-E.B. White

Saturday, February 27, 2010

THE EAST COAST OF FLORIDA - is a whole different ball game.  Everything is bigger and yes that means more expensive.  We had one more lock to got thru before entering the intracoastal  and it is the St. Lucie Lock - this lock dropped us about 14 feet (prior to this we have been raising up before the lake and now the big drop back down). 

Getting close to the east coast now - just passing under interstate 95.

Jupiter Lighthouse at Jupiter Inlet

This is your typical marina scene on the east coast.   We feel like a bobber in the ocean.

This was one of the yachts dinghy - oh my.

Sailing anyone?

and lets not get started on the McMansions - this house went for a block in each direction.

Ok, just this one more - I can't believe how many mega yachts there are here.

 We traveled the intracostal waterway to one of our favorite anchorages at Lake Worth. 
What do you think - Is she waiting for the green flash or trying to figure out a way to get to land?

End of a good day!

Friday, February 26, 2010

WE CROSSED LAKE OKEECHOBEE on Friday the 26th of February even though we had decided it was too windy to cross (we never listen to ourselves).  The trip from Labelle to Clewiston was pretty with lots of farm land and the waterway is fairly wide and deep.

Bee hives along the way

The town of Moore Haven is a center for the sugarcane industry.  From the boaters point of view the sugarcane fields are a mixed blessing.  As part of the cutting process the fields are burned and your boat may end up covered in sooty black flakes. 

.  The former beauty of this stretch has been destroyed by the Corps of Engineers project to eradicate the exotic casuarina trees along the shoreline. 

The waterway heading out to the lake  - the lake is actually on the other side of the tall grass on the left side of the pic.

Last stop before going out onto the lake - we decided to poke our nose out into the lake and see if the waves were as bad as "they" were predicting. This place reminded us of Bobby's Fish Camp on the Tennessee River (minus the fish camp). 

Poking out into the lake - maybe we will go - maybe we won't

By the time we got to the lake and found out it was bumpy it would have taken us at least 45 minutes to go back to Clewiston Marina and we were looking at a 3 hour crossing so once again we talked ourselves into doing a crossing that probably shouldn't have happened.  The lake is the second larget freshwater lake located wholly in the continental United States.  However, it is a very shallow lake with normal depts from 11 to 17 feet and "they" say never cross in a north wind - oh well it was only 3 hours
When we got to the other side of the lake the Port Mayaca Lock was wide open - unfortunately this mean't trying to manuever a single screw boat with a high, wind catching bow, surfing on 3 foot waves thru a 40 foot space.  One of us screamed all the way thru - and not joyful screams. 

Stopped at Indiantown Marina for the night and some old friends from our Marathon Marina days were there on "Norseman"  always amazing when your paths cross again.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

CROSSING THE OKEECHOBEE WATERWAY TO STUART - leaving from Fort Myers is about a 135 mile trip and should take us a couple of days.  I am including a map of the route because it's hard to believe, but, some people have no clue where the Okeechobee Waterway is  - Gail this is for you:

The first lock traveling east is the W.P. Franklin Lock - the lockmasters here are helpful and very talkative. 

This lock has about a two foot lift

The waterway which opened in 1937 offers a chance to see rural florida, with small towns much as they were in the early days.  Along this section ranches and big commercial farms alternate with moss-hung wilderness.  The Caloosahatchee River makes up 77 miles or so of the waterway and is still considered to be the most scenic part of the waterway.   

Lots of orange groves

Moss covered trees

"I could live here"

and lots of cattle relaxing on the river banks - hey wait a minute?

The second lock is Ortona Lock just past the town of LaBelle which dates back to the 1800's and is famous for it's Swamp Cabbage Festival.  The lock here raises you about 8 feet.

Just a few miles past the Ortona Lock we decided to tuck into River Forest Yachting Center - we were in for another blow and this is where will be leaving our boat this summer in storage and thought it would be a good chance to get aquanited with the staff.  Turns out they have 30 acres most of it fenced in for Izzy to run, playball and just get wild. 

For you non-boaty people - the bottom sign means they can pump out your potty.

This is the storage facility Broulee will be in for hurricane season 2010.  "They" claim it is able to sustain a category 5 hurricane - we hope it will not be tested. Check it out at http://www.riverforestyc.com/  we will be at the LaBelle location.

Couldn't believe it, but, we had the whole marina to ourselves - which mean't Izzy could run free without a leash.  We went in to pay and they informed us NO CHARGE.  Pinch me - this is too good to be true!

The marina staff asked Izzy if she has a ball - of course, she said no - so they gave her one.  We now have to carry a sign with us that says "Beware of the con artist dog".    She also found a stick and she got the "wild eye" her butt goes down, her eyes roll back and she runs out of control knocking down anything in her path - nice dog.

Dog Tired - priceless

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

BAHAMAS OR BUST - It was not looking good for our scheduled departure from Legacy Harbour Marina in Fort Myers, on our quest for adventure on the bounding seas - we were socked in with fog and pacing the decks.  Decided while waiting for fog to lift to try Izzy's life jacket that she wore last year  because the description said it fit up to a 70lb. dog and she is now 68 pounds.  Hmmmm what do ya think - does it make my butt look big?  Good thing she's a swimmer.

Patiently waiting for fog to lift

By 10:30 the fog had lifted enough to at least see the river - so this is it - say our last goodbyes, start the engines, cast of the lines and head for clear blue water and warmer climes.

It is extremely difficult for us to leave this place, if you will remember last year we came for a couple of days and ended up staying 2 months.  The staff is first class and the many friends we have met here are priceless. To Donnie on Kasey's Choice - how did you do on the departure date pool? 


Hey don't I get a vote on leaving the marina - I love it here!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

ANNUAL THOMAS EDISON FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS PARADE & FIREWORKS is a huge deal here.  They kick off the event with fireworks on the river at 7:15pm then the grand lighted parade begins and goes on for a couple of hours winding it's way through downtown.  They were expecting 200,000 and we were planning on being spectators but happy hour turned into hours of happy and must consume food right now became a priority.  We continue to forget our pledge we have in the neighborhood back home "Friends don't let friends drink without eating" and let me tell you from my own personal experience - pizza crust does not qualify as a meal.  Here are some shots of the fireworks taken from the back of Broulee.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


For two years, well even longer then that, I have been trying to get a decent picture of a manatee.   Last year we took our dinghy up to the power plant where they like to hang out in the warm water to try and get some pictures, but no luck - we didn't even see one.  This year we drove to Manatee Park just to catch a look at the elusive beast.  Sorry folks, this is as good as it gets.  It was a cloudy day, it was too cold, there were too many people, they weren't in the mood, I could go on and on, but, seriously - I think they don't like me.


  Do people really need to be told this? And secondly would this kind of person have $500.00?

Friday, February 12, 2010

HELLO FROM SUNNY WARM FLORIDA - and other unrelated subjects.

This just in....

Deb's mom just won this lovely candelabra in a white elephant gift exchange - she went for the biggest package there - mom, bigger is not always better. This thing has re-gifting written all over it.

And last, but not least, this great picture our friend Doug sent us from a few years back of Rick and Cruising Cat Fred prowling the docks on their nightly walk. We miss you Freddy!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

CATCH UP TIME AGAIN! Ok so I've been a slacker , busy, but not sure doing what. I just checked Tourist's blog and he's back at it so figured I better write something otherwise I'm sure to hear from Doug.

A couple of shout outs from Deb - 1st thanks Izzy for finding this Hello Kitty Balloon in the bushes for my birthday and Rick for making my day special and........

Joni for this great conversation gift for happy hour. and Jackie, my sunrise/sunset friend - thanks for the birthday wishes. My email is dk.smith@att.net

Made it to Ft. Myers on the 25th of January and into Legacy Harbour Marina in a strong north blow. All was fine until the Captain let the crew know he was a little nervous about docking in the strong winds - it was almost Mutiny on the Broulee. Maybe next time the Captain should keep his nerves to himself. There was a large contingent of old friends to greet us (that's just what you want lots of people watching you when you may be crashing into things or "excited" words exchanged onboard). To make a long story short the Captain did a great job; the assistance from all the dock hands was much appreciated and all those "excited" words were spewed into the wind and never heard from again. We planned to stay a week but by the next day had convinced ourselves to stay a month - great place to get some projects done and oh, yes we need to go get our car from Panama City (384 miles) and leapfrog it to here - are we having fun yet?

Our journey to Ft. Myers started with crossing the Gulf of Mexico from Apalachicola to Clearwater on January 19th in the teeny tiniest weather window we have probably ever had - turned out to be one of our best crossings of the Gulf. The pics below show just how flat it was. Left Apalachicola at 6:00 pm and arrived in Clearwater at 5:00pm on the 20th.

Seas overnight and into the morning 2 feet or less

By midday - the seas went flat

Stayed at Clearwater City Marina the 20th & 21st waiting for another blow to pass thru. We encountered this Pirate ship just as we were entering the harbour at Clearwater. After 23 hours at sea - yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum sounds pretty good. Ahoy Matey we're coming aboard!

Broulee all safe and secure at Clearwater Marina just before sunset Ahhhh!

There where two other Krogens at the Marina a 39 ft. named Grand Adventure and a 42 ft named Steveadore - I think this qualifies as a Krogen rendezvous.

Clearwater Marina is home to one of largest fishing fleets on the west coast of Florida, also sailing charters, sight-seeing boats, dinner cruise boats, parasail boats and dive boats.

We left Clearwater on the 22nd along with several sailboats with a planned destination near Tampa Bay just east of Maximo Point and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge Causeway. We all travel about the same speed so we had lots of company when we dropped the hook that night. One of the boats had a yellow lab on board and Izzy was "hey what's up with that" when she saw the dog heading to shore in their dinghy. She is pretty sure she can remember we have one of those boats too - "why can't we go too?"

Keesi waiting paitently to go to shore.

We were really hoping Izzy wouldn't see this - but she did. So much for the potty training in the tray.

The 23rd was a Saturday and we normally make it a rule not to travel on the Intracostal on the weekends, but the barn door was in site and well anyway......... It looked like it might be a kinder, gentler day when this sportfish actually hailed us and told us he would like to give us a slow pass (this is almost unheard of). But everything went downhill from there ( sheer craziness).

Now he's starting to kick it up a notch - oh,oh - that sailboat is in for a ride. Thanks sportfish "Therapy" for the nice pass.

Tampa Bay was a bit choppy but manageable - we have just passed under the Tamp Bay Bridge and will be heading back into the Intracoastal.

There are lots of things on the Intracostal that can make or break your day - one is the millions of bridges (well it seems like that many) that you have to have opened (on their schedule) so you can continue on your way.

and lots of NO WAKE ZONES.

Although the Intracoastal is not Rick's favorite for the above reasons - it is fun to travel thru it - well unless the water gets skinny or your waked by a big go fast boat or a bridge is down for maintenance or well you get the idea.
There are lots of beautiful homes like this and....

hanger-on houses like these

and every block or so has a little side canal where you can park your boat right at your house!

The evening of the 23rd we ended up tying up to the wall at The Crows Nest Marina in Venice after scrapping severeal plans to anchor out. It seems Saturday is a popular night for anchoring in large flotillas and partying all night. Crows Nest Marina is a good spot to hang at and the next morning on our walk Izzy saw her first snake (my favorite kind a dead snake). Yes there was bloodcurdling screams going on at that point. I'm pretty sure everyone was well aware we had just found a snake.

Crows Nest Marina - Venice, FL

And Izzy's buddy Keesi was at the marina also.

The 24th we had a pretty uneventful cruise to one of our favorite anchorages at Cape Haze just in time for another blow. As we were approaching the anchorage we were greeted by these frisky dolphins playing in our bow wave. You just don't get tired of seeing them. Settled in to watch the Vikings vs the Saints for the NFC game - oh, well maybe next year.

How cute is this?

Oh, my gosh - it just can't get any better than this.

Well that's it - the next day we made it to the Caloosahatchee River and Legacy Harbour Marina our home for the next month.