Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Heading West

As to be expected, our plans have changed. We last left you with the plan that we would get a mooring ball in Fort Myers for a month when I returned from Texas, well that's changed.

 Just before leaving on the 11th, we began throwing around ideas to escape the heat for the summer; last year we went north on the rediscover America road trip. With record heat predicted this summer and my being stuck to the interior of Sanibel five days a week, we decided to put Sanibel on dry dock and head for Nebraska. We’ll stay with my parents for the summer. It will still be hot, but we’ll have climate control indoors to escape the heat.

Our favorite little frozen yogurt shop.

Build your own with eight flavors and over 40 toppings to choose from.

When finished, set you cup on the scale to get weighed...pay and then eat away.

Jimi kept busy while I was in Texas: He found several busted bolts in the aft bulkhead and replaced them all with larger bolts; there were about eight in total. He scrubbed and shined the stainless on the bow and all around the windlass, he repaired the grill after the mount broke and it fell over and he rebuilt our speer guns and mounted them on the wall in a safe place. With added solar panels, we haven’t used the wind generator in a while, so he removed it and its mounting from the mizzen mast. He’s hoping the fifty pounds removed will reduce weather helm and heeling. He also managed a little interior decorating when he mounted his collection of license plates to one of the Head doors. The work and room for improvement on a sailboat never ends.
A small piece of our travels.

The speer guns are now mounted in a holder for safe storage out of the way. 

Despite my many attempts to avoid it, I celebrated another birthday.  Jimi gave me a Widow’s Mite coin embedded in a sterling silver casing on a chain. This coin is over 2,000 years old originally called a Mite and now known as the Widow’s Mite from the story in the bible mentioned in both Mark 12: 41-44 and Luke 21: 1-4. It’s a spectacular gift.
The front of the coin is a star (I previously called it a sun ray). It's off center; as you might imagine, they were made by hand, probably by slaves. Not much in the way of perfection was put in to them, making each one unique. Later they were discarded and used as weights in the keel of a boat. 

The back side is a picture of an anchor, as the community survived off the fishing industry.

We've had a lot of dolphin activity lately, but this morning we were totally surrounded.

We enjoy watching the dolphins, but they are difficult to capture in a snapshot.

It was a nasty job, but don't fear, Jimi took care of it. This is actually our anchor chain with about two inches of fur grown in. This has only been three weeks worth.

We’re now preparing Sanibel for storage and getting ourselves ready for our journey to the mid-west. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

We rarely 'stay put'

Planes flying over the anchorage practicing for the big show.

Well I must start off by saying there are pros and cons to working full time again…first I do love my job. Sure, I get frustrated sometimes, as with anything. But for the most part it feels good; I even enjoy my short trips to McAllen. However, finding time to do everything I want to do is quite difficult and this includes writing the blog.

After spending three weeks in McAllen, Texas, I flew to Fort Myers, where Jimi picked me up. We stayed a few days anchored in the harbor and then moved Sanibel into a slip at Fisherman’s Village.  We had not yet been able to enjoy the luxuries of being on a dock, as we left the following day. With Sanibel safely tied to the pylons, we flew to Colorado. Jimi had some frequent flyer miles that were about to expire and we decided to make use of them.

We stayed at friend Juraj’s house for the first three nights. Friday evening we were able to meet up with a longtime girlfriend, Vicki and her daughter Jayden. Vicki recently lost her sixteen year old son in a car accident. We grilled steaks for supper, laughed, cried and paid our respects. We’ll continue to hold her in our thoughts and prayers.
Lorie and Vicki

Juraj made us a fantastic Spanish dish for lunch called Paella. Ingredients include rice, sausage, shrimp, muscles and various spices. It was delish! 
Paella in the making.

In addition, my mother decided she would buy Juraj’s couch and we would deliver it to her. The guys measured and decided it would easily fit in the rented mini-van we were driving. And so we proudly became a temporary furniture delivery service.

The following day we drove through a spring snowstorm to get home to Nebraska. 
 In Eastern Colorado nearing Nebraska

It’s wasn’t too bad though, eventually we drove out of the falling snow and into falling rain. While we were a little concerned about the weather, the highlight of the trip turned out to be when just as we arrived in front of my parent’s house Jimi was pulled over by a State Trooper. The reason? for not using his turn signal. I suppose it was important enough to the Trooper to stand in the rain while giving Jimi a warning.

While in Nebraska, we delivered the couch to my mother, helped my sister finalize her move to a new apartment, dog sat for Jennifer and Gavlin and helped dad with various projects. We got to meet the newest member of the family, my great great nephew Tripp and give big hugs to other family members my nieces Jacque Sue and Bonnie, great nieces Kristina and Brittany. Jennifer and Gavlin cooked us a delightful steak dinner and we played with grandpuppies Diesel and Remi.
Jenn, Remi and Lorie


Dad and Mom with their great great grandson, Tripp.

Upon our return to Denver the night before our flight, we stayed with friends, Brad and Ellen. They ordered in a plethora of scrumptious sushi dishes. We ate and laughed and enjoyed a full evening of fun.

The flight back to Florida went without a hitch. We are still in Fisherman’s Village enjoying ‘dock life’. It’s different than being at anchor: easier to get off Sanibel, we have showers, a pool, a day room, and a nice coffee shop with internet. On the flip side – we also have very close neighbors and must be clothed at all times.
The catch from a charter fishing operation at Fisherman's Village.

Tradition when a large fish is caught; this is a Tuna. Drink pouring a beverage through the gills of the fish. This guy nearly hurled when he was finished.

We began going for walks twice a day: once in the morning, with coffees in hand, before I begin work and once just after supper. During our evening walk I usually get ice from the property’s ice machine. Since I’m working full time again, Jimi is doing the majority of the cooking. Even though I’m not particularly excited about cooking, it’s hard for me to sit back and watch/let him do it; I’ve always done the cooking. However, it makes sense and I’m happy he’s pitching in. We’re taking advantage of the pool as well. We go everyday for a short time during the hot afternoon heat. It gives us a chance to cool off and get a little exercise.
Sanibel on the dock of Fisherman's Village Marina

 The bikes...and tail end of Jimi's.

 Entrance to the dock.

 The shops and time shares in Fisherman's Village.

Punta Gorda offers a lot of activities, while we’re not strangers to the area, we can always find things to do. The city offers free use of bicycles and there’s a station at Fishermans’ Village. We go in the office and ask for a bike anytime we want one. We’ve gone out a few times now. Over the weekend we rode to the Peace River Wildlife Center. They take in wounded wildlife with the intention to rehabilitate and release the animals. If, for some reason, an animal is unable to be released back in to the wild because they wouldn’t survive, they become a permanent resident. The organization is maintained by passionate volunteers. And after our tour, Jimi and I could see ourselves giving our time to care for the animals, if we were to remain in the area. Just in the couple of hours we were there numerous animals were brought in many of which were turtles who’d been hit by cars.

This is the Pelican area for those permanent residents. Many of them only have one wing. Outside pelicans, known as freeloaders fly in to socialize and get free snacks. Clearly resembles a Pelican daycare. Other larger birds are also kept in this pen.

This is Luna, the Leucistic Owl. 

Two American Bald Eagles: one missing a wing and the other
born with deformities rendering it unable to fly. 

We have about a week left on the dock. I’ll fly to Texas on the 11th for two weeks. Jimi will leave the marina on the 12th and wait for a weather window to sail to Fort Myers Beach. We plan to pick up a mooring ball for a month. And that’s all for now folks!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Key West

Key West was different than we remembered it. We spent several months in Key West about two years ago and were excited about our return this year. However, something just wasn’t right. Whether it was us or something else, we don’t know. It was crowded, the people weren’t as friendly, we experienced an unpleasant encounter with the local Laundromat, things felt expensive and we couldn’t find decent internet.

Upon our arrival we anchored further from the main island just North of Wisteria Island. Then later we moved anchor over to Flemming Key. It was a slightly shorter ride and more protected, however, we noticed the conflicting currant and winds issue, which is a well know problem for the anchorages in Key West. 
The monthly price for the dinghy dock is $80, so we split the cost with buddy boat friend, Bob. Therefore, we had to use Bob’s dinghy anytime we went to shore, but it worked out because we were usually all together anyhow. We thought about paying the fee to use the laundry and showers…until we were told the prices: $65 per person to use the showers for a month. Are they out of their minds? In addition there is an added cost to use the laundry facility, but that’s not all. On top of the fee to access the facility the washers and dryers cost per load like that of a traditional Laundromat. Yes, we decided they are out of their minds and we opted not to pay to access the showers or laundry.

A local musician playing his craft.

This is what happens when you collect more 'stuff' than will fit on your boat.

Nice skies.

Tall ship - a common tourist attraction. This may have been the sunset cruise. 

An entertainer in Mallory Square.

A young couple with four children on a catamaran from France anchored next to us. With Jimi being watchful of boats anchoring too close, he went over to talk to them. They had just completed a long sail from Cuba; they were tired and hungry and needed to check in with the U.S. authorities. Jimi gave them the run down on the area and they went to shore. The following morning they came over needing to use our phone. I made us coffee, we helped them with the check in process via telephone and we visited for a while. We saw them one other time before they had to leave. The family is on their way to New York City, where they have rented an apartment for a month and more family from France is flying over to join them. Who knows, maybe we’ll meet them again one day.

One of our first stops was to our favorite little sandwich and coffee shop, The Cuban Coffee Queen. By far, they have THE BEST Cuban sandwiches around. Jimi and I can split a sandwich for $7.50 and our bellies will be plenty full. The coffees are pretty great too and less expensive than Starbucks. And so we frequently visited The Cuban Coffee Queen.

Hey - we found a chair bigger than the one in Fort Meyers.

Portuguese man of war floating past Sanibel.

This guy is made from sea sponges. Looks like the beast from Beauty and the Beast.

We showed Bob around the area with numerous long walks, had a few drinks at the Conch Republic Seafood Company, visited the Mel Fischer treasure and spent our time as leisurely as we could. I tried to get internet at the library, but it was only good enough for surfing; trying to upload or download was a waste of time. I tried at a few other places, but I was consistently disappointed. The only good internet we found was at The Cuban Coffee Queen; however it isn’t a place I could sit with my laptop. It’s a small building with a couple of outdoor benches and standing room only.

Our friends, Judy and Gary on s/v Cool Runnings were in the marina an island over. We never got over to see them, but they took a shuttle to Key West and we met up with them for a quick drink. It’s such a special thing to meet up with friends practically wherever we go.

At the local Laundromat in downtown Key West we had a run-in with the grumpy man, who runs the place, when Jimi confronted him for spending ten plus minutes yelling profanities about me. I couldn’t get the dryer door to stay shut and he felt I slammed it too hard; its people like me who break the washers and dryers that he always has to fix. Anyhow, we left and will never return there. Next time we’ll go to a different Laundromat.

On March 16th I received an email from my boss at Cencorp. The lady we hired less than a year ago quit and he wanted to know how soon I could get to Texas. The next day I was on a plane to McAllen, Texas. Since then, I have hired a replacement and gone to a permanent full time status with the company.  This changes things for Jimi and I. First of all, it means we will have to stay in the United States and it means I won’t be working on my own schedule, but will be a 9 to 5 employee now. Jimi and I decided this would be a good move for us for a while. I’m still in Texas and plan to fly back to Florida this coming weekend.
This is the plane I was on, when I left Key West.

In the meantime, Jimi said his good byes to Key West and our good friend, Bob. He left at 3 a.m. on the 24th arriving at Smokehouse Bay in Marco Island that evening. He stayed there for about a week and then made his way up to Cabbage Key and finally to Charlotte Harbor. He is pleased to report that all three sails were fantastic.
Jimi enjoys his bongos.

Anchored in Charlotte Harbor, he decided we may as well make use of our Astro van and he rode his bicycle nineteen miles to reunite with it.  Now he can pick me up from the airport and we’ll have transportation when we need it.

Our adventure may not be as exciting for the next eighteen months or so, however, we hope you stay in touch and continue to read our blog. We never know what we’ll write in the sand and then what the tide may wash away. For now, we plan to be somewhere on Florida’s west coast. Keep us in mind if you plan to be in the area. 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Our time in Marco Island

Marco Island: it’s small and wealthy; a little too rich for our liking. We were anchored in a small bay surrounded by condos and a strip mall for shopping. It took an hour or more to motor to this inward bay through canals bordered by single family homes. We were glad to be in there when the open seas were getting twenty knots of wind and we got nearly nothing.

We enjoyed walking to various places as most everything was close. We walked to Wells Fargo, the U.S. Postal Service, Publix and West Marine just to name a few. I was excited to check out a second hand store, but was disappointed when I saw their prices. Nothing beats the second hand store prices in Nebraska. I suppose that’s what I’m used to now.
The Winn Dixie dinghy dock. Very convenient to get groceries.

On our way back to our boats.

We have to go under the bridge.

When we first arrived we stopped for coffee and a bite to eat at Mangos. It was good and right on the water. I watched Sanibel as we ate.
The view from Mangos.

I took Jimi’s bicycle and rode to the other end of the island two miles away to spend a few hours at the public library. It was nice to get away and the bike ride was good too.

And then we have many days of no play and all work.
I have to clean the fridge one or two times a week. Everything comes out including the wire rack. I use bleach water to clean everything.

All clean!

Jimi scrubbing the water line.

On Wednesday we walked 2+ miles to the beach. While there were a lot of people, there were also a lot of shells and I hadn’t brought my shell bag. I was bummed. We walked a while enjoying the sand, fresh sea air and the scenery. On our way back we stopped at Doreen’s Cup of Joe. Doreen’s is where it’s at. Jimi and I each ordered a cappuccino (I drank mine and half of his) and we shared a burrito. Both the coffees and the burrito were great! Thumbs up to Doreen.
 Wide open spaces.

Jimi found a couple of chairs by the trash..

The tide was out, the wind was blowing and we love the beach.

Bob made arrangements with the marina to let us have showers, so we each got in two showers during the week we were there. We tried to use the internet, but it wasn’t working, which is why I went to the library one morning.

Coconut are everywhere. After nearly a year of giving Jimi the Coco Jack as a gift, he was finally able to use it. We tried it out for the first time.
First he has to cut some off the end...

...until it looks like this.

Then he takes his tool and pounds a few times... 

...until the tool in embedded in the coconut.

Then he opens the coconut by pulling the handle of the tool in an upwards direction.

Waa Laa - get a straw and enjoy.

If you want some coconut meat. scrape it out with the next tool.

Here's a large chunk of coconut meat.


I love these tool and we're so please they worked so well. 
Thank you Shark Tank and Coco Jack.

We left the bay area around 3 pm Saturday anchoring just outside the canals to stage ourselves for our real departure. Then at 9 pm we pulled anchor again and set sail. We sailed through the night…finally arriving at Key West, Florida at 2 pm on Sunday.

We’re not certain how long we’ll stay here – maybe a few weeks to a month or more. For now, we’re happy to be back in one of our favorite places.