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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Day Four Bringing Dusty Weather Home - Sunday

We got off to a relatively late start this morning. I checked all the fluids, made sure the anchor windlass worked, pumped up the inflatable kayak, and made sure everything on deck was tied down, since we'd be on the Intra-Coastal Waterway before we stopped for the day. We pulled away from Calusa Jacks at about 10:30 and then had to wait at the Wilson Pigott bridge for the sailboat Gypsie Wind to catch up the bridge only had to open once to get us both under. There were no locks to go through today - the next time we have to do that will be in Alabama! 

(No, that's not a waterspout in the sunset photo from today- it was the window glass frame in the pilothouse.)

If yesterday seemed quiet as far as boat traffic was concerned, today made up for it a hundred-fold! I've never seen so many boats! We only did 49 miles today, but hopefully we can do better than that tomorrow.

Glenda says:
I think I must really be a country girl.  While the water near Ft Myers is beautiful the boat traffic was horrible.  It was hard for me to enjoy the ride with boats zipping all over the place.  We did see more dolphins and the large sea turtle today but we were probably the only ones cause everybody else was going too fast to see anything.  I was beginning to get anxious about anchoring out so I think Tom stopped earlier than he would have.  We got anchored securely after a couple of tries and ate the ribs we had left over from last night.  Then the unthinkable happens! My costa del Mars fell over board!! I am crushed!  😳 I can't see in the sun without sunglasses.  My wonderful husband insist he brought a spare pair.  My knight in shining armor as usually😍.   The little storm that blew up after that made me forget quickly about my sun glasses but it blew over and our little boat performed spectacularly!  The anchor held!  Just like the love of Christ.  

Day three bringing "Dusty Weather" home. Saturday

The wind was calm when we woke this morning, and shortly after 7:00 we untied from the dolphins and idled to the More Haven lock - the first of three we went through today on our way to Calusa Jack's Marina outside Fort Meyers. As promised by several people, the river on this, the west side of the Okeechobee Waterway is more scenic than the East side. I've been surprised at the small number other boats in the waterway. I expected it to be crowded, but until we got close to the marina, there wasn't much traffic. We traveled  50 miles today, for a total of about 152 miles since leaving Fort Pierce. We got to the marina in time to do laundry, get groceries and eat some great BBQ before enjoying another beautiful South Florida sunset. (Somebody find my Jimmy Buffett CD).
Tomorrow we will head west toward the Gulf Intra-Coastal Waterway. 

Update on Daisy:
Daisy has taken quite well to the new boat as you can see.  She cannot negotiate the steps up to the pilot house so she sits at the bottom and cries until I take pity on her and bring her up.  We just have to remember to close the pilot house door or she comes out when are trying to get situated in the lock.  ( I'm sure she just wants to help). She really just wants to be wherever we are. 

Glenda says:
We really saw some beautiful scenery today!  I have neglected to tell you of all my animal sightings.  So far I have seen 2 alligators, lots of eagles, various water birds, ospreys and a beautiful swallow tail kite doing an aerial show.  Not to mention lots of cattle and these horses too.

This morning I finally figured out the old fashion camp coffee percolator and had a nice cup of coffee.  Yesterday I ended up with an empty pot and dry coffee, still not sure what I did wrong.  We were successful getting the boat undocked this morning.  I believe Tom actually did make it look easy.  We stopped at the Morehaven city dock for a few minutes.  Daisy still will not potty on the boat.  She will have to eventually.  I was tempted by a local garage sale, but decided I had no room on the boat for any treasure I might find.  We went through 3 locks today and while it still makes me uptight, I'm gaining confidence each time.  We went through 3 bridges that either lifted or swung open for us, and everybody we talked to was very nice.  Of course we got several " love your boat" from multiple people.  It still fun to take photos of some interesting ones we see.
We got to the marina about 3:30 and the managers have been wonderful.  We went to the laundry mat, Winn Dixie and Rib City.  He delivered us to all 3 and then gave us a dozen eggs from his chickens.  Ain't God good!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Day two of bringing "Dusty Weather" home. Friday

We left the dock about 7:30 this morning and went through the Port Lucie lock with only minor embarrassment. When I got even with the lock tender, who was standing ready to throw us a stern line, I put the boat in reverse to stop its forward motion, but the prop wash kicked the stern to the starboard side and as a result the bow went to port and hit against the lock wall. No damage was done to anything other than my ego, and it was certainly no more embarrassing than running aground.

When we got to the Mayaca lock, which is the entrance to Lake Okeechobee, the doors were open on both ends and the water levels were even on both sides. I had been told that they occasionally do this to drain some water off of the lake. After getting permission from the lock tender, we idled through the lock behind a sailboat named 'Jolly'.  It was the easiest lock transit I've ever had.

We decided to take the direct, open water route across the lake instead of the more scenic route that follows the shoreline, in order to save a couple of hours. For the first hour and a half we were rocked back and forth by short but closely spaced choppy waves that reminded me of Mobile Bay. After that, though, the wind shifted to attack us more on our stern, and the waves diminished somewhat. At that point it was a pleasant ride to Lewiston at the West edge of the lake. The trip across the lake was about 25 miles, and in all we travelled 62.5 miles at an average speed of 6.2 mph.

The only gator I saw was a dead one being eaten by vultures, but Glenda saw a couple, and I understand we may see some around the boat about sun up. We'll keep Daisy on a short leash. Right after we tied up between two 'Dolphins' (groups of pililngs lashed together) for the night, we watched a bald eagle chasing an osprey overhead. The osprey had some kind of creature in his talons, and we assume the eagle was trying to steal it.

Tomorrow we will lock through the More Haven lock and head toward Ft. Meyers.

I apologize for not having captions to explain our pictures, but the app I'm using won't let me attach a caption that will stay with the picture as I edit the post, so I'll have to add them later.

Glenda says:

We both slept good last night!  Fixed ham and eggs for breakfast and headed off to the Port Lucie lock. (again). The lock tender was very nice and patient with his instructions.  He was actually from Prattville Alabama, only about 45 miles from us.  I did get flustered while I was holding the rope and realized I had left the pilot house door open and Daisy had followed me out.  Now I'm holding on to her and the rope.  But we managed with only a few seconds of increased heart rate.  

This is just our second day owning the boat and we already had a man on his dock taking photos as we passed, another yelling from his dock that he liked our boat and a third stopped in his boat just a few minutes ago to say he was jealous☺️ Tom has managed well today, we bumped the wall a little in the lock but we stopped to get ice and he docked expertly and we are now tied up between two"dophins". I must say he didn't make it look as easy as Clyde did but he got the job done.  We are both gaining confidence.  It rained for about 2 hours today but other than that the weather has been just about perfect.  

Thursday, May 28, 2015

On the water with the new boat!

On Tuesday, Glenda and I drove down to Ft. Pierce, and on Wednesday morning we became the official owners of Dusty Weather, a 1969 Willard 36' Aft-Pilothouse Trawler.

I spent most of Wednesday replacing some shore power outlets and temporarily wiring my VHF radio and my chart plotter into the boat for our trip home. I also added a usb charger for our phones and iPad.

Wednesday night Clyde and Sandra (who had owned Dusty Weather since 1992), took us out for a great seafood dinner, and then gave us a tour of the area before dropping us off at the boat for our first night aboard. Clyde also offered to accompany us on our first day's journey on the boat - an offer I quickly accepted! I was still a little nervous about driving such a big boat that I wasn't familiar with, and I felt much better with Clyde there on the first day. His experience proved very valuable when I ran Dusty Weather aground. But, I'll let Glenda tell you about that, since I know she's going to anyway😆.

This morning, (Thursday), we did a little organizing, called the insurance company to let them know the needed repairs were done, and then Glenda and I went grocery shopping. With Clyde coaching me, we pulled away from the dock around 11:30 and headed South toward the Okechobee Waterway. We travelled about 38 miles today and driving the trawler was lots of fun. The pilothouse has a 360 degree view, and the height adds emphasis to the view. We are tied up now at a private dock just East of the St. Lucie lock, which opens at 7:00 am. 

Glenda says:
First let me begin by telling what wonderful people Clyde and Sandra are!  We have not just purchased a new boat, we have made great new friends.  Clyde and Sandra gave up two days of their time just to help us be more comfortable with "Dusty Weather".  They gave us a personal tour of Ft. Pierce, a fantastic dinner, and fun company.  

We left Ft. Pierce around 11:30 Thursday.  We traveled along enjoying the beauty of the Florida shoreline.  I even took the helm for a few minutes, just to get a feel of boat.  Tom was following his Garmin charts very carefully and watching the channel markers closely. Clyde had come along for the first leg of the journey.  Sandra had promised to meet us at St. Lucie lock marina.  All was going well.  Suddenly at 4:55 we ran aground.   The garmin showed that we were in the middle of the channel.  The boat was stuck it would not move.  Tom just stepped aside and let Clyde take the wheel.  He saved the day!  After much patience, expertise and perseverance and with the help of couple boaters wakes we were free.  We had no clue why the channel markers were off but I suppose the water shifts a lot of sand around.  Sandra called to tell us she was at the lock and we assured her she would not have to wait long.  We arrive at 6:08--- the lock closed at 5:00.  Again we were going by the information on the garmin that said the lock was open 7 to 7.  Now Sandra is on the other side of the lock and we can't get to her!  After a series of phone calls, it's decided that we will go back up river a few miles into a neighborhood where Clyde and Sandra have wonderful friends.  The entrance into neighborhood is narrow and shallow but once again Clyde's expertise gets us safely in.  (I was instructed to leave out the part about not being able to fine the house, so I will😇)  So here we sit on our new boat in this nice quiet neighborhood being thankful.  Thankful that God let us meet 2 such
special people.  Thankful that Clyde was with us when these "adventures" took place.  Clyde and Sandra taught me with grace and humor, to enjoy the journey.  That is a lesson God has been trying to teach me for a long time.  

Monday, May 25, 2015

New Boat !!!

For some time now we've known that we had outgrown the KnotSoFast. We wanted to take on longer trips and the grandkids were getting too big to sleep on the narrow bench. And both we and the grandkids really wanted to share our trips with other people, which just wasn't possible on the little tug. There just wasn't room, not to mention the port-pottie, no table to eat at, only a camp stove for a galley, etc. It worked for two people, but add a dog and a couple of teenagers and it got small really fast!

I considered building a bigger trawler, but in light of my recent medical issues, I decided that I just needed to buy a used one and get out on the water, instead of spending the next 5 years in the backyard.  So for the last few months we have been looking at used trawlers and motorsailers, but couldn't find exactly what we were looking for.

Then a month ago we talked with the owner of a 1969 36' Willard Pilothouse - one of only 5 such boats, and one of only two on the Eastern side of the US. Glenda, Abby and I drove down to see the boat and immediately fell in love with it. The owner had taken good care of her for over 20 years, and he graciously agreed to let us be the next owners.

We are driving down this week to begin the trip from SE Florida to Demopolis, where we will keep her while we repaint the bottom and do some minor upgrades. This will be about a 3 week, 900 mile trip home - by far the longest boat trip we've ever taken.

Whenever possible I'll post to this blog about out trip home. Then when I catch up on my to-do lists, I'll start a new blog dedicated solely to the new boat and swap the posts over.

Thanks to all of you who have followed the KnotSoFast travel blog for the last 5 years and 2400 miles. I hope you enjoy reading about the new boat too!

There is a place on the blog (right below the "Buy Abby's Book" tab), where you can enter your email and get the new posts sent to you automatically. That's a little easier than having to go to the blog to see if something new has been posted.


PS - I'll post pictures of the boat as soon as I can - probably in the next day or two.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Last Day of Bailey's Trip

On Friday we took a short cruise before loading the tug on the trailer and heading home. Once at home, Bailey and I started work on a video of her trip. I put together the pictures and video from the trip, added some appropriate music, and Bailey added the narration. It turned out really great, and her Kindergarden teacher played it for her class !

News Flash: There are some big changes coming for our boating future, which I'll explain in my next post.