Beach

Shucker's Restaurant at the Marina at the Wharf, Orange Beach

 Lunch at Lulu's

Lulu's Restaurant

Dream Catcher and Bade Boomer left Fairhope, cruised down a very calm Mobile Bay, and entered the GIWW (gulf intracoastal water way).  Our first stop was lunch a Lulu’s, a restaurant owned by Jimmy Buffet’s sister Lucy.  Of course, they had cheeseburgers and margaritas, but Jim opted for a bowl of gumbo and peel and eat shrimp while I had Lucy’s famous fried green tomato BLT. 
Our final destination for the day was the Wharf Marina in Orange Beach, Florida.  The marina is close to lots of shops and restaurants, but the area is basically deserted.  Looks like a bad economy has taken its toll here.  We took a ride on the Ferris wheel, but Chris, Bruce, Jim, and I were the only 4 riders.  Back to the boats for supper on board.
Total miles: 32       Total bridges:  1     Total locks:  0

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