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Two If By Sea
Today Is The Day
04/02/2011, Burnt Store Marina

Finally, we head out later today. Our boat, Two If By Sea, is ready with extra fuel and water stored along the side decks and Patty and I are seeing to a few last details this morning. I'm even getting some shrimp to use as bait for fishing along the way. The good news is that, as a result of rain this past week, the water level of Lake Okeechobee is rising and from the reports we have received, there will be no problem in going across the Lake, via Ft. Myers on the west coast and Stuart on the east coast. Also, both of our companion boats will be joining us. Now the remaining issue is whether or not the launch date for the space shuttle will be postponed as a result of minor tile damage from this week's storm over the launch site. In any event, we will leave here today, anchor at Cayo Costa for two nights, meet up with our friends Monday morning, coming down from Bradenton, and then proceeding with our trip to Stuart

04/02/2011 | AR Power
Bon voyage de mes parents!!
It's Time
04/01/2011, Burnt Store Marina

It is almost time to depart for our spring cruise. This Saturday is the planned date, weather permitting of course. Patty and I have been busy getting the boat ready and provisioning for a trip of about six to seven weeks. The one thing we don't know yet is the destination. At one time, it was the night shuttle launch on 4/19. Then, when the water level of Lake Okeechobee continued to drop as a result of the driest season in 80 years, we were looking at the Bahamas. Weather conditions have been favorable for crossing to the Bahamas. We have several friends who have already crossed. We have been planning for the crossing, until earlier this week when the rain came on Monday. Lake levels have risen each day and more storms are predicted this week. Now, we're back thinking about the launch.. If it happens on schedule, there may still be time for the Bahamas. Again, time and weather dictates.

Our friends Ed and Trude on Caribbean Wind and Jim and Barb on Tandam will be cruising down to our waters this weekend to join up with us. Then we will head south towards Ft. Myers when we have to decided about the lake crossing, the launch, and the Bahamas.

I hope to keep with the blog this year, at least while in the United States. Patty and I upgraded to an iPhone which will allow us to keep current. We even have a radar app.

Anchors Aweigh!!!

Is It Time?
03/17/2011, Burnt Store Marina

It's almost time! Once again, Patty and I are making preparations to get underway for what has become our annual spring cruise. Two years ago, we traveled across Florida to hopefully head to the Bahamas. Unfortunately, weather conditions prevented us from making the crossing. Instead, we headed down the east coast, met up with friends on their boats at Key Biscayne and completed the Florida Loop, down Biscayne Bay, the Florida Keys and back up the west coast to our marina on Charlotte Harbor. Last year we stayed on the west coast and visited anchorages we had not previously seen and ones we used to use when we lived in Palmetto.

This year we were initially thinking of the Bahamas. Then we heard that the last flight of the Space Shuttle Endeavor was scheduled for the night of April 19. We have not seen one before and there are only two left. There is an anchorage about four miles from the launch pad and we have heard that there is nothing better than a night launch, and particularly that close. To take our boat through Florida, we have to cross Lake Okeechobee. This is a drought year in Florida and the lake levels are decreasing daily to the point that by April 1, our planned departure date, there may not be enough water in the lake.

As any cruising sailor knows, we always have an alternative plan. Instead of the launch, we would travel down the west coast, through the Keys, and up to Ft. Lauderdale and cross to the Bahamas. The weather this year has been much better than the last two years. There have been numerous weather windows for a safe crossing and it appears that this will continue. Time and lake levels will be the deciding factor.

In either case, we will be traveling with Jim and Barb on their Endeavor sailboat and possibly Ed and Trude on their Irwin sailboat. Jim and Barb were in the Bahamas two years ago and can lead the way in the crossing, if we go that route. It is fun to have companion boats to share the fun and the excitement. It is also safer.

We have made certain improvements to Two If By Sea, For one thing, we installed a fuel polisher to keep our diesel fuel fresh and avoid the issues we had to address the past two years regarding contaminated fuel. We did not do the down switch on the windlass or solar panels which we had as priorities last May. In boating, your priorities are always changing. We also made arrangements to have internet access while cruising. Hopefully, we will be able to keep current in our postings....

03/20/2011 | Carol & Gil
you sure know how to make a guy jealous!! We are here in the rain, not too bad out..the ice went out a few days ago! Gil is doing OK with his shoulder recovery, but has pain and is a bit limited!! We are enjoying our new dog, Rudy and waiting for Spring!! Enjoy!
Back To The Pool
05/20/2010, Burnt Store Marina

After listening to the long range weather forecast and discussing what we thought about doing during the next week or so, Patty and I decided to put an end to the West Coast Swing cruising season. The weather this year has been very unusual. It remained hot, 90+ degrees well into November/December. Normally, the temperatures would be in the mid to low 80s, with good humidity. The high temperatures have returned early this year, 90+ degrees and a heat index of 100 degrees. In addition, NOAA forecasted light and variable winds for the next week. This means no sailing and very little wind to flow through and cool the boat in the afternoons and evenings. We have had a great trip this year and there is no reason to end it on a down note.

The West Coast Swing cruise took us a total of 414 miles, as compared to 588 miles last year on our aborted trip to the Bahamas and the resulting cruise down the east coast of Florida, Biscayne Bay, the Keys, and up the west coast to our marina. This year we visited many new anchorages and sights between Marco Island and Tarpon Springs. We actually had more time under sail than last year and more time at anchor. There are spots we definitely want to go to again and spend more time visiting and exploring, such as Smokehouse Bay at Marco Island and the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island. We also cruised the ICW north of Tampa Bay and visited lovely towns such as Gulfport and Dunedin. It's difficult to say what we liked best throughout our cruise as each stop or anchorage is unique. On the other hand, it is easy for us to say that it was wonderful to share the past seven weeks with Tom and Maureen, with whom we shared the laughs and challenges that are part of a cruise of this type, to say nothing of afternoons of playing the games Hand and Foot and Pegs 'N' Jokers.

Any cruise of this duration results in a laundry list of needed repairs and servicing issues. As you may recall, our windlass problems were ongoing. We had the fuel issue and our anchor light stopped working. I have not yet gone up our 52 foot mast to check it out but will do so soon. We have purchased a backup anchor light if the problem continues. In addition to the repair list, we are putting together a wish list for upgrades. For now, the top two items would be a down switch for the anchor windlass and solar panels to generate power and battery recharging. If only money grew on trees!

It's going to be another long, hot summer and it is knocking on the door. Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with the greatest activity from mid August through September. We will be on the boat, at the marina, for most of that time, with the boat well secured for possible storms. We've been fortunate the last couple of years with little or no storm activity. We'll spend our time doing maintenance items, reading and, of course, off to the pool, planning our cruising season for next year. See you then!

05/21/2010 | EaglesWings
We enjoyed following you on your West Coast Wing via your blog. Nicely done. Hope to see you later this summer.
The West Coast Swing Continues
05/18/2010, Burnt Store Marina

We have been at our slip at Burnt Store Marina for a week as of tomorrow and we will be heading out again. Since returning, we have done laundry, quite a bit of laundry, washed the boat, changed the oil and serviced the engine, and have serviced, once again, the windlass, which is the mechanism that helps to lower and raise the anchor. If we have continue problems with it, I will be installing a down switch which will make the system entirely automated. That would be a good summer project! We have also serviced our boat batteries and will see if we put new life into them. If not, we will replace them with golf cart batteries next fall.

Tomorrow we will head out for about a week or so. It's beginning to get hot now and the humidity is returning, along with the afternoon rain. But, we will give it a go. We will go back to Ding Darling, perhaps Useppa Island, Matalacha, and just generally Charlotte Harbor. I don't know if we will have any WIFI access until we get back.

05/18/2010 | Eagle's Wings
Let me know about your battery replacement. I may need to replace mine before we take another extended trip. A load test showed that I have lost significant capacity.

Talked to Tom - He was really pleased with his solar panel.

continue having a great time.
Burnt Store Marina
05/14/2010, Punta Gorda, Florida

On Tuesday, May 11, we went back to the beach and played another round of Pegs and Jokers with Tom and Maureen. Of course, the ongoing search for sharks' teeth along the beach included a lovely walk along the Gulf waters. Patty and I then went to visit our friends on Don Pedro Island, Lindsay and Jon, by dinghy. We had a good look at their new house under construction and headed back to the boat for another quiet evening.

We pulled the hook Wednesday morning because there were some ongoing maintenance issues that we wanted to address back at our marina. We had a windy passage across Charlotte Harbor and were tied up at 1 pm in our slip. We intend to head out again after we do our chores and a front moves through early next week. The West Coast swing is not yet done.

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