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Two If By Sea
Where To?
02/26/2015, Burnt Store Marina

This is the time of the year when we usually start planning for our annual spring cruise. Generally, our options consist of either heading back to the East coast of Florida or staying in our local area along the West coast. Near the end of our cruise last year to the East coast, I mentioned that we may not return again. We have been to the East coast four out of the last six years, hoping to either cross to the Bahamas or simply cruising the coast. Not ever having a good weather window to cross to the Bahamas and having experienced some excellent destinations including Stuart, Vero Beach and Melbourne to name a few, Patty and I have decided to not repeat those trips again. This was a somewhat difficult decision to make. We always enjoyed the journey across Florida; but there are still anchorages and other destinations we want to experience in Southwest Florida.

Therefore, our plans for this year include travelling northward and enjoy the upper Tampa Bay area, including St. Petersburg and Gulfport. We do not plan on cruising with any other boat, but this can always change. We anticipate departing late March/early April after the weather settles. We should return mid May. Until then, we will continue to enjoy our short trips and day sails out of our home marina at Burnt Store.

We're Home
05/25/2014, Burnt Store Marina

We are home. As planned, we pulled the anchor Saturday morning at 6:30 a.m., and a half hour later we were going through the Miserable Mile. With little wind and no tidal/current issues, we had no problems. There were a few fishermen already out but they did not bother us. We picked up another sailboat at York Island and ended up following him all the way to Charlotte Harbor, when he headed in the anchorage at Pelican Bay and we turned to go up the Harbor to our home at Burnt Store. In fact, except for a sailboat heading up the river, as we left our anchorage, and one smaller sailboat heading south, there were no other sailboats out on the water. Within a couple of hours after we started the morning, the boat traffic on the ICW became heavy with lots of small powerboats buzzing around. Who knows where they were all going.

We heard that one of the many boat clubs out of Punta Gorda was having a Memorial Day gathering at the Pelican Bay anchorage. As we went by we could see the back side of the anchorage and then the front of the anchorage. It was packed with boats. That anchorage can easily hold 50+ boats. Although many prefer to cruise en masse, we do not. For us, traveling with two or three boats can be fun.

Since we left Vero Beach last Monday, the 19th, our weather for returning home has been excellent. The temperatures were comfortable, winds were light, and humidity was low. The wind did pick up a bit as we neared Charlotte Harbor and headed for home; we were able to pull out the headsail for a nice ride. It was a good ending for our eight-week cruise.

05/25/2014 | Richard
The PGSC held their annual Memorial Day Weekend cruise to Pelican Bay. One other sailing club possibly from Fort Myers was there also + others making 60+ boats in the bay including us.
Last Night
05/23/2014, Glover Bight anchorage

Weather wise, another terrific day as our 2014 cruise comes to an end. We left LaBelle at 6:30 am and were the only boat on the waterway heading west until Ft. Myers. We did have three bridges to open and one lock to keep the morning interesting. In fact, at 9:45 am, the Franklin lock master told us we were the first boat to transit the lock, which opened at 7:00 am.

We arrived at Glover Bight anchorage at 2:00 pm. We completely enjoy this anchorage which is always out first stop and last stop whenever we head to the East Coast. The anchorage is deep and offers good protection from all directions except westerly blows.

Tomorrow we go home. We will leave here around 6:30 am to get through the Miserable Mile on the ICW before most boaters are even up. It will be Saturday of Memorial Day weekend and we suspect the boaters will be out in large numbers. If we do get away timely, we should be back in our slip by 1:00 pm.

This has been a different trip from our previous East Coast cruises. We have had some mechanical issues but took them in stride, addressed the problems and kept moving on. We did reach out goal, St. Augustine. More important, we traveled the first half with close friends on their own boat and got to share a lot of experiences and laughs. What can be better than that.

05/24/2014 | Duane Ising
Glad you are almost home, safe and sound. We enjoyed your blog and look forward to getting together back in Punta Gorda.
Getting Closer
05/22/2014, LaBelle, FL

After two easy days, we are in LaBelle at the new City Dock. We are even backed into the slip, after only one try. Considering I have backed our boat into a slip/dock only twice before, it went quite well. This is a new dock last fall, with mid boat pilings. The original dock was just that, a wooden dock. It required a Mediterranean Mooring, dropping an anchor a ways off of the dock and then backing in. Lots of room for errors. There is also free power and water. The dock is located at the base of the bridge at the City library, with wifi service at the dock..

Yesterday, Wednesday, we left Indiantown at 6:30 a.m. with a the plan to meet Billie to be tipped. It looked like we had about four inches of clearance, but it can change over night. As luck would have it, there was no report on the bridge clearance that morning. We have seen it change by almost a half foot overnight. So, we were glad to have made arrangements with Billie. We told him we would be at the bridge between 8:00 and 8:30 a.m. We arrived at 8:10, when Patty looked behind us and saw a boat coming up fast. It was Billie. That was the most timely he has ever been with us. It's not unusual to have to wait a couple of hours. Thirty minutes later, we were under the bridge and going straight through the lock.

Just after entering the Lake, Patty again reported that the bilge pump was running. We shut down and down below I went and tightened the collar once again. It's been fine since. I did talk with our mechanic, Roy, last night and he confirmed my actions and said we would be fine. That is a harsh climate where the dripless is located and the rubber bellows do dry out.

We had a very benign crossing of the Lake. The winds were light, as forecast, but strong enough and in the right direction to allow us to have the headsail out the entire way. With the autohelm on, I was able to read a good part of the way. There was very little boat traffic either way.

When we arrived at Clewiston, we decided to keep going to Moore Haven, arriving around 4:00 p.m. There was room at the City Dock so we took advantage of it at $1.00/foot, with power and water. It is a perfect place to stop.

This morning, Thursday, we did not leave until 9:00 a.m. for LaBelle, only four hours away. No one was heading West and there were only a couple of boats heading East. The water was flat and we moved along at 5.5 knots at 2000 rpm. Can't complain about that.

We are sitting in the air conditioned library this afternoon. It is beginning to warm up now and this sure feels good. Tomorrow we will leave early and head to Glover Bight for the night and then home on Saturday.

"The Bilge Pump Is Running"
05/20/2014, Indiantown, FL

Just 15 minutes after we left the ball field in Stuart, this is what Patty stated. So, we check the bilge, salt water. Not good. While I turn around, Patty starts manually emptying the bilge. We pick up the first ball we come to. First, thinking it might be the raw water pump, although we are not overheating, I remove the engine cover. All is good. I then empty the "garage" to check the back side of the engine. I replaced all the hoses this past winter so probably not that. I had one concern and I was right--the dripless shaft seal. If I just touched the bellows, water would come in. So long as the shaft wasn't turning, we were "dry."

It is a PSS dripless, distributed by PYI out of Seattle. It looked as thought, if I could move the collar to compress the bellows some more, we would be good. I looked up the telephone number on the Internet and called. When the phone was answered, I asked for a technician. The individual informed me that it was 6:30 am in Seattle, but he would be willing to help. After discussing the problem, he confirmed I could loosen the two set screws attaching the collar to the shaft and compress the bellows and I then should be okay for a year. He did state that after a period of time, the rubber bellows will dry out and need to be replaced.

We left again at 10:00 am. Patty checked the seal several times and all was dry. We had no further issues, went through the St. Lucie lock, raising us about 12 feet, and on to Indiantown. We arrived at 2:00 pm with the welcoming party shown above greeting us.

I talked with Billie again this afternoon, and we're set to be tipped around 8:30 am. Then, across the lake and on to Moore Haven.

05/20/2014 | Duane Ising
The thing about boat ownership, David, as you well know, is that "it is always something!" Glad you got that sorted out.
Goodbye Vero
05/19/2014, Stuart, FL

We have left Vero! We dropped the ball at 6:20 am and headed south on the Indian River for about 30 nautical miles. The prediction was for NE winds 10 to 15 mph. We got ESE. There was enough east to it to allow use of the headsail. We also had the current with us for most of the day. At the St. Lucie Inlet, we turned and headed up the St. Lucie River for about eight miles to Stuart. With the wind and current pushing us, our approach to the fuel dock was interesting. I decided to go around and approach from the opposite direction. Much easier.

Tomorrow will be a short day to Indiantown Marina, about five hours. Unless there is a dramatic change in the bridge height, Billie will tip us Wednesday morning around 8:00 am. Now we only have four inches of clearance. Billie's fee is cheap insurance.

05/20/2014 | Richard
What is your mast height? Must be quite a bit less than mine.

Have you been following Diva Di? Duane is getting a lot of big wave/wind experience.

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Who: Patty and David Power
Port: Punta Gorda, Florida
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