Bahia Honda


We sailed to the Bahia Honda State Park to spend the day at the beach and the night on the hook.  This is what I thought sailing would be like.


Three things stick out in my mind about Bahia Honda.  First, a gaggle of feisty, fun, cheek pinch worthy Hispanic kids chasing fish and shouting, Feeesh!  Feeesh!  They would squeal and run from floating sea grass and cry, Beach worms!  Beach worms!  And John had them screaming and running when he pointed out the big, hungry, sharp toothed “rock” fish to them.  And this is why fish will be pronounced feeesh from now on.


Smoking hot and making waves in the best bikini picture ever taken of me.


Secondly, we noted a black spot in the sky at sunset.  After much deliberation I googled it to find out it was a Naval Zeppelin thirty five miles southwest on Cudjoe Key.  They call the Zeppelin Fat Albert and he is a tethered radiostat radar system.  He is used for surveillance and counter drug trafficking operations.  Fat Albert has quite the history as he has been floating around since 1980.  Once he broke loose from his tether during a wind storm and flew away.  Some local lobster fisherman chased him and attached him to their boat.  Fat Albert lifted the fisherman, their boat and their 175-power engine way up in the sky  before dumping them into the mud keys.  They lived to tell the tale.


Isn’t it awesome they cut a section in the old bridge to let sailboats come to the anchorage?

Thirdly, I got so excited when we saw blue lights in the water late at night.  They would float by with bright blue tracers.  No, not my style, only wine.  The lights were all sizes between a quarter and a fist.  They were jellyfish.  The light would flash and flicker down.  I’ve read they do this for two reasons.  One, to defend themselves from predators to appear larger.  Maybe they thought Echoes was a big jellyfish eating whale?  I hope not.  Another reason is that they use phosphorescence to absorb energy and slowly release it over time in the form of light.  But I think the scientists have it all wrong.  I think that they are traveling jelly gypsy musicians jamming, singing, dancing, partying and lighting up the sea.


Blogging Blunder of Biblical Bits

Greetings my dear followers.  I am two weeks behind on posts due to lack of internet, lack of time, lack of sense of humor (kidding) or combinations thereof.  I am trying to catch up.  As I was loading new pictures (275 new pictures of birds alone) there was a warning that I was running out of media space.  No problem, I thought, I will just delete the 300 plus pictures out of my media folder to make room for more.  And…POOF!  All of my past pictures from the previous posts are gone.  Vanished.  Capootz.   Nothing.  Blank.  Forever deleted.  No turning back.  Zilch.  Hell by push of a button.

I am technically challenged.  No, really, it’s true.  My tech support manager did everything in his power but no luck.  I have researched this to the bottom of google.   I am reloading my pictures one by one.  I can not just simply save them again but must repost the blog.  I don’t think you will be bombarded with around 30 posts but I simply don’t know.   I am very sorry if you are.  Just ignore me.  John doesn’t have too much trouble with that and I hope you don’t as well.

My next real updated post will be about Bahia Honda.  I will probably get to that in 2018.

Ta ta for now, Crabby Candisdunce


(I have learned so much from this blunder.  Like, that I could hide this page from our blog and just my followers would get it in the form of an email.  Pretty smart, huh?  However, because I got my technical support manager involved like the big dumby I am, he un-hid it, added the picture and posted it.  He finds my pain very humorous.)




Marathon, Chapter 2


We decided to spend a few nights at the same anchorage off of Marathon.  The Intracoastal heading to Key West has some very skinny water.  We would have had to pass certain points only through high tide and with our fingers crossed.   So, we planned to sail the Atlantic side.  There are only a few possible safe anchorages along the way and this was the last marina stop for water, gas and groceries.  We were taking our time and getting ready to move on.  However, the current conditions at the anchorage had what we sailors unaffectionately call the roly polys.  The sea swells rock your boat not in the cradle kind of way, but more in the don’t leave anything on the counter kind of way.  You hear your digesting dinner sloshing around.  Roly polys can roll you over in your sleep if you are a side sleeper like me.  This was our second night so we knew what to expect.  The currents and the winds spin you around a bit and the waves wake you up to keep your dreams fresh in your conscience.  It was a late night as we sipped wine, celebrated Sea Alice’s new stamina and  watched the Muppets dance at Castaways for quite a while.  We went to sleep to dream of mermaids and swashbucklers.

At around 7:00 AM John woke me up with a shake.  Pokey, wake up!  B.P. (our anchor) has dragged and we are headed towards crab pots.  I shot out of bed, threw on some sweats and flew up to the helm.  We were a good third mile from where we originally anchored.  I fire up the engine and John went to turn on the windlass.  This is the powered winch that retrieves B.P. and her chain.  John utters colorful language and explains the power to the windlass is not working.  Are you kidding me?  The crab pots are closing in.  To retrieve B.P. and all of her chain by hand would have called for a Herculean effort.  John messes around with the electrical system and gets it going.  He hurries to the bow.  I look at my instruments to check depth and logistics.  They are all dead.  I call up to John and he comes running back.  Are we still sleeping?  He asks, Is this a nightmare?  Tell me this is a nightmare and wake me up.  He goes into the cabin and preforms whatever magic he does and I have my instruments back.  We retrieve B.P., avoid the crab pots, are in control of Echoes and breath for the first time.  It was damn lucky and a huge relief that we did not hit another boat as old B.P. drug us out to sea.  It was a busy anchorage, with well over twenty boats, and we were scattered between them.  Our best assumption is that B.P. was jostled during a swell, flipped and lost her holding which is why she dragged.  We’ll never know.


We had planned to pull anchor and go the the gas dock for fuel and water that day so we decided we might as well go then.  Great.  Pulling into any dock is always acid producing for me.  You may just find out why.  We filled her up without incident and went back to the anchorage to set B.P. again.  Once she was set I hit a proverbial wall so high and so thick that Donald Trump would ask to buy the plans if he knew me.  I informed John, I am going away in a book.  Don’t talk to me.  Don’t look at me.   Whatever you do, don’t ask me to help you with a project if you know what is good for you.  I crawled into the book.  I get sick of my own thoughts sometimes, especially when they are filled with terror.  It really helps my teetering sanity and my delightful disposition to think other peoples thoughts for a while.  I read and read and read.

There are two sounds that can pull me from deep concentration (yes, I can hold a thought longer than ten seconds occasionally) or a deep funk.  One is the pop of a cork from a wine bottle and the other is the magical crinkle of a Frito’s bag.  Four hours after my submersion in bookland I hear the latter.  I looked up to see John munching, smiling and offering me the bag.  He knows me so well.  Do you want to go gunkholing?  he asks still smiling.  Absolutely, I said reaching for the bag.

Sea Alice continues to be a new man and took us on a very interesting exploration.  We ended up at a boat graveyard in the back of a mangrove.  It appears some people live with these ghostly boats and I had no interest in running into them.




I have no idea what this is.





We also met some new bird friends.  This is a Green Heron.


This is a Black Necked Stilt.



And this, my friends, is a shark.


So ends the Marathon saga.

Boot Key, Chapter One

We had an enjoyable sail and motor the forty plus miles to Boot Key.  This was crab and lobster pot haven so we were on our toes playing frogger once again.  I’ve never seen so many pots placed in a scattered matter.  We zig zagged our way.  Through binoculars I watched commercial lobster fisherman retrieving their catch and traps.  They would hall up the traps, claim their prize, pressure wash the traps and stack them as high as they could on the boat. We drug a line along the way in hopes of catching a lunker but all we caught was a crab pot  by way of my stellar helming.  The reel went crazy and we flew into action turning the boat before the line ran out.  John cut the line along with his thumb.  We reached Boot Key and passed under the Seven Mile Bridge to anchor in the Atlantic off of Marathon.



We had originally hoped to meet up with my cousin and her husband in Key West but making plans with a sailor is like making plans with the stock market.  Fortunately though, we could catch them for an early lunch as they rode their Harley back to Fort Meyers Beach.  We were very much looking forward to seeing these two.  They live in Indiana and we don’t get to see them as often as we would like.  My cousin is not just a cousin.  She is the one at nine years old that I rolled up my jeans with, slicked back our hair, took off our shirts and rolled up paper cigarettes to act out the song “Smoking in the Boys Room” by Brownsville Station.  In high school we double dated as her now husband was courting her in his kick ass Trans Am.  (I sincerely hope I got the car right, Gary.)  Even our Raggedy Ann dolls would cry when we had to part.  So, we deployed Sea Alice first thing in the morning to see what his mood was.  He revved up right away without any complaint.  We let him purr satisfactorily for a while.  Fifteen minutes before we were to meet we jumped in Sea Alice and…..nothing.  Sea Alice had his moment and he was spent.  The word I uttered loudly echoed over the anchorage.  But, eventually, my hero got him going so we threw every tool we could think of in the back pack and took off.  We had a great visit with Shannon and Gary.  It went too fast.  John would start to tell them a story, like, Candis flipped me off!  And they would chuckle and nod and say, We know.  We know.  John still doesn’t read the blog.  I am smarter than him and I am right almost all of the time.



After Shannon and  Gary rode off to Alligator Alley we scouted around the Island a little to check out dinner possibilities.  We met colorful sailors who were held up due to prop and engine repair after tangling with crab and lobster pots.  Funny that the lobster pot business was directly across from engine repair.  Why would you choose to paint your balls blue to put in the blue water?  Why?


We hopped back in Sea Alice to return to Echoes and after much coaxing he came to life….for about two minutes.  We paddled back to tie off on a piling.  Maybe you are about as bored with engine repair and bloody blisters as I am.  This was the mother of all tear downs.  John had Sea Alice completely pulled apart as we bumped against a boat which had created its own reef on its bottom.  I watched an entire universe thrive under that boat.  Apparently, my suggestions of, How about that gray thing over there.  Could that be it?  wasn’t helpful.  So I watched the boat reef.  Finally, I heard John mutter a satisfying, Ahh.  And then a, That might just have done it.  What!  What was it!?  I asked.  The jets.  A jet was clogged.  He blew and blew and it opened up to show sunlight through it again.  You know how hind sight works.  But of course, Sea Alice just needed his jet blown.



We successfully returned to Echoes to shower up and fix other things.  We brought Sea Alice in for a great dinner at the local favorite, Castaways.  John had alligator and I had crab stuffed shrimp just so that I could make up with the crab pots.   The locals were dancing the night away to some good live music which was like watching an episode of the Muppets.  Sea Alice came to life on the second tug and took us home like a young, sprite engine.  By golly, I think he’s got it!

Shark River Chapter 3

The Shark River is a midway stop between Marco Island and our first access to the Keys at Marathon on Boot Key.  It is another long day to Boot Key, forty plus miles, (could be eight hours or more of sailing) so we decided to spend a second night on the Shark River anchorage and explore the Everglades during the day. We put together a picnic and fishing gear and were ready to set off for a day of gunkholing.  Just to prove we picked the right name, Sea Alice wouldn’t start.  John pulled and pulled until his blisters had blisters.  He blew on the spark plug.  He changed the spark plug.  He wiped the diaphragm thing.  He shook the gas tank.  He ended up taking apart Sea Alice’s engine and putting it back together for most of the day.  I hung out with a new friend of mine, Monster.  He was the biggest dragonfly I’ve ever seen.  I bet he was six or seven inches.  I have seventy three pictures of him.  Here are a couple.



Dragonflies eat other flying insects.  They love mosquitoes.   This island has mosquitoes of the likes I have never seen before.  This is coming from a Minnesota girl.  The Minnesota state bird is a mosquito.  When we anchored inside the river last May we watched a neighboring man on a sailboat doing the oddest thing.  We called over to him.  What are you doing!?  He yelled back, I’m taping up my boat!!  Sure enough, he had blue painter’s tape and was taping all of his ports (windows), lazarets, anything with a crack.  His wife (No, he wasn’t taping her) was inside the boat taping all she could on the opposite side.  He scrambled around and then muttered blasphemies while ducking inside.  Then, the brown cloud of mosquito hell came.  Within seconds my arms looked like Chewbacca’s.  I did not sleep one minute that entire night.  They were biting my scalp through my hair under my sheets.  I itch and tense just telling you about it.  No wonder Monster was so huge.  I love Monster with all of my heart.

Dragonflies are eaten by birds, frogs, big spiders and fish.  What kind of spider could eat Monster?  I hope I never meet him.


After hours of foreplay, coaxing, sweet talking and being sworn at, wallah, Sea Alice revved his engine again.


A gunkholing we will go.  Mangroves are curious freaks of nature.  They survive in salt water and produce fresh water resources for birds, manatees and a host of creatures.  They are barriers between the sea and land.  They create their own islands by dropping leaves which get stuck in their roots and produce their own soil and nutrients to sustain themselves.  Many fish, birds, mammals and even the land depends on this barrier ecosystem.  Being in the Shark River reminded us of exploring the Boundary Waters in Minnesota and Canada.   It is a vast and wondrous wilderness.


John and I had originally planned to do many miles of exploring but did not want to count on Sea Alice’s stamina.  We did have oars, a VHF radio, water, tools, sunscreen, bug spray, a tablet with navigation, beer and a change of underwear with us.   However, there really wasn’t anyone to radio for help and rowing miles in a river, or worse, in the gulf is a daunting and possibly futile task.  Currents and winds can make a short paddle seem like an Olympic event but they were favorably on our side so we crossed our fingers.  Someone in our party suggested we turn around.  Someone wanted to check navigation to see if we were close to a loop that would circle us back a new but longer way and might be a great “experience.”  Someone put senior senor Sea Alice in idle to fire up the tablet.  Sea Alice balked, sputtered and died.  We were at least three miles from our boat.

John’s blistered blisters were bleeding.  I informed him he was going to have to start sharing his high blood pressure meds with me. He pulled at, screwed and played with inner workings but nothing would make Sea Alice turn over.  I’ve never seen an man’s forearms sweat before.  We paddled to a mangrove to tie off and let both John and Sea Alice rest.

We floated, contemplated two stroke engine design for the umpteenth time and ate our salami (again) sandwiches.  And then we had a visitor.



Agatha Dolphin was a curious sort.  She was fishing in the shallows around us and was most interested in what type of gray bottomed creature we could possibly be.  She would come by us and leave and return again.



After her third or fourth swim by us she got up the nerve to swim right up to us.  I got the chills when we met eye to eye.  I think she was saying HI!  HI!  HI!  and smiling just like I was.



She was the highlight of the day.   Thank you, Agatha.  But we were still worrisome.  So bleak that nary a beer was cracked.  But, we thought, maybe Agatha was a good omen.  So John pulled his six hundred and seventy one thousandth time, seventy two, seventy three…eight eight, eighty nine and then, money.  Old Sea Alice woke up.  We did not mess around.  We talked dirty to him the whole way back to the boat.  He would start to sputter and we would think up new encouragement for him.  We should call you ten stroke, you are so manly!

Happy Swampy Selfie!



And it is not a worthy post without a cool bird pic.  These are cormorants.  John asked when we saw them, Don’t you have a cormorant about this?



I promise.  There is no chapter 4.  On to Boot Key.

Shark River, Chapter 2

With new found respect we waited out a second day of small craft advisory tied snugly to our dock.  We decided to head out the following day with strong winds predicted but not the nail biters.  Once again, we waved farewell at my folks who waved back a little tentatively.  All was well but we were cautious knowing the trek out to sea around the shoals can change one from smug to schmuck very quickly.  The winds again were almost straight on which makes for difficult sailing.  We sailed a while and then motored as we had a very long day ahead of us. DSCN2001

The seas became choppy so it made for a somewhat uncomfortable and slow passage.  It was about thirteen hours at sea so the next day my pony keg abs and neck that holds up my big brain bobble head were stiff from the buck boarding.  I tried to capture the rise and fall of the boat in picture.  When you drop down from a wave the boat crashes into the water and sprays up and occasionally at you.

I will not complain any more about the day because the sun was out and we were in control of our vessel and ourselves.  What do you do for thirteen hours at sea?  I watch for birds and sea creatures.  Dolphins never fail to set my heart fluttering.  Sometimes they will come up directly to the boat and ride the wake.  Wonderfully, on rare occasions, crab pots turn into sea turtles.  Their heads look very similar.  There are five different sea turtle species in these waters.  Sea turtles are shy and dive deep once they spot you so they are hard to differentiate or capture on camera.  I saw one whose head was the size of a basketball.   Leatherbacks can weigh up to 2000 pounds and get to 6.5′ in length.  Basketball head was a huge turtle and a huge thrill.  I named him Shaq.  I also watch the patterns in the water and I play I spy with the clouds.  I even made up stories about the cloud shapes in the vast amusement park of my mind.  John studied manuals and fixed things.


The sun set as we were still making way.


We arrived at the Shark River in the middle of the Everglades.  It is beautiful in the daytime and there is not sign of human life for many miles.  We got to our anchorage in the dark.  Boats do not have headlights.  You rely on your navigation equipment, dumb luck and a spot light we turn on sporadically to check for things we can see above the water that would make a dent.  Anchoring blind set off my need wine now warning light.  It was another notch in Captain John’s “experience” cap and we were successful.  We celebrated with rib eyes and Syrah for a late night dinner.

How about a cloud story?

Swordfish cloud was a bully.  He flew around poking and stabbing at the other clouds with his sword.  Santa Clause cloud said, Swordy, knock it off or there will be no bright, shiny scales for you next Christmas.  But Swordy didn’t listen and continued to poke.  Santa Clause told Swordy firmly, You know that your sword is to be used only in defense or to stab prey.  This is your last warning.  Stop stabbing other clouds.  But Swordy did not listen and poked at poor poodle cloud.  Just as Santa Clause cloud began to fade away, Swordy’s sword started to break apart and fade as well.  Santy Clause!  Santy Clause!  I promise I’ll stop! yelled Swordy.  But it was too late.  Santa was off policing other bully clouds elsewhere.  Now Swordy was just fish cloud.  He cried wispy tears.



(This is not actually a picture of Swordy but is of his less attractive cousin Gordy.)



Shark River, Chapter One

You may have picked up that John likes to go looking for adventure and that I am a gullible and foolish woman.  We knew there was a small craft advisory (winds of 22-33 knots, or 25-38 mph) on the day we left for the 61 mile sail to the Shark River.  But one of us thought, advisory schmisory, and if we can’t learn to sail in the big winds sixty miles from your parent’s condo then when would we prefer to learn, in the pirated seas off of Africa?  You want to embrace the experience so you know what to do when the big stuff comes!   Also, small crafts are considered anything to sixty feet and we have forty two so it hardly even counts.  They’re just warning the little fishing boats.  Our boat is made for this!

Off we went once again waving to my parents as we rolled past their condo in the first light hour of the morning.  We put up our full sails and very pleasantly reached 7.8 knots.  The boat will go 8 knots according to the manual.  Ha!  Ha!  We are sailors!  Hear us roar!  And we zoomed out past Marco.

Funny thing though, as we started heading out to sea to avoid some nasty shoals the winds grew.  They didn’t blow in the direction that was forecast, but they blew straight at us.  It was a very difficult point of sail.  When there is too much wine (Silly typo!  There is no such thing as too much wine!) err, wind, the sails will control you rather than the other way around.  They can knock you down, or blow you over until they hit the sea and you are no longer vertical.  We brought in the jib a little.  Then the seas got bigger and we were having a hard time staying on course so we reefed in the mainsail.  (Made the big sail smaller.)  But the wind wasn’t done blowing and seas weren’t done growing so we set a second reef and then pulled in the jib altogether.  Yet we still couldn’t keep our course so we thought we’d completely drop the sails, fire up the iron jenny (diesel engine) and power around this 8 miles off shore shoal area, head closer to land and once safely around set sails again.  We dropped the sails and started the engine.

The wind was howling and the seas were tossing us.  We immediately smell something hot and fuel like.  No, it wasn’t John’s breath, but good guess.  John goes below to check it out and finds that the stuffing box (remember the big wrenches?) came apart and there was sea water spewing in the engine compartment.  The bilge alarm was going off similarly to the sirens in my own head.  We cut the engine and I sailed on bare poles and was making three plus knots with absolutely no help other than the wind pushing our boat hull.  Forty five minutes later the stuffing box was sealed tight and the engine was running.  But the princess had enough “experience” for one day and was not ready for another fifty miles of it.  We turned around and headed back to Marco.  Five hours after we left we were tucked back into our slip.  Humph.  Humph.  We are sailors.  Hear us mew like kittens.



Marco Island

We threw up the sails and had a beautiful broad reach most of the forty two miles to Marco.  Clipping along at seven plus knots in the calm gulf is giggle worthy.  I texted one of our speed loving buddies who has sailed with us often and Jay replied, To quote Sammy Hagar, I can’t drive….5.  Laugh all you want at our slow progress.  You can’t take the wind out my sails.  Sailing in these conditions feels like flying.


In Marco, at my parents beautiful condominium, I slept like a starfish on a king size bed in an air temperature controlled environment.  Magnificently, I was neither cold nor hot.  I would pad to the loo upon soft carpeting when the nocturnal nature calling fairies awoke me in the night. There I sat upon a large, porcelain throne like the princess that I am.  Most of my expansive derriere fit on it and it was quite comfortable.  I used heaping amounts of soft, cloud like toilet paper on my delicates.   Then, rather than pumping furiously, I lightly pressed down on a silver lever.  Everything went magically away never having to be dealt with again.  I followed this up with letting the water run wastefully until it was a perfect warmth.  I washed my hands which were finally healing from multiple line (rope) burns, a bee sting (apparently they don’t like to be grabbed while napping on a line) a splinter gone bad, and gouges from errant screwdrivers or other odd tools.   Then, I changed the water over to a nice, chilly cold and guzzled as much of it as I could in hopes that the fairies would wake me up again so I could do it all over.  You landlubbers are spoiled.

Unpleasantly, I also drove around in a metal vehicle at alarming speeds of up to sixty miles per hour.  Others were coming from the opposite direction at the same speed very close by.  In Florida, they have rules of navigation that I don’t understand.  Like, they leave their blinkers on continuously and turn them off when they turn.  Driving is frightening.  I don’t know how you brave souls ride in these demons on a daily basis.

On our living room wall in Stillwater hangs a picture my mom painted for us of the view of the seas and mid ship to bow of a sailboat.  We took the picture on our first chartering adventure 15 years ago .  It is my favorite painting.  John asked my mom to paint the view from our Minnesota living room to hang in our boat.  She completed this beauty by the time we returned.  It is perfect!


The original plan was to relax in Marco, maybe even lay down on a beach for the first time, or drink a foo foo drink with an umbrella in it by a pool.  But there were projects to do.  When you do one project it reproduces like a rabbit and turns into nine more.  John was in his glory.  I stomped my feet like a petulant toddler mumbling about pina coladas and naps as I retrieved tools and lubricants.  On the bright side, our refrigerator has been redesigned, a screw has been removed from duck  valve inside a pump motor and our stuffing box has been restuffed.  No, not that one.  The one in the teeny tiny space in the engine compartment under the companionway stairs.  I believe this project was completed just so John could buy these enormous wrenches that weigh a ton.  He has a bruise on his elbow about eight inches in diameter from this project.


Most importantly our anchor light has not been working this whole trip.  This is not safe and does not help one’s (my) night’s sleep.  We hired Ocean Su to climb our mast of 58 feet and try a new bulb in hopes that would fix it.  Ocean Su is a character of monumental proportions.  We met the one hundred pounds soaking wet gal at 8:00 am and told her at 2:00 pm that we needed to get back to our projects.  She charged us for an hour of her time in cash and a beer.  She is an avid sailor with a captain’s licence, sailing teaching credentials, a rigger, a varnisher, a sailing racer and a talker.  We enjoyed her company very much and she taught us things about our boat that were mind boggling which added thirty six more projects to our list.  However, a master electrician she was not.  Unfortunately, she broke the non removable light bulb in the anchor light fixture at the top of the mast that we don’t have a replacement for and we still don’t know if that is even the problem.  But, bless her heart, she showed us how to climb the mast ourselves in case we ever needed to in the future.  This excited John to hyperbolic proportions.  So after she left he decided that I would hoist him up with two halyard lines, a winch and a twenty year old Bosun’s chair to the first spreader (approximately twenty feet) so he could check out another broken light.  Same old story; he was excited and I was sick to my stomach.  The wind was blowing and the neighbor was gawking and, I shit you not, told us how he fell trying to attempt the same thing and did we want any help.  No,no.  We’ve got this, John says.  I grumble and John asks if I would rather learn to do this now or when there is a problem at sea, at night and in the rain?  Up he went.  The neighbor asked, again, I shit you not, if he had life insurance.  John said, No, I canceled it recently.  And that is a good thing because Candis would probably cut the line right now if I had not.  Down he came without cutting the line and rather smoothly I might add.  All was well after a glass of wine.  I was too busy freaking out to take a picture of John up there.


After the fairies woke me up last night I lay in bed thinking about leaving soon on our next adventure to the Keys and Dry Tortuga’s .  I decided it felt very much like giving birth.  The first time you think, I’ve got this.  Look how many before me have reproduced successfully and I am not a complete idiot.  But then a freight train rips through your body and you can’t sit down or sleep for eighteen plus years.  How you made the choice with your nativity the first time is understandable.  What is inconceivable is that you willingly have a second child knowing full well what is likely to come.  It turns out I really am a complete idiot.  But both the adventures of the heart and of the sails are worth every challenge, misstep and frustration.  In fact, nothing brings me greater joy than my two boys and sailing is not far behind.

Tomorrow we hope to leave for a sixty three mile sail to the Shark River in the Everglades.  We were there when we moved the boat from Miami and we did indeed see a shark lurking around.  It is said that they greet the cruisers in hopes a small tasty dog will fall overboard.  We also encountered mosquitoes in biblical proportions.  We plan to move on from there to some natural anchorages off of the keys.  I have plenty of sausage provisioned.  We will be without cell and internet for at least a couple of days.  I wonder what stories I will have to tell when we can catch up with you again.

St James City


St James City was refreshing.   John summed it up well when he said, This is where NASCAR fans come when they retire.  We went gunkholing in this city of canals and loved all of the small, older homes.  There were nicely kept trailer homes with faded lawn ornaments of frogs fishing off their docks.  The homes had a certain sense of humor with Its Five O’clock Somewhere signs and bright colors.  Waterfront is expensive and we have seen plenty of McMansions along the way so it was good to be with real people.  It felt like the Florida of twenty years ago.

We had dinner at Waterfront restaurant on a picnic table next to an older couple from North Carolina.  He used to own an ASA sailing school and had done plenty of cruising.  He told us, First, you sail.  When you get too old for that you get a troller (a live aboard boat with no sails.)  When you get too old for that you get an RV.  They were at the RV stage.  His wife had the funniest croaking voice.  Now, I’m not one to talk.  John and I were in Leadville, Colorado on a motorcycle trip and were talking to a German man touring the states on a motorcycle.  I said something to him and he stopped, cocked his head to one side and said in a sing songy, nasal, awful voice, Nee nee nee nee nee nee nee.  He imitated my vocal tonality quite well.  John busted a gut he laughed so hard.   Ever since, when I nag John he nee nee nees me.  This woman has me beat.  She spoke as if she was bearing down with all of her might at the same time as talking.  And she whined…I don’t know why they have to bread everything.  Indeed, they did.  I got crab cakes, sweet potato fries and corn on the cob.  All were coated in a heavy breading and deep fried to a cardboard finish.  Not a culinary moment.  Now John and I imitate her voice whenever we complain about anything.


We listened to some blues at the Ragged Ass Saloon where the bartendresse, Nancy, keeps a bat with her name on it hanging on the wall.  When anyone pushes her buttons she just points to it.

Next, we head to Marco to tuck in and repair things.

Broken Islands

I spy with my little eye three dolphins up in the sky.DSC_1564

After stocking up in Venice we headed deeper into the Pine Islands for a more natural setting.  We anchored about  two or three miles off of the intracoastal in between mangrove islands all by ourselves. We were soon greeted by a manatee.  It was the first one we’ve seen out side of a marina.  Sorry, but he didn’t hang around to pose for a picture. However, I have 125 previous manatee nostril pictures if you’re interested.  We very quickly noticed we were anchored by another bird island.


We spent three nights and two days mostly watching the birds and sky as it rained and rained and rained.  What do you do on a forty two foot boat in three days of cold rain?  Well, I write rambling blog posts and take pictures.  John fishes and fixes things.  He also likes to walk around with WD40, or dieletric and waterproof grease and squirt stuff.  I actually just went to find his favorite greasy stuff to see what it is called but he is currently using it. That man just loves to lubricate things.  I am also reading him a book, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.  Some of it takes place in southern Florida.  I am a pretty good reader and can muster up some drama when the occasion calls for it; and sometimes when it doesn’t.




Along came a cormorant parade.  Hundreds of these birds paddled from another mangrove to bird island.  They would change direction as the wind would shift always keeping their beaks to wind.  You would see a side profile and then they would change direction and you’d see their orange beaks facing you.



They all took shelter at the end of the mangrove.



A storm came and passed.


The sun set.



We were having a libation in the cockpit when over a thousand cormorants flew by us.  They flew low to the water and were heading to another bird island for the night.  They split the boat and flew around us.  All you could hear was the shshushshsh of their wings.  It was spectacular.  I Wish I got a picture.  Here is a lone cormorant.



The next day we went exploring the mangroves in our dinghy, gunkholing, and did some fishless fishing during a rain break.  We worked on leaky ports (windows), read and watched the rain and sky.


I didn’t know George Washington smoked.