Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy Birthday & Happy New Year!!

Date             December 31, 2011
Day              186
Departure     No travel today                              
Arrival          Legacy Harbour Marina, Ft. Myers, FL
Miles                 0.0  
Cumulative   4043.6

It's New Year's Eve, bright, warm and sunny, about 80 degrees.  What a change from the weather we would be experiencing back home in Connecticut!  Today is also Tucker's birthday (he is the fuzzy one on the left), and he turns 18 years old today;  that is about 88 in human years.  Happy Birthday buddy and Happy New Year everyone!!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas To All And To All A Good Night!

Date             December 25, 2011
Day              180
Departure      No travel today                              
Arrival           Legacy Harbour Marina, Ft. Myers, FL
Miles                 0.0  
Cumulative   4043.6

Last night, Christmas Eve, Bob and I enjoyed a traditional bottle of Moet Chandon and opened our gifts.
Today, Christmas Day, we had a great turkey dinner, with all the fixings!
 Just before sunset, we had a quick rain shower and it brought us this Christmas Day rainbow!
And then this great sunset

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Stockings Were Hung...

Date             December 22, 2011
Day              177
Departure     No travel today                              
Arrival          Legacy Harbour Marina, Ft. Myers, FL
Miles                 0.0  
Cumulative   4043.6

The stockings were hung from the bulkhead with care, the tree is up and some Christmas cards have arrived.  Since we are staying in Ft. Myers for the Holiday, this will be the first Christmas not spent with family.  We have done some decorating and baked some Christmas cookies, and  Lynda will be making a Christmas turkey.  A much smaller one however, that will fit in the galley stove, along with the usual stuffing and cranberry sauce!  We have been invited to a neighboring boat on Christmas morning for bloody mary's and then will enjoy our turkey later in the afternoon.

MERRY CHRISTMAS to all our friends and family at home and all the new friends we have met on this wonderful journey!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Legacy Harbour Marina, Ft. Myers, FL

Date             December 16 - 18, 2011
Day              171-173
Departure      No travel today                              
Arrival           Legacy Harbour Marina, Ft. Myers, FL
Miles                 0.0  
Cumulative   4043.6

When we first arrived on Thursday, we were assigned a slip in a great location.  It was close to shore (for ease in walking the dogs) and in the shade.  However, the shade was caused by a 27 story condo tower and we did not get any DirecTV or XM radio reception!  Those of you that know Bob know that he must be able to watch the Bruins and this was not possible where we were!  We had backed into the slip so we tried turning the boat around to see if that helped, not!  So we moved!  The empty slip next to the blue Mainship, in the photo below shows where we were.

We moved over one dock, and farther out from land.  The new slip is still somewhat shaded by this enormous condo building for part of the day, so the boat does stay cool and the best part is that now, thankfully, both the XM radio and DirecTV work.  The Captain is happy! 
A bonus is that where we are now, we can get a sunset picture without even leaving the boat.  All we need to do is go up on the flybridge!
Legacy Harbour Marina is a great place to be.  There is a fitness center, heated pool and laundry all on the premises and a short stroll to Joe's Crab Shack.   We are walking distance to downtown Ft. Myers (about four blocks), and the Publix grocery store is only two blocks away!  It is also within walking distance of the Edison-Ford Winter Estates and we will be visiting that during our stay here.  The staff is extremely helpful and the other boaters here are all very friendly.  One of them was on his way to the hardware store and took Bob with him.  While they were gone, he gave Bob a short tour of the area.
Today, Sunday, we took a walk into downtown Ft. Myers.  Being Sunday, it was rather quiet, but we will go back again since we plan to be here until mid-February.  I will not be posting info every day, but will try to keep you all updated during our stay.
The tall buildings at the center, at the end of the row of palm trees is the tall condo buildings next to the marina.  You can see how close we are to downtown!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Englewood, FL to Ft Myers, FL

Date             December 15, 2011
Day              170
Departure      Royal Palm Marina, Englewood, FL 7:30 am                              
Arrival           Legacy Harbour Marina, Ft. Myers, FL 4:35 pm
Miles                83.0  
Cumulative   4043.6

We left early today as we wanted to get to Ft. Myers, FL and it was a good distance away.  We had to wait 25 minutes for a bridge to open.  They only opened on the hour and half hour and we couldn't make it in time for the earlier opening.  We came upon a car ferry that was rather unique.  There were two ferries, one on each side of the waterway.  They would both leave at the same time and travel to the opposite side of the waterway.  Fortunately, they waited for us to go by, as there wasn't a lot of room for all of us to meet in the channel!
One of the car ferries getting passengers
The cruising guide indicated that the controlling depth for the upcoming channels was 5 feet.  We need 4 four or we are on the bottom.  We were close to a pass that led out into the Gulf of Mexico, so we decided to head out and go down the Gulf in open water, rather than stay in the intercoastal and worry about the water depths.  The only issue in the Gulf was crab pots!  Lucky for us, there weren't a lot, just enough to be bothersome and keep you on a constant lookout.  If you snag a crab pot, you can do major damage to the propeller and/or the shaft, not to mention possibly putting a hole in the bottom of the boat.  We were very diligent and wound our way through!  It was late in the day by the time we got to Ft. Myers, so I don't have any more pictures.  However, we will be here for at least the next month, so I'm sure I will have some soon.
Now that we will be staying put for awhile, I can finally put up the Christmas tree!!

Sarasota to Englewood, FL

Date             December 14, 2011
Day              169
Departure     Marina Jack's, Sarasota, FL  9:35 am                              
Arrival          Royal Palm Marina, Englewood, FL  1:55 pm
Miles                27.6  
Cumulative   3960.6

We traveled today with Richard and Carol on Salt 'n Sand.  We had met them back in Kentucky at Green Turtle Bay.  That's what is so fun about the traveling the loop.  You meet some folks, then go separate ways and then meet up with them again farther on down the waterways!  Here are some of the sights we saw along the waterway today.

This man was standing and fishing a short distance from where we traveled in the channel.
Another beautiful home along the waterway
It's a bit shallow outside the channel!
Just on the other side of the palm trees is the Gulf of Mexico
There are many different kinds of boats that travel along the waterways
Tonight's sunset
We found this guy (a black crowned night heron) on our bowsprit as we were getting ready to go to bed!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

St. Petersburg to Sarasota, FL

Date             December 13, 2011
Day              168
Departure      St. Petersburg Municipal Marina, St. Petersburg, FL 9:00 am                              
Arrival           Marina Jack's, Sarasota, FL  1:50 pm
Miles                38.6  
Cumulative   3933.0

Today's travel took us into Tampa Bay and through the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.  The winds were blowing from the northeast at 10 - 15 mph.  The ride was a little rolly; Bob said it reminded him of Lake Michigan!
Approaching the Sunshine Skyway Bridge (notice the rolling waves)

The bridge in the sun

We saw alot of these signs, but we haven't seen any manatees as yet
Once we arrived at the marina and washed the salt off the boat, we took a walk.  There are egrets and herons everywhere you look! 
This guy was about to jump on the line that was tied to the dock
This one was practicing his tightrope walk - steady now!
And this one was a pro-he walked back and forth with no effort at all!
We continued walking to see this beautiful fountain
and get a shot of our boat at the dock (we are the one of the far left, with the blue bottom)
On our port side is Salt N Sand, another Looper.  We last saw Rich and Carol in October, at the AGLCA Rendezvous
Another shot of the Erika Lin (between the trees)

I thought this was an interesting tree
This dolphin was swimming in some of the open slips in the marina.  I noticed he had a damaged fin, which is probably why he was swimming in with the boats.
And of course, the day wouldn't be complete without another beautiful sunset!  This was taken from the bow of our boat (see the dolphin fountain on the left?).

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gulfport, FL to St. Petersburg, FL

Date             December 12, 2011
Day              167
Departure     Gulfport Municipal Marina, Gulfport, FL 9:30 am                              
Arrival          St. Petersburg Municipal Marina, St. Petersburg, FL 12:25 pm
Miles                14.3  
Cumulative   3894.4

Today we traveled to St. Petersburg, FL.
St. Petersburg skyline
Entering the St. Petersburg Municipal Marina
First order of business, find the post office and mail our Christmas packages.  The U.S. Post Office (also known as the Open Air Post Office) at 400 First Ave. North in St. Petersburg, FL is an historic building. On April 4, 1975, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
St. Pete Post office
The municipal marina is a short walk from the Pier.  The Pier has been a landmark of downtown St. Petersburg since 1899 when Peter Demens hooked up the Orange Belt Railroad to a half-mile wharf. D. F. Brantley started the first Pier Pavilion in 1895, but it is the 1926 Million Dollar Pier, torn down in 1973 to house today's inverted pyramid structure, that long-time residents remember.
The old, 1926 Million Dollar Pier
The Pier as it is today

As we walked through the park, we discovered this Christmas creche

Tarpon Springs, FL to Gulfport, FL

Date             December 11, 2011
Day              166
Departure     Landings At Tarpon Springs, Tarpon Springs FL 9:30 am                              
Arrival          Gulfport Municipal Marina, Gulfport, FL 3:55 pm
Miles                43.6  
Cumulative   3880.1

Finally the weather is co-operating and we are underway!  Good-bye Tarpon Springs, we enjoyed the visit.

Going from Tarpon Springs to Gulfport, Florida, we traveled on the Intercoastal Waterway (we did not have to go back into the Gulf!).  The scenery and homes along the waterway are beautiful, the only drawback is that there are many no wake zones and we must travel at a reduced speed.  This caused the trip to take longer than we thought, but again, the scenery was worth it!
A home along the intercoastal
An Osprey perched atop one of the channel markers.
More homes along the waterway
We had hoped to go to St. Petersburg today, however at the reduced speeds, and the shorter daylight hours, we decided to stop in Gulfport, Florida as it was already almost 4 in the afternoon.
Gulfport Municpal Marina
The staff at this marina was helpful and the birdlife was abundant!  Birds were everywhere; on  the water, on the docks and on the boats!
I count no less than 10 birds on this boat!
This pelican was very bold, he came right up to our swim platform looking for a free handout
Well, forget the birds, the sunset was terrific!