-E.B. White

Monday, March 21, 2011

HEADING FOR THE BARN - PART ONE:  Now comes the time for us to put the pedal to the metal and set our sights for home.  The lake levels on the Okeechobee were low so we decided to cruise around the tip of Florida and come at the Okeechobee Waterway from the west coast.  However, that means we will not meet up with Istaboa in Stuart as we had hoped to do, but now plan to stop at our old stomping grounds - Legacy Harbour Marina in Ft. Myers.  
Leaving Dinner Key Marina, Thursday, March 17th en route to rendezvous with Big Run for a St. Patrick's Day Celebration.

We looked all week while the kids were here for the playful dolphins that like to play with our bow wake, but, no luck.  This fantastic, free, dolphin show occurred the day after they left - go figure.

  Izzy saying goodbye to her good friends, Bob & Sharon on Big Run - until we meet again!

First overnight stop was on the gulf coast of Florida - The Little Shark River - part of Everglades National Park. We arrived just as the sun was setting, always an interesting place to drop the hook.  You never know what is lurking in the water and on the banks.

Broulee enjoying the sunset - Little Shark River.

In order to make the 96 mile run from Little Shark River to Ft. Myers Beach, we did an early morning departure at 6:00 am - leaving the anchorage the moon was our guide. (I can't get the picture to load right - you will have to look at it sideways - sorry).

Sunrise - heading for Ft. Myers

It's very hard to take a good moon picture on a boat - this is the "Supermoon" from our anchorage at Ft. Myers Beach.

Made it to Legacy Harbour Marina only to find that half of the group we intended on seeing had left - it's that timing thing.  Very sorry to miss - Rick & Pam and Donnie & Marilyn - catch you next season.  Good to see Gene & Kathy on Front Page and Marv & Carol on DeeLight.  Now it's time to head east to RFYC.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

KIDS AND GRANDKIDS FIX - AKA - Smith Clan goes wild in the Keys!!! Couldn't ask for a better group of boating enthusiasts than our recent guests.  They have been on Broulee before in the BVI's and we were a little nervous about the cooler temps and not so crystal clear water, but, found out it doesn't really matter with these guys.  The day after their arrival we were stuck in the marina at Dinner Key due to winds so we decided to make the best of it by loading up our mini-van and becoming tourists for the day - visiting Miami Seaquarium on Key Biscayne.  The next four days we spent exploring, snorkeling, beach bumming, suntanning, and relaxing.  We never heard "I'm bored" once - so we are declaring it a fun time had by all !!! 
Group photo at the Miami Seaquarium
Our favorite attraction was Lolitta the Killer Whale - unfortunately not alot of photo opportunities - Lolitta enjoyed splashing the audience.

Again, you had to pick your times to take a pic without the threat of getting your camera wet - this seemed like a safe opportunity.
Colorful turtles and lounging seals.

We all got our educational fix for the day, also learning about Manatees, sea lions, crocodiles, fish and dolphins.  Then it was back in the mini-van and off to see South Beach (a different kind of educational fix).

Heading out into Biscayne Bay - south (well really west) towards the Keys.

Anchor down, and three generations of snorkeling Smith's hit the water.  Can you tell which ones spent the winter in Minnesota - that is some seriously white skin.

This is our aqua girl - back in Minnesota, she just took top honors in the girls 10 and under 400 free-style relay, and set a new state record in the process - very proud of you Georgia.

Ok, it's happy hour - while Pops & Nana enjoy a nice cold one - the kiddies are entertaining themselves with Mr. Nintendo!! (We know it's not right, but...)

Approaching Jewfish creek, we spotted another Krogen - Big Run heading south.  Although we were still all in our PJ's it seemed appropriate to come out and give them a big hello. 
Photo courtesy of Big Run.

Thank goodness for no wake zones - a gentle pass in Jewfish Creek.

Back to No Hame Harbour to rent the Peddle carts at Bill Baggs State Park - it's not as easy as you think - lots of synchronization has to happen - the front people can't stop peddling without telling the people in back - well you get the idea. 

Checking out Lighthouse Beach before coming back to swim.

Georgia burying Cooper in the sand at Lighthouse Beach - it seemed like a fun idea -that was until the de-sanding began - ow!

Back to Dinner Key Marina the day of their departure - we checked out the cute town of Coconut Grove  with all of it's sidewalk restaurants, bars, shops and painted peacocks (all within walking distance from marina).

THE SAND BAR - check out the sand on the floor.

Very sad to let them go, but it's back to school and work for them and Broulee is on a beeline for home.
Thank you, Cooper, Georgia, Katie & Brad - we had a great time!!

The end!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

PROS & CONS - THIS & THAT.  Just been hanging out at No Name Harbour which has his Pros & Cons and have just been doing a little bit of This & That.  Don't get us wrong - we love No Name Harbour with it's miles and miles of hiking and biking trails, also one of the top ten beaches in the U.S., a restaurant with a cuban flair, and a laundromat with a view, however, the weekends are sheer madness.  While here, Rick was able to get some varnishing done, we did alot of hiking (thank you Izzy), enjoyed a Presidente or two and survived the weekend craziness.     
Our favorite thing to do here.
Ok, well maybe this is Izzy's favorite thing to do here - hope we can find coconuts in Minnesota!

A blustery day on the beach.

Beautiful morning glories along the trail.

Depending upon the season, more than 50 buttefly species and 170 bird species may be seen at the park.

Stitllsville - another reason to visit here.

Another added attraction - one of two restaurants in the park.

and my favorite - the relaxing view from the laundry facilities - kick back with your book and a glass of wine - while your laundry does it's thing.

Never ending varnishing.

Then the weekend comes and you decide to stay until Monday because you have no idea which boat your anchor is under.
The sailboat decided to take a chance - we waited till Monday.

We have now moved on to Dinner Key Marina -awaiting arrival of our grandchildren!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

CULTURE SHOCK - arriving at Port Everglades on a warm Saturday afternoon was probably not such a good idea.  Our crossing from Bimini was good and how quickly we forget about boating on a weekend in Florida - especially on the ICW.  It certainly was like a "dodge um" game coming into the entrance  at Port Everglades and then you throw children in tiny sailboats, sportsfish, kayaks, go fast boats, 7 cruise ships and jetski's into the mix - your head starts spinning.  Not to mention the VHF radio screaming at you -  "radio check", "Tow Boat U.S.", "This is the Coast Guard - what is the nature of your emergency?" - we wanted to turn around and head back to the Bahamas.  We managed to stay focused and safely made it to an anchorage at Lake Sylvia (jam packed with weekend boaters) just north of Ft. Lauderdale.  We dinghyed over to a marina nearby, hailed a taxi to Customs & Immigrations, cleared in to the U.S. and back to the boats for our #1 priority - reactivating our cell phones!
Broulee coming home after 2 1/2 months in the Bahamas.
Photo courtesy of Big Run

Welcoming committee!
Small children on tiny sailboats - not a good mix in the entrance.
Port Everglades - Florida's deepest harbour.
Back in the land of Giants
YES!! I have missed you soooo much!
Sunday morning we got an early start, passing thru Port Everglades again, heading south.  Much quieter at this hour of the day.
Spotted this mega yacht along the way - it's name was Tatoosh - owner Paul Allen of Microsoft fame. But then this is his little boat (303 feet) his bigger boat - listed at 416 feet is ranked 26th largest in the world.
Check out the vessel she carries on her starboard side.
and this little number on her port side - nice!

Joni, I found this little house for sale - interested?
By noon on Sunday - we were back in the thick of things.  Time to pull off and anchor - it's getting crazy out here.

Monday morning - a quiet run down to Miami.
Leaving Belle Isle anchorage  - with a view of Miami in the background.  A sad day for us for two reasons - we had planned to spend one more day with Big Run touring South Beach, but we were booted out of our anchorage by the police.  We are still confused as to what happened exactly, but, something about permits required for anchoring in the area - so anchors up -  Big Run relocated to another anchorage nearby and Broulee headed to No Name Harbour to prepare for our company arriving next week. Bob & Sharon have been great traveling buddies and we will miss them alot.  Safe travels, Big Run, and look forward to the next time we meet. 

Passing Flagler Monument Island - a tribute to Henry Flagler a Miami pioneer.

The four people on the monument represent, Industry, Education, Pioneer & Prosperity
Industry is a man in a Roman toga who stands facing North holding a scroll and a small building.
Education is a female figure facing due east wearing a dress and a cape.  She holds a pile of books and reaches out with her lefthand in a welcome sign.
Pioneer is a statue of a sailor and faces due South, shielding his eyes from the sun.  He holds a shovel and sits on a plant.
Prosperity is a female figure in a long dress with a tiara on her head.  She holds a cornucopia and a purse clutched to her chest and her right hand reaches to the west.