Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

On Saturday morning, April 18, Nelson’s sister Loretta joined us for our trip to Jacksonville. What a beautiful day for traveling on the water. It was a bit windy and a little cool due to the wind. But, we had a great trip. Loretta is the only person who has joined us on our trip thus far. We loved having her with us. We made a sailor our of her. She loved the peace and quiet of the sailboat. We did a lot of talking all day. She enjoyed seeing the beautiful homes and birds and ducks all along the ICW. We arrived in Jacksonville at Beach Marina around 2:00. After getting the boat in the slip and secured, we met her husband, Mac at the Marina Café for sandwiches for lunch. Nelson had his usual shrimp and I enjoyed a hamburger for the first time in quite a while.
We then packed some clothes and headed to their house to stay until Tuesday after the thunderstorms. We helped Loretta celebrate her birthday Friday night with her son, Danny, his wife, Heather, and two girls, Carolina and Erin. We went to the Longhorn Steak house. A very good steak meal for most of us. We had the waiters sing Happy Birthday to Loretta. She was surprised! They served her a chocolate sundae. We all enjoyed a taste. Danny and Heather let the girls spend the night with us at Mac and Loretta’s house. We enjoyed listening to Caroline read a very difficult book about Manatees. She reads with lots of expression and does great being that she is only in First grade. We watched Erin draw great pictures of herself. You should have seen those large, long eye lashes.
. “HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Loretta!” Today is Sunday and it is really her birthday. This morning, Loretta and Danny went with Nelson and me to the Jacksonville Boat Show. It was not very big like Miami, but we managed to find several things to buy Danny said it reminded him of a Flea Market with boats in the background. Nelson and I am suckers, we can always be persuaded into buying something. We only looked at the 350 Catalina sail boat like ours. There were very few changes since we got ours.
That night, Loretta, Mac, Nelson, and I went out for dinner at the Piccadilly Café. We had fried chicken since we never have it on the boat. It was very good.
We had planned to leave on Monday morning but the weather was not very good and they were forecasting thunderstorms with high winds so we decided to stay one more day. Loretta and I went to the Mall shopping just to get out of the house. I did not buy anything but she found a pretty green shirt and pants and another pretty top to wear with navy pants. Later, we all went to Outback for steaks to celebrate our leaving. They took us back to the boat Tuesday morning after breakfast and we soon got underway again heading north. Our first day back on the water was a very nice one. We had the sun out and some winds to keep us cool. We traveled about 50 miles and anchored south of Jekyll Island and north from Cumberland Island. We had strong winds and a light rain during the night but we were so tried that we slept right through it. On Wednesday morning, we pulled our anchor and motor sailed to Brunswick, GA. We arrived at the Brunswick City Marina by 1:00 and pulled into the slip where we met our friends Ed and Connie Dooley. Their boat is also docked here for the winter but they live in Washington, DC. They come as often as possible to enjoy playing golf and staying on their boat. They did not know it until they arrived recently but their boat had been hit by lightning and it knocked out all their electrical equipment. Talking about stress, they really do have it. We are so sorry that this has happened and hope they can get it all fixed and again get to enjoy their boat. They wanted to take it back up north, but will have to wait until they can get the repairs done before leaving. After getting our boat secure, they took us over to St. Simons Island for dinner. We had delicious seafood right on the water front and also enjoyed seeing the big ship come by carrying new cars the states port authority. It was so big. It looked like a condo on the water. We enjoyed spending time with Connie and Ed and said our Goodbyes this morning at breakfast downtown Brunswick. We left going north about 10:00am. After coming through the Brunswick Bridge, we saw a helicopter hovering over a boat out in the water. As we got closer, we realized it was the Coast Guard practicing lowering a basket to the boat and then pulling it back up to the helicopter. It was quite interesting. We were aground at the mouth of Mud Creek today but managed to get ourselves off. The water was very shallow all the way through as the tide was low. We were glad to see the tide come in around 2:00 as we had several other shallow creeks to come through. We touched bottom several times but kept on going. We traveled until 7:30 tonight. We are now anchored just off the ICW in Cattle Pen Creek. It is very dark out here but the winds have died down and it is very quiet. We plan to get up early in the morning and continue our journey north.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday April 17, 2009

Pictures along the ICW
Hey All,
Today is Friday, April 17 and we are anchored at St. Augustine, Florida. We have been on the water early mornings and late afternoons. We did not stay in Stuart, but continued on up north until we stopped and anchored at Ft. Pierce which was the same place we had anchored when we were going south.
The next morning, we pulled anchor and headed north for Vero Beach Marina. We only had fifteen miles to travel on the water today. We arrived at Vero at 11:15 and stopped by the marina for fuel and water before going to our mooring. We were on the same mooring ball with a 35 foot C & C boat called Blue Blazer. A nice Canadian couple, Don, canadain and Maj-Lis, who is Swedish, are the owners of We ended up traveling together for several days when we left Vero. After getting showers and getting the boat tied to their boat, Nelson and I went to the River Café on the dinghy where Nelson ordered his favorite sandwich, Shrimp O Boy and I had fish and chips. We had enjoyed eating there when we were in Vero before. We went there again the following day for dinner and he got the same but I enjoyed fried shrimp.
We untied from our buddy boat and both boats left heading north on Wednesday, April 15, “Tax Day”. We traveled all day and arrived in Titusville around 7:15 that afternoon for the night. We found a nice anchorage right across the water from the large building where they store the space shuttle. We ate dinner while motoring and were exhausted from our 70 mile travel. After watching American Idol, we went to bed.
The next morning, we motor sailed north with 15-20 knot winds and a sunny day, but cool. We arrived at Daytona Beach anchorage around 4:00. We invited our friends over to our boat for dinner. We cooked steaks on the grill and had potatoes and vegetables. They brought a salad and a pudding dessert. We enjoyed hearing about their family, two boys and of course, we told them about family and our grandson, Jackson. We have enjoyed getting to know them. They are very nice people and are very interesting to know. She has a great accent being from Sweden.
This morning, we pulled anchors and motored in heavy winds and cool weather to St. Augustine. We arrived about 4:00 and went over to the Santa Maria restaurant for a delicious seafood dinner with our friends. They will be staying here for several days and we are leaving in the morning for Jacksonville. Nelson’s sister, Loretta and maybe Mac will be joining us for our trip to Jacksonville tomorrow. They are driving their car over here in the morning and we will drive back over later to pick it up if Mac decides to ride with us on the boat. We are looking forward to having company for the trip to Jacksonville. We are hoping for better weather tomorrow with fewer winds. We are seeing that our return trip is going to be much faster than our trip going south. I guess we are anxious to get home. We are looking forward to seeing our friends and family soon.
Nelson & Ondra

Friday, April 17 2009

These pictures were taken when we were at the 49 ft. railroad bridge before coming out of the Lake Okeechobee canal where we had Billy put 8 drums of water on the side of our boat to bend us over to get our mast under the bridge. We decided we had our mast bent over about 45 degrees when going under the bridge. You can see, we just made it! There is also a picture of us coming out of Clewiston lock which was not being flooded at the time so we could motor right through. Boy was it a narrow passage for us. This return trip was quite exciting das we experienced many things we had never before on our boat. Everyone needs to go across Lake Okeechobee once!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday, April 13,2009

Check out the alligator Going into lock Alligator swimming

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Saturday, April 11, 2009

I need to back up and tell you about our trip yesterday afternoon coming up the Lake Okeechobee Canal. We saw over one hundred alligators in the water, and on the banks. Some of them were very large. No, they did not seem to care that we were in the boat and looking at them. I also took quite a few pictures when I thought we could get a good one. Several crossed the canal in front of the boat. We also saw some beautiful birds and ducks. Some were making some unusual sounds. It was definitely like nothing we had seen before on our trip. It was much like dinosaur land as the trees had no tops and their branches were missing from fires last year while the lake was dried up. Sounded like the rain forest with all the bird and duck noises. We did not see manatee or otters as we had hope. Thank goodness, no alligators tried to come aboard. And we never even wanted to get in the water. We had some very shallow water most of the trip; therefore, we had to keep watch of the water level all the way down until we docked at Roland and Martin Marina.

Hey, we made it across the Okeechobee Lake today with out any problems. We did not get to leave as early as we planned because of the heavy fog this morning. We left the Roland and Martin Marina around 8:30, but it was still quite foggy. By the time we reached the Lake entrance, the fog was beginning to lift some. We used our running lights all morning. The sun popped out about 10:30 and boy did it get hot in a hurry. We had a beautiful day to be on the water. We had some shallow water but most all day it was at least six feet. Only when larger boats had to pass us did we worry about the
shallow water.

We came through only two locks today that had to be locked before we could go through. There were two others that were open and we motored right through. After the last lock, we had to have our boat bent over to make it through a railroad bridge that was only 49 feet tall. A man named Billy, takes his motor boat and carries blue plastic water drums that he sits on the port side of the boat and then fills them with creek water to heel the boat over enough to carry lit under the bridge. He used eight barrels on our boat to get us heeled over enough to get us through the bridge. He did a good job, but we had to pay him $175.00 for his services. We could not have gone across the lake if he had not been there to help us and the other boat with us. Another interesting obstacle!
We did not see many alligators on the lake this morning, but saw a very large water moccasin right beside the boat just as we come into the large Lake. Naturally, I did not have my camera ready and did not get his picture. We saw only one or two alligators after we left the railroad bridge this afternoon. We motored only nine more miles down the canal until we arrived at Indiantown Marina where we are spending the night. They had a pot luck dinner so, I cooked some green beans and we went to the dinner. They had cooked some hams on the grill and others like us took a bowl of something to go with the ham. We enjoyed the dinner and also getting to know our buddy boat for the day friends, Russ and Callie. Billy bent their boat first and then ours. We took pictures of their boat and then they waited and took pictures of our boat being bent over to go under the bridge.
I will post the pictures when I get the pictures of today’s adventure from them. I am tried of typing and it is my bedtime. I will try to do a better job of posting our adventures further up north. We plan to get to Stuart tomorrow. Take care.
Nelson & Ondra

Friday, April 10, 2009

Babs in front of their house Eric, Diane & Maggie
Nelson working up the mast

Friday April 10, 2009
Hello Everyone,
I cannot believe that it has taken me so long to get started back on my blog. I have only the excuse that I have been too lazy to take the time to sit down long enough to get started.
We returned to Cape Coral on Tuesday, March 31 after spending one night in Jacksonville with Loretta and Mac, Nelson’s sister and her husband. We stayed in Cape Coral until Thursday, April 9th. We had a man from the Universal Engines Shop out of Fort Myers meet us at the boat Wed., Apr. 1 to go over our engine and make sure it was functioning properly. He had to replace a solenoid which was necessary but we can’t really tell anything different about the way the boat runs. It is just a slow boat. But, we are retired and in no hurry. And that’s a good thing as every boat we travel with always goes faster than us. Nelson had many projects to complete before we made our return trip back to NC. He changed the oil and filters, changed the transmission fluid, cleaned the raw water filter, added stainless steel side rails on either side of the dodger, built a shelf to a cabinet where I store my food and, he and I washed the boat outside and inside. More like spring cleaning. I wish I could get him to help me do this in the house. We also filled fuel and water tanks for the trip across Lake Okeechobee.
We enjoyed our stay with Ike and Babs. They were much help in getting us places to re supply our food and other things we needed to replace on the boat. The best was that Babs cooked us so many delicious meals and we both think we gained extra pounds while there. Also, their son, Eric and daughter in law, Diane fed us at their house. We had a delicious Mexican meal with them. We went out for seafood one night and the night before we left, we had the best baby back ribs from a place called, Rib City. A big “thank you” Ike and Babs for letting us keep our boat at your dock from March 12- April 9. It saved us a lot of money and it was great getting to spend the time with you while we were there. We have loved getting to see more of Loretta and Mac in their home in Jacksonville and Ike and Babs in Cape Coral. We will stop in Jacksonville one more time before leaving Florida.
When we left Ike and Bab’s house, we had to go back under the electric wire again to get out of the main canal to their house. Ike drove his car to where the power lines were and watched from under the wire to make sure we could get back under it. Yes, we did it again, but it was still very scary. We were glad to be back out into the big water again.
Our first day, we went up north through the Caloosahatchee River and docked for the night at a Regional Park off the River. A nice dock and it was free! We left early Friday
morning and spent the night in Clewiston, Florida at the Roland and Martin Marina. There were mostly fishermen there as this is the place where they have the large mouth bass tournaments. They had a tiki bar which played music until 1:00 in the morning and also a café where we enjoyed a nice fish sandwich and cheese/steak sandwich. The music did not keep us from sleeping as we were both sound asleep by 10:30. We went through two locks and one raised our boat 10 feet. It was not difficult but very interesting seeing the water rising so quickly. They opened the west side gates and the water was half way up to the top of the door and came rushing in. It was a quick process and very organized. Thank goodness! While there, we met a nice couple who were also going the next morning across Lake Okeechobee in their 36 foot sailboat. We decided to cross the lake together leaving at 7:30 am.