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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.