Thursday, June 30, 2016

Stuart to Melbourne or "Where is the Dinghy?"

The trip from Stuart to Melbourne took us through Jensen Beach, Indian River Estates, Fort Pierce, Vero Beach, Wabasso and Sebastian and Malabar.  Fort Pierce is the most industrial of these towns along the ICW.   Vero Beach is a beautiful area with expansive estate homes along the waterway.  It was a delight to show Dave & Charlene some of our favorite sites along the way.  

The anchorage at Melbourne Beach is a great stop.  Since discovering this nice little town, we stop here rather than staying at the marina although the marina is great alternative when we want to be hooked to shore power.    We anchor at the little green 2 below.  The Marina is at the red 5.


The first order of business at the anchorage is to take Piper to shore.  Steve usually  always takes care of this while I stay aboard and make sure the anchor holds.  We aren't terribly worried about the anchor holding, I just have a thing about watching it for an hour before I leave.  Every time we leave in the dinghy and MJ gets out of our sight we are always relieved that she is still there when we return.   Dave joined Steve and Piper for the walk while Charlene and I made out a grocery list.  When they returned, we spent some time on the bow and on the fly bridge to admire the view and discuss plans for the afternoon.   

In anticipation of getting us into the dinghy for a trip Melbourne Beach, Steve went around to the cockpit.  His gasp was audible.  The dinghy had floated away.  Imagine that your car is not in the garage when you get up in the morning and head off to work.  Imagine that your other car is not in the garage when you get up in the morning and you have to be at work for a presentation that determines your future.  

Steve spotted the dinghy about a quarter mile away.  Not sure if that is accurate, but he swam for it, so he gets to determine the distance.   He scurried down to the state room to put on  swim trunks, flew back up through the salon and dove off the swim platform.  The swim trunks slipped down to his --yep you got it--  he stopped briefly to make an adjustment and then swam like he was in the Olympics.   I watched--speechless.   I wasn't aware at the time that Steve had seen a sign warning of bull sharks in the area.  

You might be asking "How did this happen?'  HMMMM.  Let's just say that the dinghy did not get tied off in the most secure fashion and a lesson on tying knots ensued.  

After this little adventure, we were all ready to go exploring! 

I don't know why I took this shot but it looks like another accidental selfie

Salsa Anyone? 

Time to head back

We love that we now have another adventure story to tell involving our good friend Mr. Dave! 


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Clewiston to Stuart

June 1

Crossing Lake Okeechobee is not difficult but one must stay in the channel or risk running aground. Lake Okeechobee is also known as Florida's Inland Sea, The Big O or The Lake by locals.  It is the largest freshwater lake in Florida and covers 730 square miles.  It is about half the size of the state of Rhode Island.  

The name of the lake is derived from Hitchiti words oki meaning water and chubi which means big.  Yes,  it is some big water.  Big, Boring Water.  Not much to see on our trip to Stuart.

White Pelicans

In Stuart we pulled into the Mariner Cay Marina.  We spent most of March and April here.  Steve took the boat straight to the transient dock with no worries.  Charlene and I spent the rest of the afternoon in the pool while Dave and Steve grilled venison sliders for dinner.   After the sun went down and gave us some relief from the heat, we took a walk through this beautiful neighborhood.  


Sunday, June 26, 2016


Steve and I have different ideas when it comes to identifying a marina as a resort.  I immediately think of places like South Seas Plantation on Captiva Island or the Vinoy Renaissance in St. Petersburg or the Pink Shell in Fort Myers.  Steve thinks of Roland & Mary Ann Martin's  Marina & Resort in Clewiston.   

Roland and his wife Mary Ann bought the fishing shack marina and some vacant property in 1981 with the idea to build the best bass fishing destination on Lake Okeechobee. Today the resort includes motels, condos, a restaurant with Tiki bar & grill, a marina store, a tackle store, airboat rides, marine service center and an RV park along with their professional fishing guide service.  This place is a bass fisherman's paradise.  Even the Christmas decorations (which are still up) feature bass!

Resort:  (noun) a place that is a popular destination for vacations or recreation or frequented for a particular purpose.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Along the Okeechobee Waterway

The Okeechobee Waterway was built in 1937 to provide passage for boats from coast to coast without having to travel around the southern tip of the state.  It starts at Fort Myers on the west coast and ends in Stuart on the east coast.  It runs through the Caloosahatchee River on the west of Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie Canal on the east side of the lake. 

There are 5 locks on the Okeechobee waterway.   A lock is a chamber into which the boat, ship, or watercraft  enters.  Once all the vessels are secure in the lock, the gate closes and the water level is raised or lowered.  The opposite gate is then opened to allow vessels to enter the next stretch of waterway.

For a boat going upstream:Pound lock sequence.svgFor a boat going downstream:
1–2.The boat enters the lock.8–9.The boat enters the lock.
3.The lower gates are closed.10.The upper gates are closed.
4–5.The lock is filled with water from upstream.11–12.The lock is emptied by draining its water downstream.
6.The upper gates are opened.13.The lower gates are opened.
7.The boat exits the lock.14.The boat exits the lock.

We left early from Fort Myers to make it to Clewiston.  

 You never know what you will see while traveling by water.  Check out the house below.

 We were moving at about 8 knots--the guy below kept pace with us from one bridge to the next 

We don't know what to call this boat below.  It was outfitted with all types of water toys.  


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Fun Times at The Pink Shell Resort & Marina

The Pink Shell Beach Resort and Marina has a 5 star rating on Active Captain--our favorite resource for information on marina's and anchorages.  We stayed at the Pink Shell Beach Resort in 1996 for our tenth anniversary.  It just made sense for us to visit this resort again by water.  The Pink Shell Marina has been actively advertising in the past two years at many of the boat shows that we frequent.  

The Pink Shell is situated on 12 acres between the Matanzas Pass and the Gulf of Mexico.  The resort began in 1953 with just a single cottage.  It has been expanded and renovated and rebranded multiple times since its start.  It has certainly changed since we last visited 20 years ago.  The resort has several options for lodging and will have your pantry and refrigerator stocked if you so desire.  You can relax at the spa or at one of the beach side pools or get some exercise at the fitness center.  The resort is very family centered offering fun children's activities and exciting water activities.  

While talking to the hotel clerk about an early check out we noticed the quotation printed on the mirror--"Aspice quod felis attraxit!"

No way could I let a good quotation go unnoticed.  I asked the clerk--the older one with a sense of humor-- to explain the meaning.  Without missing a beat he told me "Look what the cat drug in."  

We got a good laugh at that and determined that he must be correct given the painting below.  

 Translation from Latin to English

Since most things a cat drags in has had the life snuffed out of it, I am considering the translation accurate.   Gotta love a hotel with a sense of humor!  5 Stars