Saturday, November 26, 2011

Downtown Ft. Myers

We've been here before and like it then... and we like it now. Downtown FM is very cool.
A good grocery store 2 blocks away, a bakery just up the street, plenty of restaurants within walking distance, and the folks around here are very nice. What's not to like?

Bold Pursuit

Last night old friends and the owners of Bold Pursuit, Don and Sharon, drove into town and took us out to dinner. It was good catching up with them. They've bought a new boat and are selling Bold Pursuit.
She's an extraordinary steel hulled Motor Sailer with a galley that rivals any chef's kitchen. This boat could take you around the world in grand style with gourmet meals.
They've decided it's the time in their life to buy a home in Fernandina Beach, FL and have acquired a new boat that will better fit their new requirements. 
Now we have friends in Fernandina to visit... with a dock!

 Definition of flat calm

After leaving Riverforest and slowly motoring along the Caloosahatchee River there wasn't a lot to see, but passing through Labelle, FL we enjoyed the sights of the beautiful old Florida style homes. Palm trees towering above centuries-old oaks that are draped with spainish moss made for a nice frame for some of these old houses.

More on page 2.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

To all our friends and family, we hope you all have a safe, fun, and delicious Turkey Day.
Personally, I want this turkey... Nirvana Thanksgiving! Then call 911.

Can you imagine the crust on this thing... mmmmmm........

Today we're tied up at Legacy Harbor in downtown Ft. Myers. Directly in front of fellow Compass Caysians, Marv and Carol. Good to come back to a marina and see old friends. Everybody here's so nice. 
Our Thanksgiving plans are to walk over to the historical Veranda restaurant for dinner. We've dined here before and it is excellent. 
Cut from the Veranda's website:
Young Manuel Gonzales built two houses at the corner of Second Street and Broadway. The corner house, built in 1902, was occupied by he and his family. The second, was built for his mother, and was located adjacent to the first house, in what is now the Veranda's parking lot.
The two houses were joined by Peter Pulitzer, son of the publisher, in the early 1970's for his long-time fishing buddy, Fingers O'Bannon. The original kitchen building from the second house, along with a secluded garden courtyard, now joins the two houses. Paul Peden bought the two buildings in 1978 and transformed them into the Veranda.
It really is a fine restaurant that's steeped in Ft Myers history. Click here for more history ...Veranda
Got a bunch of pictures while cruising Labelle, FL that will be posted later.

Again, Happy Thanksgiving.



funny pic..  no reason, just weird.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Busted a move...

Yup, we finally threw off the lines and went for a boat ride. It feels good. We've been at dock for way too long.

Woke at 5:00AM and got an early start. It's a beautiful day and Istaboa is running well. The plan is to cross Okeechobee and spend the night at Riverforest Marina on the other side of the lake.

 The Lucie Canal is a lot like the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. Just banks lined with palm trees instead of rocks.

Port Myaca Lock is on the eastern side of Okeechobee. Once you pass through here, you're in the lake for miles and miles. On this day the lake is very calm. Our last crossing a few years ago was incredibly nasty. Okeechobee is a muddy lake and after that run we looked as if we had taken Istaboa down a muddy row in a cotton field. Totally covered in muck from bow to stern.

Tourism, Okeechobee style.
This is what they were looking for. 

Large aligators are as common around here as squirrels in a park.
This guy was quite large. Probably 8' long.

Tonight we stay at Riverforest and get a head start for Ft. Myers tomorrow. We plan to have our Thanksgiving there then spend a few days before heading back to Stuart.

It's good to be moving again, even the boat looks happy.



Monday, November 21, 2011

Capt. Will wins big

Very cool... Capt. Will and his wife Tara have won the 1st Annual Martin County BBQ Contest. He's worked hard for it and we've been lucky enough to be his test judges for a couple of years. (hence we're both constantly in the gym) He's always cooked excellent BBQ and now the official FBA judges wholeheartedly agree.

Cut from the TCPalm Newpaper:

— Will and Tara Finlay had entered about 15 barbecue contests on the Florida BBQ Association circuit in the past two years without winning in a single category.The Port St. Lucie residents, competing under the name Smoky Dog, not only won the ribs competition, they placed second in chicken and fifth in brisket Saturday to claim the title of grand champion of the first-ever Martin County Fair BBQ Festival at the Fairgrounds.
Despite steady rainfall that held down attendance on Friday night, fair officials estimated they drew about 7,000 people for the two-day barbecue festival that drew 22 entrants, 18 of them in the professional competition.
Bill Barrett, lead organizer for the fair board, said expenses totaled about $40,000. He said he hoped to recoup most of that from gate receipts and ticket sales.
The Finlays won $2,300.
"By far and away the most we've ever won," Will Finlay said. "You don't even break even 99 percent of the time."
He said he bought a smoker specifically for barbecue competitions, but now the private yacht captain is thinking about starting a barbecue business.
Will Finlay said that behind every great barbecue cook is a great woman.
"I would cook at home and about two years ago my wife started bugging me to enter a contest," he said.
A bunch of us folks from Sunset Bay were the cheering squad and Will and Tara shared some of their special competition stash with us all. It was incredible. They did well and deservedly won Grand Champion. The trophy was a large Pig that was carved outta wood. Better than the usual metal trophy.

Congratulations to Team Smoky Dog!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Marcel the Shell




Anyway... Last night we made a really good Crab Stew.
Mel had procured a few Blue Claws and though they were excellent, they were a bit small, which makes for a tedious job extracting the tasty morsels of crab meat. But...  those that know Mel understand, that won't stop her. She spent 3 hours picking crabs and the only thing we could come up with to do with the yield was a Crab Stew.
The loose recipe goes like this...
I made a nice dark roux, then pitched in 1 cup of onion, 3/4 cup of bell pepper, 3/4 cup of celery, and 4 cloves of garlic. Cooked that down and pitched in salt, pepper, 2 bay leaves, bouquet of fresh thyme, a few drops of Worcestershire, and cayenne to taste. Then deglazed the pan with 5 cups of chicken stock and simmered for an hour. With all that done, I waited until just before eating to pitch in the fresh crab and voila.  Served over rice.
Kinda like a gumbo/Bahamian stew fish, but not quite.
Ah Yee!!!!   Irie!!!
Crab Stew Istaboa

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Stuart's getting busy

Things have really taken off around here. The Snow Birds have landed and the anchorage is almost full. What was a moderately quiet little town has now evolved into a crowded urban municipality.
The roads are packed with folks that come down to escape the weather of the Northeastern US and Canada and they're frantically scurrying around provisioning for their stay, which will last till April.
But, with that comes lots of entertainment, (not that we need any help).

This weekend was Veteran's Day Weekend and the Stuart Air Show.

Starting on Friday, the area seemed like a war zone; Jets,vintage Bombers from WW11, and old Bi-Plane fighters from WW1 were flying over the marina from all directions to take part in the show.

We could see a lot the action while enjoying happy hour at the marina aboard Istaboa.

Even Dock Bird, who thinks of C Dock as his domain, decided to sit it out and watch all the really big birds occupy his air space.

So yesterday we took our friends, Bob and Mary, out in the Albury to a cove that's just below the airport to get a better view. We found the crowd of boats and dropped a hook amongst them all for a little while. It was fun, loud, and smoky; we had a nice afternoon.

 We're starting to have that itch to do some traveling, so a trip may be in order soon. Not sure which direction yet... we just want to get away for a while. Do a shake out cruise in preparation for another run to the islands. We'll see...



More pics on the next page.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Birthday!

It's said that all those 1s are good luck. We hope so.
Found this on the net...
"Eleven is a number of illumination and enlightenment, a number of insight, blinding flashes of the obvious, and a number of transformation"

Happy Birthday to our old Chesapeake/Nordhavn buddy, Pete, and to Cousin Dave out in Northern California.

Pete on Morewater crossing the Chesapeake Bay

Cousin Dave on the happy day he took possession of his new Ducati.

Happy Birthday Guys, here's to your lucky year and those blinding flashes of the obvious. 
Let us know about those flashes, will ya?

Check this out... 11-11-11



Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Art of Racing in the Rain.

Radar's selection...

Great book...
#1 on Radar's book club list of his favorite novels... A must read for dog lovers.

Cut from

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn't simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life's ordeals.

On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through: the sacrifices Denny has made to succeed professionally; the unexpected loss of Eve, Denny's wife; the three-year battle over their daughter, Zoë, whose maternal grandparents pulled every string to gain custody. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoë at his side.

A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human only a dog could tell it.
Seriously, it's a very good read.
(Thanks to Lulu's mom)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sunset Bay's Halloween Night Party

Seems like everyone had a great time. The food was great, plenty to drink, and everyone showed off their Halloween rags.

 Rusty was our, "Monster of Ceremonies" and did a great job.

 And it sure looks like Mel enjoyed herself.
She won the Murder Mystery contest and was awarded a bottle of Capt. Morgan's Rum

 Radar, much to his chagrin, won the Cutest Costume Award
He really seemed to enjoy all the attention though.

Mary won the Best Chili Award in the Mild to Medium category.
And it was excellent chili.

 The judges of the First Annual Sunset Bay International Halloween Chili Cookoff 
Mel, Bob#1, Tim, and I'm taking the picture

Though he wasn't at the party, had to throw this one in.
Our grandson Silas checking out the edge on his sword. 
A handsome lad and a mighty fine pirate he be.... Arrrrr Matey

Yes, it seems all the folks at Sunset Bay had a fine time.
More pics on page 2.