October  2002


TUESDAY, OCTOBER 1st


It has been another good day, relaxing (and doing laundry!) at Green Turtle Marina.  Although it has been mostly cloudy today plus we also had some rain for a while, it has been extremely humid.  The sun is now shining once again.

We had a great time with my sister and husband yesterday.  We went up to Patty’s for lunch and gabbed and gabbed…we had lots of laughs.  So good being with them again!

We may leave here tomorrow, although nothing has been carved in stone at this point.  Frank and Pam are fine with anything, so that’s good.  Our friends from Nitz’ Landing still haven’t really found out what is going on with their engines, and couldn’t get the guy down to look at them until tomorrow morning.  So, we don’t really know how soon they would be able to leave here.

More later……
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 2nd


Well, we are still at Green Turtle Marina and it looks like we may stay here the rest of the week, or at least until Hurricane Lilly decides what she is going to do.  I’m sure we will get some rain and wind out of the storm. 

We fueled the boat today and had the heads pumped, so we won’t have to do that on the day we DO leave.  We changed slips too....they let us move into one of the covered slips, so we will be better protected if the storm hits here.  We sterned in also because we thought it would give us better protection too.  Right now the sun is shining with just a light breeze.  The one thing we DON’T want to do is head further south until we know the storm is completely out of the way.

Now that we have our computer up and running, Pam and Frank are totally frustrated with theirs.  They can’t seem to get or stay on line. 

Nitz’ Landing had the “so called expert” working on their boat today – he said they had a broken injector.  After the guy left, they took it out in the river for a trial run.  When they came back, they said it wasn’t fixed!  They DID have a broken injector, but there is still something else going on, so guess they will have to have him back.

Everyone is waiting on me so that we can go up town…..more later!
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 3rd


We are getting even more R & R than we expected here at Green Turtle Marina…..but until Hurricane Lilly, or maybe I should say her “aftermath” goes through here, we are sticking around.  If you have to be “holed up” somewhere, this is a pretty nice place to be.

This is for Keith and Bruce…..guess who else is here?  The Kamnikar’s from South Haven!!  They are also doing the great loop, but since they are in a trawler, it will take them a little more time than us.  So good to see and talk to them – if we can ever remember, we’ll take a picture of them and put it on our website!

Pam and Frank invited us to their boat last night for spaghetti – ummm, good.  We told them we would reciprocate!

The Nitz’ have their “expert” back again today…..we sure hope whatever the problem is with their boat, that they will finally get it fixed!!!  We feel bad that they have had so many problems.

We are sure hoping that everyone has been able to open our website and are enjoying it with us.  Please feel free to sign into our guest book, and if you feel like making a comment, please do so.  You can reach us through the website or through our email.  We have heard from quite a few of you already, and hope to hear from the rest soon.

Hurrah, hurrah – Nitz’ Landing has been fixed!!  I know they are happy, and we are happy for them.  The rocker arm was broken which caused the fuel injector to stick open!

All eight of us (Nitz’, Heald’s, Frank and Pam and us) went to Patti’s again tonight – if we keep this up much longer we will ALL have to go on a diet!!!!

More later……
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 4th

We had some rain here this morning and a little wind, but nothing serious.  The rain has stopped and it is somewhat windier now.  We really don’t think we’re going to get much of anything from Lilly.

We have asked Pam and Frank over to our boat tonight for steaks on the grill – they were so nice to have us a few nights ago for spaghetti.

I will finish this up later in the day with an up-to-date report on the weather and possible plans for tomorrow.  Talk to you soon!

Later……

It rained around supper time again but it appears tomorrow will be a good day to travel.  The wind has completely died.  The plan is to leave at 9:00 a.m. (Mi. time) in the morning.  The three boats will be going to “Cuba Landing”, which is only 90 miles away and NO LOCKS tomorrow – hurrah!!!

Pam and Frank just left after having supper with us tonight – such good friends we have all become.  Did I mention they have two dogs with them?  One is three years old – a Pomeranium (?) and her name is Peanut, and then they have Jasmine – a one year old Yorkie.  She is really a fun puppy, but we love them both.

Now there might be some areas where we won’t be able to send or receive email or update our log, so we ask you to be patient and , as soon as we can again, you will hear from us.

Love to all…….
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5th


We got underway at 9:05 a.m. on a beautiful sunny day – a little cool this morning, but the sun will take care of that….not a breath of wind.  We should have a good run except for slowing down for fishermen…it is Saturday, you know!

Kentucky Lake is beautiful and about 200 miles long.  Kentucky Lake is actually part of the Tennessee River, but wherever there is a dam, it becomes a lake…..thus, Kentucky Lake!

We arrived at “Cuba Landing” at 1:50 p.m. – a good run.  We are actually just about half-way to the Gulf of Mexico.

We hope tomorrow to get down to “Pickwick Lake”, which is close to Florence, Alabama.

More tomorrow……


SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6th


We left “Cuba Landing” at 9:05 a.m. – a crisp Fall morning with fog on the river.  We all have our radars on.  The sun is already coming out but it might take a while to burn off this fog.  Of course, all the fishermen are out this morning.

A side note:  A fairly new 54 foot Sea Ray came into “Cuba Landing” yesterday.  He had a story to tell!  It seems he left the marina at Alton, Illinois, one morning before daylight and in the fog.  He was trying to keep up with some other boats that were leaving at the same time, so obviously was coming out of the marina too fast.  He came out right in front of a barge and got hit!!!  He felt all that kept him from being “sucked under” the front barge was that the barge was squared off instead of being tapered as they usually are in the front.  Guess the impact spun him around, but the Lord must have intervened because he and his passenger were not hurt.  The upper part of the starboard side of his boat was damaged and was taped with duct tape.  Once they get to Mobile, Alabama, they will have it fixed properly before they attempt to cross the Gulf.

Hurrah – the fog has already lifted after being underway forty minutes!  It is now a beautiful day and the water couldn’t be smoother.  I have always thought the Tennessee River was one of the prettiest.  This is really the first day we have noticed any Fall color change in the trees, and there is not much at that.  Once in a while you see these big homes sitting atop a high hill or part way down the hill – that must be quite a feat for a builder!

Another side note:  The Tennessee River is low.  Now we know why the Ohio River and the Cumberland River were so high!  We were told that they opened the dam and lowered the Tennessee River when “Lilly” was threatening to drop lots of water in it.  Of course all the water went into the Ohio and Cumberland Rivers.

We have reached the Pickwick Lock at 2:50 and locked UP and through at 3:30.

The damaged Sea Ray caught up to the rest of us in the lock.  Now maybe we have a better understanding why he got struck by a barge – what a COWBOY!!!!  They tied to the bollard and, from that point on, it was a circus.  He had his female friend on the bow…..we never did see a boat hook, which you usually need when you are in a lock – if he had her change the “fenders” once, he had her do it six or eight times.  I guess he thought he was helping her because he started the engines (normally when you are in a lock, you turn your engines off) – he really lost control then and hit his front rails really hard on the lock walls about three or four times.  We hope that boat makes it to Florida…..we haven’t seen him since.

We are almost to an area where the Tennessee River is quartering the State of Tennessee and also cornering two other states – Mississippi and Alabama.

We reached “Grand Harbor Marina” at Pickwick Lake at 4:15 and are presently fueling and pumping heads.  It is in the 90’s and “sticky” – we will stay here tonight.


MONDAY, OCTOBER 7th


We left “Grand Harbor Marina” at 9:00 a.m., with a temperature of sixty-five degrees.  About 3:30 a.m. this morning we had a storm come through with lots of rain, thunder and lightening – a cool front.  The weatherman on TV tells us a cool front is stalled further south, so we will more than likely be in it for a while.  The sky is cloudy this morning.

We are starting into the Tenn-Tombigbee Waterway (man-made canal) at 9:30 a.m.  This canal presently goes through the State of Mississippi and the latter part of it through the State of Alabama.

Note:  We just crossed over the Continental Divide – on one side the water is flowing south and on the other side it is flowing north.

We arrived at the Jamie Whitten Lock and Dam, our first lock of the day, at 10:50 a.m.    There will be a series of locks today, all very close together.  We locked through at 11:25.  Up ‘til now our various locks have gone from three feet to forty feet, either up or down.  This lock was by far our biggest drop at eighty-four feet.

Our next lock is the Montgomery Lock and Dam – we arrived at 11:55 a.m. and locked through at 12:20.  All the locks today will be thirty foot drops.

One lock after another today…..we arrived at the John Rankin Lock and Dam at 12:50 and locked through at 1:10.

The Glover Wilkins Lock and Dam is twelve miles ahead….so far we have been pretty lucky the way we have been hitting them.

I think our luck just ran out…a fuel barge is ahead of us and, as I mentioned earlier, no one goes into the lock with a fuel barge.  We arrived at this lock at 3:00 and sat it out for a while.  We locked through finally at 4:05.

Now remember, the fuel barge is still ahead of us which means he has priority at the next lock too.  Because all the locks have been so close together today, even if we passed the barge, he would still go through the lock first as the lock master would hold the lock for him and we would still have to wait.

We arrived at Amory Lock and Dam at 4:20 and are sitting and waiting!

Our original plan was to go on to “Waverly Marina” today but, because of this tow ahead of us and also more locks ahead of us, we are concerned it may get dark on us soooo, plan B:  Whenever we get through this particular lock, we will stop at the very next marina called “Aberdeen Marina”, which is back off the main channel of the river.  We locked through at 5:17 and arrived at “Aberdeen Marina” at 6:10.  This is quite a unique place.  As I said, it is back off the main channel quite a long way….we followed a narrow, winding, marked channel back in with stumps of trees on each side of the channel sitting in the water.  It made you feel like you were going back into the Everglades or a place like that.  It is quite charming after you get back in here.

Well, we have been through a bunch of locks today, and are really ready to settle in for the night….talk to you tomorrow!!



TUESDAY, OCTOBER 8th


Good morning!  We woke up to a beautiful day – sun shining and sixty-three degrees.  The mornings are usually cool and it warms up nicely as the day goes on.

The friends from the “Nitz’ Landing” decided they wanted to lay over in Aberdeen today as it is supposed to be  a historic town.  Tomorrow they want to go to Waverly, which is only twenty miles down stream, and stay over a day there.

We decided, along with Pam and Frank from “Bout Time”, that we wanted to move on.  We are anxious to get down to Demopolis so we have temporarily parted company, but I am sure that somewhere along the line, we will meet up again.

We were told this morning that if we could get to the Aberdeen Lock within the half-hour, we could lock through as it was open.  The lock was only a mile from the marina, so we left the marina real quick at 8:30 a.m., and got to the lock at 8:40.  We locked through at 8:55.  We hope to make good time today; however, once again, it depends on how we hit the locks and also how many tows we meet up with.  I believe there will be just four locks today.

The Tenn-Tom seems higher as we go further south.  We are wondering if it’s a result of all the rain they had from the hurricane that hit Louisiana.

We arrived at the John C. Stennis Lock and Dam at 10:00 a.m., and locked through at 10:25.  So far, so good!  We have thirty miles to go until we reach the third lock, the Tom Bevill Lock and Dam.  It is now seventy-one degrees.

We just saw a flock of large black birds with huge wing spans – Jim thought they might be turkey buzzards, something I’ve never heard of.  We’ve also seen white birds with black on their heads, and we’ve also seen a lot of beautiful blue herons.

We have now crossed into the State of Alabama and are waiting at the Tom Bevill Lock and Dam at 11:15 for entry into it.  We entered at 12:00 noon and locked through at 12:15.  The temperature is now almost eighty-two degrees.

Our next lock – and last for today – is the Howell Heflin Lock and Dam, which is forty miles ahead of us.  This will give me time to fix lunch for us!

The Howell Heflin Lock was ready and waiting for us.  We arrived at 2:00 and came out of the lock at 2:25.  No more locks today!  The Lord has really been watching over us.  We have really made good time today, even with the four locks too!

One thing that strikes us funny is…..with the exception of one lock today, always in the past the lock master would tell everyone they had to put life jackets on while in the lock.  We haven’t been told to do that at all on this trip, with the exception of one lock.  Jim and I have done it anyway!

We are now on the Black Warrior River – it is 4:25, and at 4:30 we arrived in Demopolis.  We had an excellent run today!!

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 9th

We woke to a cloudy, humid morning.  From a distance it looks like it could be foggy out on the river.  We left Demopolis at 9:15 a.m. and locked through the Demopolis Lock at 9:55 (arrived there at 9:40). 

I should explain….although we are on the Black Warrior River, it is still part of the Tombigbee Waterway (the lower part).  Sections of the river are quite pretty where some parts are not.  We have seen a lot of erosion – also, a lot of debris.  We and “Bout Time” have run over submerged “stuff” on this trip.  It appears none of it was big enough to cause us problems, but at the moment it happens, it does “shake you up” a little.

Today has certainly been a cloudy one – it has brightened up some at the moment, but haven’t seen the sun today.

We have stopped temporarily while Frank and Pam fuel up with gas – they don’t have the fuel range that we have……it is now 2:30 p.m.

We have decided to just stay here tonight – it is called “Bobby’s Fish Camp”.  No electricity, but we have our generators, so no sweat!  It is just floating docks alongside the river, but it’s quiet here and a place for Pam and Frank to walk their dogs.  One more lock tomorrow and we will be through them all.  Our destination for tomorrow is Mobile, Alabama.


THURSDAY, OCTOBER 10th


We thought we would get an early start this morning; however, barge traffic was heavy going both ways.  Besides us and “Bout Time”, two other cruisers stayed last night at “Bobby’s Fish Camp”.  One being a 45’ Jefferson with two guys on board – one being sick, and the other a 44’ Sea Ray (aft cabin version) with a couple on board, Dean and Jan.  Lucky for us, a tow and barges spent the night across the river from us and the captain was nice enough to let us lock through with him (when his turn came up).  He went into the lock first and got situated.  We were next (Nauti Gal) into the lock, right behind the tow on the starboard wall of the lock.  “Bout Time” rafted off of us.  The other two boats went in behind the tow on the port wall of the lock, rafted also.  It worked out very nicely.

To back up a little, we left “Bobby’s Fish Camp” at 9:35 a.m. (Mi. Time) and got to the “Coffeeville Lock and Dam at 10:00 – we locked through at 10:25.  We and “Bout Time” are out in front of the rest of the cruisers as we are the faster boats.  The people on the Sea Ray don’t like to run as fast, so they and the trawler are back behind us.

It rained last night and was drizzling a little this morning.  It has stopped now and is just cloudy.  It is seventy-two degrees this morning and humid. 

The river from “Coffeeville Lock” to Mobile has full tide effect and this lock is our LAST LOCK – HURRAH!!!!!

The sky got darker and darker as we got into Mobile at 4:20 – it rained on us most of the trip today.  We arrived at the “Grand Mariner Marina” at approximately 5:30 in a real “downpour”, so we didn’t attempt to dock until the rain let up some.  We just stood off from the fuel dock for a while.  We will stay here through tomorrow so we can do laundry and go grocery shopping, and hopefully get a little R & R.

As we get closer to Florida we get more excited!  We are all pretty tired of river travel and DEFINITELY TIRED of locks!  Once we leave Mobile, we will hopefully be able to run on the Gulf; however, if the Gulf should be rough, we can always go the Intercoastal Waterway (but that is a lot slower travel), so we will see.

We are hoping that we can connect tonight so all you good people can be updated on our website, and also get up-to-date on our emailing.


FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11th


Today has been pretty nice – sunny with a few clouds, but extremely humid…..We took the courtesy car here at the marina to do laundry (we and “Bout Time” had lots of dirty laundry) – we also needed to pick up a few things at the grocery store and the drug store.  So, that has been more or less our day today.  I can’t believe it is almost 5:00 already.  We stopped at a “Steak & Shake” for lunch, so neither of us want any supper tonight.

“Nitz’ Landing” pulled in here in the middle of the afternoon today.  They didn’t stay another night at Aberdeen after all.  They left there in the middle of the afternoon and went onto Waverly Marina for the night.  The next day they were at Demopolis and from there they came here to Mobile.  So, they were just one day behind us.  

We hope we can get out on the gulf tomorrow – the Nauti Gal is ready to really get out there and run!!!!!  We hope to get to Pensacola tomorrow.

More later…….


SATURDAY, OCTOBER 12th


We woke up to a beautiful morning… the sun is up and no wind.  We left the “Grand Mariner Marina”, which is located on Dog River at Mobile, at 8:15 a.m.  We hope to have a good run on the gulf today.  “Nitz’ Landing” is running with us again.  If the gulf is really good, we will run beyond Pensacola and get some “real miles” behind us…our three boats run well together.

There was an outside chance that Lee and Lynn Hornack might join us at Mobile and go the rest of the way down with us, but that didn’t work out as they are expecting company the first of next week, plus other things are pending.  Maybe they will be able to start out with us next spring and go a ways with us!

Pam ordered fresh shrimp when we first arrived in Mobile yesterday….she fixed it with garlic, onion and butter…yum!  It was very good!

We really appreciate all the positive comments you-all have made via email and website, regarding our website.  I’ve been doing all the writing, Jim has taken all the pics (plus we have some of Pam’s pics too) and then he puts them on the web.  Our daughter-in-law, Jill, has done all the extra, neat things that makes the website look good.  She put a new map on the website, which she will keep updated too.

Back to today….We just saw our first porpoise of the day, along our starboard side of the boat.  We are still in Mobile Bay – what a busy place.  We see lots of shrimpers, and a big freighter just went by us.  The name of the freighter is “Bali Sea” out of Singapore.  It was carrying boxcars.  There are many sea gulls and pelicans out here this morning.

It is about 10:00 a.m. and we are on the gulf!  It is partly cloudy and the water is very nice.

Later……what a great run we had today!  The water got nicer and nicer as we ran – it got as smooth as glass.  We went 173 miles today in 7 hours and 40 minutes, and arrived in PANAMA CITY at 3:55.

Panama City is a neat place and the marina we are in is called “Bay Point Harbor”.  This whole area is all resort.  There is a Hotel Marriott right here at the marina, a lot of beautiful condos, a very good restaurant that we tried tonight, a beautiful swimming pool.  Everything you might need is right here.  Diesel fuel was only $1.19 a gallon!!  Gasoline - $1.69.9 per gallon.

We got the weather forecast for next week – Mon.-Tues.-Wed. – due to a cold front coming through, those three days they are forecasting 15-20 knot winds with 4-6 foot seas out of the southeast, meaning a beam sea.  Not fun!!!  We could probably run tomorrow, Sunday, but have decided to stay here, the reason being, if we are going to be weathered in somewhere, we would rather it be here than Carabelle or Appalachacola.  We have been to both of those places before.  So we hope to get some R & R.  If we are lucky, maybe we can get today’s log and yesterday’s log out to everyone while here.

Talk to you later…….
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 13th

There has been some change in the weather forecast, so we have decided to run to Carrabelle today; however, we will run the intercoastal.  To run the Gulf, we would have to go way out five miles and around a point because of shallow water.  The intercoastal could actually be faster this time.  After we get to Carrabelle, we will see what happens with the weather.  Today it is partly cloudy with a light breeze, but it is SO HUMID!  All the Floridians are ready and waiting for this cool front to come through as it has been in the nineties for such a long time, they say.

The “Nitz’ Landing” friends left earlier this morning going the same place we are and also taking the intercoastal.
We left Panama City at 11:55 – it is a four and a half hour trip to Carrabelle.  I’ll add more to this later today……
LATER…..We had a very good run today – that is until we got a few miles from Carrabelle and then ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE!!!!!

We noticed dark sky ahead of us so, figuring we were going to get some rain, Jim began putting our back curtains down on the back deck, while I drove.  We no sooner got everything closed up when the sky just completely opened up and poured rain like we’ve never seen before.  Then the wind came up VIOLENTLY from ALL directions – no pattern to the waves, which were probably five footers, and we were taking water over our bow….we couldn’t see anything.  We normally do not latch the hatch cover leading to the bridge and it started banging.  I grabbed it but was having a time latching it as it seemed like such a pressure was lifting it out of my grasp.  Jim then left the wheel to see if he could pull it down and get it latched.  It was all he could do, but finally got it.  What made this “squall” really bad was we had thunder and lightening ALL AROUND US too.  The worse place a boater wants to be in a lightening storm is out on the water!  Since there is so much shallow water down here, and we couldn’t see where we were going anyway, we picked a marker and a green buoy and just stayed, as best we could, in between the two, and rode out the storm.  We have a very heavy boat, but we were really being pushed around with the waves.  We have never seen a storm move in this fast before!!!!  We were concerned about “Bout Time” because their boat is a lot lighter than ours and they were behind us; however, we could no longer see them because of the wind and rain.  We talked to them on our radio and they had also decided to ride it out between a marker and a buoy.  They were being tossed around even more than us, if that’s possible.  The area we were in during the storm is called St. George Bay.

Jim said he had NEVER  been in anything THAT BAD ever before.  We’ve been caught in ten foot waves on Lake Michigan, and that’s not fun either, but this was much, much worse!!!!  We all just kept praying!
After what seemed like an eternity, the thunder and lightening stopped, the wind settled down, and the bay calmed right down.  It was still raining some, but a lot less than before.  At that point, Frank told us he had lost one of his bow cushions in the storm (worth $500) and since the storm appeared to be over, he was going to turn around and go back a ways to see if he could find it.  Never in a million years did we think he would find the cushion, but we also turned around and followed him back.  Lo and behold, they spotted it up close to shore where the wind and waves obviously threw it.  Luckily for them, the water depth was such that they didn’t get into shallow water as they retrieved it.

We arrived at “The Moorings”  at Carrabelle at 5:50 p.m.  They were expecting us and wondering about us.  They were really glad to see us!  They then told us there had been tornado warnings up and a water spout had been sighted out on the bay!  Jim thinks we were either right ON THE EDGE OF IT OR POSSIBLY IN IT the way we were being tossed around.
I am here folks to tell you ……only by the GRACE OF GOD did we make it – HE heard our prayers and HE put his protective arms around us, calmed the seas, and brought us in safely – we are eternally grateful and thankful.  PRAYER DOES WORK!!!!

MONDAY, OCTOBER 14th

This cool front they have been predicting moves for a while and then stalls.  The storm we were in yesterday definitely cooled things down and there is less humidity now.

Consequently, the weather forecast keeps changing daily.  We heard that today was the best day to cross the Gulf – that was different from a couple days ago too.  So, we left Carrabelle at 8:00 a.m. and reached the Gulf at 8:25.  They said the waves would only be two footers – ha!  They were already five to six footers just starting out, and were hitting us pretty good.  “Nitz’ Landing” was ahead of us and “Bout Time” behind us.  Frank called us and said he was hitting pretty hard – we all decided quickly that we would turn around and come back into Carrabelle.  We got back in here at 9:15.  On a “nice” day, it will take us six-seven hours to cross the Gulf from here to Tarpon Springs.  Right now, we are sitting tight here at Carrabelle and will just “play it by ear”

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 15th

It rained all night and most of today….it is now 3:10 and looks like the sun is trying to shine.  This front just seems to stay right over the top of us, so we have no idea when we will get away from here.  Carrabelle is not the best place to be weathered in; however, everyone is very nice and very accommodating.  There is just nothing much here and, so far we haven’t been able to get on our website from here either.  Jim is going to try something else in a few minutes and see if it will work so that we can send our log and pick up emails.

The marina expects a 100’ boat in this afternoon and the only place they had to put him was where we were.  So they moved us to the other side of the marina.

Jim is ready and waiting to try to log on to the computer, so I’d better stop here.  Keep your fingers crossed that he can log on.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 16th


Well, at least the rain finally stopped.  We woke up to sunshine this morning.  It is warm in the sun but cool in the shade.  The wind is blowing some here at the marina, but we’ve been told the wind out on the gulf is bad – four to six footers, today and tomorrow.  So, it looks like the first chance we may have to leave here is Friday.  If we do get to leave on Friday, we will head for Tarpon Springs – a run of six to seven hours.  Carl Heald keeps his 46’ Bertram there and has already made reservations for all of us at his marina.
In the meantime, I got the laundry done this morning and went to the grocery store for a few more items.
Jim finally was able to get our emails this morning, but can’t get onto our website from here.  It is very frustrating!  So we are now four days behind getting our log onto our website.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17th

Believe it or not, we left Carrabelle at 8:30 a.m. this morning with our fingers crossed!  We had been weathered in there since Monday (after arriving on Sunday).

We had one storm cell after another go through and didn’t know WHEN we would be able to leave.  The weather reports changed daily and the ‘window of opportunity’ for leaving was very small.

Finally, this morning, it sounded pretty good and we felt we should all try it or we might be stuck in Carrabelle until next week.  The wind was predicted to be out of the north (right on our tail) with waves three to four feet.  That sounded better than going into a ‘head sea’ or worse, a ‘beam sea’.  We did find three to four footers out there, but they were more on our port stern quarter.  Still not bad, but not quite as comfortable.  As we got closer to Tarpon Springs we, of course, started seeing crab pots EVERYWHERE, which we knew we would.  We are so glad we put “cutters” on our boat before we left home.  No one ever deliberately runs over crab pots, but for those of you who may not know this, if you do, you will get the fishermen’s nets wrapped around your props and do some major damage.  The cutters are installed just in front of your props and WILL cut through any lines that you could go over the top of.  It actually becomes an obstacle course out there because these crab pots are everywhere.  Frank stayed right behind us doing this period as he doesn’t have cutters on his boat.
 
Yesterday’s trip seemed longer to us than the crossing from Mobile to Panama City, the reason being, the waves we had yesterday.  The Mobile to Panama crossing is the longest, but that is the day the water was sooo smooth.
Anyway, we arrived at the Tarpon Springs channel at 3:42 p.m., and at our dock at 4:30.  It was a long, tiring day!
The Healds are also happy to be in Tarpon Springs, as that is where they keep their 46’ Bertram Motor Yacht.  It is quite a bit older than our Bertram, but they did a lot of work on it and have it all fixed up nice.  The Healds are the couple that have been traveling with the Nitz’ on “Nitz’ Landing”.  We are docked right next to Healds on their dock.

Frank and Pam have invited us to their boat tonight for steak and lobster – are you drooling yet???  They have had us over a couple times for dinner, and we’ve done the same for them.  Of course, anytime Pam and I can work it, we find a restaurant!!!  The four of us have become really good friends and have found we also have a lot in common.  We love their two doggies!

We have it made now though….from now on we have the option of either running the gulf (which we prefer if the water is good), or running the intercoastal the rest of the way down.  All the long, tiring days are behind us!  If we really wanted to, we could now make it all the way to Cape Coral from here in ONE DAY; however, we plan on stopping at some other places first.

We are hoping (and are pretty sure) that we can now bring our website up-to-date here at Tarpon Springs as we are pretty close to Clearwater.  As you know, the last place we were where we could get the log out was at Panama City.  Carrabelle was just impossible that way!!  Thank you for your patience!!!!  Tomorrow we will try to get out to all you good people – we are only five days behind!!!!

Good night……

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 18th

We really got a good night’s sleep last night – I think we were all really exhausted after yesterday’s run.  The sun is shining brightly this morning, and is a little cool.  I’m sure by this afternoon, the sun will take care of that.

I forgot to tell you that just as we arrived at Tarpon Springs yesterday, Jim noticed that his computer, which he uses while we are underway, had shut down on him.  He then noticed that our generator had also shut down.  Upon investigation this morning, he found that the shaft seal is leaking on the fresh water pump and leaving a salt deposit in the enclosure for the generator.  He took the water pump out.  To make a long story short, the guy at the marina office said he knew a fellow at Clearwater that specializes in pumps, etc., so Jim called him right away and he said he could fix the problem if Jim could get it to Clearwater.  The man at the marina loaned Jim (and Carl) his truck so they could go to Clearwater (which isn’t far from here) and the guy said he would fix it while they waited. We ended up with a new replacement pump but, after installation, found another problem. Now the solenoid used to shut down the generator does not work. Until we get to Cape Coral, we will have to shut it down manually. At least we can keep the refrigerator/freezer going.  Never a dull moment, right?

Pam and I went shopping today – after all, we had to visit the “Cottonseed Shop”, isn’t that right, Lynn????

Pam, Frank, Jim and I went to a restaurant tonight for a ‘good burger’, which we found.  It seems to be the place in town to go, especially on Fridays and Saturdays.

The Nitz’ and the Healds are leaving tomorrow morning and going all the way to Punta Gorda (Burnt Store Marina) where Ken and Ginger have a home, and also keep their boat there.

We are also leaving in the morning; however, we are going to stop at Longboat Key, at Sarasota, where Frank and Pam have friends.  It is supposed to be very nice there.  We will be spending the night there and then go on to CAPE CORAL!!!! So, it won’t be long before we arrive at our destination!!
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19th

We have a beautiful Florida morning!  We finished fueling at 9:45 a.m. and are on our way out of the Tarpon Springs channel, which is a long one – it goes way back in (reminds me of Saugatuck’s long channel, only much more open and wider).  It is presently seventy-five degrees.

We are now on the gulf – it is 10:20……Today’s trip should only take about three hours.  There are fishing boats (and other kinds of boats) everywhere today – it IS Saturday, you know! We just passed Clearwater at 10:55 with all of its big high rises along the gulf.

We hope you checked our website last night, as the log has been updated (6 days worth)!  As soon as Jim has time (in the next day or so), he will have more pictures on the website.  Thank you, Jill, for giving us more pages to put our pictures on!  Check out our map…..it shows us down to Sarasota (or Longboat Key), which is where we will be in a few hours.  Jill, we LOVE the little “floating bottle” with the email message stuck inside it….and the music is perfect!!

We passed through the Tampa Bay Channel at 12:05 p.m., and started into Longboat Key at 12:45.

We arrived at Longboat Mooring Marina at 2:05…..it is eighty-six degrees -  very sticky!  This looks like a really nice place, and you should see some of the huge yachts sitting here – makes us and “Bout Time” look like dinghys!  “Bout Time” was just ahead of us coming into the marina, so he started to back into his slip and suddenly went “dead” in the water.  He is a diver so he put his wet suit on, after getting the boat temporarily situated, and went down to see what was going on.  There was a ski rope wrapped around BOTH of his props!  So he worked getting that free and it appears the props are fine as he was backing into the slip very slowly.  Now he has moved into the slip right next to us. We are going for early dinner tonight – we’ll be in Cape Coral tomorrow.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 20th

We just got pumped out, “Bout Time” just took on more fuel, and we are leaving the marina at Longboat Key at 10:00 a.m., heading for Cape Coral.  We should have a good run today as we have an off-shore breeze at the moment….it is somewhat cloudy and eighty-six degrees.

Frank and Pam just inquired, by phone, if there was space at the Cape Coral Yacht Club for their boat.  The answer was ‘yes’, and it is reasonably priced.  They also have a nice big pool there.  At least temporarily, they are staying on the ‘inside’ dock at Hornacks, next door to us.  They have to go back home to Wisconsin, probably at the end of the month, but will be back down in January, like us.  They rented a house down here, not too far from us, three years ago…..with the prices of homes soaring these days in Cape Coral, I think they wish they had purchased that house – or another one back then.

Well, we are finally out on the gulf at 11:00……some of these marinas go way back in off the gulf.  For safety reasons (hurricanes) that is probably good though.

LATER……

We had a GREAT run today….the closer we got to Cape Coral, the smoother the gulf became.  We passed under the Sanibal Bridge at 3:15 and arrived at our Cape Coral home at 4:10.

We have had a great journey…..for such a long time, while on the river and going through the locks, we wondered if we would ever get here.  NOW, HERE WE ARE!!!!  For the most part, the weather cooperated with us, but regardless, the Lord kept us safe and got us down here in good shape!

This will be my last log until probably sometime in April, 2003, when we start up the east coast towards home…we will get this updated, and also the rest of the pictures updated, tonight, hopefully.

Thank you for coming along with us on our journey!