St Augustine

What is it with “Fancy” restaurants? They seem to think that if they don’t do something to traditional recipes they will not be called “Fancy”. I’ve had plain BLT given over to weird stuff like avocado and “Miracle Whip”. Plain white toast is rejected completely from the breakfast menu. “Oh, but we make the most delicious croissants you’ve ever tasted, or we have the best home made biscuits you’ve ever tasted.” BS, for breakfast I want plain white toast. Sure, others may like the other junk, but not me. It may not be on the menu but you can buy ONE loaf of white bread for us persnickety people. I’ll even pay for it (At $2.00 for two slices of toast I think I do.) Garlic in Carbonara! That could get you arrested in Rome. This is just my rant, sorry.

St Augustine, let’s get back on subject. Arrived at 3PM and took a mooring ball way out at the end of the field (#52). I have been in this field before and liked it, but today it was cold (65 F) and rocky. But we spent the night. No heat because of no electricity without the generator running. Woke up to bitter cold (52F) and very unhappy. We called in to the marina and, as usual, the St. Aug Muni dock master got to work and found us a slip till Sunday. Great work since this was “Saint Augustine Race Week” and slips were hard to come by. We moved in and settled down with blessed heat.

St. Aug has got to be the worst place for breakfast. There used to be a number of places to eat but most have closed “Mary’s” is still there, but the line goes round the block. A few hotels will serve at 7AM but they are “Fancy” and they dictate what you can have. I know if you are up to it you can go to Georgie’s Diner on Malagar St., but it is a long walk. The restaurants for lunch and dinner vary from “OH! My god!” bad to “Oh, my God!” good. Most are in between. Some are the pretentious type that believe they know better what you want than you do, and they are invariably wrong. You can get good pizza here. Pizza Ally is good. I’ll be up dating my pizza list when I get back home.

All in all St. Aug is still one of the best places to stop in Florida. I wouldn’t stay 4 days if it weren’t.

A rainy day in Daytona

Not just A rainy day but a full week of rain sitting in the Halifax Harbor Marina, Daytona just sheltering from the rain. A full week of the stuff. But we’re in beautiful downtown Daytona The land of shuttered shops and restaurants. Of all the restaurants on Beach Street only a select few are open. We are taking off tomorrow (Wed. April 21, 2021) for St Augustine and better weather.

I’m back on the ICW again…..tomorrow.

Ro and I left Punta Gorda on Monday, April 4, 2021 for our long awaited trip to South Carolina and hopefully Virginia. This trip has been planned since I acquired this Camano Troll in December of 2019. Just in my mind maybe but “planned”.

We left PG at 9 AM and crossed the Charlotte Harbor on our way to Ft. Myers Yacht Basin. This is a very nice place and the people couldn’t be nicer. We arrived late afternoon, about 4:30, and had a nice dinner on the boat.

We wanted to get off real early for our first day on the Okeechobee Waterway, through the center of Florida. The first day we made it to Moore Haven and the River House Marina, This is just a few hundred feet of well maintained face dock right on the river. But there was little traffic over night and felt more rocking in Ft. Myers than here. In the morning I was held up because a train was coming and the bridge was down. This was the first time I was ever held up by a train in any of my boats.

Then it was thru the Moore Haven Lock. and out onto Lake Okeechobee. The lake is approximately 20 miles of open water that is dangerous to inexperienced boaters. We had no trouble on the lake, but the day wasn’t over. After passing thru Port Mayaca Lock. before the railroad bridge (different bridge) we ran out of fuel. Dead in the water on the westbound approach to the lock! I thru out the anchor and waited for Boat US Towing to save me (Best insurance I ever got, I’m not paid). Many thanks to Capt Chris Day for coming to our rescue. But even with just 8 miles to our birth for the night our troubles weren’t over.

Okeechobee Plan - svIslandSpirit.com

As we connected up to the tow boat and were starting to move we saw something none of US had ever seen, That includes the local captain of the tow boat. The bridge came down and a train crossed (100 cars @ 5mph) the process took another 45 minutes. but then we were on our way to Indian Town Marina, the only place this deep in the swamp of Florida to stop.

We are staying here for two nights to recharge a little. We had two hard days of over 9 hours and this third one took the steam right out of us.

Talking about the perils of the lake. When we arrived we were placed behind a 50 footer that had run aground on the rocks in the lake and destroyed his prop, he’s been stuck here for a week waiting for a new one. Then, after I fueled up, bled the fuel system, and started the engine we moved to another spot off the fuel dock. Just as I was settling in for a nap someone jumped on to my boat, uninvited! To my surprise it was Capt Chris towing in another boat. This was a 50 foot glass palace that had also run aground. They will be pulled out of the water tomorrow to asses the damage. They, too, tried to cut a corner and hit the rocks. The lake is treacherous if you don’t stay on the magenta line.

Tomorrow we head to Stewart and the ICW. Let’s hope our troubles are now behind us.

First night on the Nomad III

We took off from the dock at 11AM on a sunny Friday. Took off down the Charlotte Harbor for Boca Grande Isle Marina. The trip took approx 2.5 hours at about 8knts. Nice place but it was a typical sea side tourist town, up scale restaurants and boutiques, nothing new. Some very high end housing and a few maga high end places.

We had lunch at the marina restaurant, which was OK, not great. Why do they always try to “improve” on sandwich classics? How can you improve a BLT? They tried with some kind of special mayo, didn’t work, as I said OK.

We left the marina about 3 PM and headed over to Pelican Bay and Cayo Casta State Park, My favorite near by anchorage. There were about 20 other boats anchored there with room for about 50 more. It was too late to go to the beach so we just lazed around on the boat and waited for the sunset.

Sunset on Pelican Bay 1-16-2020

We had a very nice night on the bay and the anchorage was a calm as ever, well maybe a little rocking but very nice. We got up early and pulled the anchor knowing that the wind was going to come up before noon. The cruise back to Alligator creek was a bit bumpy and the wind continued to build, getting to about 15-20 knts by the time we docked. Docking took three tries, still not used to this boat. But we made it without sink, so it was good. All in all a good time was had, and we are looking forward to our next trip out on the water.

Home at Last!

My new Nomad is at home on Fontana St. in Punta Gorda Isles. My friend Ron and I moved the Nomad down inside the Burnt Store Isles canal system to Fontana Dr. in the Punta Gorda Isles canal system. It was taking me 45 minutes to get from the Windmill Village Marina out to the harbor. This new dock will get me there in less than 10 minutes.

The new slip will help pay for itself in gas savings. It took us 1 hour to get from it’s location in BSI to Fontana Dr., hope I never have to do that again. This boat is very sluggish at low speed (<3.5knts).

Edit: Should have mentioned this , it may be sluggish at low speed but I do have a bow thruster to get me around the tight corners of the canal system.

I’m at it again!

Here I go, I just closed on a 31′ trawler!

She’s a 1997 31′ Camano Troll. Single Diesel Vlovo Penta (TAMD41P 200hp). She has everything I need. And she was already named “Nomad”, it just had to be.

She’s having a little work done by the previous owner, replace raw water pump (leaking). I have a dock all set at a house in Punta Gorda Isles, 15 minutes from Charlotte harbor. Should have her all set for the rafting party on Dec 4th.

In case you’re wondering why I went back to a trawler, I decided the Hunter does not meet my needs. I need better living conditions, more comfort and more speed than I can get with the a sailboat.

Extended sea trails

Last Sunday (Feb 24, 2019) We set out from Windmill Marina for some extended sea trails of the auto pilot/navigation system. Down thru the Alligator Creek i was the pilot. I made the course, set the direction and held on to the wheel the whole way. Once we hit Charlotte Harbor I engaged the auto pilot. The first way point was 1.5 miles. I set the autopilot in track and it took the boat directly to the way point, It then alerted me to the fact and asked if I wanted to go to way point #2. I said yes and the AP turned to the new course. This continued for the next three hours. BTW, I pulled up the sails at the first WP and we sailed for the next 3 hours. Beautiful sail.

We were then about an 90 minutes away from Boca Grande harbor and knew that if we continued We would not be back before dark. Not wanting that we turned towards Burnt Store Marina. We pulled in there about 1:30 for lunch. Came out of there about 3PM and headed home. Again the AP worked great and we made it back well before dark.

Our next trip will be our first over-night to Pelican Bay, off Cayo Costa Island. I’ll let y’all know how it comes out.

Auto-Pilot installed!

Finished installation of the auto-pilot. Just need a little troubleshooting to get everything aligned and running perfect. Plan on a shake down cruise next week. Till then it’s dinners and doctors that will keep me busy. Then I need to clean the boat, inside and out. All the cushions have been cleaned and put back aboard so it’s just a pressure wash outside and garbage pick-up and tool collection inside.

UPDATE, 1-17-19: Just finished tweeking the Autopilot and everything is working as per the literature, next step is sea trials, tomorrow. This is the sea trials plan:


Next on the list is a chiller box to keep our food fresh.
BTW, I am doing this rather slow, taking my time, doing it right. Besides, I have all the time I want to play with this boat.

Turning a boat into MY yacht.

The Hunter 260 I just brought down from St. Petersburg was just what I wanted, a stock boat with no improvements. This means a power system that is only a 12 VDC system, run by one battery and it powers the lights and starts the engine. Since I tied up in Windmill harbor is have been working to make this boat into my yacht. First I installed a 30 amp A/C plug, and circuit breaker panel, wired with 10agw wire. This is to eventually power my 6000 btu HVAC system. I also installed a second battery for the house. With that I installed a second DC Breaker panel, this will be for the autopilot/navigation system I am installing. It will also power a 12DC chiller box to replace the ice chest presently installed. I also plan on a new toilet with a holding tank to replace the “Porta-Potty” presently on board.