Friday, March 30, 2018

Bye, bye Punta Gorda...

Sunset Punta Gorda FL 3/29/2018

All good things must come to an end but that doesn’t mean we can’t come back!!  While having dinner at F M Don’s Charlie & I discussed staying in Punta Gorda throughout the Easter weekend.  I was completely in agreement with the idea for a multitude of reasons…happy girl!!

After dinner we strolled through a few side streets to get a feel of the artsy side of town.  Never to be disappointed here’s a glimpse of some local talent…

Excuse me m' this seat taken?

Decorated/bedazzled bikes parked all over town

Really talented singer - not a great angle (sorry)
Then morning came (5:00) and Captain Bathrobe decided it was time to move on!  So by 7:46 am we were underway feeling a little sad about leaving.  But what’s the sign of a great vacation?  Leave wanting to stay…a perfect recipe for setting up a return trip!
The water was the color of Fresca...remember that beverage?
Friday was a full day of travel and it felt good to be on the move.  An unexpected blessing happened in Venice FL when we stopped to refuel - .10/gal discount because we bought more than 100 gallons (196 gallons to be exact)!!  I knew I liked Venice FL!!  It was a little early to stop for the day and the marina was full so we traveled further with plans to anchor at White Beach anchorage south of the Siesta Key Bridge.
Calypso Poet - neighbors for the night!
Time and miles ticked by, boat traffic was quite busy (holiday weekend) but not overwhelming.  As we approached the anchorage, Charlie’s phone rang.  Who would imagine Calypso Poet (Gary & Coleen) calling us…because they were anchored in the same area!!!  We met them in Pensacola FL and crossed the Gulf of Mexico together!  Once our anchor was set Charlie & Gary talked, they invited us over to their boat.  Charlie thanked them and explained our Lady Bulldogs are playing tonight. So we will grill some burgers and cheer on the Lady Dawgs from The Lower Place!!  Praise the Lord and Go Dawgs!

God Bless

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Punta Gorda FL - another favorite place!

The Harbor Walk is marked with Compass Rose 

We have been in Punta Gorda a few days and LOVE IT!!!  What a great town – the Harbor Walk, great restaurants, nice shopping and a very strong appreciation of military service.  I see this place being on our “must-stop-again” list.
Mangroves provide shade on the Harbor Walk
On Wednesday I hit the Harbor Walk early and found myself thinking about what a great place this would be for those of you “so tired of winter, rain and cold”.  Back at the boat I found Charlie ready to go exploring Fisherman’s Village – yay!! More walking!!!  Fisherman’s Village proved to be yet another really cool spot we could spend a little time.
The Harbor Walk isn't all Mangroves & Compass Rose

This would be a great place to call "Winter Home"
Today (3/29/2018), I plan to Uber toward the middle of town for a little more exploring.  It’s a good thing we bought a house in November because this place would be hard to resist!!  Check it out for yourself – it’s a great side trip 20 miles off the ICW – Charlotte Harbor!!

Weather permitting we plan to depart on Friday (3/30/18) and cruise toward Venice. It’s time to take on a little fuel and venture closer to Tarpon Springs to visit family later next week.  Until the next post we wish you & yours a very Happy Easter.

God Bless

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Wind, Sun and LOTS of Fun in Ft. Myers

Ft. Myers - Palm Trees & Blue Skies

We have spent a full week in Ft. Myers FL at The Marina at Edison Estate.  Ft. Myers is a very pedestrian-friendly town filled with music, art & LOTS of history.  This is also the spot where we met our friends Randy & Missy aboard Catch & Release AND had a surprise visit with Gene & Nan from our North Captiva Island lunch at Barnacles!  SMALL WORLD!

Ft. Myers is a town best described from a first-hand experience.  The first few days were super windy, a little cloudy and busy with boat chores (laundry, grocery, small maintenance, etc.).  Randy & Missy (along with Zeke) came in late one afternoon and it was so good to see them…except Missy had a terrible sinus infection.  We greeted them with open arms, an appointment to the walk-in clinic & an Uber ride.  It’s terrible to feel bad on the water!!  She is MUCH better.
Zeke & Uncle Charlie headed to Publix

We spent several days walking, touring and visiting all over down town.  The wind calmed by mid week & dock visiting was much more enjoyable.  We met several cruisers with plans to head north and explore the river system (our home territory) so it was nice to share local knowledge – and calm a few fears of “river legend”.

Thursday brought a very nice surprise…we received an email from Nan!  We shared a table at Barnacle’s with Nan & Gene a week earlier and discussed our experience of anchoring at Cayo Costa State Park.  We exchanged boat cards and went our separate ways.  Imagine our surprise to hear from them with an invitation to the Edison Winter Estate to see a premier of Mullet & Mangroves.  They live & play in Ft. Myers and as it turns out we walked right past their home on our way to Publix!!
Mullet & Mangroves by Ilene Safron is a top notch documentary of Cayo Costa Island history!  It was a wonderful film and I can’t wait for it to be available to the public!  We enjoyed the beautiful evening in such a pristine setting…and once again, felt so blessed to be the guests of Gene & Nan!  Proving over and over the boating community truly is family!
Trees everywhere!
So, if you are looking for a variety of things to do on foot…the Ft. Myers riverfront is that place!!  We typically don’t like to stay docked for long periods of time – but this morning (Sunday 3/25/2018) we both commented how quickly the week flew by!

But now it is time for us to move on…and say good-bye to Randy & Missy!!  They will continue on to the Bahamas and we are…turning NORTH!!  Yep, we have decided to start making the slow journey home.  Maybe we will finally see leaves on the trees when we get home – in a couple months!
Sunset Ft. Myers (3(24/2018)

God Bless – as we begin the holiest of weeks.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Cayo Costa State Park

The struggle is real in Florida...

FUN, FUN, FUN times at Cayo Costa State Park, Bokeelia, FL!!  We have been anchored here since Wednesday (3/14/2018) and the weather just keeps getting better and better!  And the boats just keep coming in and there is PLENTY of room.  Today’s uniform…t-shirt, shorts, walking shoes and SUNSCREEN!!
Moments later...yep, saw a gator!
We have dinghy’d to shore ($2/person admission) and walked to Pelican Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.  We have walked the numerous trails (some would say “hundreds of miles”), watched birds, spotted alligators and marveled at the varying topography within a 5 mile radius!!   We have quietly entered the small pools tucked away and watched the manatees (sea cows) just floating & rolling around…a typical way to spend their day!  This is truly a step back in time and with the beautiful clear waters you can almost reach down take your pick of the fish!!
The main road to the Gulf of Mexico
On Friday (3/16/2018) we journeyed 6 +/- miles in the dinghy to North Captiva Island – no cars but LOTS of fish!!  We ate a pricey lunch at Barnacle’s and walked the island a little.  It felt like the Bahamas – sand roads, golf carts, outdoor dining and private air strip for “personal planes”.  The place was buzzing with people – completely opposite of Cayo Costa – and it was a nice change of pace for the afternoon.

Of course, this is the time my phone decides to go “wonky”!!  I don’t know what’s happened (could be operator error) but all my pictures appear upside down & my compass is bouncing around like I’m a magnetic field!! So I’m sorry for the lack of pics!!

On Sunday (3/18/2018) we will pull up anchor and head to Fort Myers (civilization) for a week or so.  It’s time to seriously think about fuel, water, laundry, groceries…and getting my phone diagnosed!  We breezed through Fort Myers in the fall of 2016 but several friends stayed for a month or longer.  All indications and personal opinions tell us we won’t be disappointed.  I can’t wait to see what lies ahead!!  Stay tuned…

May you have a rewarding weekend.
God Bless!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Still above water!!

Sunset at St. Pete's Beach 3/9/2018

I know it’s been a few days since the last post…but not much has changed except our location!  We were anchored at Boca Ciega/St.Pete’s Beach and it was WINDY, wide open and unprotected.  By noon on Sat (3/10/2018) we decided it was time for solid ground.  Anchor up and 30 minutes later we were safely tied to a dock at the Gulfport (FL) Municipal Marina…and we stayed until Tuesday (3/13/2018) morning!!
The Lower Place docked at Gulfport Municipal Marina, FL
Gulfport is an eclectic, artsy beach town…no parking meters, no chain stores/restaurants and very pedestrian/bike friendly!  I’m not much of a shopper but the store fronts, wall art & outside dining areas were very inviting.  After a brief walk through the main drag it was back to the boat and an afternoon visit with the laundry facilities! The marina had a great day room – books, DVDs, TV, strong WiFi, large tables & chairs (think: charts & planning) and all of it was very clean!  Nice way to pass the time between washing & drying!

After church on Sunday via Face Book LIVE – thanks Riverview Baptist, Savannah TN – we headed out for another walking exploration with no set destination!  Yep, we found ourselves in Pasadena FL (4+/- miles from the marina) and stopped at Publix for a fruit cup.  Before long, Charlie had an Uber on the way for the return trip…oh well, I enjoyed the weather AND the exercise!  Back in Gulfport, I headed out to the post office in St. Petersburg & he returned to the boat.
Could this be a "family tree"?
We spent Monday (3/13/2018) preparing to leave on Tuesday.  A short walk to a Sav-a-Lot food market, aptly named because there wasn’t much to “buy-a-lot”, a “bonus” laundry trip, pump out the holding tank, fill the fresh water tanks and we were ready for several days at anchor! YAY!
Traveling south from Gulfport we saw many familiar sights Bradenton, Sarasota, Siesta Key, Venice, Englewood…hey, wait, were are we going to anchor?? The anchorages we tried we too shallow, too crowded or all together “no-can-do”. Charlie started calling marinas…no luck for a variety of reasons.  The wind was really blowing all day and the open boats we met coming & going on the waterway looked miserable?  People were covered in blankets, towels, jackets, hoods, hats, gloves piled into their rented pontoon boats…hey, it’s spring break!! FUN!!

We finally anchored at Cape Haze a mere 9 ½ hours after we left Gulfport.  It was a calm, protected cove but directly in front of personal residences.  Not the usual anchorage environment we prefer (seems invasive to the property owner) but it was 6:30PM.  By 9:00AM (3/14/2018) we departed Cape Haze as quietly as we arrived.
Sunset at Cape Haze 3/13/2018

Within 2 ½ hours anchored at Caya Costa State Park!! YAY!! Another favorite from our 2016 travels…but the wind is blowing!!  Getting off the boat via dinghy will prove challenging & staying dry on the ride to shore be a bigger challenge!!  But we are here!! The winds are predicted to calm by lunchtime on Thursday so Wednesday will be a planning afternoon.  The temp is 60°, winds currently 15mph…I’d say a perfect afternoon to update the blog, look at charts, make reservations for Fort Myers!!

May you have a perfect Wednesday and feel the love of family.

God Bless!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Dunedin, Clearwater, Trolley & Uber

Main Street, Dunedin FL
Thursday 3/8/2018 proved to be a FULL day of walking & exploring!  This area has sidewalks/bike paths galore so I headed out this morning to Ozona, FL.  I had a few things to drop at the post office and according to BING Ozona was the closest one – 2.3 miles away!  The sky was cloudless, sun shining brightly and wind blowing 15 mph!! But it was a great excursion and Ozona seemed to have a quaintness of Old Florida.  Of course, it was early & the post office was the only place open. I would have lingered but it was blustery! Shame on pictures!

Heading back to Dunedin Charlie called & said he was going to find a parts store (looking for a small light bulb) and so begins the adventure!  We met, walked to Publix – I needed some chocolate milk – and searched for a Laundromat (found one but they were BUSY, laundry can wait). Then we decided to head back to Tarpon Springs on the Jolley Trolley – still looking for the small light bulb.  I received a phone call and after saying good bye, we found ourselves at the Jolley Trolley stop heading south toward Clearwater (executive decision since I was on the phone).

We waited and waited then the trolley showed up & we were off to Clearwater.  In route, I search for a West Marine store (found it!) but it wasn’t on the Jolley Trolley route.  We hopped off the trolley at the Clearwater Municipal Marina and had a wonderful 5 mile foot tour of Clearwater, a brief stop for lunch and landed at a new West Marine store (grand opening 3/17)!  Yes, they had the light bulbs…now wasn’t that easy??
Interesting artwork in Dunedin
The captain decided he was done walking and called Uber to take us back to downtown Dunedin.  Richard was a charming gentleman who seemed to enjoy his Uber career.  I’m guessing he was a teacher/coach during his “wage earning years” before retiring to Florida.  His Brooklyn accent proved my point that the further south you travel in Florida the more northern it sounds!!  It’s really true!!
We had a brief walk around Dunedin Charlie spied a north bound trolley stopping and BAM!  We were back on the bus headed back to the boat…he was done with foot travel for the day!  And I was done with the windblown look, honestly!

Friday we will cast off our lines and head south a few miles heading for Boca Ciega Key for the weekend.  We are looking forward to anchoring at the island and if the wind calms as forecast, we can lower the dinghy and do a little exploring! YAY!!

I’m not sure of the cellular connectivity at Boca Ciega so if I don’t post for a couple days…no news is good news!!  Make this weekend a happy one…do something unexpected for a stranger!!

God Bless

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Jolley Trolley and Tarpon Springs

The local fisherman

We are well rested from the overnight crossing and hit the ground running today…at the crack of NOON!!  After reviewing & documenting the ship log, a nice hot breakfast on board and general cleaning up the place we were ready to go exploring!

But WOW it was WINDY all day!  Once we found ourselves on the main drag in Dunedin we decided to try the Jolley Trolley system.  A couple phone calls and speaking to the locals & we were picked up, headed north to Tarpon Springs on a $5/person all day pass!

Love the local artwork - Bikes everwhere
A quick side note: It seems we amass a lot of coins on our boat.  Quarters are great for laundry but the dimes, nickels & pennies really seem to add up.  I counted and rolled coins this morning so yes…we paid our trolley fare with 2 rolls of dimes!!  The driver said it was a first for him!!  LOL!!!

Tarpon Springs is a favorite stop for me…nothing dramatically changes (my first visit was as a child) and the people are so friendly.  While trying very hard to NOT duplicate our original stops Tarpon Springs is the exception.  I have family in the area, Costas is still the best Greek food EVER and we were looking for Harbor Host Herb!  2 out of 3 ain’t bad!  But hey, we will be back through the area in May…stay tuned.
Hand painted & life size
We walked the main areas and took a side trip to Turtle Cove Marina to see Calypso Poet & Blue Moon – there weren’t home.  But we did see Kenny & Sherry (Blue Moon) at Costas!  Isn’t it great to be visitors in a town and still see people you know?!?   Boat life is great…

It seems the windy conditions will remain throughout Thursday so I’m not sure if we will travel or not…there’s more to see in Dunedin so I would be fine staying 1 more day.  We will see what the morning brings…

God Bless

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Time Zones, Moonlight & the Gulf of Mexico

Charlie hanging out at the Carrabelle PD

This boat life seems to be anything but leisure sometimes…but I’m not complaining!! When I last updated we were at Parkers Bayou on the panhandle of Florida.  We received word of a possible weather window for an overnight crossing the Gulf of Mexico on Monday March 5. We decided it would be worth the added miles/hours to push toward Carrabelle – 87 miles AND we changed time zones (central to eastern).  We arrived at C Quarters Marina at 5:05PM capping an 11 hour travel day!
Flying True Maroon next to an Ole Miss grad in Carrabelle!!
We topped off with fuel, tied up in our slip and I put my feet on solid ground for the first time in 3 days.  Soon we saw Gary & Coleen from Calypso Poet & they wanted to meet for dinner.  The Fisherman’s Wife was an excellent choice and we closed the place down!! (they close at 8)

During dinner it was decided we would embark on the highly anticipated Gulf Crossing on Monday – all research & valued opinions seemed to indicate if we didn’t do it Monday it might take another week or longer to have the right weather.  Here we go!!

Monday morning (7AM) brought a list of easy errands for me! As I was leaving the boat, I met Kenny & Sherry from Blue Moon!  They are new loopers – started in Pensacola – and we talked with them via VHF radio a few days earlier.  They wanted to do the crossing with us! YAY – 3 boats going together – I was happy!
Clearing East Pass - the Gulf of Mexico ahead
By 2:00PM we slipped off the lines and headed toward East Pass arriving at 2:40.  We expected “rolling” or “lumpy” (depending on the professional description) seas in the beginning.  Apparently the first 7 hours are “the beginning”.  Up the wave, down the wave; or up the wave, fall off the back of the wave; or just plow right through the wave & duck before the salt spray gets you!!

Our favorite coffee mug tried to jump overboard - and failed

Sunset came and according to others “the water really laid down”..hmmm – where’s my peppermint oil?  At 8:30PM, I went below deck for a nap.  Napping is quite different while underway, I wash my face, brush my teeth and lay in bed completely ready to stand at attention if necessary!!  It’s amazing how well one can sleep wearing a complete outfit, shoes and a life jacket!  Hey, it was a nap!!  By 11:30 I was back on the fly bridge and the water was FLAT, no wind, no clouds and the almost full moon was breath-taking…spiritual.  I was in awe!
Look at this moon!
Charlie shared that we met 2 boats earlier (Bucket List & San Soucy) crossing from east to west.  Then suddenly we saw Nearly Perfect on the radar headed toward Carrabelle too.  It was nice to know we weren’t the only folks out there.  Then Charlie headed below deck for his break and I had the BEST time!

I turned on the satellite radio (nothing else had a signal) to The Message and simply had church right there in the moonlight 90 miles off shore on the Gulf of Mexico.  As I was listening to Chris Tomlin sing Indescribable I felt like that song was written for the very moment I was living.  We take so much for granted in this world and this universe is truly indescribable. I don’t have the words (or space) to share everything I thought, saw or felt on that fly bridge – but if you’ve ever felt you could reach out & touch the stars you know what I’m saying!!  God is so very good even when I’m sometimes “ungood”.

By 4:00AM Charlie was back on the bridge, the Coast Guard was keeping everyone on alert regarding a red flare sighting & capsized small vessel (60 miles north of us).  The moon was stepping aside as we were preparing for dawn!  A new day with good water!  By 6:30AM we were happy to see daylight and looking forward to seeing land in a couple hours!
Sunrise 3/6/2018 from the upper helm
Calypso Poet and Blue Moon were headed to Tarpon Springs and we were headed to Dunedin (south of Tarpon).  Shortly after sunrise we said our thank you’s & good byes, adjusted course and continued south staying in the Gulf.  Once we reached Hurricane Pass (the inlet to Marker 1), it was low tide and not enough water for us to attempt.  We adjusted course, headed further south toward Clearwater, channeled over to the ICW and turned NORTH toward Dunedin! There’s nothing like a 12 mile detour at the end of the journey.  In hindsight, we should have stayed with our group & turned on the ICW at Tarpon Springs…oh well!!  After 22 ½ HOURS and 186 MILES we are in Dunedin, tied safely to the dock.  Did I mention there’s a small craft advisory?

I don’t know how long we will be here I just know that since the crossing is over we can now start taking our time to figure out what we are going to do!  Of course, we need a little nap first!

Thank you for coming along with us on this adventure!  We are so blessed to have opportunities in this life to share good news & good times with so many people…then sometimes in the most unexpected places we are reminded of the only Good News that matters.  God loves us.  You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.  You are amazing God.

God Bless

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Saturday 3/3/2018

[Ed note:  for some reason "blogger says" my photos cannot be copied to this post. So Sorry!]

Wow, what a night!! If anyone is interested, the FREE city dock in Fort Walton FL has officially been voted #1 on our “no-go” list!  We never felt in danger but that was a very active location all. night. long.  It seems the multiple sailboats anchored nearby are all comfortable with using dinghy transportation day and NIGHT.  The people kept to themselves but talked constantly and since we slept with the window (and one ear) open there was very little sleeping.

Needless to say, when The Lower Place departed at 7:15 am the captain tapped the horn with a toot-toot; except on our boat it’s more like a BOONNNKKK, BOONNNKKKK (think: cruise ship horn)!!!  Oh well…

Saturday was a solid 8 hour cruising day and while we had plans to stop at our favorite anchorage in Panama City FL – we simply cruised on by to get a few more miles under the hull.  So tonight we are anchored in Parkers Bayou east of all the fun & folly of Panama City.

Sunday morning we plan to pull up anchor at first light and continue the eastward journey across the FL panhandle.   We are making great use of fabulous weather!!  And we are getting closer to Carrabelle FL and that is the jumping off point to our Gulf of Mexico crossing.

Naturally, that crossing takes planning with other boats and especially the weather!  Based on several observations and a couple of much-valued veteran boater opinions it looks like we are pushing for a Monday 3/5/2018 evening Gulf crossing!!  Of course like a lot of things in life…these plans are subject to change.

The crossing will take 19-21 hours so naturally we will leave Carrabelle late afternoon (4:00ish) and cruise all night, planning our arrival in the “crab pot zone” well after sunrise.  One never wants to get tangled up in a crab pot – for many reasons.  This time we are going to Dunedin FL.

The Marker One Marina sustained heavy hurricane damage and they are in the process of rebuilding.  Charlie called today we were surprised to hear they could accommodate us!  So that’s where we are headed – it’s about 9 miles further from Tarpon Springs.  As I mentioned earlier in this trip – we aren’t trying to completely duplicate our previous adventure – this time we’d like to see a few things we missed in fall 2016.  Of course, if my Florida family is reading this…I’m not talking about YOU!!!!  I do plan to see y’all; I hope we can make that happen!!  J

So there’s not much to report since I haven’t put my feet on land since Thursday evening!!  But I do hope you have a fantastic Sunday.  Thank the good Lord for all your blessings and troubles!!

God Bless

Friday, March 2, 2018

Greetings from Fort Walton, FL!

The view off our starboard while docked at Ft. Walton

That’s right; we departed Pensacola this morning about 8:30 and continued our voyage of the Florida Panhandle.  The weather was beautiful, a little windy but since we were in the ICW the protected waters were flat and uneventful…YAY!!

A brief 6 hours later we were docked in Fort Walton FL!  We stayed here in the fall of 2016 with several other looper friends and filled the place!  Today…just The Lower Place and a sailboat – a very helpful fella VERY willing to catch our lines during our windy docking!!  Maybe self defense since we were “parallel parking” in front of him?  He was very complimentary of our “calm, quiet docking skills” and of course I gave all the credit to our EarTech headsets because let’s face it…every docking attempt is an adventure!! Ha HA!!
The empty city dock - where are the people?
Since we stopped early – did I mention this was a FREE dock? – and I’m feeling better with improved range of motion in my neck I used the time to reorganize my clothes.  Winter stuff FINALLY stored and summer stuff pulled out of hiding….yep, we’re in FLORIDA!!!

We had an early dinner – oven baked MS raised catfish and pasta salad – and I realized later…I haven’t been off the boat!  Oh well, it’s dark now & the demographic seems to change in this area if memory serves me correctly.  It’s been a good day all around.

Tomorrow we will attempt to reach Panama City (87 miles) and I’m hoping we can get into the same anchorage we used in Nov., 2016 – behind a draw bridge and very dinghy friendly!!  We had good times there with Southern Cross and Rascal’s Retreat…ahhh, the memories!

May your weekend be filled with rest, relaxation and completed to-do lists…hug someone special.

God Bless

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Tuesday 2/27 thru Thursday 3/1/2018

Welcome to Florida!

Tuesday morning’s weather proved to be promising and we were itching to get to Pensacola FL.  I was feeling “acceptable” - even though it still hurt to talk or move - to work the lines and fenders.  And I knew we would be cruising the ICW (protected waters and mostly ‘no wake’ speed).
Barge traffic on the ICW - crushed cars?!
Leaving Alabama and crossing to Florida felt GREAT!! I don’t know why – maybe because the sun was shining!?!  Right on the state line there is a marina/boat yard on the south side.  Suddenly we heard, “The Lower Place, The Lower Place this is Tres Rios, channel 16”.  Hey! Our friends from the Perfect Storm!!  We switched channels and asked how they were doing. It seems when we ducked in at Dauphin Island they continued across the MS Sound and anchored somewhere in Mobile Bay.

They arrived at the marina/boat yard earlier that day because he discovered they lost the swim platform from their boat during the MS Sound crossing!!!  GULP!!!  Holy Moly!!  They will be there several days for repairs and hopefully the “cabin temp” on his boat will stabilize…it might be a little cold on board.
Time for that oil change
I am happy to report that we arrived SAFELY at Palafox Marina in Penscola FL by noon on Tuesday!!  Not only are we tied safely to the dock, we will be here until at least Friday morning.  This stop has provided some MUCH NEEDED rest for me, general maintenance updates for Charlie and a very special visit with our looper friend Mike & Karen from Tranquillity III!!!  They have moved to Pensacola and T3 is docked in this marina!
Recognize Tranquillity III?? YAY!!!
Even though I’ve felt like I’ve been knocked around a boat for hours, it has been so nice to spend time with them.  We have shared meals together at their house AND back on The Lower Place – grilling burgers & brats on the bow of our boat just felt like old times – familiar!! I’m so happy we are here!!

Today (3/1/2018) the wind is howling & it’s pretty rocky in the marina but I was determined to get the blog updated.  This afternoon we will make a run to Publix to re-provision with the intention of travelling east tomorrow…weather permitting!! We have another GOLD LOOPER with us (we met on the route from Orange Beach) Calypso Poet and Carrabelle FL is their next destination too.  YAY!!!

As I continue to heal we will continue to enjoy our adventures on The Lower Place.  Thanks for riding along!!

God Bless!

The. Mississippi. Sound. Is. No. Joke.

Leaving Ocean Springs Small Craft Harbor
Sunday 2/25/2018 we woke to “acceptable” weather but I’m not a fan of “acceptable” or “doable”.  I went for a short walk across the street & looked out over the water…hmmm.

Back at the boat Charlie was warming the engines and throwing off lines.  I asked “have you looked out there?” The response was “it’s going north of us”.  Hmmmm.  I wanted to press the issue but decided to bury my doubt and trust the captain.

So let me be VERY clear…I take FULL responsibility for us leaving the dock!!  In the world of shoulda/coulda/woulda:

I shoulda followed my intuition & reviewed the incoming weather pattern myself because then

I coulda voiced my opinion/concern based on fact vs. intuition and

We woulda stayed safely tied in the marina (even though Captain Bathrobe would not have been happy).

So that being said, I will continue with the unsettling events of Sunday 2/25/2018 but Charlie is not 100% responsible for our dumb decision.

Forty-five minutes into our journey I was watching the line of rain coming closer, the wind was horrible and waves were crashing.  Ding!  Yep, Severe Marine Weather Warning containing words like “vessel may capsize” and “sustained winds 30-35mph” and some other narrative that seemed moot given the fact that we had no place to shelter!

We calmly put on our life jackets and I prayed that God would spare our lives.  I’m not afraid to die but I didn’t want to die doing something stupid…when will I listen to my gut!!  Anyway, Charlie stayed at the helm & I braced myself on the port side of the fly bridge.  In the 2 ½ hour ordeal we had a wall of water come through the opening on the fly bridge, heard sliding, bumping & crashing below deck (we had stuff all over!) and the VHF radio saying, “The Lower Place, The Lower Place this is Tres Rios, channel 16”.

Another boat was out here in all this mess!?!  We didn’t know them but they left Gulfport MS headed to Mobile (they are from Texas) and this storm surprised them as well.  Crazy as it sounds I was comforted to hear from them.  We only talked with them a few times then lost radio contact.  The next radio communication was a sailboat aground at Horn Island; they were hailing TowBoat US (no contact).  Then they hailed the US Coast Guard and a tow/barge captain offered the Coast Guard “a visual”.  The Coast Guard spoke with the sailboat but we couldn’t hear both sides due to our distance from the situation.
This shows the short-lived  "calm"
When we got closer to Dauphin Island I asked if we could PLEASE stop for the day (it was only noon)!  We did!  Once we were tied up, I ate a bowl of soup, changed into dry clothes & went to bed.  It hurt to open my mouth, turn my head or raise my arms…whiplash, not even kidding!!
Monday evening at The Wharf
Of course, the next morning (Monday 2/26/2018) I felt worse but we only had 20 miles to Orange Beach.  I knew I could find a massage therapist at The Wharf! And Charlie was enjoying the quiet – since it was too painful for me to speak.

We docked at The Wharf by 1:00 and I was on a massage table by 3:45.  OUCH, OUCH, OUCH it was so painful but I knew it would help. The therapist was very understanding and clearly knew what he was doing. Back at the boat, I took a nap then felt like going for a slow walk.

This will look differently during Spring Break
The Wharf was a ghost town!  The last Monday in February was a quiet time.  We stopped at the Cinema & surprised to see they were open.  10 minutes before show time we bought tickets to Jumanji and were the only people in the theater!!  That was a strange feeling! LOL!!  By the end I was really ready to call it a day!

With a steady diet of ice pack, water and Advil (at night) I think I will survive!!  Just need a little time…

Of all the boating/navigation decisions we’ve made leaving Ocean Springs on Sunday was the #1 WORST.  I can assure you – it won’t happen again.  I’m too old to be “young and dumb”!! 

Next post will update on Tres Rios…

God Bless all of us!!

Ocean Springs MS - FUN SATURDAY!

So I’m about a week behind on the blog but you’ll soon realize why…

We spent Saturday 2/24/2018 in Ocean Springs Small Craft Harbor and could not have picked a better stop!  We had visitors in and out most of the day, the rain held off until the evening and it was wonderful seeing family!
A beautiful afternoon in Ocean Springs
We share a great morning visit with Clark & Beth (fam from Hattiesburg) and Wes & Debbie (fam from Biloxi)…not to mention a surprise visit from Mark (friend from Wet Point in town to see his fam).  We went to lunch at Charred with Clark & Beth then strolled the “main drag” of Ocean Springs.  What a great downtown – you can see the effort the community is putting forth to make this Gulf side town unique to stand apart from the standard.  Very welcoming!!

Back at the boat we said good bye to Clark & Beth.  It was time to work on the ever evolving to-do list  OR take a nap – tough choice. LOL!!
Broiled flounder was delicious!
Early evening brought Wes & Debbie along with Tyler back to the boat and McElroy’s was the dinner choice!!  It was nice to see the improvements to the rebuilt business’s since Hurricane Katrina but rather sad to see the vacant lots where complete neighborhoods once stood…time really doesn’t stand still.
A little history
Wes was a great tour guide and his local knowledge showed his commitment to the Mississippi Gulf Coast…Good Times!!  I would recommend anyone visiting the area to take your time give all of the town’s equal attention.  I was most pleasantly surprised with Ocean Springs.

God Bless!