Been waiting on a bad weather day to update the blog. It's the morning of December 9th, a Saturday. Weather has calmed some for the moment, maybe 15mph from the north now. Predicted to be NW @ 20, a northern front came through a little early. We were talking this morning and determined that last night was the scariest night to date on TARDIS. Charlie is working on the wind instrument so no accurate boat readings available but we're guessing over 20 with gusts in the low 30's overnight. A steady stream of storms arrived hourly all night long beginning at 11pm. Lot's of noise aboard, it was DARK and sleep barely existed! Thankfully, we're in a great anchorage in Pelican Bay off Punta Blanca Island with protection from all directions but south. That's were the wind started from. Trawlers are anchored on each side so it was easy to see that our anchor was held during the night. Charlie put up an anchor sail yesterday (he found it in his basement - a Lonesome Dove original). Overall the sail did it's job. TARDIS didn't sail at anchor like she did last year. More later on sailing while @anchor but let us take you along on our journey first beginning with Thanksgiving.
Eileen fixed a great dinner with all the fixin's less Turkey. Charlie did the Oyster dressing. We scored heavily on launch day with a great bottle of wine from the Buck's. It rained all day Thanksgiving, during the night and into the next day. TARDIS developed a few leaks and both of us had wet beds! We didn't remember her leaking last spring but then we it did NOT rain last year, lucky us (last year). Anyway, Thursday & Friday was spent on board off Gilcrest Park in Punta Gorda.
We spent the weekend anchored there and went to shore daily Saturday thru Monday, shopping, going to dinner and having the MOST fun hanging with cousins Don & Gail.
There's beach on the east end of Gilcrest Park and that's where we landed and locked up our tender. It worked perfect, about 1/2 mile from TARDIS.
There also is a dinghy dock at Punta Gorda Boat Club and PG Sailing Club building. The dock served for water runs.
We're using 7 to 8 gallons of water daily. The tanks on TARDIS hold 60g and we carry another 22g in containers. That's 10-11 days and/or 4 trips to the spigot when empty for Charlie, day or night.
And a water run at sunset is the best
19 days out we've made two trips to this anchorage. Eileen's phone puked a couple days out so we came back to visit the Verizon store that's within walking distance of the dinghy landing. Of course that meant more dinners and more fun with the Buck's. On our second trip to Punta Gorda, Don and Gail took us to Fish Vill Seafood Market for dinner. Awesome meal. The local Smelts (Great Lakes Version) were great as was the local Gulf Shrimp. It's always' fun with them.
Fisherman's village was all lit up and had some unusual decorations
The girls couldn't help themselves - thought the display was missing something fun...
Lashley Marina and the city of Punta Gorda offer FREE pump outs on Mondays and Thursdays. This photo was taken on pumpout day. Nice service and as we understand it part of the Clean Water Act with a Federal Grant.
We happened upon Chief Punta Gorda hidden in palm trees on a walk to town. The statue is 20' tall at least and the photo doesn't do it justice.
We hear there is a story behind the hidden location. It's an inspiring piece of art.
After Punta Gorda TARDIS headed to Pelican Bay and Cayo Costa State Park. We did this on both sides of the cell phone replacement trip and are here now for the protection of the anchorage in a big blow.
Having been to Cayo Costo many times we always wanted to explore the trails by bike and this time we did that.
We rode to the beaches, a bay with salt water crocs and Boca Grande Pass.
We also kayaked to several beaches around Pelican Bay, watched HUGE white Pelicans (they are everywhere this year on migration) and relaxed on the boat.
A fellow sailor who gave us freshly cleaned Mullet the night before taught Charlie how to fish with a net on the this beach. After an hour of practice and a trip to West Marine, he now owns an 8' Casting Net. Pictures to follow of all the fish he will net!
In between the trips to Pelican Bay the weather was going to be great to anchor on the north end of Pine Island so off we went.
Here we anchored just outside Pine Harbor and the city of Bokeelia. It's felt like we were anchored in the middle of Charlotte Harbor.
Here we kayaked the mangroves and canals. Bought Mullet and Shrimp at Jug Creek Marina - Fish Market, and went on a BeerRun to the Lost Flamingo.
The manager of the Lost Flamingo smokes things. He was nice and gave us samples of his smoked fish spread and pork tenderloin after we commented on how good the smoked salmon was. Nice...we didn't need to make dinner that night!
While living aboard we cook. 2 meals a day is the standard fare. Here is a few gulf shrimp with breakfast and enchiladas for dinner.
Plus friends provide libations...
Living on a Boat means there are repairs to be made, improvements installed and general maintenance. We have a list and try to check off an item or two every day (you don't want to work too hard you know!)
Here is the next step in our solar project. Solar HOT water! Adding insulation helps. Water is not as hot as what the motor provides but it works and it's FREE!
The 2nd day out the bilge pump quit working. Now you can't cruise using your shower that drains to the bilge without a bilge pump. Charlie rebuilt the pump and installed new check valve and hose that he had on board to do anyway. A trip to West Marine and there's a new pump to put on when needed.
Last year our Bluetooth wind instrument fell off the mast. Parts were ordered and Charlie procrastinated all summer and never put them in. Then the big blow is coming and yesterday found Charlie installing the parts. Bad idea.
Now Eileen on the other did her summer jobs and TARDIS is much improved. We broke the grate that we stand on behind the wheel last year. A summer in Indiana and lots of West Epoxy and it's good as new (and not fixed on board!)
When is a good time to test the Anchor Sail? Answer not when it's blowing 25! Here's yesterdays project - figure out how to put up the anchor sail in a blow and then wonder if it will work.
The verdict is out whether this is the best install method. It does stop our swing by 50% or more. The problem is when the sail luffs...it shakes the rig. Planning to leave it up because there's no way Charlie is taking it back down in 30+ winds. Hopefully, it will hold together for try two in less wind.
ODDS n ENDS
We use a Hobie Kayak with Mirage Drive (Inflatable i-14 tanden). We found another user...an Outback lashed to the stern.
Eileen challenges herself daily. Crosswords during the day and Scrabble by night. So far we're 2-2 on Scrabble and Charlie can give her a correct crossword answer about 1 in a 100
We're assuming that's an Irma victim along the shore. Any salvager's out there? The white specs along the shore line are the white Pelican's. Fun birds to watch. There are 100's of them hear migrating.
Yes they are spraying here too, why?
Sail On!!!!! We love the TARDIS...can't believe we're doing this. Will be gone 30 days tomorrow...living the life and loving it.