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Month: January 2019

Half Looped

Half Looped

February 2, 2019 Saturday Port Mayaca Lock, St Lucie Canal, Calooshatache Waterway FL to Riviera Beach Marina, on Lake Worth Riviera Beach, FL 61.8 nautical miles

26°46’26.2″N 80°03’06.4″W
26.773950, -80.051790
Elevation: 0 ft

Happy Ground Hogs Day.

There was significant splash from the swim deck this morning around 6:00am as Dale stepped through the sliding glass doors onto mid-deck. Mary really didn’t want to think about what it might be but muskrat and beaver didn’t immediately come to mind.  Quick change of an oil filter on the port side engine and we were off by 7:00 am.  Little fish were jumping. Beautiful morning.

The weather window to the Bahamas changed. We are leaving tomorrow, Sunday Feb 3. It’s a long run to Lake Worth, FL, our departure location. Soooooo many diverse miles.
Soooooo many pictures.

We will be Half Looped when we get there!!!!!!!! (I’ll publish stats tomorrow)

Along the Way

Port Mayaca Lock, St Lucie Canal, FL railroad bridge – Call Billy the Boat Tipper if your sail boat mast is higher than 49 feet and you want clear the bridge. He will strap a boat load of 55 gallon drums to the side of the sail boat and fill with water causing it to list diagonally enough to clear the bridge.

Barrel of a wave cruising down the St Lucie Canal, FL

St Lucie Canal, Jumping fish. I tried to take a good picture but finally gave up.
St Lucie Canal, FL – Honey Fitz, Port of Washington DC. Yacht was used by five U.S. Presidents – Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon – but was most famous for its role as the presidential yacht for John F. Kennedy, who renamed it “Honey Fitz” after his grandfather.
Indian Town Marina, Indian Town, FL
St Lucie Canal unaffordable housing (I just can’t help myself sometimes and need to take a picture.)
St Lucia Canal – Irrigation Canal (HA. Florida’s highest waterfall)
St Lucie Canal – Junked tugs
St Lucie Lock -West bound motor vessel exiting the lock

St Lucie Canal, St Lucie Lock – Front row seats for the 11 foot drop. At first they opened the door a couple inches, the gradually opened it to about a foot.

St Lucie Canal – affordable housing with boat docks
Stuart, FL – Final act leaving the St Lucie River. Welcome to Stuart
Of the costal/intercostal/St Lucie canal and big city traffic mess heading south on the East Florida Intercostal Waterway through Sea Branch Preserve State Park. Peaceful again, but a fair amount of traffic. Saturday afternoon traffic.
Mar-A-Lago golf course NOT

Things became more populated as we continued south.  I’m beginning to think people on the Gulf side are poor compared the Atlantic side affordable houses. Mary put her camera away so you missed some of the really goods ones .

And then there was Jupiter Florida. What a bee hive. Boats, ski jets, paddle boats, people standing on shoals ……. Condos with marinas, condos with marinas, condos with marinas.
I’d prefer Minneapolis rush hour to piloting around on this side of Florida.

Village of North Palm Beach
south.
North end of Lake Worth looking at Palm Beach Shores

There are sooooo many assholes running boats in this area!!  Giant boats waking other boats. As big as Yes Dear is, we were waked almost slammed into another boat. Close call!

Neighbors

Well kinda neighbors. Derelict boats outside of the marina we are staying in. Florida really has a huge problem with this.

Aviva left while we were at the Riviera Beach Marina fuel pump. The super yacht is 68 meters and owned by British business man Joe Lewis.

This is a giant party hardy sports fishing marina. The regulars are great and there are bunch of transients like us head to the Bahamas TOMORROW. The weather window moved.

Floccinaucinihilipilification

The Bahamas National Flag was first hoisted at midnight on 10 July 1973, the day the Bahamas became an independent country officially known as the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. It has 3 equal bands of color, two blue with a yellow in between representing sky, sand and sea. The black triangle represents unity, strength and will power of the people.

Bahamas Courtesy Flag – The Bahamas Courtesy Flag places the Bahamas National Flag on a field of red with perpendicular white stripes quartering the flag.

Interestingly, the Bahamas Naval Flag places the Bahamas National Flag on a field of white with perpendicular red stripes quartering the flag. The Bahamas National Flag on a field of white with perpendicular blue stripes quartering the flag used by Auxiliary Fleet of the Navy (think United Kingdom)

There aint anyone better than us

There aint anyone better than us

February 1, 2019 Friday Calooshatache Canal, half way between LaBelle and MooreHaven, Okeechobee Waterway FL   to Port Mayaca Lock, St Lucie Canal, Okeechobee Waterway FL  45.4 nautical miles.

26°59’10.3″N 80°36’51.7″W
26.986189, -80.614363
Elevation: 13 Ft

Cloosahatche Canal, FL – pulling anchor

Moore Haven, FL

Moore Haven looks like every other small town except for the palm trees

Caloosahatche Canal, FL –
We needed to hold up at Moor Haven Lock for about 30 minutes to let commercial traffic through. For grins and giggles we practiced our skills tying up to a dolphin.  Beats the heck of me why they are called dolphins. And, there are two kinds of dolphins, berthing(mooring) dolphins and breasting dolphins.
Moor Haven, FL – Lock

Okeechobee Waterway between anchorage and Small Boat Entrance to Lake O

Caloosahatche Canal, FL – This old guy was out in the middle of NO WHERE on his bike riding along the top of the dike.

Okeechobee Waterway between Small Boat Entrance to Lake O and Clewiston

Small boat entrance to Lake O straight ahead. We took a hard right and continued in the canal.

Alligator hunting. It wasn’t a particularly warm day or sunny day. Most of the alligators were laying really low in the water. There is enough boat traffic, mostly bass fishermen, that the big alligators aren’t too shy. We could see the smaller ones pull under the water as we approached.

These four pictures were take in a row. I love the reflection of the alligators teeth in the water in the top two pictures. It looks like he’s smiling.

We had a bunch of store-bought meatballs left over from earlier in the week. They weren’t very good. Mary tried feeding the alligators with them. None bit.  She then tried feeding them to the sky rats. They didn’t like them either.

Lake Okeechobee crossing

We couldn’t have asked for a more peaceful day crossing Lake Okeechobee. Perfectly flat! It’s a big lake with horror stories about the wind. The lake is unseasonably low. We have been watching the lake level reports for the past week or more. Lake Okeechobee is currently about 5 feet lower than charted levels. 

We took Route 1 across the Lake Okeechobee. The lowest water we encountered crossing the last was 5.6 feet.  In the channel!  It should have been 8+ feet at that spot!

There is a hard left turn to Port Mayaca Lock in the middle of Lake O at Red 14 Lighted – South Rocky Reef.
Lake O sunken boat west of Port Mayaca Lock

We tried to anchor for the night in Lake Okeechobee just west of the Port Mayaca lock. At current water levels we couldn’t get in to the sandy area to set hook. After dragging the anchor around for 20 minutes on a sheet of rock trying to set it we decided to go through the lock to see what we could find.

Port Mayaca Lock

Port Mayaca Lock – Exiting Lake O. Lake O and the St Lucie canal are at the same level. We could just go straight through.

Dophins! There were mooring dolphins. Good thing we practiced earlier in the day. Mary first tied the bow and then went to tie off the stern.  The forward line was too short, preventing Dale to back up far enough for her to reach. Second attempt after tying two lines together for the bow was successful. We then pulled the bow lines up and removed the second extension line. After studying the wind and current over liquid refreshments the lines were adjusted. Rather than tying the lines on the same side the boat we retied them on the diagonals.  Dang! There aint anyone better than us!

Port Mayaca Lock Dophins – All tied up on the diagaonals.
Port Mayaca Lock at night from the dophins

Floccinaucinihilipilification

Lake Okeechobee is the tenth largest lake in the US and the largest freshwater lake in the US by area. It covers about 730 square miles (about half the size of Rhode Island)

Surprisingly, Lake Okeechobee is exceptionally shallow with an average depth of only 9 feet, an unexpected figure for a lake of its size. In 1930, Lake O was 19 ft. deep.

On the River again

On the River again

January 31, 2019 Thursday Cape Harbour Marina, Cape Coral, FL  to
Calooshatache Canal, half way between LaBelle and MooreHaven, Okeechobee Waterway FL   50.3 nautical miles

26°47’29.2″N 81°15’16.3″W
26.791430, -81.254536
Elevation: 9 Ft

On the river again. On the river again. Just can’t wait to be on the river again.

Along the Way

Cape Harbour Marina, Cape Coral FL – Leaving the marina through the lock
Cape Coral, FL – Good Bye to Cape Coral Beach and Boat House tiki bar. It’s been fun.
Calooshatache Waterway, FL – Pursued by sky rats. Mary was NOT feeding them.
Fort Meyer FL – unaffordable housing – back to this again
Fort Meyer FL – unaffordable housing – condos by Legacy Marina. We just saw an ad for the condos on TV. They start at $1.2 million. I wonder what the association fees are.
Fort Meyer FL – Edison Ford Museum – Ford House. The Edison property was too wooded to see the houses.
Fort Meyer FL – Flying port-a-potties
Fort Meyer FL – City Marina – Holy Smokes Batman! How did they get that boat in there?
Fort Meyers, FL Power Plant on the Caloosahatche Waterway. The wires were loudly hissing and crackling as we when by making my hair stand on end.
Fort Meyers, FL – Entrance to Manatee Park on the Caloosahatche Waterway. The park is next to the power plant. The manatees congregate in the warm water from power plant in cold weather. Unfortunately we never made it to the park and our boat was too big to take in. On the Bucket List for the next Loop.
Calooshatache Waterway, FL – Lift Bridge worker working
Calooshatache Waterway, FL – Franklin Lock – 2 feet
Calooshatache Waterway, FL – Ortona Lock entrance
Calooshatache Waterway, FL – Ortona Lock. To change the water level they simply open the lock doors a few inches. Start of the incoming water fall is 8 feet!!!! It really created a lot of turbulence in the lock. It felt like we in in a whirlpool. The best position in the lock is at the back, furthest away from the swirling surge of water.
Calooshatache Waterway, FL – Patio and Swimming Pool
Calooshatache Waterway, FL – Affordable housing. Real people live along the river here in the middle of Florida.
Calooshatache Waterway, FL – Wake Boarding, Go fast, don’t fall down and stay to mid-channel (fewer alligators)
Calooshatache Waterway, LaBelle, FL – City Dock.

We were pretty amazed at how much agriculture is along the river.

Calooshatache Waterway, FL – Farm Animal – Horse in front yard!
Calooshatache Waterway, FL – Farm Animals – Bull in front yard!
Calooshatache Waterway, FL – Farm Animals
Calooshatache Waterway, FL – Orange Grove

Neighbors

Calooshatache Waterway, FL – Neighbors

Good Night

Calooshatache Waterway, FL – Sunset half way between LaBelle and Moore Haven.

Rookies. We dropped anchor three time before we were happy OK with our location. There wasn’t a lot of swing room and we didn’t want to be out in the channel once we let out anchor rode scope.

Drolleries and Yuks

What’s are the most dangerous vegetables on a boat? Leeks!

Twas the night before

Twas the night before

January 30, 2019 Wednesday Cape Harbour Marina, Cape Coral, FL   0 nautical miles.

26°32’45.1″N 82°00’28.3″W
26.545857, -82.007861
Elevation: 0

Twas the night before departure and all through the boat
Dale and Mary were gathering provisions and hoping, when done, they’d still float

Along the Way

Cape Harbour Marina, Cape Coral FL – Parting shot of the LaBomBa Ladies on my way to the marina showers at our last day at Cape Harbour Marina. Boom Chugga Lugga. Boom Chugga Lugga.

The usual lack of water pressure this morning in the shower didn’t bother me nearly as much as the unusual lack of hot water.

Many, many thanks to Jim and Lauren Looper boat OAR KNOT for taking us on a provisioning run to Costco in Fort Meyers, FL. They are Gold Loopers (already completed the Loop) and remember how vital provision runs are.

Cape Harbour Marina, Cape Coral FL – Costco Run – We only have a sub-compact car!
Cape Harbour Marina, Cape Coral FL – Costco Run – and we managed to pick up Dale’s guitar too
Cape Harbour Marina, Cape Coral FL – Costco Run back at the boat. Jim plays a little bit of ukulele and doesn’t know guitar. He tried the only guitar cord he knew. I think he said the cord is was FU.

After dropping the stuff off on the boat Mary and Dale took their bikes to Publix for the smaller items you can’t get at Costco.

Cape Harbour Marina, Cape Coral FL – Fully provisioned. Tetris is Mary’s favorite video game. Her mastery of the game came in handy today. Yes, even with the lists I still forgot a couple of items.

Final act for the day was to binge watch the NextFlix series we’ve been watching as we probably won’t have access to it for a while. (HA. Neither of us can remember the name of the series.)

Floccinaucinihilipilification

Tetris as created by software engineer, Alexey Pajitnov in Moscow. It was inspired by the wooden puzzle game Pentominoes.

I guess our shit stinks

I guess our shit stinks

January 29, 2019 Tuesday Cape Harbour Marina, Cape Coral, FL   0 nautical miles.

26°32’45.1″N 82°00’28.3″W
26.545857, -82.007861
Elevation: 0

Two days out from marina departure…. Today’s plan was a pump out and fuel up, figure out our Bahamas phone/data plan, get Mary Chinese food, buy a guitar for Dale and wash final loads of laundry.

Missions accomplished. Thanks Steve and Kathy on Looper boat UNITED 771 for having us over for docktails at sunset.

Along the Way

Another cold morning. As we headed out for the pump out one of our neighbors yelled ‘Watch out for ice!’

Cape Coral, FL – Brrrrrrr. Cold shriveled balls. 41 degrees this morning!
Cape Harbour Marina, Cape Coral, FL – I guess our shit stinks. HA. Mary is wearing her heavy Minnesota winter jacket.

The morning dog walkers came by while we were getting fuel. By the time the attendant got fuel for started for us there were three dog looking at him salivating. About 6 places in the marina give out a morning dog treats. The dogs make their loop every morning stopping at each place. The coffee shop gives them each a slice of bacon!

Cape Coral, FL – TowBoatUS

Out for our daily errands ride on the bikes.

Cape Coral, FL – Pest Control

Dale has been missing his guitar. He bought a used one. We’ll have to stop by and pick it up tomorrow when we get a car ride to Costco for provisions.

Floccinaucinihilipilification

English is the official language of the Bahamas.

Disambiguation

There is no official language of the United States. Although there are no laws stating that English is the official language at the federal level, 31 states have made English the official language.

American Sign Language is used by approximately 500,000 people. The top five languages spoken in the country are English, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. Despite the many languages spoken in the US, the country does not have an official language. English is only a de facto primary language in the country.

Before World War I, more than 6 per cent of US primary school children were taught in German.

Minnesota Friends and Family

I hope you are staying save and warm. I’m thinking of you and sending warm jujus.

Sarah scent me this. Ugh! Whoever said it will be a damn cold day when …… needs to keep their mouth shut next time.
Weather window identified

Weather window identified

January 28, 2019 Monday Cape Harbour Marina, Cape Coral, FL  0 nautical miles.

26°32’45.1″N 82°00’28.3″W
26.545857, -82.007861
Elevation: 0 ft

We recently met a crusty old sailor who lives aboard a pristine, wooden sailboat built in 1901.  He told us his father ran away from home as a young boy and became a circus animal trainer.  His mother, a stunningly attractive woman even in old age, worked as a fortune teller who seduced customers to part with their hard-earned money by giving them a peek into the future.

To make a long story short, out of curiosity he let us look his mother’s old crystal ball.  Cool to the touch, he let Mary place her hands around the ball in an attempt to warm it up.  It contained a mist of sorts that seemed eerily similar to coastal fog.  As we stared into it, we could just make out the number “5” floating inside the misty crystal ball.

We are not fortune tellers but we think the crystal ball was trying to tell us that the next weather-window for a Bahamas crossing will arrive Feb 5. (We are not meteorologists either, but that’s what the on-line weather sites are reporting.)

Along the Way

The plan is in motion. Time to pick up toys, plan final shopping lists and shopping runs.

Cape Harbour Marina, Cape Coral FL – At least the dingy didn’t sink! We’ve had over four inches of rain in the past 24 hours. I bet we had over 8 inches of water in the dingy.
Cape Harbour Marina, Cape Coral FL – Dingy bottom after 3 weeks in the water. Ewh.

We’ve been to Ace Hardware and West Marine all most every other day for the past two weeks. Today was no exception. We picked a dingy motor lock and dock lock cable. Gee I hope they do not go bankrupt after we leave.

Floccinaucinihilipilification

The exact size of the Bermuda Triangle depends on your source. The smallest area defined is at least 500,000 square miles. Some sources say it is as large as 1,500,000 square miles.

Bermuda Triangle a.k.a.the Hoodoo Sea
The Bermuda Triangle is roughly defined by an imaginary triangle that connects Miami, Florida to Bermuda, to San Juan, Puerto Rico and then back to Miami, Florida.
Friends and Float Plan

Friends and Float Plan

January 27, 2019 Sunday Cape Harbour Marina, Cape Coral, FL   0 nautical miles.

26°32’45.1″N 82°00’28.3″W
26.545857, -82.007861
Elevation: 0 ft

Second cold and rainy day in a row. We shouldn’t complain. Minnesota has it far worse. Stuck inside for the morning we worked on our high level float plan to the Bahamas.

In the afternoon Mary’s high school friend Mary H and Randy took us on a provision run. Dale needed beer for the Bahamas. We have heard that the VAT (value added tax) in the Bahamas puts beer at $40 to $60 a case.

As long as we were out and about we went on a little road trip, dropping down to Bonita Beach and driving northward to Fort Meyers Beach. The cold and rain forced us to seek shelter. HA.

Along the Way

Armed with umbrellas we walked around Fort Meyers Beach. It was deserted with most of the the stores and restaurants closed.

Fort Meyers Beach, FL – Seeking shelter from the rain at the end of the pier. As you look at this picture, in your mind please super impose sunshine and short sleeves. We did.
Fort Meyers Beach, FL – Seeking shelter from the rain at the Salty Crab Bar & Grill. We stopped in for a warm up sitting at the table closest to the heater.

Seeking shelter from the rain we went back to the boat for board games and laughter.

High Level Float Plan

We plan to leave St Lucie, FL and go to West End, Grand Bahama and plan to visit the islands in the order below.
1 Grand Bahama
2 Berry Island
3 New Providence
4 Exumas
5 Eleuthera
6 Abacos
….. and back to Grand Bahama to return to Florida.

The reality is that our trip to the Bahamas is all about weather and time.  There are some long open water stretches, first getting to the Bahama and then moving between them, so good weather windows are paramount for safety.  It may well be that we spend our entire time in the Abacos….

Bahamas – High Level Float Plan.

Floccinaucinihilipilification

Why six-packs of beer?  Breweries thought six beers were “the maximum a woman could safely carry.”  How thoughtful of them!

Gearing Up

Gearing Up

January 26, 2019 Saturday Cape Harbour Marina, Cape Coral, FL   0 nautical miles.

26°32’45.1″N 82°00’28.3″W
26.545857, -82.007861
Elevation: 0 ft

 “The art of the sailor is to leave nothing to chance.”
     ~ Annie Van De Wiele

Along the Way

Cape Harbour Marina, Cape Coral, FL – Spandex and shiny hats. There was a bike race this morning. We didn’t go watch. Too cold and rainy.

Not be be out done by the racers, we ventured out later in the day in our bikes to look at safety gear. Neither of us wore spandex, had a shiny helmet or rode in the bike lane.

Cape Harbour Marina, Cape Coral, FL – West Marine – new Type 1 off-shore life jackets. The life jackets were a little big for Mary’s basket so we put them on and rode the 5 miles back to the boat.

West Marine price matches without questions. By price matching we got both of the off-shore life jacket for less than West Marine listed price.

Cape Harbour Marina, Cape Coral, FL – new safety gear – Type 1 off-shore life jackets and a Weems & Plath SOS Distress Light / Electronic Flare. Did you see the little whistle attached to the life jacket? The whistle came with it. I used the camera flash on the picture in the right.

Next on the list is to repack/recheck our ditch bag so we it’s ready for our Bahamas run and stay.

Floccinaucinihilipilification

UPS trucks are painted a trademarked color called Pullman Brown.  It was formerly used on Pullman railroad cars.  UPS adopted it because it’s “easy to keep clean.”

Serendipity

Serendipity

January 25, 2019 Friday Cape Harbour Marina, Cape Coral, FL   0 nautical miles.

26°32’45.1″N 82°00’28.3″W
26.545857, -82.007861
Elevation: 0 ft

Along the Way

Last Tuesday night was a tat cold and Dale and Mary were lingering around the boat to lazy to make supper and too lazy to walk the the taco stand in the marina. Finally, still too lazy to cook we walked to the taco stand. In route Mary ran into Mary H, a Morris, Minnesota classmate that she hadn’t seen since her 25th class reunion! Serendity…..

Mary and Mary, both looking EXACTLY the same as they did in high school, recognized each other with queried eye brows and smiles. Serendity…..

Mary H and her husband Randy had just arrived in Cape Coral for a week vacation. They had walked to Rum Runners restaurant, in the marina, for supper. On their way to the restaurant they had walked right past Yes Dear… noticing it was a Lake Elmo, MN boat and laughing at the name. Their trip had been a spur of the moment Black Friday purchase. Serendity…..

Dale broke his toe and we ended up in this marina.
Serendity…..

Today we got together.

Cape Harbour Marina, Cape Coral, FL – Serendipity – Mary H and Randy

We watch the sunset then roamed Cape Coral for restaurant.

I’m so glad we ran into each other and had the special time catching up on our friendship.

Floccinaucinihilipilification

The 1974 graduation class of Morris, MN had about ~130 students.

Morris, MN is the home of the University of Minnesota Morris (UMM). Morris has a population of 5,286. I’ve never figured out how many of the college population of 1800 is included in that number.

  • Morris students graduate with the lowest debt load of University of Minnesota students
  • 95% of graduates are employed or in graduate programs within a year of graduating
  • 96% of graduates were satisfied with their experience at Morris

Neither Mary or Mary attended to the University of Minnesota Morris.

Not missing Minnesota

Not missing Minnesota

January 24, 2019 Thursday Cape Harbour Marina, Cape Coral, FL   0 nautical miles.

26°32’45.1″N 82°00’28.3″W
26.545857, -82.007861
Elevation: 0 ft

Along the Way

It rained today. We spent our day startingto piece together a high level Bahamas plan. It’s still in progress. More to come.

We will leave this marina Feb 1st at the very latest.

Floccinaucinihilipilification

Feeling sorry for Minnesota friends. It is soooo cold the St Paul Winter Carnival Moon Glow Parade and several other events were cancelled for Thursday, today.  The temperature is into the negative numbers.