Saturday, March 6, 2021

It’s OFFICIAL…!!!

Sunset March 4, 2021 Final scene from The Lower Place

As of Thursday, March 4, 2021 The Lower Place has new owners!  I know it’s a shock to some (including me) but we are at peace with the sale.  It helps to know she’s in the hands of great owners with a lifetime of boat knowledge.

In late December we briefly discussed selling The Lower Place based on the idea that we’d really like to continue boating – but in a more trailerable fashion.  So many places (western Erie Canal, downtown Chicago) we’d like to cruise but required a shorter air draft OR the upper Mississippi River (beautiful area) that we just didn’t want to fight the swift current to get there.

We’ve completed 2 Great Loops, multiple side trips and 6 years & 17,000+/- miles later she becomes another couples dream.  The boat is ready for another Great Loop, she will take great care of them.  We will go home for a while, research our next boat, enjoy Pickwick Lake, our pontoon boat, our dirt home and most importantly our family and friends.  Until the next boat purchase…we will join the “sold-the-boat-and-looking-for-another” support group that seems to be growing. HA HA!!

Thank you for riding along with us on The Lower Place we have enjoyed the journey and your company.

Stay healthy and God bless

Who wants to help unload the van? How did the boat float?!


Monday, March 1, 2021

Sunset Valentine's Day Marathon Marina

Still Afloat!!

It’s been a couple weeks since my last post…sun, fun, wash, rinse, and repeat!!  What more can I say!?  However, we have travelled – so there’s that.  Our reservations in Marathon expired on Feb 27th but in true McVey fashion and being the weather hounds that we are…the weather was EXCELLENT Feb 24-26 to make a run from Marathon the Fort Myers!!! So we did!!  Our original plans secured a slip in Fort Myers Yacht Basin upon arrival…and the slip was available…but the pier was too short and we were not able to get off the boat!!  Crazy!!

It took about an hour of phone calls on a Friday (2/26/2021) afternoon before The Marina at Edison Ford confirmed we could come in “but we might have to move you around”.  We completely understood (weekend, spring break and no reservation) but at least we could get off the boat!  So we untied and left the Yacht Basin.  YAY!!  And bonus…several Loopers were there – Doug Out, Gypsies Palace, One Eye Dog, Wicked Cool, Jo Ca – it was like a family reunion!!

I’ll let the pictures tell the story…

Sara, Irving, Charlie, Shelly & Scott-Sunset Grille 2/16/2021

7 Mile Bridge at sunset - Road trip with Irving & Sara 

Final sunset from our dock in Marathon 2/23/2021


Dropped the anchor 2/24/2021 in Little Shark River - fabulous!

but the water looks GREEN while underway!
A spectacular commute from Little Shark River to Marco Island on 2/25/2021

The MOON setting over Marco Island 2/26/2021 at 5:47am

A sailboat enjoying the day as we approach Naples FL

Sunset 2/26/2021 Caloosahatchee River, Ft. Myers FL 

A surprise visit on 2/27/2021 from Stay Strong (2 couples from our second loop) - they were kind enough to get our picture from way across the marina!  The Lower Place on the right and Gypsies Palace on the left - it was windy!
The Marina at Edison Ford, Ft. Myers FL


The final sunset of February 2021 Edison Ford Marina, Caloosahatchee River

And that my friends is a broad recap of the past 2 weeks.  The trip from Marathon to Ft. Myers was certainly memorable and the good Lord blessed us with perfect weather.  We are so happy to be in Ft. Myers.  Stay tuned for more adventures and pictures!!!

Stay healthy and God bless

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Yes, we’re still in Florida…

 

Seven Mile Bridge - where the Gulf of Mexico meets the Atlantic Ocean

Since my last post about wind and waves we have been snorkeling, sunburned and satisfied in Marathon! First, full disclosure – originally we had reservations in Stock Island (Key West) for the month of February through March 15…we cancelled those plans!!! And will be in Marathon until February 27…happy, happy, happy!!!

Shrimp, Avocado Salsa & Chips...yum!!!!

The Lower Place was due for some underwater maintenance and phase 2 of needed repair we discovered in Fort Myers Beach.  Marathon Marina has a lift and boat yard to accommodate everything we needed AND qualified contractors to get the job done correctly and timely.  So why would we leave??  And BONUS….our friends on the boat Priorities offered their front berth to us! So on Thursday 2/4/2021 we were hauled out and blocked up! Shortly after that, Priorities left Boot Key Harbor mooring field and pulled into our slip.  So we were off our boat but still in our slip…win, win!!

The Lower Place - blocked up for a spa weekend

Friday 2/5/2021

We were allowed to do some work on our boat while it was blocked up – but no sleeping!!  So while Brett with Bottoms & Props and Prop Tec worked his magic under the boat (with Charlie’s help) I made certain there was electricity for the fridge, batteries, etc. to survive until we were splashed back in. Since that didn’t take long (for me) I spent the rest of the day walking, visiting and pool side. 

Sunset Friday 2/5/2021

Saturday 2/6/2021

During my visiting on Friday, Irving and Sara on s/v Doris Emerson invited me to join them for a road trip to Big Pine Key….ummmmm….YEAH!!!!!  A nice stop at Bahia Honda State Park only made me want to stay longer but it was off to Winn Dixie in Big Pine Key…and YES, that was fun too!!

Bahia Honda State Park sand castle!


Sunday 2/7/2021

Super Bowl Sunday was a little quiet around the marina but we still enjoyed pool time!  We were able to watch the game aboard Priorities and even though the outcome was disappointing we were thrilled to have a controlled environment with good friends!!

A quiet Super Bowl Sunday

Monday 2/8/2021

SPLASH DAY!!!  Here comes The Lower Place…dipping her toes back in the water!!  We missed her but so thankful she is running strong!!  Since our friends on Priorities were still working on a couple boat projects and we needed a sea trial (test drive) to confirm repairs/maintenance in good order we headed out to Sombrero Reef, grabbed a mooring ball and snorkeled for a couple hours!!  Salty (Jim and Sherry) and Mona Gee (Scott and Shelly) joined us – the more opinions the better!!

My heart is in my throat...always!!

The Lower Place was smooth, quiet and handled the beam seas like a champ!!  WAHOOO!!! And the snorkeling was fabulous too….and several from the marina were already there.  John and Joanne (No Limits) were there in their dinghy and held the mooring ball for us...thanks guys!!!

Priorities finished their projects and headed back to Boot Key Harbor and soon thereafter The Lower Place slipped back into #88…home again!!

Home again...hello slip #88!!

Tuesday – Saturday 2/9-13/2021

I don’t have a clue where the time went!!!  We have been busy cleaning the boat inside and out…amazing how dirty a boat gets sitting in a dusty yard!! Laundry, major grocery store visit, yoga, pool time…it’s a busy life!!!!   We are so blessed with perfectly HOT, sunny weather that allows us to visit outside, socially distanced or sit in our air conditioned boat.  We are blessed!!

So it’s not lost on me that the majority of readers are sipping warm beverages, letting their faucets drip to avoid frozen pipes and looking forward to above freezing temps in the future.  Hang in there….this too shall pass…it’s only weather!!!

Stay healthy and God bless

 Bonus pic....when you're doing laundry after a day on the water (removed mask for full effect) LOL!!

Clean clothes make me happy!


Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Wind, Small Craft Advisory, Gale Warning - YIKES!

 

Greetings from Porky's Bayside

What a difference a day makes!  Since the last post our weather has turned very WINDY!!  We are so very thankful to be tied safely in a slip at Marathon Marina – using most of our dock lines and all of the fenders!!  But wind is weather…it will change; until then we are hanging out close to the boat in order to monitor the rise/fall of the tide coupled with the moon phase.  It’s life on a boat!

 

Great food & amazing parking lot artwork

So this post will be more of a story in pictures…

 

Sunset 1/31/2021 - the cold front looms

Monday 2/1/2021 Gale Warning in effect

 

Tuesday 2/2/2021 Our MSU flag weathered and shredded but the sun is shining!

We are still under a Small Craft Advisory but if the weather forecast holds true better hair days are ahead.  Embrace today, anticipate tomorrow and smile...God has a plan!

Stay healthy and God bless

Friday, January 29, 2021

Beautiful sunsets and city park yoga

 

Yoga in the Park at Marathon City Park
Before the 30+ people showed up! 

As the gorgeous sunset from Sunday faded into the mild weather of Monday, it was time to get busy with Yoga in the Park!  That’s right, Monday, Wednesday & Friday morning at 10:30 a group of (mostly) boaters meet at the Marathon City Park Amphitheater for an hour of OUTDOOR Yoga!!  Oh how I miss my yoga classmates from home so I am completely onboard with this idea!!  Wide open spaces, socially distanced & the opportunity to meet people from the surrounding marinas…what’s not to love!!

The Monday & Wednesday classes were taught by 2 different instructors and that was nice – 2 different approaches, working our muscles in different ways…yay!!  Then Friday rolled around…it was sunny, 62° & breezy…class was cancelled “because of weather”.  Oh well, at least I knew it BEFORE I walked the 1.75 miles to the park!

As a bonus, Charlie walked with me to Publix (2.2 miles) to pick up a few items.  We were very cognizant of each purchase because we had 2.2 miles on the return trip (we aren’t using public transportation).  Several loopers have offered the use of their personal vehicles and we will accept their hospitality closer to the end of our stay here in Marathon when the “big provisioning” trip is necessary but right now we really don’t mind the flat terrain and wide sidewalks. It’s Florida after all!! 

Monday 1/25/2021 Moon Rise (not a sunset)!

We have been busy this week with the usual boat chores and zoom meetings for the Looper Palooza virtual reunion (I miss in-person stuff!), visiting with dock neighbors and greeting new boaters as they come in.  It’s been so nice to be in Marathon with the opportunity to socialize outside, walk wherever we want to go and sit quietly on the aft deck at the end of the day.  Yes, we miss our family and friends but the reality is…we couldn’t comfortably visit at home during this time of year anyway.  Oh well…new normal = new routine but we still long for the good old days of 2019.

Taking a break on Wednesday 

As I scrolled through my random snapshots of the week, I realized that sunsets dominated the camera roll!!  That’s not a bad thing – except it’s nearly impossible to pick a favorite.

Sunset Wednesday 1/27/2021 Marathon Key FL
Sunset Thursday 1/28/2021 Marathon Key FL

As I head out this afternoon to “brave the weather” (breezy & 70°)…

Stay healthy and God Bless

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Wow, What a weekend!!

 

Friday afternoon at the pool...

If you’re reading this…at your office or while wearing long sleeves or if you can see your breath outside or perhaps the frost still on your windows…I’m sorry.  Because we have lathered on the sunscreen this weekend!!

Saturday morning brought flat water, no/low winds and absolutely nothing on the repair/replace to do list!  So we hopped in the dinghy and puttered the 5 miles to Sombrero Reef to do a little snorkeling and sightseeing.  Upon our arrival we grabbed a mooring ball then heard “Hey, can we have that ball please?  You are welcome to tie up to our stern.”  Of course we obliged because let’s face it the mooring ball was a little overkill for our dinghy.  And they were great folks from South Carolina!

We made friends with the big boat-note the tower in the background

Once we were settled and I tested the water (brrrr 65°) I decided, the sun felt great but a hard NO on the body parts being submerged!!  Charlie of course never takes a pass on snorkeling…and once he was IN the water his body adjusted.  I was on shark patrol, thank you!  After an hour or so, we thanked them for their fabulous hospitality, untied our dinghy & headed back to the marina.  Five miles is a long journey in a 10’ inflatable boat – but it was a great afternoon.

Yes, center pic is Charlie in the Atlantic

Now he's closer-pic from dinghy

All kinds of fish! Pic taken from above the water!

We stopped by our boat for a minute then back in the dinghy for a late afternoon cruise around Boot Key Harbor.  We saw Irving and Sarah on their dinghy and visited with them for a while.  When the sun started dropping we headed back to our boats.  Just as the sun dipped below the horizon we arrived at The Lower Place.  We were salty, sun tanned and happy to have such a great day.  Soup & sandwiches for dinner onboard…YUM!!

Sunday morning (while doing laundry)

Sunday brought a repeat of the same weather and perhaps a tad warmer! A quick load of laundry (yesterday’s salty clothes) and several phone calls later we were out and about in the marina.  LOTS of loopers (Post Script, Salty, Alcyone) we haven’t met before and then a dinghy reunion tied to our swim platform (Forever Young, Short Vacation & Sunset Delight)!!!  It was a boaters’ version of the old time Sunday afternoon visits we used to do…back in the day!!  It was a wonderful way to spend the day…but it was HOT!  I failed to get a picture of the tie up but it warmed my heart as the sweat rolled down my face…love this crazy chosen family!!

Plans for a sunset viewing party on the fuel dock were postponed but I had the best seat on the back of our boat.  We had popcorn for dinner so I munched on my bowl of the sweet tender kernels as I just sat quietly…drinking in the majestic glory of the changing horizon. There is no better artist than the creator of the heavens and earth, thank you Lord!  Your greatness continues to take my breath away…I am blessed.

Stay healthy and God Bless (continue scrolling for pics)


6:02pm beginning Sunset 1/24/2021

6:25pm The day is done...almost


6:28pm I just can't pick a favorite

Friday, January 22, 2021

Happy Friday the 22nd!

Sunset Marathon Marina 1/19/2021

It’s been a full week of walking, running, swimming, cleaning, cooking and laughter with friends…so about normal for life in the Keys!

Tuesday 1/19/2021

Charlie & I were on foot and land most of the day.  It was nice to explore some familiar sights and a few new pieces of art.

Landmarks are better than billboards

We stopped for a late lunch at Porky’s Bayside and enjoyed the view too!

Wednesday 1/20/2021

While Tuesday was a walking day, Wednesday was a boat day. I walked through, in and around the boat with a pen & paper looking at each detail and noting where the little things needed attention.  And I didn’t take a single picture!  I did discover a section of canvas in need of zipper repair.  A couple miles later I found The Canvas Shop open and willing to do the work.  I dropped off the pieces and Mike said he’d call me the next day.

Late afternoon we met Looper friends (Priorities, Forever Young and the Bles-sing) at Castaway’s for a light snack then the group walked around the corner to Burdines Waterfront!!  Coffee and Fried Key Lime Pie for dessert…who knew!!! And while at Burdines Waterfront Mike from The Canvas Shop called – repair completed!!  Since it was dark, I promised to pick it up on Thursday.

Thursday 1/21/2021

Sunset 1/21/2021 Marathon FL-never gets old

Morning started with laundry and ended with a walk to The Canvas Shop!  I picked up the canvas – repaired expertly and super cost effective – and returned to the boat.  Once the pieces were snapped & zipped back into place, I zipped through the boat for an impromptu cleaning.  Charlie mentioned we might have some visitors - friends we haven’t met yet!!  YAY! Great meeting Irving & Sarah from Vermont!

We had a quiet evening onboard and it felt good to cook a nice meal and not have to walk or dinghy back to the boat…bug free!

Friday 1/22/2021

If you haven't been here - go!

Today is a special day for a special girl!!  Happy 6th Birthday CARG!!!  We love you!!  It’s a beautiful day in Marathon and the pool is calling!  Wish you were here sweet girl!  

Hope you have a super weekend!

Stay healthy and God Bless


Monday, January 18, 2021

Happy Birthday and wearing a swim suit!

 

The Birthday Boy - ready for a swim

Who expected another blog update so soon??  It’s short but hopefully you will find it sweet.

Mr. Wonderful celebrated his birthday today and for the first time since we docked in Marathon Marina we had FULL SUNSHINE, light winds and temps in the 70’s...so very, very thankful.  I skipped out this morning for a 4 mile walk and discovered a few places I missed during our last visit in 2019.

A heated saltwater pool...yes, please

Charlie spent the morning on the phone working out a few boat details and I returned from my walk…actually sweating!!  We decided a day at the pool was in order.   After a quick bite of lunch and a phone call to Priorities (Randy & Sherry) we were settled in poolside for a couple hours.
Sunset 1/18/2021 Marathon Marina-aft deck The Lower Place

Back at the boat we changed into dry clothes just in time for sunset!  It was our FIRST cloud free sunset – and the end of a very relaxing day with good friends.

And that’s all the news for today and I’m completely ok with that!

Stay healthy and God Bless

Priorities headed back to their boat at Boot Key Harbor