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Two If By Sea
Maureen on Cantagree
04/17/2012, Stuart, Florida

The wind continues. We had some hope early in the morning but as the day continued, the wind built back up to around 20 mph. We listened to Chris Parker's forecast and there is hope for improvement later this week, even for a possible crossing. The only problem is that it takes a few days for the sea state to calm down to the preferred level, at least for us, of 1 to 2 feet. We are in no hurry and have time to kill. It's when you push the weather is that you can get into trouble.

The highlight for Monday was the arrival of Tom and Maureen on Cantagree. They left Clewiston early in the morning to cross Lake O. They even had the opportunity to pull out the headsail for awhile. They checked in as they cleared the infamous bridge and we told them that if they hurried and made the 3:00 p.m. lock opening, they could join us for dinner at Duffys. After all, it was Monday night and ribs. They made it in time. Mat and Sue from Punta Gorda had arrived earlier on their boat and also joined on.

I know cards, Hand and Foot, is on the schedule today with Tom and Maureen. Hopefully, Bob and Mary will take part as well. A great game to pass the time in the afternoon.

04/17/2012 | Duane Ising
Having a good day in St. Augustine, but it is NOT a bike friendly town. the roads and sidewalks are way too narrow. Anyway, we are doing great.

Say hi to Tom and Maureen, Matt and Sue. Stay well!
The Lucky Dogs Band
04/16/2012, Stuart, Florida

Sunday started off as another windy day. When is it ever going to stop? However, we had a plan. First we would go and attend the nautical flea market, but there were no vendors. Must be because it's the end of the season and the number of cruising boats is on the decline. So, we headed into town for the farmer's market. We had gone the last 2 times we have been here and knew the produce would be excellent. It was. We also picked up a couple of pastries for this morning's breakfast. We headed back to the boat for lunch and returned for the rock concert on the river, featuring The Lucky Dogs Band, playing their own classic rock. It is always well attended by people of all ages. Stuart is a happening place along the river on Sundays. We also saw Spaz walking around and watching the band. Spaz is a local performer that played when we have been here previously. In 2009 it was mostly Led Zeplin and 2011 was more classic rock, including The Rolling Stones and The Doors. We're beginning to feel like locals now. Afterwards, it was back to the ice cream store.

We just heard from Tom and Maureen on Cantagree. They had an easy crossing of Lake O, got under the bridge, and are trying to get the 3:00 p.m. lock opening. That would get them here in time for ribs, once again, at Duffys. After all, it is Monday.

04/16/2012 | Duane Ising
Glad to keep up with your adventures. I agree that Stuart is a good place to be stuck.

We are making miles north (St. Augustine tomorrow) and are having fun.
Passing The Time
04/15/2012, Stuart, Florida

You might wonder what we do during the day when we're not moving and the weather is not the best. Yesterday is an excellent example as the winds were blowing 20+ mph and it looked as if it would rain any time soon. Under those circumstances, we catch up on email, read, and play Words With Friends, a scrabble game you play on the internet with various family members or even strangers. It's a great way to pass the time. Patty and I will even play between ourselves, whether sitting inside or in the cockpit on a long passage and the boat is on auto helm. The smart phone concept has been perfect for us as it always gives us access to the internet, weather, and communication options.

After lunch the weather improved so we headed to shore to get some exercise and walked about a mile to the Publix store. We weighed in and have both lost about 5 pounds, using that scale. We generally lose weight when cruising in the spring, because we are more active. We certainly don't hold back on the diet. Maybe it's the almost daily intake of ice cream. Yesterday we had to taste the Frosty at the Wendys we walked by.

We did get a short note from Tom and Maureen on Cantagree. They anticipate arriving here on Monday. Hopefully the conditions on Lake O will improve enough for them. The bridge clearance is back up to 52 ft, so that won't be a problem.

It will be an active day today. We are heading into shore for a nautical flea market at the marina, a farmer's market in town, and then a rock concert on the river this afternoon. Oh, our busy lives.

04/15/2012 | Eagle's Wings
Joanne is addicted to Smart Phone Scrabble. Her phone plays annoying music whenever she playing which seems to be most the time.

Say hello to Tom & Maureen for us.
04/15/2012 | Carol & Gil
Well, sounds like you have waiting down to a fun thing!! We are waiting for your crossing .. again I say we are envious!! We spend our time working in the yard, sitting in the hot tub, going to the health club! We miss that stuff! Safe travels..C & G
04/16/2012 | Jan & David, sv Winterlude
Hi David & Patty! Sorry to hear you're still "stuck" in Stuart. Winterlude is "stuck" at Highbourne Cay in the Exumas - our first stop and then it started blowing 30, so we've been here for 4 days and the forecast is looking like we'll be here a couple more. Our time is running out but we have high hopes of getting to spend a few weeks exploring the Exumas Land & Sea Park even if we don't get all the way to Georgetown. Enjoy & we'll hope for better weather for all of us! :) Cheers! Jan & David
Sunset Bay Marina Day?
04/14/2012, Clewiston, Florida

It finally happened Thursday morning. I managed to get up in time to tune into Chris Parker's website at 6:30 a.m. for his daily weather discussion. I noticed that Diva Di who had traveled with us for a few days was signed in, as well as Jim and Barb on Tam Dam, who are currently at Green Turtle Cay in the Abacos. Jim and Barb traveled with us for about a week last year before they headed to the Bahamas and we headed north for the last shuttle launch. Chris Parker was not too optimistic about the weather for the next few weeks and he was correct. Quite windy here, with showers predicted, and to continue into next week. Ideally, we are looking for the wind to clock to the south for a couple of days to allow the Atlantic to calm down and then to cross. Right now the Gulf Stream is reported to have 5 to 8 foot seas. That is only the average. So we will continue to wait at Stuart.

Actually, we were going to have to wait until Friday anyway. Yesterday morning, Patty noticed that part of a back molar had broken off. In stead of ignoring it or using a temporary fix like Tempdent, we were off to see a dentist Thursday afternoon. His office was in walking distance and treats many cruisers staying here. He stayed late to do a temporary cap and is expediting the permanent cap by personally driving the mold to the lab Friday morning. He told us that relying on a Bahamian dentist could be risky. Oh, the aging process.
On the way back to the boat we had to walk by Duffys so we took advantage of Happy Hour, by self-medicating both of us with margaritas, and splitting a cheeseburger.

One of the great innovations to cruising in a sailboat, without solar panels or a wind generator, is the Honda generator. The size of a small suitcase and running very conservatively on gasoline, it keeps our battery bank adequately charged, runs our water heater, and even allows us to watch a little television such as American Idol. We do like to watch the news and weather in the evening.

We heard from Tom and Maureen on Cantagree. They were going to head south along the coast, go through the Keys, and up the east coast to position themselves to cross to the Abacos. Because of the weather predictions, they have decided to cross Florida, across Lake O, and meet us here on Monday. Then we would all cross together, including Bob and Mary on DoraLee.

One thing is certain in cruising - nothing is certain. You always have to just go with the flow.

Sunset Bay Marina Still
04/12/2012, Clewiston, Florida

Wednesday morning started off like Tuesday as I had plans to get up early to listen to Chris Parker. I may have mentioned previously that he has a simulcast on the web where he uses weather charts to help him discuss weather conditions/predictions. However, once again, I failed to get up. When you are so busy during the day doing what I don't know, you need your rest.

The excitement for the day was the trip to Walmart. Sunset Bay Marina, where we are on a mooring ball, runs a shuttle bus to Publix, Home Depot, West Marine, and Walmart, two days a week. So off we went with some other boaters. One item we decided to get was an off the counter digital television antenna. Our boat came with a mast mounted antenna. When the television signals went digital, our reception became sketchy. So, we decided to try this route as we no longer live aboard and, quite frankly, do not want to incur the cost of replacing the mast mounted antenna. Besides, American Idol was on Wednesday night. It worked! We may not get all of the standard stations but it is much better.

Duane and Diane on Diva Di left Wednesday morning for their seven month cruise up the coast toward Maine. You can follow their trip on the same blog site - and Diva Di. We had a fun few days with them.

Weather does not look good for a crossing anytime soon. There is a northerly approaching and passing through this weekend with winds of 15+. The speed is not a concern as much as the direction. So, we are going to wait here for now. This is just part of cruising and the one thing we have learned is that you can not travel on a required schedule and if you do, you will probably regret it at some time.

04/13/2012 | Jan & David, sv Winterlude
Hi Dave & Patty! Hope you're enjoying Stuart - someplace we hope to visit someday. We finally made the crossing to the Exumas, arrived at Highbourne Cay late yesterday (Thurs 4/12) and anchored outside with all our mega-yacht neighbors! Friday the 13th we were lucky enough to get a cancellation spot in the marina -- only sailboat in here -- because I needed to finish copyediting the final round for the book. But since we're here, we might as well stay through the 30 mph winds forecast for the weekend! Mid-next week looks better for us -- hopefully for you too! Enjoy the Abacos! We'll catch up when we get back to Burnt Store! J&D
04/10/2012, Clewiston, Florida

After a long Sunday, Monday was very quiet and restful. Except for the one layover day in Clewiston, we all had been on the move to get to Stuart. Now, it is up to the weather as to when we move on south to West Palm, except for Duane and Diane who are heading north.

We did check in at the marina and then Patty and I went into town to check things out and to make sure Duffy's was prepared to receive us that evening. Not much different in town except for a few businesses had changed. Most disturbing was the fact that one of the ice cream stores had closed. When cruising, you must learn to adapt.

We all headed in to Duffy's for Happy Hour and dinner. Monday night is always special there as everything on the menu is one price, which makes the full rack of ribs a great deal. To show our appreciation for Duane and Diane's insistence that we could get under the bridge, and for Bob and Mary's moral support, as well, we bought the first round of drinks. Good news is that it was two for one. The ribs were terrific.

Back at the marina, while everyone else headed back to their boats, Patty and I went up to the boater's lounge to catch The Voice on television. There we visited with another couple from Canada who were heading to Indiantown to get their boat pulled for the season. Cruisers are always interesting and it is easy to make friends and share stories.

I had planned on getting up early to listen to Chris Parker and the weather. I just could not force myself to do so. Guess I was more tired than I thought. Maybe tomorrow. It is time to start watching the weather for a window of time to cross over to the Bahamas.

04/10/2012 | Rick
Entertaining trip! I'll be checking in to see how the next few days go
04/10/2012 | Carol & Gil
Such fun seeing you guys!! Love your house almost as much as we love your boat!! We are soooo jealous! We want to be there on Downdraft! Of course, we would have gone around and met you in Stuart! Too high a mast! safe sailing...we await your messages from the Bahamas!!
04/16/2012 | Cameron
Looks like you are having a terrific time -- thanks for the photo at Duffy's (as well as the earlier one of your house!)!

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