Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sarasota around to Green Cove Springs

Our grandchildren Amber (10 yrs old) and Emma (8 yrs old) was released from school on June 6th for good behavior and good grades. In fact, they have been promoted to the 5th and 3rd Grades. Their mom packed them up and brought them to us on the following weekend.

On Sunday, June 8th - we moved from the condo back to the boat. With a day or two of re-supplying, we left the dock on Tuesday, June 10th at 6:40 a.m.

Day 1: We didn't go too far, we decided to move over to the fuel dock and fill up completely.
John Henry sitting at the fuel dock - which was only about a 500 ft cruise from our slip. Amber and Emma really liked the view behind John Henry. That's city island with the dolphin fountain in the background.
This is a better view of the dolphin fountain. Okay, I also like the dolphin fountain very much.
For this segment, Wink will now be known as "Grandpa" and Wilma will be known as "Grandma". Grandpa filled up the center tank. Remember that we filled up the starboard tank in Marathon Key on the way up. Diesel was $4.44 a gallon, we took 491 gallons and spent over $2000. From the fuel dock, Grandma help pump fuel while Grandpa went back to our slip and picked up the skiff. He rigged the harness and everything was ready to go at 7:40 a.m. A full hour to fuel, pay fuel and marina fees, and connect up the skiff. We headed out Big Pass and just as we entered the pass, the computer crashed. We didn't bother with reconnecting until we were well outside. We've never been out that pass with John Henry, but between the paper charts and good local knowledge we didn't have a problem.
Sara the sea dog, understood instantly that we were on the move. Emma and Sara were keeping an eye on Grandma as she brought the fenders on board.
Day One continues aswe went from Sarasota to east of Sanibel Island. The weather outside was magnifient. Here's a great picture of the high seas. High Gloss Glassy Seas, that is.
Day Two: From Sanibel Island we headed south outside in the Gulf of Mexico again. We really didn't see many boats on either day. We think that between the fuel cost and the week days, people were just not out and about. On the way towards Shark River, we did come across about 15 boats all of the same type. The photo above shows only 5 of the group. Again, we had no wind, glassy seas and a beautiful day. About 4:30 p.m. the wind picked up and by 5:00 we had white caps and thunder. A summer storm that passed quickly. We anchored just south of Shark River about 5:00 pm. After dark, we went out to the cockpit and swirled around the fishing poles in the water to enjoy the Phosperesence.
Again this year, we followed our previous plan of education the girls about our boat. About 3 p.m provided we were not achoring or mooring at that time, the girls attended boat school for 1/2 to 1 hours several times during the trip. They learned over 100 things about John Henry, cruising, and navagation.
A few example questions:

Q. What is LOA: A. Lenth Over All Q. John Henry's LOA: 56 ft Q. Name the 8 major compass points A. N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, NW Q. Who was the boat built by: A. Mirage Mfg.

On day three, we up at 7:00 a.m. and after Grandpa completed his engine room maintainence we anchored aweigh and headed for Shell Key. We have decided to go back to the State Park where there are 5 free mooring balls. Another great day. We passed those birds sitting around at Bowlegs Cut. I think this is a far better picture than previously posted. They are all commorants. We moored about 2:00 p.m. Grandma took the skiff and a snubber line, drove up to the mooring ball and clipped it on. John Henry came up slow and Grandma threw the line up to Grandpa. He threw down the other snubber line and I attached it and threw it back up. By the time I got back to the stern of the boat to tie up the skiff, the kids were getting their snorkel and fins for a little adventure. Grandpa took each of the girls in turn around the edge of the island and Grandma kept up with the skiff and the grandchild not swimming at the time. We only had about an hour before the day's summer thunder storm appeared.
The fourth day was Friday. Another great day to meander from Shell Key to Biscayne Bay on the inside. It was slow and several times, it was very shallow. Grandpa had to drive on manual all day - no autopilot because when the water gets skinny, under 6 feet, the boat likes hands on.
(Day 4 & 5): Since we arrived at 4:30 p.m. on a Friday and Saturday would be crazy with boaters plus we would need 19 bridges open out of 27 to get to Lake Worth. The weather for Saturday on the outside was suppose to be 2-4 feet (which is that bad, but it's never what it's predicted) so we stayed two nights. Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is very near our anchorage. The grandchildren's mother (Toni) only lives about 1 hour from our anchorage. She drove over and picked us up for a supply run at Winn Dixie and then stayed the night.
Day Six: We dropped Toni back off at the State Park where her car was parked and went outside into the Atlantic Ocean. This is the light house that is near Key Biscayne. About 2:00 pm, Toni drove over to Delray Beach to watch us cruise by. Amber and Emma posed for a picture. We tried to take a picture of their mother, but she was too far away.
We arrived at Lake Worth about 5:25 p.m. This was our first visit to Lake Worth when then was no wind. The water was clear. We could see the anchor chain easily. Amber and Emma insisted that we go swimming. Grandpa tied us up so we would drift too far from the boat and away we went. The water was wonderful.
Day Seven, we aweighed anchor at 6:05 a.m. - Another good day on the Atlantic Ocean. We tried fishing, but we had no catching. We came into the ICW at Fort Pierce. These interesting Jelly Fish are everywhere. I've tried on many occasion to get a good picture and finally, here it is. From Fort Pierce, we went in the ICW north of Vero Beach and anchored at Statue Mile 938 around 3:30 pm. We traveled 76 miles today and anchored in 10-15 knot winds. Day Eight: We aweighed anchor at 6:15 a.m. and headed north in the Indian River. About 9:00 a.m. Andy Allen came to a local bridge to his new home on Merritt Island and took pictures of us as we came through. About 2:30 pm we entered the Haulover Canal - a very nice place to cruise and enjoy. It's only about a mile long, but worth every inch. We anchored about 2 miles north of the canal in Mesquitto Lagoon about 3:00 pm. Andy drove over the Haulover Canal Bridge and parked where he was picked up by Wink in the skiff.

Andy came for dinner at our request. We cooked the last of the Bahama caught lobsters. Emma is showing Andy about her last summer vacation. Andy seemed truly shocked when Amber asked "what was the length of his boat over all?"
Wink dropped Andy back at his car about 8:00 pm. Wink wanted to get back to the boat before dark.
This is just a beautiful scene on the Indian River. In fact, I've saved it on my desktop.

Day Nine: We left our anchorage north of the Haulover Canal (Mesquitto Lagoon) at 5:55 a.m., we knew we would have a long day but we wanted to get to the St Augustine bridge by the 4:30 pm opening. In the middle of the afternoon, Wink contacted the Lions Bridge and they said their schedule had changed and they would not be opening until 6:30 pm. Now, we had time to kill. In fact, we had two hours of tooling around. There was a big thunder storm with sustained winds at 37 mph and gust of 58 mph. Wilma took a picture of our wind guage during the storm. We also had severe lightning and one strike came near the boat. John Henry is equipped with the latest lightning protection, but we'd prefer not to test it out.
As soon as the storm was over, we had lovely calm water and a couple of rainbows to keep our spirits up while waiting for the bridge to open. We anchored north of St Augustine about two miles north of Statue Mile 770. We traveled 96 miles and was delighted to anchor in a light rain about 7:30 pm. Day 10: We left our anchorage north of St Augustine at 6:00 a.m. There had been a big moon the night before and it was still out when we aweighed anchor. (above: Moon setting) About and hour later, I noticed the sun rising. We had a beautiful sunrise from several angles.

As it got higher than the trees, it went into the clouds, which Ithought gave it lots of character.
Wilma took this picture of an Osprey for Wink. It turned out that neither of us saw the other osprey or the two babies. I'm glad I didn't have the Zoom lens on or I'd probably have missed the family shot. We had a scarry time near the Mccormick Bridge. Apprently, it was closed, but we didn't know that. We went through on the right from the main channel and didn't have an incident. But later, we found out that it was closed and we found out that they were demolishing the old bridge and there could have been falling debrie. We're very lucky!
We arrived back at Green Cove Springs about 2:00 pm. It was good to see all our friends, Sue and Paul Graham, Tim from Cloud X, and Frank 1 helped us with our dock lines. Tim and Paul helped Wink find the gang plank that we left in the winter.Sara was happy to see her gang plank and knew that she could go ashore - it has been 10 days since she last went ashore.
On Friday, Day 11 - Paul and Sue Graham drove Wilma and Sara to Sarasota. Wilma was elected to go fetch the car since she had a doctors appointment on Monday morning. Her CT Scan came out clear - all is well. Sara is enjoying Winks recliner at the condo. This is her last visit to the condo as she will stay in Sarasota with relatives for the summer. It's extremely too hot to take her on the road trip, plus she can't stay in the car while we're in at attractions.
Sara will stay with Uncle Jesse, Auntie Teta, Cousin Adaline and Greg and a whole lot more family members are there all the time. The extra good part is that they have a great big back yard that is fenced in and they have two dogs, Scooby and Lucky that she has as good friends.
I think Sara will be on duty daily to keep the lizards and the squirrels from invading the back yard.
While Wilma was in Sarasota, Miss Sue took the girls for awhile and they made necklaces. Miss Sue is help Emma put hers on. Amber's is below.
Our new friends John and Sharon on "Ellie Jane" also took the girls for the morning on Saturday and they made Chocolate Chip Cookies and Bars. The girls had a great time.
This is Wednesday, June 25th. On Friday, June 27th, Wink celebrates his 57th birthday. We're having cake and ice cream at 2:30 pm until??????? If you are close at hand, come join us.
On Saturday, June 28, 2008, we will start our summer road trip with the grandchildren. We will leave Green Cove Springs and head west to DeFuniak Springs (one night) and then on to Wilma's parent's home in Yazoo City, MS. We'll stay with her parents until July 2nd. Wilma has a couple of brothers and a sister there also as well as tons of other relatives.
Then we'll go to McGehee, Arkansas to see Wilma's other sister.
From Arkansas, we'll head to Texas to see Wilma's son William (the father of the Granddaughters), her other brother Timmy - the horse whisperer, her cousin Glenda and Nephew John and family and then a whole bunch of friends.
From there, we plan to hunt for diamonds in Arkansas and the list goes on, but it's not complete. Needless to say, we're going to be going somewhere (all by car). We may call you and say "We're 30 miles away and wanted to know if you're around".
This is most likely the last posting until we return in early August. I discovered last year that I was too tired in the evening or I was having too much fun with the family and friends to get out the computer and get connected.
Ya'll have a good summer and we'll catch up with you in August unless we see you on the road!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Sarasota, FL

It's been a good month at Sarasota. Amber and Emma (our grandchildren) came for a visit over the Memorial Day Weekend. We brought them T-shirts that are black and white but when they are in the sun, they change to lots of colors.

We also went swimming in the Condo pool. Here is Grandpa (Wink) with Amber (wearing pink googles) and Emma having a great time.
We were able to get together with a few friends. Sabine and Wolfgang Dudda standing next to Wink. The oil painting is a Wink original from many years ago.

Wink and Wilma entertained with Alice and Wayne Delair on John Henry. We also had Ann Roness and her niece over to the condo. We dropped by and visited with Devin and Marion Rutkowski in their home. It's hard to believe how grownup their children Amber and DJ have become. We had lunch with Adam Chicoine and was sorry that we didn't get to see Morgan and Cameron.
The month would not be complete without the annual doctors visits. This is both Wink and Wilma's doctor, Dr. Gerald John. We have enjoyed his services and friendship for almost 10 years.
Our grandchildren arrived on Saturday for the summer. We moved from the Condo to the boat on Sunday - June 8th. All the girls went to the store to buy provisions. Grandpa stayed at the boat to test the generator, clean the strainers and prepare to leave. The grandchildrens mother left today to return home. John Henry has been cleaned and prepared to make the journey to Green Cove Springs, FL. Green Cove Springs is located in the St. Johns River about 30 miles south of Jacksonville and about 30 miles west of St. Augustine, FL.
John Henry getting ready to depart Sarasota. John Henry docked at Marina Jacks.