Sunday, February 17, 2013

Astor Bridge Opening and Closing

While Charles and Robin were aboard, Charles was super excited about the bridge openings. This video is for Charles.  We were in Astor going under the bridge on the St. John's River. The first video is of the opening of the bridge, the second is of the closing.  I still have to learn how to edit video to mesh both together and how to add music.


Friday, February 15, 2013

More boat show pics

It was a great day to visit the convention center displays since it rained almost all day on Friday. 

Huge Propeller on display
We saw the shark at the Caterpillar Engine booth. Since we were there I snapped the pictures of the engine and the generator. We have Cat engines 3208 turbo after cool which have 435 horsepower each.


Posing with Jaws

Caterpillar Engine

Caterpillar Generator

Toys for the Lake

Boat Show Pictures

Our view from the inside of the convention center. 

The view of the convention center floor from the upper level

So much to see in just 2 days

Four wheeler and Jet Ski all in one

It's hard to see the boat Steve is about to board--it is 45 feet long

Four engines on the boat--it can fly on water

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Miami International Boat Show

Spending Valentine's Day at the  Miami International Boat Show is a unique way to spend the day with one's Valentine.  I guess it's not for everyone, but we had a great time. 

We drove into Miami from Fort Lauderdale and made it to the show right as it opened.  The show is so large that it is spread out over three locations with shuttles provided for all.  We started at the Sea Isle Marina for the New Yacht  and Power Boat Show.  Steve went aboard a Marlow.  Designer/Builder David Marlow was there proudly hailing his yachts. 

Taking the shuttle to the Miami Convention center took about 30 minutes because traffic was a mess.  There were exhibitors for electronics, lighting, navigation, clothing, jewelry, shoes and more much much more.  Boats of every shape, size, length, color, and purpose were available for purchase. 

We decided to bypass the Miamarina venue with its display of sailboats, sailing gear, seminars and charters.  Instead, we headed to Collins Avenue to visit the Yacht and Brokerage Show.  This event is completely on the water with portable docks installed over a mile of Indian Creek Waterway or from 41st to 51st streets on Collins Avenue.  This event features over 500 new and used vessels valued at more than one billion dollars. 

Eager to see our Fleming friends, we headed toward the Fleming display first.  It was like a family reunion. Proud Mary and Providence were both on display.  It was a delight to see all the people from Burr Yacht Sales and tell them about our experiences aboard Meandering Joy.  Barrie, Mary; DeDe and Terry were all there and made sure to introduce us to the other Fleming owners who had come to visit. 

While we could have spent the whole time advertising for Fleming and visiting but we took some time to visit the exhibits.  We want to update and/or add some items to our Fleming so we looked at depth sounders, automatic identification systems (AIS), LED rope lighting, galley supplies.  PassageMaker magazine sponsored TrawlerPort which offered several seminars for people interested in cruising.  Captains Chris and Alyse Caldwell offered a Bahamas informational seminar that we attended.  We feel as if we know the PassageMaker crew now since we have seen the same people at TrawlerFest. 

Isaiah 41:13     Hebrews 12:2

Thankful Thursday--Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentines Day!!!

Every year on this day I am reminded of what one of my student's back in 7th grade called this day.  This especially bright, tall thin girl, with beautiful long dark brown hair, who is a talented actress bemoaned this day grudgingly calling it "Singles Awareness Day".  7th graders --I love them..  I am sure she that today, she has not shortage of Valentine's.

Anyway, hoping everyone has a great Valentine's Day.

We are thankful for the many online websites and resources that we have available to us.  

We have just recently rejoined the America's Great Loopers' Association.  This website has a discussion forum for members to discuss anything from repairs to trips.  I like the member directory section that lists all the members, their boat name, and website or blog.  We learn from the experiences of the other boaters.  Where to got, where not to go and what to look out for while on the water.  It is a great resource.  They also have a ship's store and offer many waterway guides that are helpful.

Steve uses Trawler Forum.  This site provides a forum for discussion on a range of topics from maintenance, classifieds, anchors and anchoring, power systems and cruising events.  Steve visits this site frequently.

Cruiser's Net is another website designed for the cruising lifestyle.  This website is designed as cruiser's helping cruisers.  There is a section especially for cruising the ICW. and navigational alerts.  There are daily articles on different areas and topics.  It is a good site that I need to start reading more frequently. 

The site I use most often is Active Captain because it has an interactive cruising guidebook which allows me to look up reviews of marinas, restaurants, anchorages, and more.  It also identifies hazards along the way. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ice Maker & Water Maker Repairs

We (Mr. Adventure) spent the morning repairing the ice maker.  The refrigerator has an ice maker, but we also have a small free standing ice maker.  Since we are probably heading to warmer weather in the next few weeks, we thought it a good idea to have plenty of ice on hand.  After disconnecting the water and power to the machine, he took the ice cube maker out, replaced it, and Voila, it runs like new.

As for the water maker,  it needs service, --Mr. Adventure decided this repair was out of his league. How does a water maker work?  I was hoping you would ask... Using reverse osmosis the water maker works with a membrane filtration by applying pressure to the solution on one side of a selective membrane,  The result is that the solute is retained on the pressurized side of the membrane and the pure solvent is allowed to pass to the other side.  Got it?  Good, Test on Monday.   (Yes, I looked that up in Wikipedia--those of you who know me know that I barely understand osmosis, so as for understanding reverse osmosis just forget it.)

Lucky for us there is a water maker repair center in Fort Lauderdale. Again, lucky for us, Fort Lauderdale is on the way to Miami where we are attending the Miami International Boat Show.  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

River Hymns

While Charles was visiting  we listened to his collection of music from his phone.   Having grown up in the church and attending many Sunday afternoon singings with my grandmother, I have a love for old southern gospel hymns.  It was a treat to hear  Down to the River to Pray sung by Alison Krauss.  

Down to the River to Pray

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good old way
(And who shall wear) the starry crown
Good Lord, show me the way!

O sisters let's go down,
Let's go down, come on down,
O sisters let's go down,
Down in the river to pray.

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good old way
(And who shall wear) the robe and crown
Good Lord, show me the way!

O brothers let's go down,
Let's go down, come on down,
Come on brothers let's go down,
Down in the river to pray.

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good old way
(And who shall wear) the starry crown
Good Lord, show me the way!

O fathers let's go down,
Let's go down, come on down,
O fathers let's go down,
Down in the river to pray.

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good old way
(And who shall wear) the robe and crown
Good Lord, show me the way!

O mothers let's go down,
Come on down, don't you want to go down,
Come on mothers, let's go down,
Down in the river to pray.

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good old way
(And who shall wear) the starry crown
Good Lord, show me the way!

O sinners let's go down,
Let's go down, come on down,
O sinners let's go down,
Down in the river to pray.

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good old way
(And who shall wear) the robe and crown
Good Lord, show me the way!

We started talking about Sunday mornings of our childhood to discover a common memory  watching the Gospel Jubilee on television before going to church.  I could only remember one other hymn mentioning a river--Shall we Gather at the River--although I am sure there are more.  
Shall we gather at the river,   
Where bright angel feet have trod,
With its crystal tide forever
Flowing by the throne of God?


Yes, we’ll gather at the river,
The beautiful, the beautiful river;
Gather with the saints at the river
That flows by the throne of God.

On the margin of the river,
Washing up its silver spray,
We will talk and worship ever,
All the happy golden day.


Ere we reach the shining river,
Lay we every burden down;
Grace our spirits will deliver,
And provide a robe and crown.


At the smiling of the river,
Mirror of the Savior’s face,
Saints, whom death will never sever,
Lift their songs of saving grace.


Soon we’ll reach the silver river,
Soon our pilgrimage will cease;
Soon our happy hearts will quiver
With the melody of peace.


Love hearing these old tunes and traveling down memory lane...

John 1:4-5     Hebrews 12:3 


Palatka to Six Mile Creek

We left Palatka to head toward Jacksonville.  Jacksonville is about a 5 hour cruise form Palatka, so we know we wouldn't get there tonight.  We weren't sure where to anchor, but found several options on Active Captain.  Active Captain is an interactive cruising guidebook.  It shows marina's, anchorages, hazards, local knowledge on a waterway chart.  By clicking on a marina icon I can read reviews of a marina or anchorage.  Information such as  location, depth, length of docks, amenities, holding, protection and more is listed.  The local knowledge icon will have things such as bridges, creeks, and other local information.  We probably use this icon the least.  The hazard icon typically identifies shoaling or an underwater hazard such as a sunken vessel or piling.  We always look at the hazard information. 

By using Active Captain we found an anchorage near Six Mile Creek.  The reviews suggested going up Six Mile Creek and using the free dock at The Outback Crab Shack Restaurant.  I usually prefer a free dock to anchorage--I am not afraid of hearing pirates or eels any more (another story), I just don't want the anchor to slip during the night and us to drift away.....

The information about the dock indicated the  entry into Six Mile Creek is shallow so we decided to anchor and take the tender into the restaurant for an appetizer.  This afternoon was my day to learn to drive the tender.  I have driven our ski boat many times, but not this boat with a 4 stroke outboard Yamaha motor.  (Steve had to tell me that it was a Yamaha--I knew that it was an outboard motor) 

 The tender sits on top of Meandering Joy.  We use a davit (a mini crane) to lower it into the water.  It is not as elaborate or difficult as it sounds.   After lowering it into the water, grabbing the camera and the handheld VHF radio--we were ready for my lesson.  Easy peasy...

Seriously going fast
 The creeks in Georgia aren't nearly so wide.

Ater a short ride we discovered the 1500ft dock  There were four boats tied up.  The sail boat on the end, looked abandoned, the two catamarans were occupied and the fourth boat was made in 1949 and was for sale.  We tied off and went up the steps.  There are several buildings around so we wandered around until we made inside.  With its walls of rustic cedar, black fans with misting jets placed on the ceiling and a mix of concrete floors and wood floors--this place has character.  There are gambling games in a small half walled area, game and fish on the walls, and the smell of seafood cooking in the air. 

Not very crowded on our visit but we were shown pictures of boats tied up 5 wide on the docks all the way down its 1500 feet.  We decided we were not hungry enough for the half meal for $36  which included snow crab, boiled shrimp, steamed clams, seasonal seafood, and low country boiled vegetables.  Instead we ordered the Gator Bites Appetizer for $9.

We give the gator bites a thumbs up--good.  However--isn't anything fried with a dipping sauce good?
Photo of an alligator the lawn service caught right outside the restaurant

Fish sculpture made of limbs and creative painting

Put in a quarter get fish food

Front door entrance--we came in the back from the creek
After enjoying our Gator Bites, we walked down the dock hoping to see (not really) a gator.  Instead, we saw the remainder of a few sunken vessels.

Overgrown with swampy kudzu

We met the owners of the two catamarans that were tied off.  They plan to head to Jacksonville and Lamb's Yacht center tomorrow.  We hope to see them there. 

We headed back to the boat as the sun was going down.  As we exited the creek, we were happy to see the boat was where we left her.  We are both still a little wary of letting the boat out of our sight.  After stowing the tender, we headed inside.  Another great day on the water.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Astor to Palatka

We had quiet calm night at the anchorage in Astor.  We left at 8:00 heading to Palatka to drop off Charles and Robin.  It turned out to be a nice easy cruise taking about four and a half hours. We were not alone on the river.  Everywhere we turned we saw fishermen.  These two below had the most interesting method for catching fish.  They told us they were fishing for catfish. We could see large fish jumping inside of the net/basket.  
Let me outta here!!!

We were fortunate to see two different Bald Eagles today.  I managed to get a quick shot of both of them.  They are a little shy and like to fly off right about the time I am ready to snap the shot.
 The Bald Eagle lives near open bodies of water and like to build their nests in old growth trees.  We saw the second eagle of the day sitting on a channel marker.

Anyone who knows Steve knows how much he likes the color red. When this boat passed us--I had to bet a picture.

We can't see the name of the boat because of the dinghy
We spotted a pink house on the way--I have started a collection of pictures of pink houses--this one was smaller than most.  This must be a playhouse for children--but it sure looks tiny from the water. 

Arriving in Palatka about 1:00 we stopped at the same free dock and tied off.  Charles walked over to the hotel and was happy to see his truck  had not been towed.  Robin had a plan though--she said--that's alright if your truck isn't there we will just ride with Joy and Steve to Jacksonville and rent a car.

We look forward to our next guests...

John 1:4-5     Hebrews 12:3

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Blackwater Inn Restaurant in Astor

We had a delicious dinner in this old style Florida restaurant

Smoked Fish Dip Appetizer

Sanford to Astor

We left Sanford after lunch.  We just missed  Bob and Jane, who own Sea Flat.  They live in Sanford full time when they are not traveling on their boat.  Since it was a beautiful day, there were boats everywhere with everyone enjoying the warm weather.  There are some crazy people in this world--we saw many today. 

We saw many people boarding this river/dinner boat.   The locals go  here after church for lunch. 

Working paddle wheel boat, has rudders in the front and the rear for control
I wasn't quite quick enough to get a picture of the kids on the rope swing

Bird House Village

Birds Flying to their Village
This friendly woman thought it was Mardi Gras on the river and lifted her shirt as if I were going to toss her some beads--thankfully she had on her swimsuit underneath.

White Hair Bridge mechanical workings--the bridge tender here was very friendly--nicest we have encountered!

Steve has been here before but can't remember why? Possibly on a car buying trip for one of the girls???
Pretty Sailboat

Wing & Wing Trimmed Sails
We spent much of the afternoon on the flybridge boat watching.  Arriving at our anchorage after dark, we took the tender out to eat at The Blackwater Inn for dinner.