Going South for Winter

25 March 2014 | Loggerhead Marina, Stuart FL
20 March 2014 | Ocean Reef Yacht Club, Bahamas
11 March 2014 | Ocean Reef Yacht Club, Lucaya, Grand Bahama
15 April 2013 | Stoney Creek, Ontario
18 March 2013 | Legacy harbour Marina, Fort Myers
02 March 2013 | Ft Lauderdale Marina, Ft Lauderdale
06 February 2013 | Sombrero Resort & Marina, Marathon
16 January 2013 | Sombrero Resort & Marina, Marathon Florida
05 December 2012 | Melbourne City Marina, Melbourne Florida
24 November 2012 | Halifax Harbour Marina, Daytona Beach
21 November 2012 | Fernandina Harbor Marina, Amelia Island
21 November 2012 | Morningstar Marinas Golden Isles, St Simons Georgia
17 November 2012 | Isle of Hope Marina, Savannah
15 November 2012 | Beaufort , South Carolina
12 November 2012 | Harbourwalk Marina, Georgetown SC MM403
10 November 2012 | Barefoot Marina, Myrtle Beach SC
07 November 2012 | Swan Point Marina, Sneeds Ferry NC
05 November 2012 | Morehead City Yacht Basin
05 November 2012 | Dowry Creek Marina Belhaven NC
03 November 2012 | Alligator River Marina, Columbia NC

Back In Florida

25 March 2014 | Loggerhead Marina, Stuart FL
Rain, rain & more rain
Well, it seems like another life ago that we were sitting on the back deck of Apres Sail, looking into our own personal salt water aquarium off our back.
Unfortunately the internet at Ocean Reef Resort & Marina where we stayed for three weeks was so up & down ( they are working on it :) )that I was not able to post any pics but to keep the blog complete when we get home I will try to get in some photos.
Looking forward last week for weather window to cross back to Florida there was only one in the coming two weeks so on Saturday22nd, we reluctantly left Ocean Reef & made our way back to West End, where we had entered the Bahamas three weeks before. Being newbies at the Bahama thing we wanted to shorten our crossing time as much as possible & from there it is only 56 nm back to Lake Worth.
The trip along the southern coast that day, past the big container port of Freeport was the "trip from Hell". Things that we did not know could move on the boat did move.............. suffice to day we were beaten up pretty badly by 5-7' seas directly on the beam, but thankfully it was only a four hour trip so for that short distance we knew we could manage.
The weather predictions held for Sunday so we traveled across the Gulf Stream that day with an armada of boats, 20+ for sure, of all shapes & sizes.
We arrived at Lake Worth mid afternoon to be greeted with , guess what, the week-end boat traffic in Florida. Big, boats, little boats, of all description were out enjoying the beautiful boating day. We chuckled to ourselves & said, shades of coming thru Miami harbour three weeks before when a traffic cop was needed to control the boat traffic. Such fun for us "northern boaters" to observe how boating in Florida is such a wonderful hobby & if you don't have a boat you are missing out on a wonderful side of Mother Natures treasures.
Anyway, enough rambling....
So, early yesterday morning ( Monday) we were off the dock in North Palm Beach on our way to Stuart, the 1st stop on the way to the Indiantown Storage area.
One of the great pleasures of boating is the ability to connect with old friends & make new ones. So, yesterday afternoon/evening we spent in the company of David & Susan Wakefield, old ( not age wise) friends from Mimico who own a lovely condo within a stones throw of this marina, & today they are taking us on a tour of Stuart.
All in all, it has been again, a great way to spend the winter. Some may question our sanity... after all our littler "home on the water" is only at most 300sq ft of living space. But, even though it has always been a dream/wish of the both of us to try the "boating lifestyle" in the Caribbean we really did not ever expect it would come to pass. We are so truly blessed to be able to have done/accomplished as much as we have over the past three/four years & with any luck I will be posting photos from the Bahamas next winter.:)
We are having the boat hauled on Friday March 28th & after that it I clean up/clear out time.
So, see you all back in Ontario in the spring/summer.
Thanks for being interested in our travels & reading this short summary of our travel life.

More Bahama Mamas

20 March 2014 | Ocean Reef Yacht Club, Bahamas
Sunny & warm
Another short update to let everyone know we are still here in The Bahamas, enjoying what the island has to offer.
Time passes so quickly, you wake up, have your morning coffee, go for a dingy ride, have lunch, enjoy the pool ( read Happy Hour with great Pina Coladas) or take a cruise out along the beach & have a dip in the beautiful clear water. Getting back in the dingy is never a very pretty picture..................... won't post those pics :) but it is worth it. The water is so clear, especially in the canal going out to the ocean that this morning we saw three large Spotted Eagle Rays just cruising along, almost as if they were just out for a stroll ( swim ). We purchased a new dingy engine yesterday so had to take it out this morning to do the breaking in process. So, in addition to cruising along the beach we explored the myriad of canals that run off the main channel. Not sure when they were built but it would have been a huge undertaking both physically & money wise to build them all. Some areas have homes built, other areas have homes that have been deserted but much of the mileage just runs thru scrub pine forests.
The old saying "If you build it they will come" did not work out too well here, it was built but the downturn in the economy has taken its toll here for sure. Such a shame as it is a beautiful area, beautiful ocean waters nearby, a small reef about a mile out that is always crowded with Glass Bottom Boat tours, & good all year round weather. Of course as a bonus you have the small town of Port Lucaya 2-3 miles further east which has a very lively marketplace/ tons of restaurants & a few large hotels that appear beautiful from the outside.
But, it does look as if our time here is very limited for this year. A good weather window has opened up for the week-end so we most likely will be making the trek back to Mainland Florida, a run of approx. 80nm from here.
But, stay tuned................... who knows what the weather will bring. Right now it delivering an abundance of sunshine & temps in the high 70's F. How bad can that be.!!

Bahama Mama

11 March 2014 | Ocean Reef Yacht Club, Lucaya, Grand Bahama
Bahama Sunshine
Well, I know it has been awhile but what can I say about a winter (November-March) spent in Marathon Florida. Wonderful !!
We arrived in Marathon on November 10/13, after launching the boat in Port Charlotte & traveling down the West Coast of Florida, with a few days stop in at Marco Island waiting for the winds to calm. We wanted to make Marathon in one day so knew we had to have a good day to do the 100 mile run. Perfect is not a word I would use to describe the day but we arrived, after experiencing high winds, bouncy seas & rain. Also we perfected the "crab pot shuffle". Stone Crab pots are placed indiscriminately, with no regard for the channel so it requires a very sharp eye to ensure one does not become part of the prop !!
We again enjoyed being tied on the seawall at Sombrero Resort & Marina but this time it was different as we had our car, enabling us to explore & enjoy the area.
We broke up our winter boating by taking a transatlantic cruise from Barcelona Spain to Ft Lauderdale & then flew home for a two week Christmas holiday with the kids & grandkids.
The rest of the winter went so quickly, seems we turned around & it was mid February, time to start preparations for a trip to The Bahamas.
We arrived back in Ft Lauderdale March 2nd, finished our provisioning & with Dave & Annie Hepburn on board, motored out of Port Everglades channel at 5:30am on March 4th. Eight hours later we were safely tied on a dock at West End, Grand Bahama, a community we had visited back in 1980. (For our 15th anniversary we stayed at a Jack Tar Resort, long gone). The Gulf Stream crossing was pretty well what we were expecting, Lumpy, bumpy & more bumpy !! But, all things considered, for our first crossing we felt we fared pretty well, the only casualty being a lampshade that I sat on when I lost my balance ( lamp was stored on a chair, won't do that again :) Captain Langley did a wonderful job of navigating, & along with Cap'tn Hepburn brought us right to the lighthouse at the entrance to Old Bahama Bay.
We cleared Bahamian Customs there, a very pleasant experience, paid our $300 & promptly sat for a very welcome glass of vino in celebration.
The next morning we traveled the 30 miles from West End to the dock where we now sit.
This little marina/resort captures the very essence of The Bahamas; warm, friendly & helpful staff. And, did I mention the wonderful Pina Coladas!!!!!!!!!!!!
In reality, this is a piece of Ontario transported to the Bahamas, almost every boat in here is flying a Canadian Flag.
So, in our short time we have to spend here this winter we hope to enjoy the beautiful beaches which are accessible by dingy, provided the ocean is flat, do some snorkeling in the amazingly clear water & just generally get a feel for cruising in the Bahamas, a new experience for us.
Will post some pics when the internet will let me... But, missed the best shot of all on Saturday while dropping Dave & Annie at the ferry dock. The little restaurant on the end of the pier does Shark Feedings at various times. We were not there at the opportune time but did see some cruising around waiting for "dinner". I am sure the one I spotted was at least 10' long, a big bull shark I think. But, I have been told that my imagination was running wild & in fact it was just a large guppy. YEAH SURE!! One thing for certain, I will not be swimming off that pier :) Stay tuned for the next update

Home Again

15 April 2013 | Stoney Creek, Ontario
Spring In Canada
Apres Sail in her summer home

Well, here we are back in Stoney Creek after an amazing winter cruising around Florida.
We left Legacy Harbor Marina in Ft Myers on April 4th & traveled the 55+ miles to Burnt Store Marina in Punta Gorda. It was a spectacular day, 75F with brilliant sunshine & very little wind, a very fitting end to our winter 2013 cruising. We had done this trip back in the winter of 2010 but at that time were too nervous to enjoy the beautiful scenery as we traveled along the Gulf ICW, inside the barrier islands of Sanibel, Captiva, North Captiva & Cayo Costa.
We stayed in Burnt Store for three days, enjoying the hospitality of Platinum Pointe Yacht Club, a small club within the huge Burnt Store Marina, thanks to Doug & Lori Johnston, friends from Mimico. What a friendly place...........everyone who passed our boat on the dock stopped to introduce themselves. ( so many Ontario residents own property there)
But, alas, all good things come to an end so Saturday morning early we were off the dock, heading the 15 miles across Port Charlotte Harbor to a little canal which runs inland eight miles to All American Boat Storage, Apres Sail's home for the next six months. The canal is separated from the salt water of Port Charlotte Harbor & The Gulf of Mexico by a self operated lock. Going thur this little lock into the canal is a very unique experience as it is unmanned & we were required to open & close the lock ourselves. We managed to get thru safely but with only two people on board it is a bit of a challenge, getting the lock open, tying up the boat, closing the lock & then getting the forward one open. Then once you drive out you have to stop & push a big button to close it behind you. A very different locking experience but we managed to get thru with no boat rash.!
Once we arrived at the storage area we were immediately lifted out of the water & Apres Sail was on dry land again for the first time since August when we lifted out in York River on Chesapeake Bay, after our trip from Lake Ontario.
We got the boat "summerized" & then headed to Clermont to visit family for two days which was a nice transition from the cruising life back to the reality of sleeping in a real bed & driving a car instead of a boat.
After a two day drive we arrived back in Stoney Creek. Welcome to the Real World !! But, mingled with the sadness of leaving the boat was the happiness to be back in Canada with our family & friends & the anticipation of summer. It will be a different summer for us, being boatless for the first time since our first sailboat purchase in 1993. Fortunately we have many friends with boats so we will get our "water fix" visiting with them.
Ciao for now.!!
To be continued in November........

Fort Myers Experience

18 March 2013 | Legacy harbour Marina, Fort Myers
March in Florida
Ok, so I need to do an update ( have been reminded several times :) :) ) so here goes!
We are in a great slip in Legacy Harbour Marina here in Ft Myers. We chose to come bow in so that we would have the sun in the morning & shade in the afternoon ( on the back deck) but unfortunatley so far sun ( heat) has been in short supply. It has been unseasonably cool for March ( except the days we traveled from Ft Lauderdale ) but we are enjoying the facilities here anyway. Our view from the back deck is beautiful, looking east on the Caloosahatchee River but we are protected from wakes by the breakwall so our spot is perfect.
We have great dock neighbors & met other marina residences at the weekly pot luck last Thursday. Most people are "winter residents" & have been here for a few months.
Our social calendar has kept us busy, amazing how many friends are in Florida for either short or long stays & it is wonderful to connect even for a short time. Tomorrow Dave & Annie are coming from Ft Lauderdale to visit their friends in Bonita Springs & they will all come here in the afternoon for cocktails & dinner. Joe's Crab Shack Restuarant, right on the dock here has been doing well off the Langley's & friends :)
We rented a car shortly after we arrived, drove to Port Charlotte & moved our own car down from the storage area so we have wheels for the first time this winter ( except for the ocasional rental) so we are exploring the area & doing a bit of shopping. We still do our daily walks to Publix & are trying hard to keep up the exercise routine that we developed in Marathon. it is more difficult here to be carless as not all services are within walking distance. We have, however, discovered a delightful little coffee restaurant who make their own donuts . Not Good !!!!!!!!!!!
Unfortunatley, we are in "wind down" mode & are starting to organize the boat for summer storage. It will be a different process for sure, but one that does require preparation just the same. Mould & Mildew are an ongoing issue here in the heat of summer so we purchased a dehumidifier & other assorted gadgets to use. Fortunatley our storage are is covered & we have electricity so that does make the process simplier.
So, for the rest of the month we are "dock bound" here & exploring by car. Around April 1st will start making our way north on the Gulf side to Port Charlotte Harbour to the storage area. Having started our journey there in 2009/2010 at least the area is familiar to us.
One quick interesting sideline, confirming what we mentioned last update about the world being very small........... As we were traveling on the ICW, just north of Ft Lauderdale on our way here last week, we had a call from David & Susan Wakefield, long time friends from Mimico Cruising Club. Anyway, Susan was on the deck of their rental unit, enjoying her ( early) morning coffee when she recognized our boat passing by. Amazing, really, with all the boats traveling on the ICW that she happened to be on the balcony just as we passed by. But, we have discovered that these types of experiences are very common in the boating community........... you never know when you will meet someone that you have crossed paths with either on land or the water.
So, thats all for now....... we are just so thankful to be here in Florida on the boat, missing the Ontario winter weather. Life is Good !!

On The Move Again

02 March 2013 | Ft Lauderdale Marina, Ft Lauderdale
Well our time in Marathon came to a sad end last Wednesday Feb 27th when we started making our way North again. Of course we had the anticipation of visiting the Bahamas to ease the pain of leaving The Keys.
We have been on the dock here since Thursday Feb 28th & at this point have scratched our Bahamas plan & will spend the next month over on the Gulf side of Florida, most likely in Legacy Harbour Marina in Ft Myers.
There is no weather window in the next two weeks that would be safe for us to make the 70 mile crossing to Grand Bahama Island. The wind is blowing strongly from the North & this is forecast to continue till at least March 16/17th. It does not make sense for us to make the trip mid March, pay our entry fee, stay two weeks & then hope for a weather window to come back .We would then have to make the three/four day trip to Port Charlotte on the Gulf side & get the boat ready for bed for the summer months & be back in Canada by April 20th when our medical expires. Too tight !!
Yes, we are disappointed, but it has beeen such a wonderful winter that we will leave the Bahamas as our "new experience " for next fall.
The trip north from Marathon was as spectacular as the trip south in January. The water color & the variety & abundance of sea creatures make it an unforgettable experience, one that we surely hope to repeat in 2014.
We met wonderful people & were welcomed so warmly by the "Marathon Elders", the folks who have been spending their winters there for many years.
We were fortunate to have great dock neighbors & we surely hope we will cross paths with them again. Godspeed to Rik & Nancy who are also in Ft Lauderdale hoping for a weather window to the Bahamas. I am sure you folks will have a sucessful crossing on Tuesday. Wonderful to have the horsepower to get you there safely in the short window. Please keep in touch & we will draw on your experiences when our turn comes.
We all know the boating world is very small & this was very emphatically demonstrated to us last Wednesday as we were traveling along north of Marathon. Captain Frank heard a boat calling another one & the name called was the same name as our sailboat we sold in 2001. It was a very unusual name "Gust of Wind", so Frank called the boat & lo & behold it was our old boat & the original buyers from Oakville. What a small world we live in. The owners Ian & Marlene are retired school professionals, have beern sailing Florida & The Bahamas for the last 5-6 years & are now on their way to Cuba.
I took photos & we exchanged e-mail addresses so it will be interesting to touch base with them now in their travels.
So, here we sit, snug & warm on the dock in Ft lauderdale, waiting for this brr weather to pass, enjoying the company of our friends Dave & Annie. Also, as a bonus we are enjoying the compay of Frank & Lisa McGee who are visiting with Dave & Annie before they head back to Niagara Falls.
Our plan is to head out North to Stuart on Wednesday & then turn West on the Okeechobee Waterway, cross Lake Okeechobee & on to Ft Myers. This will be the reverse of the trip we made in February 2010 when we started home to Lake Ontario. What an adventure it has been since then....................
Will post some photos when my laptop recovers.
Vessel Name: Apres Sail
Vessel Make/Model: 40 Mariner Orient Trawler
Hailing Port: Mimico Cruising Club Toronto
Crew: Frank & Eleanor Langley
About: Ok, we're tired of being cold in the winter so thought we would try something new. Hopefully we can make the play/work combo sucessful. Won't know until we try it.!
Home Page: www.sailblogs.com/apressail
Apres Sail's Photos - Main
Our Boat
11 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 24 July 2012

On Our Way South

Who: Frank & Eleanor Langley
Port: Mimico Cruising Club Toronto