Thursday, February 20, 2014

Fort Myers to Stuart FL

We left Fort Myers at 9:00am Monday and set out to cross from the West side of Florida to the East side.  This entails going thru four locks to raise us to the height of Lake Okeechobee.  Our first stop was the city dock of Moore Haven.  We side tied to a wall with a park and across from the library and city hall.  It was Presidents Day and the town was quiet.  We arrived at about 4:00pm and just chilled.  We got up early the next day and left at 8:00am for Stuart.  It was another beautiful day and not much wind for the crossing of the lake.  Lake Okeechobee is the second largest lake to Lake Michigan in the U.S.  We had a great day and got into River Forest Yacht Center at about 3:45pm.  Remember what I said about those Sea Ray friends from our past?  Well guess who is there to greet us but Sarah and Ken.  They have a forty four express bridge here in the yard getting some work done.  They also have their RV here that they stay in while their boat is having work done.  I won't go into detail but they are not happy about what needs to be done.  Anyway, they too have a jeep for getting around and have let us use it for our errands.  That night they invited us over to the motor home and made a BBQ chicken dinner.  How crazy is it that we have had the people in our past lives here and other places we have been?  Last night we had them over to the boat for hamburgers, and tonight we all went out to dinner to celebrate Debbie D's birthday.  Happy Birthday Debbie D.

On the wall at Moore Haven
This guy has his own plane

For my sister
The bridge right behind us at Moore Haven
Entering lock
They open the gate to let the water in and we raise eight feet
Holding the line as we rise
Lake Okeechobee
Lock we drove thru after crossing the lake
Railroad bridge (narrow)
Fixer upper

Our new home for a short while
Looking out the back

Sarah and Ken

Fort Myers and Key West

We left Gasperilla Island at 10:00am and crossed Charlotte Bay heading South.  For the first 10 or 15 minutes I opened Panacea up to blow her out.  This boat has been nothing but wonderful.  It has ran great since Texas and hasn't let us down.  When we pull into these fancy marina's I think we have one of the oldest boats in there, but she looks great and I'm proud to show her off.  Most people ask me "what kind of boat is that"?   The boat was made in Washington State and here on the East coast they don't see too many of them.  I think I've seen three since we left Texas.  We arrived at Legacy Marina in downtown Fort Myers on Monday the 10th and are planning on spending a week.  Good to have floating docks.  After we got all cleaned up Debbie D's cousin Marcia, and her husband Bruce, picked us up and we drove to their house for dinner.  Marcia is a gourmet cook and we had a wonderful dinner.  They have a beautiful house in Fort Myers on the golf coarse with a screened in pool.  Even Chloe had a good time with their three dogs.  After dinner they loaned us their car so we could return to the boat and do any running around while we were there.  Next day the girls went shopping and I washed the boat from top to bottom, which I have not done since leaving Texas.  That night we went to Joe's Crab Shack next to the marina and chowed down on crab, and lobster.  We all enjoyed every last bite.

We thought about taking the boat down to the Keys but with time getting short and the expenses, like fuel and slip fees at $6.00 per foot we came up with another idea.  We took the Key West Express boat from Fort Myers on Wednesday the 12th and stayed two nights.  Chloe stayed at Marcia's with Bruce and her mother and Mikey D's mother, who is staying with them for a while.  Marcia decided to go with us so I had the job of the token male to make sure everyone behaved themselves.  The boat ride over there was a smooth 40mph boat ride.  This ferry is basically a jet boat with four jets.  It will do 55mph and with 13,000 HP ITC diesels.  When we arrived we rented a electric car that looked like a mini Hummer with no doors and open all around with a top.  The hotel we stayed at had two bedrooms with a living room.  The only issue was it was three stories from the entrance to the top bedroom.  That night we all went dinner at Blue Haven, which is outdoor sitting in an eclectic courtyard and very cool.  After the waiter took our order I noticed lightning in the distance and asked the waiter what they do if it starts raining.  He said "my radar says it's not going to rain".  Right after we ordered it came down and we all ran for shelter.  They whisked us upstairs to this room painted in red with naked pictures of women all around and a peep hole in the door.  We were told by the waiter that the building use to be a bordello back in the day.  After dinner it was back to the hotel in the electric car with no sides and no windshield wiper.  We all made back okay and only a little wet, it's all about the adventure.  Next morning the sun was out and we headed back to the Blue Haven for breakfast.  After three bloody Mary's and lobster Benedict we were off down Duvall Street.  The girls went shopping and I went to the Mel Fisher museum.  Mel was the guy that found the sunken treasure of the Atocha off Key West worth over $500,000,000.  Then I went on the Conch train tour of Key West.  I think I can tell you everything about Key West.  Friday we took the express back, which left a 6:00pm and arrived back in Fort Myers at 9:30pm. I won't say who, but one of use got sea sick along with about twenty five percent of the boat.  The next day, Saturday, we slept in and finally left the boat to do some errands and then to back to Marcia and Bruce's for some good ole fried chicken, homemade cream corn, potato salad and for dessert was banana pudding.  Jan was in heaven and we were all stuffed when we left to go back to the boat.  Sunday, Bruce set us up for a round of golf at the coarse behind his house and the girls went, you guessed it again, SHOPPING!  Since we are leaving for Stuart the next day Marcia and Bruce drove us all back to the boat.  What fun we had with them and how wonderful they were with the dinners, hospitality, using there car and taking care of Chloe. 

I'm not sure if I told you that Mike and Gaile, we spent time with in Venice, was at one time a member of the Sea Ray Boat Club, which is how we know them.  Well it turns out that there are other members here in Florida that have been following this blog and have been in touch to visit when we are in that area.  Well guess what?  Dave and Lisa are also here in Fort Myers and they came over to the boat, who are still members and live here in there RV,  We all spent time getting caught up and walked over to Joe's for dinner.  What a small world seeing long lost boaters from our Sea Ray days.  After goodbyes we went to bed early for our trip across the Okeechobee.

Coming into Legacy Harbor Marina

Legacy Harbor Marina

Taking us in!
Joe's Crab Shack

Super fast!!!!

One of four jets

Friends we met from Pennsylvania
Willie T's in Key West

Our electric car

Home of the Key Lime Pie

Marcia, where's my Bloody Mary?

Check out the rooster on the sign
Lobster Benedict

Kodak moment

Watch out Marcia

Mikey, guess what Debbie is bring home

Not what it seems

Not what it seems

Leaving Key West, saw the green flash!

Fried Chicken, cream corn

Loving it
Dave H.

The beautiful Lisa H.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Venice with Mike and Gaile

So here we are in Venice at the Crow's Nest Marina.  It was an awesome trip traveling in narrow channels with many homes along the ICW.  I think the 1% live in Florida.  I have to admit I missed the last green marker and almost, I said almost, ran aground.  Luckily the people at Crow's Nest called me on the radio and warned me before it was too late.  The good thing about Venice is our friends Mike, Gaile, and of coarse BB the poodle that is going to hang with the doodle, have a house on a lake.  They picked us up and we headed to the street with all the shops and restaurants.  We had lunch and preceded to their house.  What a treat to take a long shower, relax on the patio overlooking the lake, sipping on an adult beverage.  The doodle and poodle got along great except they both like to bark for no reason at all.  Gaile arranged to have Chloe get a bath and grooming at Petco the next day.  They also had us over for dinner every night and afterwards Mike would drive us back to the boat.  That Miss Gaile can sure cook, or as she says "yea baby".  I can't even put into words how welcome and comfortable we all felt.  Anyway, the next day while Chloe was getting shaved and the girls went were ever girls go, Mike and I played golf.  What a nice coarse and only $34.00 with a cart for 18 holes.  I guess I did okay considering I don't have any golf shoes and I used Miss Gaile's clubs.  Now, there is nothing wrong with her clubs but it's just not the same without your own, all that mattered is we had fun, RIGHT?  One of the things here in Venice is the manufacturer of these great cups made by Tervis.  So we had to go see what it was all about and after spending more than I expected we walked out of there with more cups of different sizes than I expected.  For some of you back home expect a cup from our trip, and if you heard of Tervis let me know.  We couldn't leave without inviting Mike and Gaile to come with us on our next destination to Gasperilla Island.  It didn't take much arm twisting and they were ready.  The night before Mike and I drove the two cars the have to the island and dropped one off so when we got there they could get back with no problem.  It was about an hour drive.  Even though by boat it was 30 miles it took that long to drive because it's all side streets and a $6.00 toll bridge.  Thanks again Mike for paying my way over the bridge because of the one dollar in my wallet.  Next morning they showed up at 9:00am and about 9:45am we were off.  It was another great day with beautiful water and dolphins along the way.  It was great that they came with us and we could share what we will be doing for the next year.  I think Debbie D. has come over to the dark side with us and would like to do the whole  loop.  When we tied up at Boca Grande Marina Mike and I enjoyed a cigar on the flybridge while the girls went, you guessed it, shopping.  Thanks again for the cigar Mike.  Boca Grande Marina at Gasperilla Island is a new marina and very expensive.  We paid $3.00 per foot for the night, which is the most we ever paid anywhere.  You only do this once, RIGHT?  What a great tiime we've had and more important continuing that friendship that was postponed because of distant and time.  Thanks Miss Gaile, Mike (Bubba) and BB for making our adventure even more fun and not feeling so far away from our home.  Hopefully when we get to South Carolina we can talk you into coming on the boat again and maybe going a couple of days with us.  After goodbyes it was Tri Tip for dinner and off to our next adventure to Fort Myers where Debbie's cousin Marsha and Bruce live.

Panacea at Crows Nest in Venice
More homes along the ICW

Mike (Bubba) and Miss Gaile
Happy dolphin or Gaile

Their backyard with local wild life

Wood Stork
 Gaile and BB
We got four free tumblers
See that sneaky crab pot?


Everything OK with Captain Larry

Swing Bridge

Moving along the ICW

Osprey Nest

Bridge clearance marker before you go under all bridges

Hey BB, this is smooth today
Boca Grande Marina in Gasperilla