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Living Well Sailing

We left Marathon yesterday morning shortly after 8:00. (we had to wait for the fuel dock to open). a funny thing happened while we were refueling. I looked at the cockpit and just happened to catch a glimpse of something furry going down the companionway ladder into the boat (long pause here for Ryder, kolie, Anelise and Elena to guess). I finished filling the water tank and then went searching all through the cabin. I finally met "Buster" as he was exiting the aft cabin, tail and head high like he owned the place. He has escaped on three other boats and almost made it to the bahamas one time. His new name is "Stow-a-way". (Purrrr).
So after this start the rest of the day went well. We traveled north with MIDORI as far as the channel 5 bridge when they chose to go on the "inside".
We stayed in Hawks Channel and came North to Rodrigues key, near Key Largo for the night. Brian and Lynn were going on to Dinner Key today . That is on Biscayne Bay at Coconut grove. We were off the anchorage at 4:30 this morning and headed to Bimini. It was a good day to get across even though it started a little bumpy. We even had company on the radio from other boats we met in Georgetown last year, so we were not alone. At one point we were called by GRATITUDE on the VHF. we were 2 hours out of Bimini and they were just leaving Bimini. We will probably catch up catch up with them before we reach Georgetown.
It is 5:30 and we are all through customs and immigration and tied to the Blue WATER MARINA dock enjoying the evening. Tomorrow we move on.


We have been very busy this week thinking we would leave Marathon on Thursday (today). However, Mother Nature had different plans. Steve has been busy putting a solar panel above the bimini on the aft deck. I have been doing the provisioning. We made contact with our friend Michael J Brennen who is on his boat JULIANNE down in KeyWest. We met him last year through Brian and Lynn (they met him in Virginia 7 years ago). He drove up to have diner with all of us on Tuesday and we went to Sparky's for 25 cent fresh peel and eat shrimp and wings. Then since he had a car, we ran errands to the far ends of the island. We really enjoy his company and his sense of humor.
People ask us what we do all day on the boat. The following is what we did on Wednesday:
6:00 Steve was up making coffee
6:30 Ma up for coffee and breakfast
7:00 gathered laundry, let down dinghy, loaded dinghy
8:30 left the boat for marina
8:45 Ma started laundry. Steve went after stainless steel bow arch (2 miles each way).
11:30 3 loads of laundry washed, dried, folded, packed in dinghy. Steve took things back to LIVING WELL and delivered them to the saloon (yes the spelling is correct, but pronounce it salon).
11:40 Ma walked to shopping area (1 mile+) did some shopping on the way.
1:30 Ma lunch @ McDonalds
2:00 Ma grocery shopping @ Public's
4:00 Ma cab back to marina w/ groceries, unpacked from cab to cart to dinghy. (Steve was there waiting to help). Then back to the boat.
4:15 Steve and Ma unloaded groceries from dinghy to boat then up top and down ladder to saloon. Steve had been working on the bow and solar panel and he had tools scattered EVERYWHERE! (along with the clean laundry that came back earlier).
4:25 Unpack and put groceries away, clean and organize cabin, make bed, take a breath, (Maybe even a quick nap). Answer call from Brian and Lynn.
5:30 Grab shower bags, dinghy into marina (in the rain) find an empty shower (12 to choose from), shower, walk to Hurricane for dinner. (1/4 mile).
6:00 dinner with Brian and Lynn
7:00 walk back to the marina (another1/4 mile)
7:15 dinghy back to LIVING WELL
8:OO BACK ON BOARD FOR THE NIGHT . Hoist dinghy up. Read, tinker, talk, play on computer, etc.
9:00 Lights out! (9:00 IS the sailors midnight) GOOD NIGHT1

TO Ft. Myers and beyond

On Tuesday Morning MIDORI and LIVING WELL both left the park. We stayed at a mooring field in the Matanzas Pass which is the river between Ft. Myers and Ft. Myers Beach . We had a good visit and dinner with Jack and Diana Toomey. They are the third couple we came down the East Coast with in 2007-8. They are living in a marina in Ft. Myers that we can't get our mast under a bridge to visit, so they came to us. Dinner at the BEACHED WHALE...yummmm! (Yes, Dawn and Lindsey, I had fried oysters without you!).
LIVING WELL and MIDORI left Early on Friday morning and ran south all day. It was a very good day to travel so we went farther than we had planned. 60+ miles to Pavilion key and anchored for the night. The next day we were up early and off on another good day to travel...even to sail. The wind picked up a bit late in the day and we were under mainsail and with the motor running as we went under/through 7 mile bridge near Marathon. I had just discussed with the ""Captain" the idea of taking down the sail and we had decided to leave it up. Good Call as just as we were directly under the bridge the motor died. We were able to sail right on through without a problem in a 23 knot wind. Without the sail we would have probably hit the bridge as we were "crabbing " our way through because of the wind. I took the helm, Steve ran below and talked sweet to the engine and when we tried to start her again she jumped right to life. The one filter he had not replaced this year was one of the diesel filters ( It was replaced today) and we think that was the problem. WE had an uneventful trip the rest of the way in to Marathon...Boot Key Harbor. Our friends Van and Lauren From GRATITUDE were beside us in their dinghy even before we were moored. Later that evening we all (Brian and Lynn too) went out for Pizza. That was yesterday. GRATITUDE left the harbor early this morning for the North {Rodriguez Key) for their jump to the Bahamas. Brian, Lynn, Steve and I went to the American Legion For the Best Breakfast in town this morning then walked on some errands (received our flu shots as the vaccine was not available in Charolette Harbor or Ft. Myers) and then spent the rest of the day catching up on the boat. We will be here for at least a week. Marathon is a really good place to be and a hard place to leave. It's like "commin home"....and Key West is just a 75 cent bus ride away!

Moving on

This was the first of many parties. WE had a progressive dinner where we had Appetizers on an assigned boat, then went to another boat for dinner and then back to the "HUT" for dessert. ( I had standing rib roast prepared on a was magnificent) On another night we were invited to the yard owners house in North Ft .Myers for a Lasagna Dinner (About 80 people in a huge log home with lots of beautiful Christmas Decorations, and even Santa attended). We had a breakfast on Christmas eve morning, then a dinner at night and another /breakfast Christmas Day and another dinner that night...whew! All we did was eat. Then came New Years with an appetizer party, sang Auld Lang Syne at 8:30 and went to bed at "Sailors Midnight " or 9:00 for you land lubbers.
We made a return trip to Bruce and Nancy's in Palmetto on Dec the 29th. Nancy had breakfast waiting, we met up with Mark and Trudy Litz , and Bruce took us all on a great boat ride out on the bay (to look at the Sunshine Bridge from the water), and we all went out to dinner. Steve and I went south that night to Siesta Key and stayed with Mark and Trudy at their vacation condo...Another THANKS, guys!
We finally left the boat Yard on Jan 6th . there was a Spaghetti dinner on the 5th and heaven forbid we should miss a party! So Early on Sunday the 6th we pulled out on to the canal and headed to the lake then to the Myakka river, through the locks and into salt water at high tide at 6:00 in the evening. We traveled about 6 miles after dark and dropped anchor. In the morning we found we were sitting on the bottom at low tide and we had to wait for the tide to come up before we could move. Then we headed to Cayo Costa State Park. We sat there the rest of Monday and did minor fix it jobs. MIDORI with Brian and Lynn came into the anchorage after dark, about 8:00. They left the boat yard about 8:00 in the morning, got through the locks, realized they had motor mount problems, went back through the locks, back to the boat yard, "got hauled", fixed the mounts, returned to the water, back through the locks and on to Cayo Costa. By the way, IT IS a big deal to go through the locks, and three times in one day is more than any relationship deserves.


We made a trip to Sarasota to take our dinghy up to be looked at for replacement. After much discussion with West Marine and Zodiac we were given a reasonably good offer for replacement, but we had not budgeted to do that this year, so we just have to wait and pray the old dinghy holds together for one more year. The tubes are still in great shape but the floor keeps trying to separate. The deal is still good for next year. WE spent the night at Bruce and Nancy Moremans in Palmetto. They have a very comfortable and cute place on Terra Cea Bay and are trusting enough to let us use it...Thanks guys.
WE worked very hard to get the boat in the water and the weather wasn't always the best, It was cool for about a week, 60's during the day, 40's at night which doesn't sound bad for Indiana, but when you are sitting on dry land up on stands in the air, in a thin, un-in-insulated fiberglass shell without heat it gets a bit nippy...think tent camping. ( and boy does the toilet seat get cold).
But not everything was work! We had time to Party too. Starting the week we arrived with a pitch-in at the boat yard "Hut". We even had entertainment. The yard manager ((Smitty) play drums in a good band called TIDAL WAVE and they gave a very good performance. We also had the Yard Dog Players do their thing. This is a husband and wife team that loves to perform. They get others to read poetry, sing songs, act in skits, etc. Think campfire skits without the campfire (the name of their boat is BULLSHIP, and their dinghy is CHICKEN SHIP)

Still in the yard
12/18/2012, CHBS

We left Bloomington just in time...just before the weather turned crummy on November 17. We had a good trip south and even stopped in Sarasota for a quick visit and lunch with my college best friend Pat Reily Foltz and her husband Steve from Madison , Wi. It was a very good but quick visit. Then on to the boat yard and quick unpacking . While Steve moved things outside I washed down the woodwork in our cabin, swept, and put clean sheets on the bed. Yea! We had a place to sleep.
The next few weeks kept us very busy getting the boat ready to go in the water. Lots of little projects. I re-sewed the bimini top for the cockpit and started a road cover for when we store the boat in the spring. Lynn (our Canadian travel partner) let me use her Sailrite machine for most of this, but Steve and I were in a Goodwill Store and he pointed out a machine (I didn't even see it because it was gunmetal gray and I was looking for a black one). It Looked pretty good so we bought it...$20.00 for a Pfaff 230, and it works. We may need to replace the motor sometime in the future, but it has been great so far.
One day while Steve was working, a big tawney colored cat walked behind the boat. You can just make it out behind the boat in the photo. (Cell cameras won't zoom and Steve did not want to get too close. We think it was a Florida panther, but it is hard to tell from the pictures he took. It was much bigger than a regular cat but not as big as we would expect a panther to be.

Back in the yard

We have returned South to the boat yard and are preparing Living Well for another season. More later.

04/24/2012, CHBS

Well, our daughter and grandaughters have departed and are safely back home, the boat has been hauled and washed, the cupboards stripped, the linens washed and vacuum packed, the rigging and sails and dinghy stowed, the insulation installed, and we are ready to close Living Well up for the summer. See you in the fall.

Ft. Myers, Cayo Costa, & the Boat Yard
04/18/2012, Charlotte Harbor Boat Storage

Well, the kids arrived safely at the airport in Tampa to awaiting Grandma and Grandpa and then Elena ran out of her shoes to greet us. We had a pleasant although close quartered trip (three adults and two car seats) to Ft Myers and a short dinghy ride to the boat. There were side trips to The Beached Whale Restuarant and the beach and sand castles and learning waves and balance. We spent three days in Ft Myers and then made the trip to Cayo Costa State Park where we enjoed a treasure hunt on the beach with the girls finding a (recently buried) treasure chest by virtue of a treasure map that Grandma conveniently had in her possession. We made the dinghy ride in rough seas to Cabbage Key for a nature walk and lunch and saw sea turltes laying egss and three sea otters swimming right beside us. After a calm return trip to the boat, Dawn was surprised by a Manatee that surfaced right beside the boat. Cayo Costa also provided some excellent shelling and swimming in the surf. The next venture was the trip across Charlotte Harbor in 20-23 kt. wind for a great sail, then turning downwind and up the Myaaka River to the locks, a smooth transition to the calm canal system and then anchoring in the "lake" for the night. Our first alligator sighting was here. The next morning we moved to the boat yard and tied alongside with two more alligator visits which the girls really enjoyed. A trip to Boca Grande and more beach time and watching the Tarpon run in the pass was enjoyable and bordering on the finale of the visit. More to come:

Marathon to Ft Myers
04/06/2012, Ft Myers Beach for a week

We did get to Key West for a day, and actually went to Sparkey's twice , once with Michael Brennan (a friend we met through Brian and Lynn in Miami) and once with Van and Lauren from "Gratitude" (they arrived on the 30th). We also had a pirate breakfast at Dock Side with Jake and Amy. (It's nice to start the day with a mimosa). We left Marathon on the 2nd and after Capt' Steve took a swim to cut the remains of a crab pot free, spent that night on the Gulf near Little Shark. We didn't even bother to go near shore...very calm water and too many 'no see um's'. The next morning we left for Naples. This is a very old, VERY ITALIAN, Florida community (lots of old money and houses that are way too big). We spent two nights, and tried not to spend much Money. It was fun with lots of walking. We had a visit from a pod of dolphins that swam around the boat while we were tied to the mooring ball on the first evening. We left for Ft. Meyers on Thursday the 5th. We have plans to have dinner with Jack and Diana Toomey (our New York friends that we came down the ICW with 5 years ago) on Easter Sunday. Then on Monday we are visiting Denny and Cecilia to retrieve our car so we can pick up Dawn, Anelise and Elena in Tampa on Tuesday. We will bring them back to Ft. Meyers for a 9-day visit. We plan to spend a few days at Ft. Meyers then move the boat to Cayo Costa with a side trip to Cabbage Key (where Jimmy Buffett wrote "Cheeseburger in Paradise"), then up the Myaaka river back to the boat yard. We hope to have some good walks in the nature preserves and plenty of beach time.

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Who: Cpt. Steve & Admiral Mary Ann
Port: Bloomington, IN USA
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