Sunday, December 30, 2018

Fog, cigarette boats, and an accidental emergency

When we walked the dogs in the morning a light fog had rolled in, less dense than the fog we experienced yesterday. We were pretty quick to get out again, hoping to beat the traffic. That didn't last long. The fog lifted pretty quickly and the boats came out in fleets.

Some of the day we had completely to ourselves. The crossing through Sarasota Bay, above Sarasota, was almost devoid of boaters. But all the canals were nearly clogged. There was so many wakes at times our autopilot struggled to maintain course. We bobbed a fair bit. 

Right around Siesta Key, Russ had just gone into the boat for something (water, food, I don't recall) and I was alone on the bridge. Suddenly, a shrieking squeal filled the radio. I looked at all my gauges, thinking it was some kind of alarm telling me our engine was on fire -- it was that intense. It lasted a few seconds, causing our dogs much distress (Lizzie is not a fan of beeps, we've learned). Russ came up asking what that was, as if I did something to make that noise. He even restarted out VHF system thinking it got pooched somehow. Over the next half hour or so the Coast Guard hailed everyone on channel 16 asking for information about a boat in distress. A number of captains responded, saying they may have accidentally triggered their distress signals, but the CG were looking for a specific vessel. Apparently, they knew who they were looking for (the boat was called the Beagle, and they recited registration numbers to get that boats attention), just not where. It was also apparent that most boaters (like us) were shocked by the alarm and thought that they had done something to trigger it. In the end the Coast Guard gave an all clear, saying it had been an accident (I'm thinking curious kid pressing the big red button).

Everybody is boating
Our only other bit of excitement (in a "shaking our fist" kind of way) was the flotilla of cigarette boats that buzzed by. About twelve of them. Noisy, fast, and making four foot wakes. Once they passed us and vanished on the horizon, a captain on the radio asked if anyone knew where they were going. I don't think he wanted to go anywhere near where they were. It's a shame I didn't get a picture of them. I was too busy keeping my balance to get the camera.

Otherwise, it couldn't have been a better day. Calm winds, smooth waters (baring jet-boats), warm sun. 

Oh, and docking in Palmetto was almost trivial compared to some of the places we'd been. And I used to think it was tricky!


We spent a great couple of days in Ft. Myers. Here are some highlights.

Gorgeous sunrise

Cheesy pirate ship

Real pirate ship 

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Heading north

We waited out the next storm in Ft. Myers, planning on departing on Saturday, Dec 29. It was supposed to storm (thunder, rain, the whole kit and caboodle) on Friday, but all weather maps agreed Saturday was going to be awesome.

Turns out Friday was amazing. Sunny, warm, and just a little windy. So amazing in fact that we thought about leaving early. But I'd already booked a massage for later in the afternoon (which I would have cancelled), so we decided to stay.

Remember that: massage = stay.

This was probably the biggest holiday weekend, since many folks take off the time between Christmas and New Years. The town of Ft. Myers Beach was just jammed with tourists. All day Friday the channel in front of us was clogged with boats. Pulling out to leave would have been a challenge, and we'd had our share of challenges lately.

Foggy morning
We woke Saturday morning to fog. Not horribly dense, but dense enough that we thought we'd put off leaving until it lifted. That wasn't a call we really were happy about. As soon as the fog lifted, we thought, the channel would be jammed again. Furthermore, we wanted to put in a decent day, so we could get back to Palmetto Sunday afternoon. Then I noticed a couple of boats pulling out around 7 am, which gave us some confidence it wasn't all that bad. So. We did.

Silver rainbow in the fog
Back when we had the RV we had special fog/nighttime sunglasses. They came in handy now. I was diligent to blow our horn announcing our presence periodically, while keeping an eye on both our Navionics route and the radar. The fog kept a number of boaters away, so we saw very few. And after two hours, it lifted.

Clearing nicely
As predicted, once the fog was gone, the boats came out. We didn't blame them -- this was the best boating day we'd experienced since we brought her over from West Palm Beach. It's the first time we could wear t-shirts and shorts! Sunny, warm, just a breeze to keep us cool. Perfect.

We wanted to stay at the Crow's Nest, but they were full. A nearby marina, Fisherman's Wharf, has room. We docked there. With no drama, thank you! In a conversation with the dock hands about the weather they asked if we were safe in the last storm (they meant the one Friday we didn't have in Ft. Myers Beach). Here, apparently, they had fifty (50!) mph winds.

So if we had left on that beautiful day, THAT would have been a disaster. I should get massages more often.

Stressed boat dogs

Dolphins! Russ took this shot.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Adventures, and mis-adventures

"Sooner or later you're going to run aground."
"Sooner or later you're going to hit another boat."

These are things people tell you when you start boating. It's meant to make you feel better so that when these thing happen to you, you know you're not alone.

Turns out we did both. In one trip.

The day started out with a bad night's sleep. We'd been keeping an eye on the weather for a a while, noticing the "good conditions" turn to "okay conditions." The wind was expected to come up to 15 knots. When we got up around 5 am, they were already blowing pretty well. The only reason we went ahead with the journey was the direction of the wind, which was due east. So if we stayed closed to shore it shouldn't be too bad. You'll notice that this crossing was just that -- we didn't do the straight line across the gulf. We headed outward around North Naples and were greeted by two foot seas, which are doable but uncomfortable (for us, anyway). 

Christmas morning on the boat
The tide had just reached it's lowest point as we left the canal from Naples. Once we past the last channel marker we turned northward, well before our Navionics told us to. And sure enough, we shuttered and slowed. We hit something. Checked the depth and, yep, it was 0. We did continue to move forward so I cranked the wheel back to port, hard. We moved along slowly, both of us wide-eyed and holding our breath. The depth gauge painfully inched (literally) upwards. Slowly, we gained more depth and headed right out to the sea until we got to the location our electronic map told us to be on. With a bit of paranoia, Russ checked the hulls to ensure we didn't puncture anything. Nope, all good.

Note to self: Just because the gulf looks all big and watery doesn't mean it really is.

Yes. That is an alligator. Waiting for his ride.
For the next three hours or so we bounced a bit, but the strategy of staying near the shore (but watching the maps and depths obsessively!) worked well. Things were choppy early on but as we neared Ft. Myers the ride smoothed out. As we made the turn around Estero Island we thought we'd made it.


We managed to get a slip in the Pink Shell Resort and Marina for the next three nights. No small feat, with New Years approaching, another big boater holiday. The forecasts predict that the next best boating day will be Saturday, so that is our target departure.

The wind never died down. It should get stronger over the next three days. It was coming from the east so I planned to get into our slip accordingly. However. There was a H U G E shiny boat in the slip next to ours, I'm guessing about 70 feet. It sticks way out, like a perfect target. My other issue, proving my ignorance in this whole boating thing, was the tide which was coming in and quickly. Lastly, the marina is exposed and just off the channel, giving me very little maneuvering room. And of course, they wanted me stern in.

Attempt #1. I pulled up next to the slip and started to pivot. While backing in I drifted toward the big boat. I pulled forward to set myself up for a second attempt, but we had to wait for the parade of boats coming down the channel.

Attempt #2. I again pulled up, but gave myself more space on the starboard side (where the big boat was). I lined it up perfectly, then started to reverse. But the current was strong and I wasn't quick enough. Again we drifted towards the boat. The dock hand there to help told us we could pull bow in if that was easier. I decided to do just that.

Attempt #3. I came about, turning into the slip. Russ managed to get a bow line to the dock hand. As I started to move into the slip, the stern was pushed outward, and into the shiny boat. Just before we hit, a kid (I'm assuming the son of the boat's owner, about 15 years old) ran from out of nowhere, seeing the tragedy unfold. He threw himself at our boat from his bow just as a horrible scraping sound filled my ears. Russ, too, dashed to that side, and the two of them pushed our boats apart as I finagled getting fully docked. The dock hand started yelling at us that he needed a stern line, or we'd hit them a second time. As Russ dashed to get it the father came out as well. He and his son started to inspect their boat for damage. 

The TALL boat is the one we hit. *I* hit.
I felt just terrible about it, embarrassed and ashamed. After a few minutes, we were safely tied into out slip, and (THANKFULLY) the other boat had zero damage. Except for a candy cane I took out -- only then did I realize it was decorated for the holidays. The father/owner (bless his heart) looked me in the eyes and asked, "Are you okay?" I said I was, but I was crazy flustered. He smiled and said, "Just breathe. It's fine."

Our boat, too, was fine. We didn't even get a scratch. I'm assuming the scraping we heard was from our rub rail taking out the candy cane, but it was a terrible noise.

As the afternoon went on a couple of other boats docked in the slips next to ours. I am a bit relieved to say they, too, had a difficult time with their boats. Russ watched one, saying they came at it sideways, got a line to the dock hand, who spun them around the pole to get parked. Odds are they've done this way more times than me.

So, okay, I feel a little better.

Friday, December 21, 2018


Sunrise in Naples
Many years ago Russ and I looked at and loved Naples, Florida. There are a couple of small, walkable downtowns (yep, two of 'em), with lots of restaurants and shopping. Seemed ideal for us. But, well, we changed our minds and settled on New Orleans. Given today it's 69 here and 48 there, I'm wondering if that wasn't a mistake.

Anyway, our slip is at Naples City Dock, which is just a few block from one of the downtowns, and an easy bike ride to the other. The afternoon we docked we walked to one of our favorite restaurants, Tommy Bahamas. We ordered the coconut shrimp, the poke, and split blackened fish tacos. The food was wonderful, as usual.

Marking chain
Just a quick story about TBs: When we first visited Naples years ago we hooked up with one of Russ's co-workers who lived here. We met him downtown and he told us a bit about Naples and how it came to be. He pointed to the mall (where the Tommy Bahamas was) and said that the woman who owns it was picky about who she leased to, only wanting "mom & pop" stores and no franchises. Of course I laughed and said, "Except for the Tommy Bahamas." He too laughed and said, "At the time, this was the only one."

We took a bike ride the first day we got here to do some parts shopping, as well as groceries and hit a lunch spot. The streets are busy and not particularly kind to bikes, but there are sidewalks set a bit off the roads making the journey comfortable.

I'm beginning to realized that time in shore isn't tourist time. At least it hasn't been for us. It's maintenance/repair/chore time. When the weather was nice we pulled out all the anchor chain and marked it so we have a clear visual on length when using it -- kinda like some homework from Anchor Day. 

The following day the storm set in. This is the one that cancelled our Key West plan. It brought high winds, lots and lots of rain, a little lightning and thunder but not much. Given the rain we took the time to do indoor chores. Russ delved into some engine mechanics, replacing the water lines that ran into the engines. I did laundry.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Good news, bad news

Our day with the Anchor People was fruitful. We learned a good deal and did some anchoring (on a rougher sea, no less). Once lessons learned we did some "anchor-needs" shopping, and had a couple of good meals with our new friends. Jill and Rudy were great company for the two days we had them on board.

However, weather isn't going to be kind to us. While today and tomorrow presented a weather window to get to Marathon, getting to Key West by the 23rd would be a challenge we'd like not to have just yet. So we cancelled the trip there, and are trying to find a dock in Naples instead. Christmas in Naples is hardly a loss. We'll get to the Keys eventually.

Russ dropping anchor

Rudy and Russ -- look cold, don't they?

Jill watching the workers

Sunset after an exhausting day

On anchor day we were able to flush out some problems in our anchor system. Since we have a catamaran, we have a "bridle", a piece of rope that attaches to the 2 pontoons of our boat, instead of a single point on the bow. But it had a metal piece on the end that was supposed to go on the chain, and had to be attached while bending over the anchor. On the rougher seas, that was clearly a scary thing to do. So we decided to change our strategy to using a "snubber", or another piece of rope we'd simply knot onto the chain. So, Rudy and Russ spent the morning doing just that. By 10 am, the snubber was made, the lines were spliced, and the new bridle was attached. We were good to go.

From Ft. Myers we started the journey to Naples, which is "outside" meaning we're on the Gulf. No more safety of the ICW. Turns out we couldn't have asked for a more pleasant day. Waters calm, breeze gentle. The hardest part of the journey was docking. Stern in, again, and BOY was this slip tiny!

Gorgeous dawn promising good travels today
Russ and Rudy splicing a snubber onto our bridle
(Ooo! Such sailor lingo!)
Calm seas ahead

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Day 5 -- Meeting the Anchor People

We stayed on Captiva on the way in from W.P.B.
The map is confused...
Around 5 am in the morning we woke to the sound of rain. I didn't think the weather would impact our travel (a shower is never a problem) but as far as I knew it was supposed to be clear. We got out of bed around 5:30, fed and walked the dogs. While completely dark the sky was full of stars. Where the heck did the rain come from? Where did it go? Another Florida mystery.

Boca Grande was an amazing marina; small and enthusiastic. They even had folks come out to help us off. The day was sunny and warm (74) and the water calm. While surrounded with boaters of all kinds throughout the day, everything from ferries to kayaks to Sea Rays that cast 4 foot wakes, the trip was uneventful and peaceful. Russ did most of the piloting while I made lunch and sat on the bow with the dogs.

It took us about four hours to get to Ft. Myers Beach. Our destination was Salty Sam's Marina. The slip was (again) a stern in, and even tighter than the one in Sarasota. I swear we squeezed into the space, rubbing our sides as we backed in. 

Once docked and settled I made up the guest room. The anchor people are coming tonight. We'll go out tomorrow and spend the day at sea, anchoring (I assume). They'll leave us Tuesday morning.

Salty Sam's! It's a grand place.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Day 4 - Boca Grande

Thursday night into Friday was no big deal, but in the wee hours of Friday morning the winds had definitely kicked up. We don't think they were 30 mph winds, but quite blustery. Darkening skies gave way to drizzle early in the day. Nope, we ain't going anywhere today.

Thus, chores. I spent the morning and early afternoon doing laundry (which took quite some time since they only had one washer and one dryer, and I had two loads to do). Russ decided to change the engine oil. By two-ish we were ready to enjoy things a bit. We took an Uber into town and had lunch. Walking around I noticed a wonderful looking salon. After we ate I treated myself to a pedicure, and I'm so glad I did -- it was one of the best I'd ever had.

Red sky in the morning
Uber-ing back to the boat the clouds were truly forming. The wind never let up. We were docked on a pier in the inlet, meaning we had only the inlet as shelter from the Gulf. As the Gulf grew turbulent, the inlet surged. We had swells of about a foot, which made for a swaying night. I tried to do some reading, but the movement made me a bit nauseous. Candied ginger helped quite a bit. It was the first time I experienced that since we boarded her back in Palm Beach.

Russ biked to the store for engine oil -- that's what's
dangling from the handle bars

We walked the dogs around 8:30 as the sky lit up from distant lightning. As we headed toward the Gulf we could see the waters crashing into the shore. The spray reached parked cars there for the view. It had a foreboding feel to it.

Hard rain poured down for nearly an hour, about eleven or so. Around one in the morning Russ woke and started getting dressed. He said we thumped and he just wanted to check our lines. He returned in a few minutes saying everything looked fine. About fifteen minutes later he got up again. "Did we unplug the dinghy?" I was confident we did not, which meant that hard rain collected in our little boat in back. Sure enough, it had about three inches of water in it. While Russ unplugged the draining holes, he helped it along with a manual hand-held pump. I didn't assist but I had to watch, certain that if he fell in I wouldn't hear it from the stateroom. Fifteen minutes later, he could re-adjust the dinghy to help it drain in case more rain came.

In a golf cart cruisin' BG!
The swells continued into the morning, but the winds completely vanished. We kept to our schedule and hoisted off by 8:30 am. Once out of the inlet the water calmed completely. It was a wonderful ride all the way to Boca Grande.

We arrived around 1 pm, and rented a golf cart to explore the island. We found the pet-friendly Loose Caboose for lunch, then traveled the length of the island looking at the homes. Russ drove. I had dogs on my lap.

Docking here was, yet again, a stern-in slip. I'm getting pretty good at it.

Dolphins really do love our boat!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Day 2 - Venice

Russ had made reservations for the Royal Palm Marina on Lemon Bay in Englewood for our stay tonight. We pulled out of the beautiful marina in Sarasota with ease, and started down south. While overcast the temperature was nice and the houses along the banks of the ICW were stunning.

We got a bit of practice with hailing bridges on this section of the ICW. Some of them are way too short for use to go under. One was a swing bridge, which was cool to watch them maneuver. The second bridge, Albee Bridge, raised on hinges, like most do. We mistakenly identified the bridge (I think we called it Bayshore Point Bridge) and got no response. We tried three times. Finally, they hailed us, a bit annoyed that we didn't know their name. We had identified ourselves on the hail ("Bayshore Point Bridge, this is Knot 4 Sailing, and we are southbound" so they could have made a guess). Anyway, we stopped, they lifted, all went well. From now on we'll triple check bridge names.

Pretty houses!

Morning in Sarasota -- see the pretty boats!
Amidst this bit of chaos Russ got a phone call. It was Royal Palms calling to inform us that Friday morning they were expecting high winds (30 mph), and they didn't think we'd be safe to dock there. Great. Russ tried to call a number of other marinas along the way without success, either they were full or they couldn't handle a boat our size. He contacted the Crow's Nest Marina in Venice who had space and were happy to have us. But we missed the "exit" by then and had to double back a bit.

Thus we came to our second docking, which is along a pier, not in a slip. We followed a pontoon boat that behaved as if their captain was also green, moving real slow and backing up a few time so get into his dock, all of which was in our path. Eventually they got it worked out and we were clear to dock. Total trip time about three hours.

Copilot pooches
The weather thing is going to be a thing. Various weather apps tell us the winds will kick up tonight and be pretty strong through the day tomorrow, culminating in thunderstorms in the late afternoon and evening. If it's wrong we may head out in the morning but the current plan is to stay here tomorrow too.

Anchor day will have to wait. We're rescheduled for Monday. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Holiday Voyage, day 1

Today we started the journey to Key West. We had a few things still to do in Palmetto, like storing the scooters for the month or so we'll be gone. By 1 pm, we were underway.

Weather cooperated. Fair winds, calm waters. In the ICW waters aren't much of an issue, but we were traversing the section of Tampa Bay where, last time, the dinghy swayed to badly we had to turn back. This time, smooth sailing.

A friend used Google Maps to plot a walk from Palmetto to downtown Sarasota, pointing out that it would take 4 hours. Apparently, one doesn't boat for speed.

We've become a bit more familiar with the dinghy and our davit system. Looking back we're convinced it wasn't set up right at all when we got Cat-n-Dogs. Now when we travel that little boat doesn't so much as shutter let alone sway. It's been outfitted with a new outboard motor -- propane. That was another small feat, to get the old motor off the boat and put the new one on. The new one is missing a remote which apparently is needed to pilot from the little helm on the boat. Otherwise we'll use the tiller, which is the current plan. 
Big boats all around. Well, except for that pontoon.

We docked in Jack Marina, Sarasota around 4 pm. We had to back into the slip which, thankfully, I'd done a number of times in Palmetto so it felt like serendipity. This marina is very upscale, quite like Old Port Cove in West Palm Beach. We're surrounded by shiny, polished, huge mega-yachts. We feel like we're bringing down the neighborhood.

Haddock, asparagus, rice, and wine. Yum!
From there we took the dogs and walked the downtown of Sarasota to a Whole Foods, where I bought a few groceries including some haddock. We purposely left with "things to do" so we could get a feel for chores and tasks while underway. On the Great Loop, we'll be transient for the better part of a year.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Last minute fix-ups before the Christmas voyage

The trip back from Endeavour went like clockwork. We showed up, we loaded up, then they put us in the water (a little boat-repairer's secret -- don't put them in the water until the bill's been paid), and we hoisted off. The trip out was as tricky as the trip in. The depth gauge read 3 feet in places as we slowly made our way back to the Tampa Bay. Not that I minded, since amazing wildlife kept me company. Dolphins of course, played in the distance. Manatee! We dock on the Manatee river and had yet to see them. There were dozens about, floating, flapping, and just being buoyant. The niftiest thing I saw were some sting rays, three of them, swimming in formation. Sadly, by the time I could tell Russ, "Hey, Look!" so he could take a picture, we'd drifted past them (he was a bit preoccupied with the lines while I was steering away from the rocks). So you'll just have to take my word for it.

The crossing was absolutely perfect. Perfect seas, perfect temperature. We got into our slip with a little difficultly -- the winds were up here -- but we managed with no damage our boat or anyone else's, and that's our definition of victory.

Shiny new anchor
We're planning on heading south for Christmas later this week. Our first stop is in Fort Myers where we meet the "anchor people." They will take us out on our boat and teach us how to anchor this puppy. We suspect we'll need to know that for the trip to the keys. Everyone is there who can be there, so slips and moors will be stuffed. We have a reservation, but we believe we'll need to anchor at some point. After a fair amount of research Russ realized our current anchor was too small. Hence, we bought and installed a bigger one. Which sounds easy typed, but was a task.

Saturday night was the Christmas boat parade. It was the warmest night we'd had for a while. We sat on the top of the boat, giving us a clear view, and watched 27 decorated boats float by. Participating boats had dancers and music as well as animated reindeer. It was quite a spectacle.

Russ in the port engine room.
That's in the floor.
We also got a new outboard motor for the dinghy, which has yet to be installed (issues with a remote). We received all the things Russ sent from SF last week, like his kayak and the folding bikes. And we familiarized ourselves with the bar-b-que that came with the boat, cooking over the last couple of days. We made blackened red snapper. Again, no photos. You'll just have to take my word for it.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Let's get back on the boat!

Me and the dogs heading back to St. Pete. Lizzie is hiding.
We dropped the boat off at Endeavour Marine over a week ago. In that time we accomplished quite a bit (by "we", however, I mean Russ). Russ went back to San Francisco for a couple of days to get the condo ready for renting and get/send items back here we wanted for the loop trip. Items like his kayak and our folding bikes, some coats, a small heater -- things we didn't have because when we left SF last August we didn't plan on us doing this. We like to mix things up.

Currently we're in a La Quinta near downtown St. Petersburg. I got berated by the hotel manager because we didn't disclose that we had dogs. Had he known we would have had a room on the third floor, because that's the dog floor. Firstly, I book my rooms with an app on my phone. Why this information (that I travel with dogs) isn't part of the app or my profile in the La Qunita organization, I don't understand. They know my CC number, but not that, for the last 10 years each and every time I stay with them I've had dogs. Secondly, I've stayed in many a La Quinta and the dog floor is always, always the first floor. That way, it's an easy exit when you need to walk them: no stairs, no elevator. And lastly (this is to my dismay) since the first floor, IMHO, is noisier, I would have loved to have been on the third floor. Turns out he was sold out so I couldn't move. The berating was just to make him feel good.

Still on land, but newly painted.
Russ got a call this morning from the window tinters who showed up today -- in Palmetto. When we told them the situation, they asked if they could do their job while the boat was in dry dock. We called Endeavour who said, "sure," and they came out. A happy coincidence, and one more thing ticked off the "to-do" list.

Meanwhile, we did a bunch of running around; collecting parts for the generator from West Marine in Sarasota, picking up our new bench seating for the prow as well as our window coverings, and stopping by the boat to make sure we were ready to launch tomorrow. Weather is a go, Endeavour is a go. Everything looks good.

Should be a busy morning: we need to do two loads to the boat (not everything will fit into the car -- recall all the stuff Russ brought back from SF?), drop off the rental, organize enough that we can head out. High tide is around 2 pm. We hope to be backing out of the slip by 1 at the latest. Time to hit the water!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Voyage #3

Sunrise was at 7:02 this morning. We wanted to be just out by then. Things were calmer in the morning, and that was dandy by me.

We were up at 5, walked dogs, had coffee, then Russ started his engine checks. I pulled out of the slip by 6:52. As a bit of added complexity, given the temperature was in the low 50s, we piloted the boat from the helm inside rather than the fly bridge. I'm ready for the warm to come back.

Given our last trip wasn't ideal, I was a little nervous. The trip down the Manatee River was smooth, as we anticipated. Once we got to the Tampa Bay the seas chopped with 1 - 2 foot waves. Some white caps.

Again the dinghy swayed a bit. This time we hit the throttle, cruising around 3000 rpms. The tide was going out, so we were against it heading to St. Petersburg. But the added speed smoothed out the ride a bit (which made me and the
A little choppy but not too bad
pugs happy), and cut about fifteen minutes off the excursion.

As predicted, once past the Sunshine Skyway Bridge things calmed down. The last half of the journey was positively lovely. We ate breakfast, some cold cereal, on the way, and reached Endeavour Marine around 10:30 in the morning. 

We tried to hail the marine on radio, but no one answered. Russ called on the cell phone to get instructions, but they weren't real clear. I decided to dock, and that got someone out right away. They pointed us to the large boat lift, wanting us to park it there. I backed out, and moved us down the thirty feet into the lift area. That all sounds easy, and it wasn't too bad -- I'm pretty proud that I can handle tighter maneuvers with some confidence.

In the map it looks like we got the boat on the 92 bridge. If you zoom in you'll see we came up right next to it, then turned left, making our way along (just a few feet!) the shore. That's where the very shallow, very narrow channel makes you go. No options. You can see the ground just ten feet from our port side. Made the docking maneuvers slightly more challenging.

They strap her in and hoist her up. The rig has wheels
so they can set her down anywhere.
We watched for a while as they cinched up and hauled out our boat. They immediately pressure washed the bottom, preparing to paint it. That task will take about a week. We don't have any hard dates when we'll get the boat back. Such is boat life.

Once Russ got the rental car, we stopped and ate at the Jasmine Thai and Sushi Restaurant. Wonderful! There lunch specials are a roll and an entree. He got the spicy tuna roll and pineapple curry, I got the Buddha roll and pad thai. Great lunch.

Now we're checked into the La Quinta near the airport. Russ heads back to SF in the morning for a few days on a 8:45 am direct flight. I will wander back up to The Villages and hang out with my folks. 

Not ours anymore

There's a saying in the boating world, that the happiest days of a boater life is the day he buys the boat and the day he sells it. This...