Archive for January, 2009

Welcome to Paradise

January 20, 2009

After leaving Fort Myers, we again had wonderful sailing.  Ten to fifteen knot winds from the East, less than two foot waves on the seas, it was absolutely incredible.  I could spend all year just sailing around the Gulf.
After coming under the high bridge to the Ocean side of the Keys, we turned and had to come under a lift bridge (Boot Key Bridge), and the bridge tender asked where we hailed from, said he would raise the bridge, and bid us a “Welcome to Paradise”.
This harbor used to be a major anchorage for cruisers, then due to pollution issues, scuttled vessels, and issues in general, the city took over the anchorage and provided a mooring field.  The prices are very reasonable, they provide free weekly pump outs, there is a daily cruisers net, and they provide washrooms, showers, meeting rooms, lounge facilities and secure mooring balls.  What more could a cruiser ask for?
There are lots to do here, yoga classes, Bahamas goto meetings, baseball games, flea markets, pot luck dinners and meetings, and the restaurants and small stores are great!
As you can see from the pictures, large, beautiful and tropical homes are the norm, the sand is still very, very white, the sunsets are still amazing, my new fishing rod works great (I can’t wait to try it out on a 15 pound grouper), and the Dolphins are still alongside the boat whenever I move.
I purchased snorkeling equipment, and have been out in the Ocean snorkeling (just in my dingy), and have to find a better way to reenter the dingy than to try and pull myself up into it.  When I did that, my legs scraped the bottom of the craft, and the barnacles were just like little razors, and cut my legs up.  When I realized what happened, I moved very fast to get back in the boat, with all the blood around me.  There be sharks here, matey!
My next purchase will be a spear gun; another cruiser is going to teach me how to use it.  You see, I have always had this dream of tying myself onto a long line, jumping over the boat and being trolled, with spear gun in hand.  Either a large shark, or I am going to be dinner.
MB has arrived, and brought the dark windy weather with her.  It has been high winds, cloudy, and yesterday on a long walk we got caught in a tropical storm and got soaked.  She’s not yet convinced of this paradise thing.  We have been to fishing seminars, Bahamas meetings, and stood in line for showers and laundry.  I love it, she’s not yet convinced.  Hopefully the weather goes back to sunny 80’s and 10 knot winds.
My son called the other day to tell us that he won a PEI Music Award, and that our pipes in the house froze.  We have decided that we don’t miss the snow as much as we thought we did at Christmas.
Have a wonderful January everyone, I know we are.
Joe & Mary Beth
S/V “Pot ‘O’ Gold”  currently in Paradise

White Sand, Aqua Water, and Relaxation

January 8, 2009

Christmas is over, the visiting is done, and we can now get back to our hard life of sailing, meeting people and cruising whenever and however we feel like it.  It was different having the boat tied up and staying in a house, instead of seeing water, birds and dolphins over the gunwale there were people, houses, cars and buildings.

My friend Kerry showed up from PEI, and he and I are sailing to the Keys, we left MB to keep visiting with her father, and my mother and she will take a bus to Marathon and meet up with me for the middle of January, when Kerry flies home.  MB will be taking a bus from St. Pete to Marathon, and I met up with a longtime cruiser who tells me her bus ride will be an incredible experience.  After she changes buses in Miami, she will be on a bus full of Mexican families and chickens.  As I told her on this trip, life will be full of interesting experiences, I hope she takes pictures.

The story for this leg of the trip is calm turquoise water, white sand, huge homes, dolphins, and Fort Myers.  When reading about the Gulf of Mexico, I always read the prevailing winds were 10 – 15 knots, the temperature was always mid seventies, and the skies were clear.  It is absolutely true!  For the past 6 days, at least, we have had fair winds, two foot seas, and clear skies.  It clouds over a little at night, but clears right back up in the daytime.

Fort Myers is a mini Marathon, I am told.  It has a large Mooring field, and we dingy ashore to do anything on land.  We stopped for the night, and it was so nice, we stayed an extra day.  My British Seagull outboard that has started and run like a champ this trip broke the propeller spring, and no one even knew what it was, let along carried parts.  So with my duct tape and wire (Red Green would be proud), I was able to make it run for a couple days, and ordered a new spring from England, it should meet me in Marathon.  The beaches were full of people, the sand is so very white, and the homes are absolutely huge.  I could have spent at least a week there, but the curse of the sailor, the schedule, demands that I move on.

Dolphins playing beside the boat are now a regular occurrence, and I think they tease me, as I have been unable to get a clear picture, but I will continue to try.  Tonight we are at an anchorage in Gordons Pass, almost to Marco Island, a cold front (its going down to the low 70’s for a day or two) came in, and with it some dark clouds and high winds (over 40 knots) so we pulled in to one of my emergency waypoints.  After we motored in the Canal, we realized we were in an area of absolutely huge homes, and when the weather settled, cruise ships started coming in the canal with tourists, giving tours of the rich homes.  We wave as they go by.

Next entry will be from the Keys, and MB will be back with me (I hope!!)

Love to Everyone,
Joe Amelia
S/V “Pot ‘O’ Gold