Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Longboat Key (Projects list, part 1)

Frankly, I miss blogging. I take pictures of random things and, without a blog, have no one to share them with. So this is mostly pictures.

Besides, we have done a few projects, and have a few more planned. Documenting them will help me remember what I never want to do again.

Project Refrigerator: We had 2 boat-sized refrigerators. They needed constant attention since they would frost up in just weeks. Every now and again one would stop keeping temp. We assumed they were original to the boat and we wanted to replace them. Finding something similar took lots of googling and research, but we finally did.

The old...

The hardest part about these types of tasks is getting things 
on and off the boat. There was much heavy lifting, and careful
planning so nothing fell into the water.

One in, one to go

Ta da! They're perfect.

Turns out one of the old fridges was original. The other was only a couple of years old. It, however, was the one that leaked most recently, making us make the change.


Boat brains...

Project Refrigerator, part 2: About a year ago we bought an electric cooler for the sky lounge (which is the fancy name for the helm, upstairs). But it died. After talking to the manufacturer they told us to send it back.

Upstairs fridge packed to be returned.

From our boat we get some amazing sunrises. I call this series "Sunrise over Sarasota."



Bald eagle, right on the golf course, eating his lunch

We spent 3 days at my folks house for Christmas. This is a 
dock cart packed with our travel stuff. Was a time when
all I needed was a backpack. When did we become these people?

A boy and his dog.
More specifically, my brother and Bear.

Did I mention the awesome sunrises?

Project wash the carpets: We have a couple of large carpets inside the boat that, after a year of travel, rain, sand, dogs, and barefeet seriously needed to be washed. The pressure washer did an amazing job.



Project scooters: We owned a couple of vespas. They were perfect for getting around in New Orleans, but lousy for the island. We tried to sell them but no takers. We decided to donate them to charity instead. 
The Vespas being loaded and hauled away.

Another life chapter closed....

Project Fitness: This last year wasn't great activity-wise for me. So my New Year's resolution is to get into shape. I blame the drugs I'm on for wiping out all my "joie de vivre" but that's just an explanation, not an excuse. I've already started with some daily walking.

The paths on the key are quite lovely.

All over the island are banyan trees. They grow from the top down, 
sending branches into the soils that become part of the trunk.
I think they are my favorite tree.

And everytime I see one I start singing Aja by Steely Dan.
"Chinese music under banyan trees
Here at the dude ranch, above the sea.
"


Thursday, December 3, 2020

LBK, home

Brrr.... Chilly morning. Russ powered up the generator which allowed us to run the heat. The low was around 50. During the night we were comfortable enough, the three of us huddled together in the bed, but tough to leave the warm sheets.

The anchor came up without a hitch and we were off. I hadn't realized it, thinking we were another night from Longboat Key, but we were only a few hours away. Today was the day we got home.

Roughly 3000 miles ago we left Longboat Key to be with friends while they finished up their loop. The first of those was in St. Augustine when About Time crossed her wake. The second of which was As You Wish crossing their wake in Charleston. The rest of the cruising season was stunted by Covid and crazy high temperatures (6 weeks of over 90 degrees in Baltimore when they typically have 2). It wasn't until September that we got the opportunity to really cruise when we traversed the Potomac with Bella Gatto. Hard to believe another 9 months of boating is under our belts.

The Sarasota skyline. Such a cute little city.
We docked without much drama (I'd forgotten how narrow our slip really is). 

The blog will be a little dark for a while. We hope to do some day and weekend cruising to take advantage of the cool spots around the Tampa Bay, but not much is planned from now until March. The current thought is to go to the keys then for a while, then bop around the tip of Florida up to Miami. From their we're hoping to make the run to the Bahamas and stay there until June, then make our way back. But... Covid. So we'll see.

If you've been reading this blog all this time, I thank you. I will not forget to update it if anything exciting happens, boating or otherwise. I confess, it's nice to be back at homebase.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Englewood, anchor

I admit, we didn't stay very long in Ft. Myers. I do like the place. I'm hoping we have a chance to visit over the winter. We did get to see some friends who also have an Endeavour. They winter in Ft. Myers. It was really nice to catch up and trade stories about our summers.

Early in the morning, right after breakfast, we headed out with a stiffer NE wind. We suspected that it would make for a bumpy ride at the big inlet near Cayo Costa, and we were right. We had to do some tacking to make the ride a less beamy.

Otherwise the day went without a hitch. Including anchoring, which caught solidly on our first try.

Enlarged you can see Gypsy's Palace at 
the Edison Ford Marina.
Our only real adventure happened in the late afternoon when we decided to take Lizzie to shore. But we forgot, between the Thanksgiving holiday and our short visit to Rigid Boats to look at new dinghys (more on that in a bit) to get it a new battery. Russ managed to coax the engine for a while, making progress about 1/4 of the way to the dock. But then it stalled. After repeated attempts to get the 20 hp engine running, we gave up and broke out the paddles. Disgruntled and a little embarrassed, we slowly got back to the boat.

Back in west Florida. The depths in the ICW
are closer to 10 feet or less. Right off
the bow you can see land.
Recall the incident on Lake Okeechobee and Russ being done with our dinghy? Once in Ft. Myers one of the first phone calls we made was to a company called Rigid Boats. We'd been eyeing these small crafts for a couple of years now. They aren't cheap, so it's been on the "someday" list. Conveniently, Rigid Boats is located in Ft. Myers. Serendipity! They came out, picked us up, and took us to tour the facility and make our order (all in masks, by the way). Each boat is made to order. We hope to have our delivered to Longboat Key in late January. 

Which is handy, since that will give us some time to get rid of our current dinghy. Anyone interested in a used small boat?