Friday, March 30, 2007

Sarasota, FL - Until April 25th, 2007

Hi Everyone, We are staying at Marina Jack's in Sarasota, FL in slip H20 until April 25th.
Our goals for this visit is to get our condo in a nice live-able condition. This is alot like work. We get up Monday's thru Saturday at 6:30 am and leave the boat by 7:30 am and go to the condo and work until 3pm. Buster and Sara stay on the boat (napping).
On Sunday's we'll take the day off from working on the condo and probably work on the boat.....

We're also cleaning out the boat again, yes this is the way it is with a boat. You keep cleaning it out. We still have way too much stuff on the boat. We're looking for simpler. Less is best.

We also plan to attend the Mirage Seminar (going by car to and from Gainesville). We're also planning a boat warming party on April 15th. I probably won't post again until after the party. Then I can include pictures of the party. Anyone local to Sarasota that knows us is invited - just call me for the details.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Sarasota, FL - We've Arrived!!!!

I'm attaching a Sanibel Sunset that Wink took......

Hi Everyone! We made a transit from Sanibel Island to Stump Pass on Tuesday, March 20th.
While we were in the Gulf, we decided to stop and drift fish for about an hour hoping to catch some Grouper.
We did catch some fish from the Grouper family, but it's not you average grouper, it's called Sand Perch (we're used to called them Squirrell Fish). We caught over a dozen which is just enough for dinner and maybe a lunch. They are not very large fish, but they sure are tasty.

We anchored overnight in Lemon Bay which is just north of Stump Pass. This is the same location that Forever 39 and John Henry anchored on their way north. We left Lemon Bay on Wednesday morning and arrived in Sarasota about 2:30 in the afternoon with very high winds just as we wanted to anchor. Wilma and the dogs went ashore to retrieve the car with helps from our friend Morgan (thanks for always being around).
On the return to John Henry, Brooke took this family portrait for us. Brooke and Dee are here for a few days and then they are heading south on Saturday. I

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Inside & Out of John Henry

Left: Saloon Starboard Aft
Right: Saloon Port Aft

Left: Saloon Bar & Pass Thru to Galley

These are the Watch Cabin behind Pilot House - Queen Bed & Drawers

Commonly known as "Eric's Room. This is where he stayed when helping us transit to the boat shows.

Two pictures of Pilot House Starboard instead of one each Port and Starboard. I can't seem to delete one so just enjoy!

Here is the center console of the Pilot House.

This is the Master Stateroom located in the bow of John Henry.
We also have a bunk room that we use for Grandchildren, Dogs and yes, Ken and Travis Fickett (when they were on board.)

This was taken at the Newport Boat Show.
The canisters come in very handy. This section is not included on the GH37. They don't need putting away even on the roughest voyage. We had 6+/- seas going to the Dry Tortugas and they stayed in place perfectly.

Wink insisted on a large soaking bathtub. We asked the builder to build it to fit when when the contract for the boat was signed. Wink has lost 50 lbs since. Yeah!!!

An outside shot of John Henry. We have new handrails along both sides and the front now.
Also you can see the lightning protection siedarc on the back two corners, above the arch and on the bow of the boat.
You can always double click pictures to see them better.

John Henry, Forever 39 and Lazy Dolphin rafted up together at Vero Beach, FL. It was a really fun time and this is a great picture.

I promised serveral people I would put pics of the boat, esp. the inside on the blog. I don't have a picture for everyroom. But here's a good start. Also, John Henry was fitted for front handrails in early January so there's a new picture of the outside also.

Voyage from Dry Tortugas, FL to Sanibel, FL - March 16, 2007

We awoke early, left the Dry Tortugas at 7:30 am and headed north. The weather was good with 2-3’ seas in almost following seas. The ride was really not too bad. The day was uneventful and long (both good things in itself). John Henry had difficulty with Nobeltec all day – and had to reboot many times. We came into the San Carlos Bay about 10:00 pm though all the hordes of Fishing Boats which had to be maneuvered. Tom and Gale were about 2 miles behind us.

As we headed toward our destination, Nobeltec decided to crash again. With the congestion of the bay, the darkness because of the late hour, and a tired crew, we decided to turn back and called Tom to lead us in with his Navigation System. Just after we entered the channel behind Tom, both John Henry and Gale Force were pulled over by 2 US Coast Guard Boats.

The Coast Guard were suspicious of our activities come in so late (11:45 pm) from the Gulf. They wanted to board us and we requested they wait until we anchored as the winds had picked up to near 30 knots. They agreed and led us to Fort Myers Beach area just off Sanibel Island and insisted that we anchor there. Once anchored, they were having so much trouble boarding us due to wind and the GH swing dance, they just questioned us from their boat. They agreed that our actions were not that suspicious since we were having navigation problems, it explained why we turned around and meet another boat from the Gulf.

What an ending to a long day. Wink and I both believe that doing anything illegal would really show our stupidity in a get-a-way boat that does only 10mph. We stayed at that anchorage in a high winds, in the middle of the bay all night. Saturday afternoon we moved to a very protected anchorage just a mile or so away on the NE corner of the Sanibel bridge with depths of 6-8'. Things do work out for the best…. As our builder, Ken Fickett says, “if it doesn’t kill you, it makes yout stronger”. We feel pretty strong today…..

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Dry Tortugas, FL - March 11-15, 2007

Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas National Park, FL

The morning seas started out nice, however, they became confused and choppy with swells of 4-6’ and winds from 15-20 knots. The good thing is that the seas were following and those are great seas to have in a Great Harbour. In the early afternoon, we attempt a course change which bought rough seas on the beam. Tom with Gale Force tried to contact Dry Tortuga Park Rangers to confirm best channel to enter with no response. The Freedom II Ferry heard our call and recommended that we change course and come in through the north channel. We had anticipated a southern channel entry and was using the following seas to get us around to it, now we must turn back and fight the beam seas to get to the north channel. Winds had risen and were gusting with high waves until we reached the main channel then we had calmer waters. Our anchor dragged in the night and we had to move at 1:30 in the morning, Tom help us, thank you. Our anchor held tight after that change. We were so tired that we didn’t leave the boat for two days. Tom and Gale came over to John Henry for sunset and dinner on Tuesday evening.

We toured Ft. Jefferson on Wednesday and really had a great day.Left: Here is a picture of Wink and Wilma in front of the Harbor Light at Fort Jefferson.

Right: A picture of Bush and Long Keys. Bush Key is a santuary for the Sooty Tern who nest there from February to September.

You can double click on the pictures to enlarge. John Henry is on the far right. Wink and I were docked across from this Ferry when we were in the Key West Bight Marina.

We also fished and caught lots of Bonnet Sharks and Mangrove Snappers. Thursday, we snorkeled in the morning along the moat wall and saw lots of fish and coral. We even saw 3 gaint lobsters (of course they were in the no touch zone - they're not dummies). We also went fishing for grouper and Wink did catch a nice Red Grouper (not legal size) so it went back in to grow up. We had a trip planning meeting and early drinks on Tom and Gale's boat then returned to our boat to prepared to leave on Friday because of a good weather window.

Wink took many beautiful pictures of the sunsets. Here is just one.

The night sky held the most beautiful stars I've ever seen. The milky way was very visible and I (Wilma) was able to see star clusters with my binoculars.

Key West, FL and west to the Marquesas Keys, FL - March 9-10, 2007

Tom and Gale Zalverson, GH47 Gale Force, came to Key West. Wink went out in the dingy and helped them tie up to the mooring ball. Friday was a very nice day in Key West so we decided to go fishing and try our luck. In 3 hours, we caught a small Barracuda, Yellow Tail Snapper, Lane Snapper, Mackerel, Key West and Blue Stripped Grunts, Pinfish, and Wilma’s favorite Sand Perch. We also had 4 sightings of Sea Turtles. We kept enough for dinner and the rest went back to fight again. We went aboard Gale Force for Sundowners and Sunset. At sunset, it was agreed that Gail Force and John Henry would go to the Dry Tortugas together, eighty miles west of Key West on a two day trip. The first stop will be the Marquesas Keys about 30 miles west. The day was beautiful and both John Henry and Gale Force piloted from their Flybridges. After about 2 hours west of Key West, the water started changing colors of blue, the shades are vibrant and varied. We were in awe. As we approached the Marquesas Keys the islands white sand was visible for miles. The blue water turned turquoise near the island and the sky was heavenly. We passed a sea turtle on the way inside the channel.

My picture of the sea turtle itself is not great, but the water part of the picture is only a sampling of how clear it becomes. After anchoring, Wink and Wilma and the dogs went ashore to the beach only as the islands are off limits. The dogs enjoyed a good run and a refreshing bath afterwards. Wink and Wilma went out again in the dingy for fishing. Wilma caught and released a 4’ barracuda – sorry, no camera available. Wink caught a 3’ barracuda and we decided to drag it to the boat for a picture, but it got away. We stopped and picked up a camera and the jinx was on, no more fish caught, but in total we caught 9 barracuda.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Key West, Florida

We’re still in Key West, FL. Yesterday other members of the Great Harbour family came by bus from Marathon to Key West. We got together and had lunch at the Turtle Kraals restaurant. The group consisted of: Wink and Wilma from John Henry, Joan and Bruce from Forever 39, Barb and Randy from Lazy Dolphin, Betty and Klaas from Moon Beam, Lois and Carl from Puffin, and Judy and Gene from Lo Que Se A.

We stayed 4 nights at Key West Bight Marina which is very nice. Wink and Wilma took their bikes out on each of the three days and really toured the town. We estimate that we biked 50-60 miles overall. That’s a lot considering we just got our bikes for Christmas and this is our first outing since Green Cove Springs.

On Wednesday, we moved from the marina to the City Mooring Balls. This was a bit tricky. The city doesn’t have any pennants on their mooring balls because people have too often taken them. We had to catch the mooring ball from the stern, hook up our line and then managed to get it to the bow. We had a plan in place to do the whole thing ourselves, but luckily and as it so often happens, boaters help boaters. Another boater took the time to come by and assist us with getting set up to the bow. Thank you, our angel.

The winds have been fairly heavy and we have not had much success with fishing. The silver lining is that we are resting well, doing our blog work and the boat is getting a good cleaning on the inside.

The dogs miss going on their walks which they get to do only in marinas, but they are old and lazy and fit right into the style of boat life.

Here’s a couple of pictures of Key West for your viewing pleasure. Key West has free roaming chickens and I love to hear the rooster. Imagine my surpise to find this at Fort Zachery Taylor.

Update Nov 1 to Dec 31, 2005

This posting is basically to fill in the blog from November 1 to December 31, 2006. We were having blog problems and couldn’t get anything to post.

When we returned to Green Cove Springs, FL from the boat show tour, we spent a couple of weeks down sizing the boat. It’s amazing how much stuff you can put into a boat and never use, we decided to clean out.

After a couple of weeks, we (Wink, Wilma, Buster and Sara) went to Yazoo City, Mississippi for a couple of days to visit Wilma’s parents. Wilma had also promised to rebuild the Christmas Tree that she and her dad had built about 10 years ago. On this tree is an ornament for every member of the family from her parents down to the latest great-grandchild. Parents (2) Children (7) Spouses (7) Grandchildren (16) Great-Grandchildren (23) and one on the way. Wilma’s parents also celebrated their 60th anniversary while we were on our boat show trip.

After Yazoo City, we traveled on to Plano, TX where we visited our grandchildren and both sets of their parents. We enjoyed Thanksgiving with both families and then also went to Keller, Texas to spend some time with Wilma’s brother on his horse ranch and stables. Charles Timmy is an expert Horse Whisperer and trainer. The grandchildren (Amber and Emma) love riding horses with him.

We also visited lots of other family members in Texas and saw all of our friends who we miss a lot. As we left Texas, we traveled to Pine Bluff, Arkansas and had lunch with friends and then traveled on down to McGehee, Arkansas to visit with Wilma’s sister and family. Wilma and her sister, Betty made lots of Christmas treats and also had a ladies Christmas Party from Betty’s Church. Wilma won a beautiful Santa Claus from the Chinese Christmas Exchange.

One last stop at Wilma’s parents in Yazoo and we headed back to Green Cove Springs by mid December. We spent Christmas with many other boaters at the Reynolds Park Marina Club House. Everyone brought a dish and had a great time.

Wink and Wilma also hosted a New Years Eve party on “John Henry” which included dancing on the flybridge and watching lots of fireworks.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Website Thanks

This posting is dedicated to Andrew David Allen "Andy" as we all know him. He has not only introduced us to the blogger world, but has come to the rescue and helped us get it going for this season of traveling. We are delighted to offer a link to his website for your viewing enjoyment.

We wish to also thank George and Christina Comrie for having our link on their webpage - so we have returned the favor and included their link on our webpage.

Their boats should be ready within the month, if all goes well. Congrats you guys.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

On the Water, Again

We have reached Key West, FL on March 3, 2007. The water is beautiful. We have just completed our rendezvous with the Great Harbour group. The name of the rendezvous was Smugglers Run. The builder supplied all participants with a nice polo shirt with the Smugglers logo. The trip was wonderful and we took a picture of 12 of the boats while docked at Everglade City, FL. We really liked Everglade City more than any other city on the tour. Here's a picture of the Great Harbour Fleet in front of the Rod and Gun Club in Everglade City, FL.