Gulf Coast of Florida
Fall 2006
Page 3
10/17/06 continued.
We went ashore, to the Pier, and they had shopping, and an aquarium. It was a small aquarium, but it was only $2 to get in.
Spent the morning walking round St. Pete, had a way overpriced egg sandwich, then ignored the weather forecast and headed south.
The Tampa Skyway bridge is the one that got hit by a freighter a few years back and a section came out, killing several people. Now they have constructed huge concrete pilings around the base. By the way NOAA screwed up the forcast, and the weather was fine.
Nope, not a circus tent. In Florida, this is how we "tent" to fumigate for termites.

Days end we were anchored in Roberts Bay, behind a small island.
Yesterday we put some miles under the Keel, and we were gonna do the same today.
What the heck is Slow speed? Is it idle speed, No wake, minimum wake, or what? Good god Coast Guard!
Since my computer page host was down for a day or so,  I lost a few days in the log. Actually, I can't remember them too well, on cruising time ya know. Anywayz, here we are at the mooring field for sailboats across from Ft. Meyers City Marina. We got to stay here because of "special circumstances", according to the dock master. I never asked what they were. We will go to the City Marina tomorrow AM.
Today we are at Ft. Myers Yacht Basin, an easy work on the boat day. We ended the day with a sunset at Sky Bar
We are headed back across the Okeechobee. Here are some Images from the canal.
A polite pass by a professional Captain delivering a 65 footer to the Ft. Lauderdale boat show
We got up to Labelle today, and dockage at the Riverside was $.50 a foot. Nice change from $1.75.
They also finished the rebuilding of the docks, and now it's a minimum wake zone.
More locals swimming with the alligators.
Today started out kinda foggy.....
Then it got worse, a lot worse...
The morning view from the bridge as we head out.
Really glad we had the radar.
The fog finally started to lift about 9 am.
If your wondering exactly where Ortona lock is, this will tell ya.
On the rim , near Roland Martins, they were burning the sugar fields. The ashes were falling like snow on the boat. It's bad enough the sugar companies polute the waters of Florida Bay and the Everglades with the runoff from their fields, they also pollute the air.
Just shows ya, money talks.

The Lady slept in Roland Martins Marina.
Great tree
Got an early start from Roland Martins, heading back down to Labelle to have my friend Don help me change the oil.
There is a lot of dew this AM, so the birds were all drying their wings in the Morning Sun.
Turkey Vultures
This very healthy looking alligator was the greeting committee at Ortona Lock.
Did I mention I really love Cypress trees? The are coming back to the Lake since they killed the melaluca trees.
The oil changing party turned into a dock party.
The lady slept at River's Edge Motel Docks
I know it's a lousy picture, but it's my only proof of how cold it was this morning when we left LaBelle. 46 degrees..Brrr!
And again we caught the train on the Moore Haven bridge, delaying our trip.
Another one of those "stupid" obvious signs.
But Moore Haven lock made up for the VERY rough ride across the lake, and the delay from the train. It was wide open, we drove straight through without locking. We ended up spending several days at the Port St. Lucie Lock and Damn Docks in Stuart.
And I decided, when my "ship" comes in, I will get one of these.
After a few days of recon work up in Stuart, we are back on the way, this time to Ft. Pierce Marina.
On the way to Ft. Pierce, we passed a lot of boats coming back from the Ft. Lauderdale boat show. One was this NEW 41 Camemo trawler? Looks too fast to be a trawler to me.
It was an easy 35 miles to Ft. Pierce Marina. We arrived about 3pm
The marina lost most all of it's slips in the hurricane two summers ago. They have rebuilt the inner basin dock, and they are "hurricane proof". Well built.
Everything was brand new. This is the nicest marina yet, 'cept for Legacy Marina of course.
It would have been perfect 'cept for the Power plant, that made weird noises all day and spewed some weird smoke.
The two bars on property made up for the power plant. The wings were pretty good.
This am was clean the fenders and wash the deck day, so I spent the early hours doing just that.
We left for Vero beach about 11am. Vero is about 15 miles north.
Vero is another one of our favorite spots. They have dockage, and Mooring balls.
We took mooring ball number 55, on the north end of the mooring field.
Tonite it will be good sleeping weather, about 60 degrees.
We stayed aboard tonite, had burgers, and a beautiful sunset.
Today we took the free trolly busses into town to WalMart, and West Marine.
Public transportation isn't all it's cracked up to be, but it was free.
Belive it or not these guys were our drivers and their names were
Bill Gates, Bob Barker
and Larry something or other.
No kidding.
This very disturbing kit was on the buses. Makes you wanna not sit down.
After a successful trip to WalMart and West Marine, we stoped at a local watering hole for refreshments. As you can see from the color of the rum and coke, it was rather strong
The dingy dock at Vero Marina is quite full. It's the livaboards parking lot.
Since it was Friday, we decided to continue the celebration, and headed by dingy over to the riverside bar and grill, under the bridge, where we finished the evening.
Went south today, starting the treck home. Damn. Pulled in at Ft. Pierce marina. It was so windy, the birds were grounded. The waves were huge but the photos don't show it.
This is a really neat old hotel right on the beach.
The guy in the Green shirt is "little man" , the dockmaster at Roland Martin Marina. He knows his stuff. You can see how close he put the boats together.
Heading south again, achored in a neat little beached cove just north of Naples.
The next day we went down to Everglade City at the Rod and Gun club. It was a beautiful day in the Gulf, more like a lake today.
Everglade City, dead ahead.
The Rod and Gun club was built in 1862. The walls are made from cypress wood.
Too bad these prices arn't still in effect.
Everglades City Church and the new town hall
The pastor apparently is a good customer of the tiki bar??. Got his own parking spot and everything.
Some post trip thoughts:
After cruising for 10 weeks, and some 1500 miles, we are now home. 
Gonna have to go back to work, and make a whole bunch more $$ soz I can cruise again in the spring.

Some observations:
The first adjustment was I was feeling "guilty" about not working, but that passed in a day or so.
Time then became non existent, it wasn't the day of the week, or the time of day, it was where we were at and where we were going to or where we have been.
As for Money, there is never enough, the old rule applies, you will spend all you have budgeted, and then some. And we did!
Food is readily available all over. You don't have to pack the ranch on the boat.
Enterprise rent a car will pick you up, drop you off, and if you use an American Express card, the credit card company will pay your deductible for your insurance.
State parks with docks are cheap.
Moorings are cheap.
Anchoring is free.
The price of dockage in Florida , especially south Fl. is nuts.
Things break on a boat, continually.
The waters of Florida are still dirty from the storms, no clear water almost anywhere. Hopefully that will get better.
Fuel and docks are cheaper as you go north, as are docks. as is most everything else.
The world is much nicer at 7 knots.
Cruisers are generally nice people, and I hear so are some of the sportfishers, but I couldn't find many of them.
Portable ice machines are great.
Take the time for side trips, they are often better.
The 10 weeks went by so fast it was scary!
Ya damn skippy I will do it again!

Everglades City, 5 miles inland from the gulf.
The Ospreys are preparing the crib for birth.
This condo project stoped in it's tracks, proably due to lack of $$$. We have seen a few of these along the way this trip.
Note the roots of these trees growing along the rocks searching for soil and fresh water.
Two days ago we left Everglades city, headed down to Shark River for the nite.

Yesterday the Lady left Shark River and headed south to the Keys.
If you ever make this trip, you will see thousands of lobster "pots" (styrofoam floating balls that mark the traps on the bottom). They are a menace as if you hit one, they will stop your propeller.
The fishermen are not supposed to put them in the Everglades Park, so we usually travel inside the park boundary to avoid most of the pots.
This fisherman was inside the park boundary placing traps.
The Keys has the prettiest waters of anywere in the USA! This is several hundred cormorants. some white pelicans, and sea gulls resting after their trip from up north.
Here come the dolphins!
Was so windy the pelicans weren't flying!
Just to update, I have ordered and  installed a new marine A/C. West Marine had a closeout on a 1200 btu for $500. My long list of things to fix is still very long, however, we are painting the boat, and she is looking good.

$ea$on this year was pretty slow, awful in fact but I am still going cruising this spring. Probably not to St. Louis , however, due to lack of $$. Maybe next year. Thinkin of the West coast, Maybe the Erie canal. Stick all the $$ under the mattress I can for the trip.

Will pull the boat this month to fix shear pin in Bow thruster, and a coat bottom paint and zincs.

"I love Boating, but I hate Boats!"
Capt. Sterling