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Month: November 2018

Margo – Too much fun to collect rocks!

Margo – Too much fun to collect rocks!

November 30, 2018 Friday   Clearwater Beach Marina, FL  0.0 nautical miles

27°58’33.6″N 82°49’29.4″W
27.976002, -82.824836
Elevation: 0 ft

For those of you who don’t really know Margo, you should know she likes to collect interesting rocks and put them in her pockets. On other vacations she has collected soooooo many rocks I’ve wondered how she kept her pants up.   No problem here. Mary and Margo are in search for the perfect shell. There are so many little ones to choose from.  Margo is so busy collecting shells she has NOT picked up any rocks so far on this trip.

Shelling (a.k.a. too much fun to collect rocks)

Margo – Clearwater Beach – Pier 60 – First contact with the Gulf ;-). It was cold!
Margo – Clearwater Beach – Under the board walk (pier 60)
Margo – Clearwater Beach – Shelling. We probably walked 2+ miles up the beach.

Margo – Clearwater Beach – Shelling – Big bird looking for lunch


Margo – Clearwater Beach – Margo said the shelling walk reminded her of Ground Hog’s Day – Look at the shadows!  We continued our conversation on how Alexandria, MN and Clearwater, FL were alike. The both have jet skis, nice weather, pigeons, sea gulls and skate boards…… Broken conch shell structures were compared to the structures in New York’s Twin Towers. New York has pigeons too.

Margo – Clearwater Beach – Life Guard Station. Imagine that….. Margo said it was too cold to swim. Mary’s going to make her before she leaves! (Ugh. That means Mary is going with her. Stay tuned to another day.)

Margo – Clearwater Beach – Bonnet Shark a.k.a. Toe Biter. It’s all the bigger their mouth is. It looks like a mini hammerhead.


Clearwater, FL Christmas Lights. Looking towards the sunset.
StarShipIV returning to port backing in past our boat
StarShipIV slipping into her slip


Margo wanted me to share this YouTube video I’m Disco the Parakeet and I know it. It is one of her favorites.

Margo – It’s Greek to Me

Margo – It’s Greek to Me

November 29, 2018 Thursday   Clearwater Beach Marina, FL  0.0 nautical miles

27°58’33.6″N 82°49’29.4″W
27.976002, -82.824836
Elevation: 0 ft

Margo’s pronoia makes here a wonderful boat guest.

Our start of the day was a road trip to Tarpon Spring, about 17 miles north of  Clearwater Beach. Unfortunately Mary and Margo’s time in Tarpon Spring was cut short because Mary forgot her wallet at the boat.  They did have a good time looking around at everything though.

We discussed a variety of topics on our road trip, but mostly how Florida and Alexandria are alike. For example, you see monster motor homes in both places, they both have Walgreen stores, the towns have Christmas decorations …. 🙂  New York was tossed in for comparison too.

Upon return, a quick nap and then to the BEACH and feed the birds.

Trip to Tarpon Spring

Tarpon Springs was named for the fish found in abundance in nearby waters. But it also is known as the “sponge capital of the world”.  The sponge industry was founded in Tarpon Springs in 1880s.  In 1905, John Cocoris introduced the technique of sponge diving to Tarpon Springs by recruiting divers and crew members from Greece. It industry soon became one of the leading maritime industries in Florida.

In 1947, a red tide algae bloom wiped out the sponge fields in the Gulf of Mexico, causing many of the sponge boats and divers to switch to shrimping for their livelihood. Eventually, the sponges recovered, allowing for a smaller but consistent sponge industry today.

Low Tide – Poor choice of anchorage – We saw this in route to Tarpon Springs
Margo in Tarpon Springs – Fish Tail Palm
Margo in Tarpon Springs – Fishing Boats in Harbor – We both like the Greek fisherman
Margo in Tarpon Springs – Fishing Boats in Harbor – Many of the boats look like they just came out of a Popeye the Sailor village.   Is Popeye Greek???????
Margo in Tarpon Springs – Fishing Boats in Harbor. Margo said the boats look like the boats on cable show ‘Deadliest Catch’
Margo in Tarpon Springs – Margo liked the wooden pelicans
Margo in Tarpon Springs – ‘Sponge Bob’ Loofa Sponges
Margo in Tarpon Springs – Nothing like a good fist bump with the Shrimp outside of Rusty Belly’s

Clearwater Beach

Margo at Clearwater Beach Pier 60
Margo at Clearwater Beach Pier 60 – Feeding the Birds – Margo really enjoyed this!
Margo at Clearwater Beach Pier 60 – Feeding the Birds – Amazingly neither Margo or Mary got pooped on.
Margo at Clearwater Beach Pier 60 – Feeding the Birds – Petting the one in her arms and another is landing.
Margo at Clearwater Beach Pier 60 – Feeding the Birds – It was tough to keep from smiling.  If you smiled showing your teeth the birds pecked at them.
Margo at Clearwater Beach Pier 60 – Feeding the Birds – A little tough taking a selfie

When we were done feeding the birds we walked out to the end of the Pier 60

Margo at Clearwater Beach Pier 60 – on the Pier
Margo at Clearwater Beach Pier 60 – on Pier 60 – Look what appeared!!!!



Tarpon Springs has the highest percentage of Greek Americans of any city in the US.

Pronoia : The opposite of paranoia. It’s the sense that the world’s out to help you and everything’s coming up roses.

Margo – Why is it so cold?

Margo – Why is it so cold?

November 28, 2018 Wednesday   Clearwater Beach Marina, FL  0.0 nautical miles

27°58’33.6″N 82°49’29.4″W
27.976002, -82.824836
Elevation: 0 ft

Margo, did you have to bring cold weather with you from Minnesota?  It’s 51 degrees and 18 kts wind.

The weather didn’t stop Margo and Mary. They spent the day walking south on the beach and looking for shells.

Margo at Clearwater Beach – Look at all these shells! The entire beach close to the water line is all zillions and zillions of small shells.
Clearwater Beach, FL

At the end of the beach they walked back north wandering through the shops and taking pictures with almost every dolphin along the way.

Margo and Dolphin – Surf Style
Margo and Dolphin -Beachview Hotel
Margo and Dolphin – Frenchy’s Store
Margo and Dolphin – Ron Jon and Hooters
Margo and Dolphin – Island Time. This one was Margo’s favorite.
Margo and Dolphin – StarShip Tour Boat

After an afternoon nap they were back at it again and Dale joined them. The sunset was at 5:33 pm.  We wandered down the street in and out of shops and then out to the beach for sunset.

Margo and Hulk Hogan. OMG Hulk Hogan has a shop in Clearwater! HE LIVES in CLEARWATER. We have out eyes out for him ’cause we heard he comes down to his shop from time to time and visits the local restaurants.
Margo in Hulk Hogan Store in front of his championship belts.
Margo – Sunset on Clearwater Beach, FL and reflection on water.
Margo and Dale – Sunset on Clearwater Beach, FL

And then back to Frenchy’s for supper.

Margo enjoying mussels at Frenchy’s. It was a tough decision between these or clams.
Margo and Sea Turtle at Frenchy’s

Back to the boat!


A sea turtle can not retract it’s head into its body.

Loggerhead sea turtle nests are the most commonly found nests on the beaches of Florida’s gulf coast. On average a Loggerhead sea turtle lays about 100-120 eggs at one time.  The temperature of the sand around a nest can determine whether hatchlings will be males or females. Oh gosh!

Margo – Welcome to Clearwater Beach!

Margo – Welcome to Clearwater Beach!

November 27, 2018 Tuesday   Clearwater Beach Marina, FL  0.0 nautical miles

27°58’33.6″N 82°49’29.4″W
27.976002, -82.824836
Elevation: 0 ft

Margo – Welcome to Clearwater Beach!

Margo had a long travel day getting to Clearwater Beach. She got up at 6:00 am after a restless night sleep because she was so excited about the vacation. She started her trip by taking the Alexandria Rainbow Rider shuttle to Perkins for a great breakfast. All of us know how important a great breakfast is. (Our mother’s told us). From there at 9:00 am Margo caught Executive Express to the MSP airport where Jake met her. When Jake helped Margo get her ticket he also got a non-ticket security pass so he could escort her to her gate. The two of them cleared security and had some lunch.  I even heard some rumors the 2 of them were spotted dancing by the elevators!

Margo had a nice flight. Almost unheard of, she had the entire row to herself! Her plane arrived 30 minutes early, almost unheard of again!

Tampa International Airport Gate A17 – Welcome to Tampa Margo!

Mary and Dale were about 300 feet from the gate when found Margo headed towards the baggage claim with a new found friend from the plane ride.

We were in the car with baggage collected before 8:07 pm, the scheduled arrival time her plane.

We went to Frenchy’s in Clearwater Beach for their $1.75 taco special. Dale had 2 fish (Grouper / Snapper), Mary had 2 shrimp and Margo had 1 of each. 🙂

Then to the boat and to bed at 9:30 pm!  Unpacking is saved for tomorrow.



About 20 million people travel through the Tampa International Airport each year, about 250 departures daily.

Tampa International Airport prides itself on ‘sustainability’: alternative fuel vehicles, recycling, energy and water use reduction.  Approximately 40% of the Airport’s vehicle fleet runs on alternative fuels, such as compressed natural gas, electric, and hybrid engines. This has saved more than 517,000 gallons of gas since they first went into service in 2012.

Clearwater Beach Ground Zero

Clearwater Beach Ground Zero

November 26, 2018 Monday   Clearwater anchorage to Clearwater Beach Marina, FL  5.5 nautical miles

27°58’33.6″N 82°49’29.4″W
27.976002, -82.824836
Elevation: 0 ft

We are docked at Clearwater Beach Ground Zero for the next week. Mary’s sister Margo is coming tomorrow, Tuesday, for a week.  Not that we haven’t been tourists for the past week, we are really going to be tourists for the next week while Margo is here. Mary might not be posting daily and if she does it there will be a lot Margo photos for the family to check out and she can show her friends when she gets home.

Mary at the helm in route to new digs.

New Digs for the next week

Docking procedure in high wind 18 mph plus 2 nts cross current – Oh crap. Just park it on the end of the dock.
Neighbor docking – This tour boat STARSHIP 5 is about the size of the Andiamo tour boat in Stillwater, MN. Next time he passes the this guy on the bow and I are going to fist bump.
Neighbor STARSHIP 5 practicing MOB (man over board) drills with Cost Guard monitoring


American counties directly on the ocean shoreline account for less than 10% of the continental U.S. land mass. Yet, about 40% of our population lives in those counties.

2017 Population of Pinellas county, FL (Clearwater, Tampa, St Petes):  970,637

Wish you were here?

Wish you were here?

November 25, 2018 Sunday   Mandaley Channel, Clearwater, FL to Clearwater Harbor Marina. Clearwater, FL  4.7 nautical miles

27°59’07.0″N 82°49’13.9″W
27.985279, -82.820529
Elevation: 0 ft

Wish you were here?   

We wish you were too.  Just a reminder…. You can copy the above coordinates and past them in Google maps to see exactly where we are at the end of day location.


Clearwater Harbor Marina view from the bridge – We timed our departure getting out of Clearwater Harbor Marina for crack of dawn, slack tide and minimal wind. Even in optimum conditions it is a hard marina to get in and out. All of the locals say it’s the worst they ever been in and are on waiting lists in other marinas.
What makes it so challenging? The docks run parallel with the tidal current so you have to enter your slip perpendicular to a strong current. Couple this with a wind tunnel running the same direction as the current. Then add on a very narrow right angle entrance with pelican poles along each side.

Made it.

Relocation and Low Tide

We qualified (planned) our route and set off to an anchorage across the bay. Charts typically identify mean low tide so there should be enough water. We draft about 3.9.  The depth finder was suddenly reading 3.2 but we weren’t churning any sand or mud. The depth finder at the stern read 1 foot. Ugh!  We’ve never calibrated our depth finder but NOW felt like a good enough time to do so.  With the engine in neutral Dale stuck a docking pole into the water off the swim deck.  5 Feet!  Looks like we have about 1-2 feet of grace in our depth finder readings. WHEW.

Low Tide – in route to Mandaley Channel anchorage

Low Tide – in route to Mandaley Channel anchorage


Mandaley Channel – Neighbors – All but one of these boats is anchored here full time even though laws says limit 48 hours.  The rule is generally not enforced from what we hear.  Some of them have full time live aboards on them and others are weekenders. The are a lot of place where this happens.
Mandaley Channel – Neighbor – full timer – no one on board

Out and About to the Vikings Game

Forward thinking … Dale checked out locations to watch the Vikings game yesterday.   Frenchy’s is it. Frenchy’s has a secure patron/commercial fishing dock. He told us it would be no problem if we parked are dingy and went to watch the Vikings game at Frenchy’s.

Mandaley Channel – Heading out to watch the Vikings game at Frenchy’s. The lights are at Frenchy’s.

The Frenchy’s marina is across the street from one of Frenchy’s restaurants.   When we returned to the dingy the marina was locked and chained for the night. We could not get to our dingy!!!!  Panic stricken we returned to Frenchy’s  restaurant to see if there was any one who could assist. WHEW! The manager was just closing up and had a key. She graciously walked us over to the marina and let us in.

Mandaley Channel – Dingying home just before midnight after the Vikings beat the Packers!


Clearwater holds the Guinness Book of World Records for most consecutive days of sunshine at 768, an average of 361 days per year. Recent years since 2015 have somewhat cut back on this record.



November 25, 2018 Saturday Clearwater Harbor Marina. Clearwater, FL  0 nautical miles

27°57’60.0″N 82°48’18.3″W
27.966663, -82.805074
Elevation: 0 ft

Our mission for the day was to bike over to the Clearwater Beach side and check out possible anchorages for tomorrow night.


Live is all about choices. Some good ones and some not so good.

There is a popular restaurant in Clearwater Beach side called Frenchy’s. Actually there are 4 of them.
Clearwater Beach, FL – WOW! A color changing glass – We stopped at one Frenchy’s for a drink and then decided to walk about 3 blocks to the next Frenchy’s. Mary is still on her mission for the perfect rum drink so Dale agreed to the walk. (She didn’t need to twist his arm too hard.) The Frenchy’s Crawl is on!
At the second Frenchy’s we found out that if you get a signature rum drink at all four of them you get a free t-shirt! Mary’s going for the free t-shirt. On to the 3rd Frenchy’s! (Here we learned you don’t have to his all four in the same day. Whew.)
Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill on the beach. Other people making equally poor choices. They are drinking Mind Bender shots and lots of them. (Kaluha, vodka and a splash of charge through a straw.)

The 5 mile bike ride back to our marina was uneventful but Mary did to to bed a little earlier than usual.

Along the way

The Hulk
Clearwater Beach pier – Vendors from the backside
Clearwater Beach pier – Saturday crowd


Aquamarine is the gemstone of the sea, and it’s supposed to be a cherished object for mermaids. In addition to being treasure, people once believed this gemstone came from the tears of mermaids, and it used to be thought had the power to protect sailors when they were at sea, or when they fell into the water.

I feel like I’m on vacation

I feel like I’m on vacation

November 23, 2018 Friday   Clearwater Harbor Marina. Clearwater, FL  0 nautical miles but a another great bike ride!

27°57’60.0″N 82°48’18.3″W
27.966663, -82.805074
Elevation: 0 ft

I feel like I’m on vacation! Another slow and lazy day. The weather was beautiful. Today we took our bikes north to Dunedin. The name “Dunedin” comes from Dùn Èideann, the Scottish Gaelic name for Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland.

Dunedin, FL is a bike friendly city. Great bike trails going in and out of the city. This bike rack in the downtown had a bike pump and bike tools (hanging from top of the post on leashes)


School of Lady Fish off our dock slip
Two Sheepshead off our dock slip


Wombat poop is square.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 22, 2018 Thursday   Clearwater Harbor Marina. Clearwater, FL  0 nautical miles but a great bike ride!

27°57’60.0″N 82°48’18.3″W
27.966663, -82.805074
Elevation: 0 ft

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope all of you connected with friends and family, enjoyed a delicious meal and counted your blessings.  Dale and I enjoyed a simple day together, a far different experience from the huge family Thanksgivings we had at our home in Lake Elmo. There was one year we topped out at 49 for dinner and 51 for desserts.  Today it was just the two of us.

We miss and love your all. Plan on us for next Thanksgiving!

On the Road

We headed south on our bikes to Belleair Beach Causeway, the next bridge down. Our path first took us through the Scientology version of the ‘Vatican City’ in downtown Clearwater. It was strangely quite. It appeared the 100’s of uniformed worker bees that are usually walking around had the day off.

From the Belleair Beach Causeway bridge we headed west across to Sand Key, north across the Gulf Blvd Bridge (entrance to the Gulf) to Clearwater Beach and then east back the marina we are at.

Belleair Beach Causeway to Sand Key
Looking North. The Gulf Blvd Bridge (entrance to the Gulf) is on the left side. The Clearwater Memorial Causeway, Highway 60 bridge is in the background. The marina we are at is on the east(right) side of this bridge. Next week we will be staying in the marina on the west(left) side of the bridge.
View of the Scientology version of  ‘Vatican City’ from Clearwater Memorial Causeway, Highway 60 bridge ,Clearwater, FL
View of the Scientology ‘Vatican’ from the from Clearwater Memorial Causeway, Highway 60, Clearwater, FL
Clearwater Memorial Causeway, Highway 60 – We are here
I think Dale’s ulterior motive for the bike ride was to ride down the circular pedestrian ramp at the bottom of the bridge.
Dale riding down the ramp – right side middle tier.
Dale careening down the ramp. Feel the heat!

Along the Way

Clearwater Bay spit – North view from top of the Gulf Bvld bridge
Thanksgiving dining for the birds
This is what happens if your anchor doesn’t set and hold


You know those post-Thanksgiving Dinner stomach sounds? There is a term for that:
Borborygmus – a rumbling or gurgling noise made by the movement of fluid and gas in the intestines.

So long. Farewell. Avidazen say Goodbye.

So long. Farewell. Avidazen say Goodbye.

November 21, 2018 Wednesday   Clearwater Harbor Marina, Clearwater, FL  0 nautical miles

27°57’60.0″N 82°48’18.3″W
27.966663, -82.805074
Elevation: 0 ft

Perky and Bruce left today 🙁

Mary is looking for new crew. Must like chocolate. Tom ate M&Ms with Mary, Ray – Snickers bars, Bruce – Dove chocolates.  Anyone like Butterfingers?

We had planned to leave the Clearwater Harbor Marina today around 11:00 am.  The weather was so rough we asked the Harbor Master if we could stay past the 11:00 am checkout time in hopes the water would lay down later in the day.  It got worse. Argh! We paid for another night…. and at that point another $40 would hit the weekly rate. Good news/Bad news. The Harbor Master graciously adjusted our bill so we got the weekly rate (saved us about $200).  We are now here till Sunday morning.     ☹No anchoring out but we do have electricity.

The bikes come back off the boat tomorrow.

Along the Day

Clearwater Harbor Marina, FL Thanks for the hair cut Perky.  Mary will no longer scare the locals.  Stay tuned. Dale is next.
Debarking POSH (port out starboard home.) So long. Farewell. Avidazen say Goodbye Perky and Bruce. Tell the Tom Tobin clan in the Merritt Island, FL area Happy Thanksgiving for us!

Less than exciting things to do…

Clearwater Habor Marina, FL Laundry Room – Room with a view

This is the MOST expensive laundry room yet at $2.00 per load. Most are $1.50 or less.  Our washer at the moment is not working. Yet another item on the boat to fix.

Clearwater, FL – Guppies!!!!! Well maybe not real guppies but they would go in a salt water aquarium if I had one.


Avidazen. German phrase meaning until we meet again, used as a farewell.

We got our $5 worth

We got our $5 worth

November 20, 2018 Tuesday   Clearwater Harbor Marina. Clearwater, FL  0 nautical miles

27°57’60.0″N 82°48’18.3″W
27.966663, -82.805074
Elevation: 0 ft

Top O’ the Morning

An eggciting breakfast
Sheepshead. Go catch it Perky!!
Joseph and Flounder. Some seagull was concerned Joseph was not getting enough protein in his diet and left a small flounder on his boat. Joseph dropped the flounder in the water and it swam off!
Bye BRIZO! It’s been fun. Hope we see you again down the road.

We got our $5 worth on the Jolly Trolley

Jolly Trolley – We got our $5.00 worth. Up to Tarpon Springs, a stop in Dunedin and all around Clearwater Beach.
Tarpon Springs, FL outside Rusty Bellies restaurant
Tarpon Springs, FL – Reggae Entertainer. We rode the Jolly Trolly with him. He boarded smoking a cigar and continued to smoke it until he got off. We sat and listened to him for about half an hour.
Tarpon Springs, FL Baby Bayliner. This is the first xx87 Bayliner we have seen. It is a 4087 Bayliner. Yes Dear is a 45 87.
Dunedin, FL – Dunedin had cool Christmas decorations but I liked to bike rack better. All of the light posts were decorated by a different person/store.
Clearwater Beach, FL Hooters Ladies
Mary, Mary, Mary. They should have used a little less botox. Candy wax lips. Cherry flavored. Who doesn’t remember them?
Clearwater Beach, FL – Sunset Perky Bruce and Dale
Clearwater Beach, FL Sunset (picture from the marina we will be staying in next week)


Clearwater is known as the home of Scientology, which has purchased many buildings in the downtown area. Scientologists from around the world come here for training—much to the chagrin of local non-scientologists. Because they are a church, they don’t pay property taxes on many of the buildings they own—another reason most of the locals are not huge fans.

We walked around downtown Clearwater. The Church of Scientology must easily own 8+ blocks of prime real estate and water front.

Clearwater Beach, FL Scientology emblems and more. Each emblem was on a different building.
WISE World Institute of Scientology Enterprises
Clearwater Beach, FL Scientology offices. Each building had it’s own receptionist and food spread. (Voyeurism through the windows)
Clearwater, FL – owned by Church of Scientology – The Flag Building – Dale walking in and the rest of us followed. The stunning lobby had a security desk with about 8 meticulously groom people working at it. We all stood transfixed. Them jaw dropped staring at us and us jaw dropped staring at them. After an awkward 10 seconds one of them smiled and said “You must be tourists”
Clearwater, FL – owned by Church of Scientology – The Flag Building. This a picture of a picture of the Flag Building (left) and the hotel for for church members only across the street. We did get a little peak of the 3 story atrium in the build. Incredible!

Waterfront Buildings

Clearwater, FL – owned by Church of Scientology – Sandcastle – beach front
Clearwater, FL – owned by Church of Scientology – Sandcastle – beach front
Clearwater, FL – owned by Church of Scientology – beach front

Other Buildings

Clearwater, FL – owned by Church of Scientology – Osceola Scientology retreat
Clearwater, FL – owned by Church of Scientology
Clearwater, FL – Purchased by the Church of Scientology in 1975. Fully restored in 1995

…. and there were many more.

All day Parade

All day Parade

November 19, 2018 Monday   Clearwater Harbor Marina. Clearwater, FL  0 nautical miles

27°57’60.0″N 82°48’18.3″W
27.966663, -82.805074
Elevation: 0 ft

What a blast! We never left the dock all day.

Top o’ the Morning

What was the ONE thing Dale asked Mary NOT to do? Ah, that’s it. DON’T feed the birds from the boat!
Clearwater Harbor Marina – This is why you are not supposed to feed birds from a boat in a marina.
Mary was feeling pretty smug this morning from a good night’s sleep after the crossing. Clean clothes, earrings on ….. Oopsies. Mary hates oopies. This makes the 6th time Mary has spilled coffee since we left Ashland.


Clearwater Harbor Marina, FL – US Customs. 4-225s on the back. Not impresed… We saw 4-424 on a fishing boat.  If you can blow up the picture and check out the guy in the full face mask in back at the helm.
Clearwater Harbor Marina, FL – Osprey (a.k.a. Sea Hawk) neighbor. The Osprey is the only raptor (bird of prey) with a reversible outer toe, which allows it to hold on to its prey with two toes in front and two behind.
Mary! Don’t feed the birds
Disgruntled neighbor
Polka Dotted Tail (actually the tips of the wings folded back)

Boat Cleaning

Clearwater Harbor Marina, FL – The captain at the upper helm, cleaning and getting the salt off.
Clearwater Harbor Marina, FL – Men working cleaning and getting the salt off the boats using environmental friendly, clear blue Dawn dish washing liquid 🙂  Joseph and Bruce.

Besides washing down the boat, Joseph had to go around and tighten screws attaching is bridge to the lower boat frame. All the rocking from last night flexed them out.

Making it legal (again). It’s really a challenge to put numbers on a rubber dingy and having them stay there. We had a placard with the numbers on, but the placard broke. This time the numbers were painted on but we are still having trouble making the MN license sticker stick. (nice thumb in the picture)

All Day Parade

We are in a great location for watching. It has been an all day parade both in the marina and the no wake zone outside the marina. Every one has to pass by to get to the other side the bridge.

Perky fishing for a shark boat. Don’t let it get your hand!
Water Mosquitoes in a no wake zone.
Docking a 74 foot boat after a sea trial. Notice how the captain is sitting. The guy that owns the boat is an airline pilot and lives on the boat full time. He has 3 King Charles Spaniels. His lower cockpit is carpeted with artificial grass that he has trained them to potty on.


Dale caught a Sheepshead. They have square teeth like people.  (I wasn’t quick enough with my camera so I poached this picture from someone else.)
Nice catch Perky …. NOT. Lady Fish this area’s equivalent of an eelpout.

Good Night

Installation Art at dock. Oyster shells?


Why did the Pirate give his ship a coat of paint?
Its timbers were shivering.



November 18, 2018 Sunday Dog Island, FL to Clearwater Harbor Marina, Clearwater, FL   151.5 nautical miles

27°57’60.0″N 82°48’18.3″W
27.966663, -82.805074
Elevation: 0 ft

Eddie’s Weather Wag predicted a Do-able crossing.  It was Do-able but I’d like to review Eddie’s definition of Do-able.

It started OK, got rough and kept getting rougher.  The prediction was for 1-3 foot waves. WRONG!  For most of the passage a 3 foot wave was average. We saw 4s, 5s, 6s and ????? Things were sliding and flying all over the boat. People included.

Dale and Mary took turns trying to sleep in the upper helm while the other was navigating. No sooner than we would fall asleep and we’d go flying off the bench and land on the floor looking up at the Bimini top. Seasick Perky went down to the salon to sleep it off.  Meanwhile over on BRIZO, Bruce and Joseph were stuck on the upper helm as there was no safe way to get inside the boat for food or potty breaks with the voracity of the waves.

At some part in the night the dingy on YES DEAR started breaking loose.  Now that was interesting trying to secure it up. The wave would roll one way and we would try to tighten the line.  If we weren’t quick enough the dingy would forcefully roll back the other direction.

The trip across the Bend from Dog Island to Clearwater took about 23 hours. We didn’t travel as fast as we had planned as the water was so rough. For the most part we ran at 7.2 kts towards 140 degrees True. After sunrise we dropped down to a little under 6.0 kts.

The night was mostly clear. We saw shooting stars.

You get to see BRIZO pictures because in the middle of the Gulf we didn’t have much to look at except BRIZO.

Gulf Bend – BRIZO Bruce and Joseph
Gulf Bend – BRIZO At Sunset
Gulf Bend – Sunset Loopers – Unless you really blow this out you can’t see much.  There are seven tiny reflection spots on the horizon line where the Looper boats are reflected in the sun, all lined up in a row.
Gulf Bend Sunset and rough waters
Gulf Bend – I’m going to fire my interior decorator
Gulf Bend – Perky is seasick

Gulf Bend – Sunrise and rough waters

Gulf Bend – Wash Rinse Repeat. BRIZO in and out of the trough. Minimally a 6 foot wave. As bad as this looks the waves had started to settle down by this time after sunrise!!!!
Welcome to Clearwater


The Suwannee River is located in the bend area of Florida and dumps into the Gulf coast at the town of Suwannee, FL.

Stephen Foster, who wrote “Old Folks at Home,” Florida’s state song, never even saw the Suwannee River, nor did he ever step foot in Florida.

It’s just around the Bend

It’s just around the Bend

November 17, 2018 Saturday   Apalachicola, FL to Dog Island, FL  27.8 nautical miles

29°46’47.3″N 84°40’42.8″W
29.779804, -84.678558
Elevation: 0 ft

We start crossing the Big Bend today, heading to Clearwater Harbor Marina, Clearwater, FL. It was 27.8 nautical miles from Apalachicola, FL to Dog Island. Dog Island to Clearwater is about 150 nautical miles (170 statue miles).

We entered the Gulf around 3:00 pm at the west end of Dog Island, joining the end of a slow moving Looper convoy.

Why this time of day?  We plan to travel between 8 nts (about 8-10 miles per hour) so it will take us 18+ hours.  We don’t want to get within 40 miles of Clearwater until 10:00 am.  There are a lot of crab traps in the area all the way out to about the 40 mile range.  At 10:00 am the sun is high enough that you aren’t looking directly into it while looking for crab traps.

Morning Walk About in Apalachicola

Apalachicola, FL Bike Shop
Apalachicola, FL Tupelo Honey $14.95 – Tupelo honey is produced from the tupelo gum tree which grows profusely along the Chipola and Apalachicola rivers of northwest Florida. In the river swamps bees are placed on elevated platforms along the river’s edge. They they fan out through the surrounding Tupelo-blossom-laden swamps during April and May and return to produce houney. Good white tupelo, unmixed with other honeys, will not granulate, and due to this high fructose low glucose ratio some diabetic patients have been permitted by their physicians to eat Tupelo honey. (Yes, Mary bought it)
Apalachicola, FL – Reminds me of South Park characters
Apalachicola, FL Fire Department – It too shows hurricane wear and tear.

12:00 Noon and we are off!

Bruce is riding on BRIZO so Joseph won’t have to cross the Bend alone.

The Kiss by Perky and Bruce! – See you on the other side! Apalachicola, FL to Clearwater, FL
Joseph and Bruce on BRIZO leaving Apalachicola, FL
Dog River west end – entrance to Gulf
Dog River dash across the Bend


As the Crow Flies: The most direct route from one place to another without detours. Before modern navigational systems existed, British vessels customarily carried a cage of crows. These birds fly straight to the nearest land when released at sea, thus indicating where the nearest land was.

See you on the other side!!!

Holely Ship!

Holely Ship!

November 16, 2018 Friday   Pearl Bayou, Pensacola, FL   to Scipio Creek Marina, Apalachicola, FL    54.6  nautical miles

29°43’57.8″N 84°59’23.5″W
29.732731, -84.989847
Elevation: 0 ft

Pearl Bayou, Pensacola, FL – Holely Ship! Didn’t realize there were neighbors where we anchored. Bottom of a fender and an antenna of a sunken boat! Wind shifted in the night and our boat swung over by them. Thank goodness we were only using a 3:1 scope.

34 degrees this morning. Kinda of reminds me of sleeping in the porch at our house in Lake Elmo. There at least we could run inside to get warm.

Hurricane Michael damage

Bruce, Perky and I must have taken 500 pictures between the 30 of us. I’ve cut mine down to about a dozen. The homes are mostly east of Pensacola, FL just before we entered the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) canal.

Route from Panama City to Apalachicola

Mexico Beach, ground zero for the eye of the hurricane, is just to the south of these pictures (the canal we are traveling on).

Holely Ship! GIWW Grounded Boats
Holely Ship! GIWW Grounded Boat
Holely Ship! GIWW Grounded Boats in the south bound canal to Port St Joe’s. They unsuccessfully ran north to get out of the hurricane.
GICC – Trees – The canal was narrow in places and sometimes the trees came out far enough on both sides to make navigation quite interesting to pass through.
GICC – Trees
GICC – Trees
GICC – Trees
GICC – Condos
GICC – Homes
GICC – Homes
GICC – Homes
GICC – Homes

Apalachicola, FL

Apalachicola is still recovering. Only one marina is functioning and only one fuel station is functioning.

Apalachicola, FL – Hurricane Damage – There is a serious docking space issues in Apalachicola. Boats are tied up where ever they can and rafted (tied up to each other.)
Apalachicola, FL – Hurricane Damage – Boats tied up.
Apalachicola, FL – Hurricane Damage – Shrimp boats and commercial relocated to city dock.
Apalachicola, FL – Hurricane Damage – Docks wiped out
Apalachicola, FL – House boats hotel – pretty picture in the middle of all else
Apalachicola, FL – Hotel repair in HAZMAT suits due to the hurricane damage
Holely Ship! Apalachicola, FL – Boat
Scipio Creek Marina, Apalachicola, FL – After the tide surge (picture shared with be by marina owner)


An average annual commercial harvest of Apalachicola Bay oysters produces enough meat to cover a football field three deep.

Is this Florida? It’s frigging COLD!

Is this Florida? It’s frigging COLD!

November 15, 2018 Thursday   Bluewater Bay Marina, Niceville, FL to Pearl Bayou, Pensacola, FL   58.7 nautical miles

30°06’10.2″N 85°37’25.2″W
30.102832, -85.623678
Elevation: 0 ft

34 degrees this morning. Is this Florida? It’s frigging COLD! Frost warnings out for tonight. We had the heaters on all night and they barely kept us warm. YES DEAR is NOT designed for cold weather.

We were underway for most of the day as we need to get in the Dog Island, FL area by Saturday if we hope to make the crossing at the next predicted opening.  We couldn’t run the heaters unless the generator was running. Being true Minnesotans we toughed it out.

About noon it started to warm up and was sunny by 3:00 pm. (We still kept our jackets on.)

Along the way

Niceville, FL Choctawatchee Bay    Sea smoke and fog. We left Bluewater Bay Marina in sea smoke, fog and mist only to discover the RADAR on the upper helm was not working!  While underway Super Hero Dale swapped out the lower helm unit with the upper helm unit so we could use the much needed RADAR for navigation.

Leaving Niceville, FL – Following BRIZO in sea smoke, fog and mist
We are all really glad we packed cold weather clothes just in case we needed to return to Minnesota in the winter. We are wearing all of it now. Mary’s bummed because she didn’t pack her mukluks. Joseph on BRIZO is bundled up too. He does not have the isinglass windows for shelter like we have.
Pensacola, FL – Cable laying boat

Hurricane Damage

Pensacola, FL Hurricane damage – Up righting a turned boat. The turned boat is about 150 feet.
Pensacola, FL – Hurricane Michael – damaged houses and stripped vegetation
Pensacola, FL – Hurricane Michael – Damage house. Make sure you look at the lower picture. The brown thing is the middle is a roof that has blown off a house.

Good Night

There are 5 of us in the bayou here tonight. It is COLD and windy. We aren’t getting as much shelter in the gusting 20+ mph wind as we had hoped to because all the trees are stripped and damaged.

Pensacola, FL Pearl Bayou – anchored in for the night. It looks a whole lot warmer than it is.


Fits the bill – A Bill of Lading was signed by the ship’s master acknowledging receipt of specified goods and the promise to deliver them to their destination in the same condition. Upon delivery, the goods were checked against the bill to see if all was in order. If so, they fit the bill.

From the prior Poet Laureate Tom Fly

Hope better weather comes around
Discontinue running aground
Wishing you calm seas and clearing skys
And a happy tday from the family of Flys

Thanks for the warm wishes Tom!

We take the thrills where we get them

We take the thrills where we get them

November 14, 2018 Wednesday   Bluewater Bay Marina, Niceville, FL   0 nautical miles

30°29’45.8″N 86°26’48.8″W
30.496063, -86.446880
Elevation: 0 ft

High of 51 degrees today. The Air Force munitions guys were busy this morning.  I bet they shot off a couple hundred rounds by noon today in the training area about a mile away. Then the fly boys came out to play.

We take the thrills where we get them

Niceville, FL – It was really COLD and rainy here today. 41 degrees. Both Mary and Dale dug out their winter parkas. Mary found the above items in her parka pocket. (poop bag and dog squeaky toy)
Niceville, FL – Fishing bait – Dale bought the two on the right to use when we cross the Gulf. Mary wanted him to get the one on the left. Big hooks = Big Fish
Bluewater Bay Marina store, Niceville, FL – Fish scale earrings. HA! If Dale catches a fish Mary is going send the scales to Deanne Fox to incorporate into her beautiful bead work. Don’t worry Deanne we wont sen the whole fish guts and all;-)
Bluewater Bay Marina, Niceville, FL – Pump out boat
Niceville, FL – Brother Jim watch for your letter. Gee I hope we put enough postage on it.
Bluewater Bay Marina, Niceville, FL – Barnacle Buster. This guy was scrapping the bottom of the boat next to us. He works rain or shine, cold or hot.


Bitter End: The last part of a rope or final link of chain. The end attached to the vessel, as opposed to the “working end” which may be attached to an anchor, cleat, other vessel, etc.

We secured out bitter end in the chain locker.  Good thing. We were down to our bitter end once and it would have been truly bitter if it had not been secured. (We now have a longer anchor rode)



November 13, 2018 Tuesday   Bluewater Bay Marina, Niceville, FL   0 nautical miles

30°29’45.8″N 86°26’48.8″W
30.496063, -86.446880
Elevation: 0  ft

Cold wet and rainy. Didn’t do anything all day. Squat. The fly boys sure are busy though with all the double sonic booms. Sounds like cannons are firing at us!

Well, maybe we did do something. We took the courtesy car to Walmart.


No room to swing a cat – The entire ship’s company was required to witness flogging at close hand. The crew might crowd around so that the Bosun’s Mate might not have enough room to swing his cat o’ nine tails.



November 12, 2018 Monday   Bluewater Bay Marina, Niceville, FL   0 nautical miles

30°29’45.8″N 86°26’48.8″W
30.496063, -86.446880
Elevation: 0  ft

Cold wet and rainy. Didn’t do anything all day. Nada. Mary is really getting good at Wordscapes on her cell phone and Dale is stellar at Poker. We had just confirmed reservations at Clearwater Beach Marina Nov 26 through Dec 6 when lightning hit the marina office and blew out the internet.


No Room to Swing a Cat: During the whipping punishment using the “cat o’ nine tails,” all hands were called on deck to witness. With a full crew, the deck could be so crowded that the cat o’ nine tails was difficult to use without hitting other crew members. In other words, there was “no room to swing a cat.” Today the expression is used to indicate crowded or packed surroundings.

Down by the Booooooardwalk, Down by the Baaayay

Down by the Booooooardwalk, Down by the Baaayay

November 11, 2018 Sunday   Bluewater Bay Marina, Niceville, FL   0 nautical miles

30°29’45.8″N 86°26’48.8″W
30.496063, -86.446880
Elevation: 0  ft

We’ve extended our stay at Bluewater Bay Marina until Thursday 15 Nov. A weather window for a crossing is still about a week or more out, Once a weather window looks in site we are going to head to Carrabelle, FL. We’ll take about 3-4 days to get there and go through the hurricane havoc wrecked areas (~150 statute miles).

Bluewater Bay Marina

The marina restaurant  honored veterans today for Veterans Day by serving free brunches to all veterans. The rest of us walked up with Dale and bought our own.

Boats in Bondage – This one is really tied in!
Bluewater Bay Marina – Another dog dropped off at a marina. The dog ha a huge tumor and couldn’t walk. Kind people took the dog in, had the vet remove the tumor and made a wheel walker for the dog.

Road Trip to Destin, FL Board Walk

Destin, FL Boardwalk
Destin, FL Boardwalk – Smile Perky
Destin, FL – Harbor Boardwalk
Destin, FL – Harbor Walk – Magnolia Tree carved by a local artist. My favorite is the guy’s legs and flippers branch.
Destin, FL – Harbor Boardwalk – (left)Water along the Board Walk had a lot of hermit crabs. They were fun to watch because you could see their trails in the sand. (middle) I was totally amazed and disturbed with the amount of junk in the water in EVERY boat slip. (right) Jelly fish eating a hermit crab.
Destin, FL – Harbor Walk – Looks like they had a good day fishing.
Destin, FL – Harbor and Marina – We considered at staying in the Destin Harbor and Marina. Rates were $3.00 per foot plus tax (~ $150.00) per night, a little rich for our blood. After seeing the marina I’m sure we dodged a bullet with our decisions. It would have been an all night party and no privacy.
Destin, FL – McGuire’s Irish Pub – Boasts more than $1,000,000 signed dollar bills hanging from the ceilings and walls of the Pub. So who counts them? And have you ever counted to 1 million before?
Destin, FL – McGuire’s Irish Pub is a brew pub and makes their own beer and root beer. With any purchase you can get a bowl of bean soup and a loaf of brown bread for $.18.

We made it through the whole day without stopping at Walmart but we do have items on the list for tomorrow.


Mind your P’s and Q’s: Sailors would get credit at the taverns in port until they were paid. The barman would keep a record of their drinks on a chalkboard behind the bar. A mark was made under “P” for pint or “Q” for quart. On payday, the sailors were liable for each mark next to his name, and forced to “mind his P’s and Q’s.”