Fort Meyers Beach

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Windsor Sucks

(Depart Florida April 24 - Arrive Windsor April 27)
Wednesday Florida

Saturday Windsor
Well we are home and for the most part we have things approaching normal.  The house was only 50 degrees when we arrived in the afternoon so spring has not yet sprung in this neck of the woods.  Quite a shock to the system.

Our trip was good and I really appreciated the Dodge Journey crossover that we had rented.  The total cost for the one way drop off was $190.  The vehicle was packed, to say the least.  I was worried that if we asked someone to pick us up at the rental agency in Detroit, we would not be able to transfer everything to their vehicle.  To avoid this I decided we would drive the rental home, unload and then have Linda follow me back to the airport.  Canadian customs practically waved us through but when we returned to cross into the US, they questioned the fact that I had a Florida rental vehicle.  The first question, when did you pick up the vehicle, was no problem - Tuesday.  The next one: when had you entered the US - July; raised an eyebrow.  He did not give me a chance to explain so we were pulled over.  Fortunately he listened enough to have Linda pulled over as well.

Inside immigration we looked much different than the room full of people who were also pulled over.  Linda felt like a criminal.  We got to an agent immediately and explained our whole story.  I am sure that she had not encountered a similar situation but fortunately she understood what we had done.  It took her a good 10-15 minutes on the computer and a visit to the supervisor to call us back and say that at the moment we were OK but reminded us that we could not spend more than 183 days in the US in any calendar year.  I assured her that was the plan at least until the new Canadian Retiree Act was approved.  She just rolled her eyes and told us to get out.  Both vehicles passed inspection and we were on our way.

Our neighbours were really good about easing the transition from the Dockside routine to home.  Saturday, Sunday and Monday happy hours were arranged, indoors of course, and a good time was had by all.  Not that I was counting but at least one case of wine was consumed.  Linda and I have already visited our wine making shop and have order 5 batches to be made, 150 bottles.  Fortunately, there is one that was started two months ago and is ready to be bottled.

It was a very good winter.  Linda and I enjoyed it so much that we will do it again next year.  We have such good friends there and have a really good time.  I was more reserved on this vacation: instead of putting on 40 pounds I only gained 20... or so.  Maybe next year I will be even better.  Linda on the other hand did not gain any weight.  I guess going to Zumba three times each week helps.

I'll post a few photos of the bottom of the boat after being in salt water for six months.  One should note that a diver cleans the bottom every 4 to 6 weeks while I am down there.

In closing, for the season, Linda and I wish everyone a great summer and ask that you keep in touch.

After April 2013

Before May 2012

Bottom of Trim Tab

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Vacation is Almost Over

Well, all good things must come to an end.  Linda and I are spending at least half of our days getting ready to store the boat for the summer here in Florida.  Because we had such a good time this past winter we would like to do it again and commuting 2,700 miles is not the answer. 

We were able to negotiate a reasonable rate at a new faciltiy in a hurricane proof building (QUOTE: features state-of-the-art storage buildings constructed to withstand 140 mph sustained hurricane-force winds UNQUOTE).  It is located well inland, about half way between Fort Meyers and Lake Okeechobee.  One needs to go through 2 locks and into fresh water.  We feel quite confident that the boat is in as safe a place as it can be.

We will take the boat to the River Forest Yachting Center on Monday April 22, rent a vehicle on Tuesday and have the boat hauled out on Wednesday.  Once the vehicle is packed (it will be loaded) we will drop it off at Detroit Metro Airport and be home by the end of the month.  Evidently, the car rental agencies are trying to get their vehicles back up north now that spring break is over.  To rent a standard SUV for a week on a one way rental will cost us less than $300.  Not bad.

Now that y'all are up-to-date I'll sign off with a few photos of a few of our favourite Bars. 

Smokin' Oyster Brewery

Linda and I have acquired a taste for sushi this past winter.

The railing here at Nemos is an almost daily stop.
The Beach Pierside Grill

Lani Kai: they serve on the beach here.

The kids like to play volley ball just in front.

The Tiki Bar on 2 for 1 happy hour.

LaOla on the mall.

The Cottage, the lower level bar is the best.

Nervous Nellies

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Heading North

Marco Island

(Monday April 1 - Dist: 108.1 mi;  Avg Speed: 14.4 mph;  TTT: 7:40 hrs)

We chose a perfect day to cross Florida Bay and go up the Gulf Coast; the seas were smooth, the sun was out and the crab pots were every where.  You can see a line of them in the above photo between Finally and ourselves.

We spent a single night in the Marina at Factory Bay and had dinner at the Snook Inn, a very popular bar and grill.  The next morning after a short fog delay we headed out for Fort Meyers Beach.

Fort Meyers Beach

(Tuesday April 2 - Dist: 40.6 mi;  Avg Speed: 7.2 mph;  TTT: 5:00 hrs)

The water was not as smooth the following day and we ran into a number of fog banks but visibility was good enough to see and avoid the crab pots.

Just one look at the beach and Linda was hooked:

Our first week here was supposedly the last week of Spring Break but you would never know it as the beach remains busy every day.

Here are a few shots of our friends enjoying the local colour.

Bonita Bills with Finally and Floating Stone

Tiki Hut with Optimystique
Takin' easy

Headed for Doc Ford"s Bar

We had a great last night get together at Doc Ford's with the last remaining Dockside Drinkers from Marathon... Unfortunately, while getting into our dinghy we rubbed against a barnacle and put a 3/4 inch hole in the fabric.  As the air was escaping the front tube the four of us, Richard, Jeell, Linda and I made a mad dash across the bay towards our marina.  Richard was holding the deflated front end out of the water and we did make it to the boat.  Whew!  Fortunately, I was able to get the hole fixed and we are now back in business.

Unfortunately, our friends have all headed off for their summer moorings.  Linda and I decided to stay another couple of weeks in order to enjoy this area and to work out the details for storing the boat for the summer.  More to come on that front. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The 'KEYS' Disease

Alright, alright, ALRIGHT already.

Stop complaining that there are no recent updates to the blog.  There is a much different pace down here in the Keys and we are trying to fit in. 

We have gotten into a routine much like we do back home.  I always make the coffee in the morning and generally do not venture far until the pot is empty.  Linda is going to fitness class, Zumba, three mornings a week with a few of the other boaters. 

Wednesday is still golf day at the par 3 course and the turn out is still strong.  12 - 16 people golf and we usually double that number for Happy Hour at Cabana Breezes, a bar on the ocean.  I'll try to remember to get some photos next week, if I think of it.

New this year is Monday morning golfing on the big course, Sombrero Country Club.  The club is hurting and now allow golfers from the Key Colony club to golf between 8 - 10 AM Mondays for $50.  Roy, our harbormaster here at Dockside, has also made arrangements with the club that allows marina guests to golf most times for $80. More options for our ongoing enjoyment.

APRIL 7, 2013

This post has taken so long to complete that we are no longer in Marathon.  I am just going to quickly finish it because we are off to a water side patio at 4 PM to meet up with 6 other of our Dockside friends who are here with us.

A Strange Visitor
Frequent Visits for the best Pizza in the Keys
Sunset Grill
St. Patrick's Day
Our Good Friend Karen now has a pool.

Back from an Old Ladies Day outing.

Dockside's Last Gathering

At least six boats left on April 1, 5 headed north and 1 off to the Bahamas.

I'll try to get a couple more posts out in the next few days so that you know what is happin'.

Until then....

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas from Marathon

Merry Christmas

to one and all.

Linda and I went all out this year; 2 Christmas trees fully decorated.  Well more or less.  The trees were donated by Candy and Phred and the lights were given to us by Terese and Rick. 

Today 12 boaters are getting together for a turkey feast here on the dock.  Weather will not be a problem, 81 F and sun.  It is the only way to celebrate.

Just wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and the very best for the New Year.  Thank you all for your e-cards and emails this Holiday Season.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Keys Way of Life

(Dec 8 to Dec 16)

It has been hot down here and very humid for most of the week so "dingh'n and drink'n" was on the menu.  Six dinghies and 14 people made it out on this run to Sombrero Beach on the ocean and when the beer ran out we ended up at Castaways for a few more.  Since nobody had time to prepare any food a bunch of us ended up at the Keys Fishery for dinner.  'Twas a tough day, especially after the day before.

I ordered a bunch of stuff early in the week and it was all delivered by Friday.  Can't beat online shopping.  Even my 2013 decal from the US government arrived on time.

We even got a round of golf in at the par 3 course.  Bob, who had not golfed since last winter was the first to get a birdie; Linda won the wet t-shirt contest (I did say it was humid) and I, of course, got low score.  Sparky's was as good as ever: a couple of pitchers of beer and some wings got us home in time and in shape for Happy Hour.  Linda had three, (3), dark and stormy drinks after the round; it must have been hot and humid.

We have been knocking off some of the projects that we had put off until Marathon.  Trying at least to get 1 or 2 done each day.  I am getting some bicycle riding in but not as far or as fast as I would like.  It takes some time to build up some stamina... and callouses on my butt.

Yesterday a bunch of us went to Key West to view the festival boat parade.  There were other things to see as well, especially since everyone is in the Christmas spirit.

It was a long, tiring, very fun day.  We got back just after midnight this morning and now we are ready to send Terese home for the holidays and celebrate Bob and Stephanie's Anniversary.  There is always something.