Monday, March 26, 2007

No name harbour

At anchor in "no name harbor" just a few miles before Miami. We are enjoying a drink at the waterside cafe while Le reve is lying at anchor in the back ground.

Tomorrow will take us through Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

Miami in sight

Today (March 26th) we traveled to Miami.
The picture shows Miami as we approach from the Biscayne Bay.

At anchor in Marathon

After Key West we were anchored out in Marathon, and we saw this boat coming in the anchorage. As it turned out it was a Kadey Krogen with a hull number just before our boat.

We stayed in Marathon for a couple of days before moving further north.

The "Key" Chicken

Key West is known for it's many banty (chickens) running wild every where.

Some people love them, and others hate them. Especially the store keepers are tired of the deposits they leave on their doorsteps .

Earnest Hemingway home

One of the sights we took in while in Key West was the Key West home of Ernest Hemingway. He did most of his works from this home, but lived in Cuba longer than in Key West. It was very interesting tour.

Cruise ships in Key West

Here is the picture of the cruise ship in Key West.

For some reason it did not make it on the blog on a previous posting.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Key West in sight

As we approached Key west the first thing we saw was the giant cruise ships which almost daily visit Key West.
You can see how they dwarf the high rise condos to the right of them.

We arrived in Key West on Monday March the 19th. That evening we welcomed aboard Herman and Frea. The next day we took a tour of Key west, and visited amongst other sites the Ernest Hemingway house. Here in Key West he did most of his writing.

We left Key West on Wednesday morning on route to Marathon. The winds were blowing quite hard, and we encountered seas of 6 to 8 feet. The Le reve took them in stride, and we arrived in Marathon around 3.30 pm.

On to Key West

Under the watchful eye of our Picobello bear mascot, ( yes the bear who watched out for us on the Picobello still is, and always will be with us) we steamed on to Key West.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Storm stayed

March 16th we had decided to get up early to make the run from Little Shark to key West.
When we looked out of the porthole at 05.30hr it was clear that we would not be going anywhere for a while. A severe thunderstorm was coming our way, and kept us on the hook until it had passed.
By 09.30hr the storm had subsided, however this did not leave us enough daylight hours to make it to Key West. Beside the lack of daylight the weather did not sound good for the rest of the day. We decided to alter our itinerary, and instead take the shorter route to Marathon on Vaca Key, as we could make this run in approx. 5 hours.
Upon arrival we called Bill and Joy Porter, people we met along the loop, and have a dockaminium ( a permanent slip that one can buy) here. After they joined us on our boat we went to dinner with them.
Today we will move on to Key west to await the arrival of Herman and Frea.

On route to the Everglades

March 14th we left to go to Everglade City. After inquiring from a local sea tow captain if the inside passage was doable in our boat, we chose to go this way. It took us through the north western edge of the everglades. Even though the everglades are made up of mostly mangroves it is a fascinating trip. You feel like you are in total wilderness surrounded by a abundance of bird life. Our first stop was in Russel pass where we anchored out for the night. We arrived in plenty of time to take the dingy in to Everglade City a 20 minute dingy ride. Had a coffee in the historical Everglade City Rod and Gun Club.

The next day we continued on to Little Shark river and again anchored out in amongst the mangroves. We had made contact the day before with two boats who were traveling together, Bob and Nancy on Rachel J, and Bill and Joy on Marilyn J. After we were about one hour on route Rachel J called us on the VHF to see what the sea conditions where. They decided to follow us and arrived in our anchorage about one and a half hour after we did. We again took the dingy down, and explored the little Shark River. We were not long returning to the mother ship, as one could easily get lost in the everglades without a hand held GPS which we did not have on the dingy. By the end of the day there were a total of 9 boats who all chose to use this anchorage as a stop over.
Bob and Nancy and Bill and Joy came over to our boat for a social hour after which we enjoyed a beautiful sun set.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Little Marco Island

Monday March 12th we spend exploring the area by dingy.
One of our stops was this beautiful beach at Little Marco, and Keewaydin Island. Marco Island is actually the furthest north of a string of 10.000 Islands along the south west coast of Florida. Early development dates back to 1920 when the land was bought by Barron Collier. Not much happened until early 1960, when a developing company bought the land from the heirs of the Collier family. Since then very expensive homes have been build, all of enormous size. In high season the population numbers 40.000 but in the summer months this drops to 12.000 One of the reason this area is so popular is that the average year round temp. is said to be around 74.5 deg. F and more than four and one half miles of sugary, sandy beaches as seen on the attached picture.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Company on Starboard

While going out to the Gulf of Mexico we were escorted out by this foursome of dolphins. They stuck with us for at least ten minutes, showing off their acrobatic skills. What a sight!!!!

We did not get the best picture, as they disappeared when Joanne started to take pictures.
I guess they are camera shy.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Marco Island

Today we came from Fort Myers to Marco island on the Gulf of Mexico. It was a gorgeous day with smooth sea's

We will explore Marco Island over the next few days before we move on to Everglade City, Little shark river (I think I might have called it Little snake before) and than on to Key West.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Bimini Basin

March 7th Paradise Preserved, around 17.00 hr (High tide) and traveled only about 8 nm to this nice anchorage with lots of water. It is located in the middle of the the city of Cape Coral.

A short dingy ride gets us to shore. From there we can walk to stores ans restaurants. Saturday morning there is a farmers market within walking distance that we will likely attend.

We will likely stay here till Monday morning and travel further south at that time. Week ends is crazy busy on the water, so we will stay put and let the locals have there time.

Joanne stumbled on the side walk, before we left, and scraped her elbow, knee, and chin. We are thankful it is only scrape wounds and nothing is broken. We meet all kinds of other loopers, both doing the loop and those who have done the loop. We just settled in to our anchorage and a dingy with two couples come up. They did the loop in 2003 and invited us to come to their condo located in the basin, so we will see if we can find them.

This afternoon an other couple is coming in the basin to visit. They did the loop in 2004 and we remember them from that.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Stuck in the mud

Yesterday (March 5th) we found ourself stuck in the mud due to extreme low tide. We knew that the water in the marina (Paradise Preserve) was very low, but with very extreme spring tide, along with the fact that the wind blew the water out of the marina, we found ourself unable to move, and leaning to one side!!!

At high tide we still were in the mud, but managed to plow through it (something that would have been impossible with the Picobello) and find a little deeper spot in the marina. Tomorrow the tide is supposed to be a little higher, and we are moving on to deeper water!!! We hope to start our journey south along the west coast of Florida from Ft Myers to Key west with stops in Everglade city, and Little snake river. We have been told that this area is as much old Florida as you can get. We will see, and let you know providing we have e-mail coverage.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Le rêve!

The name says it all!!! (The dream)

At rest in Ft Myers

After three days we docked at Paradise preserve, a nice small marina in north Ft Myers.
There are actually a couple of loopers docked here, that we got to know pretty good while on the great circle loop. Roy and Elvie on Royel, and Jim and Sue on Eagle one.
Last night we played dice on the Royel, and had a lot of fun.

Controlled burning

We wondered if the fact that we saw so much wild life on the river banks was because the authorities were cleaning up a large area of swamp land between the lake and the canal .

We were glad the wind was blowing away from us as we past right along side of the burning. The heat was so intense that we could feel it on the boat.

His brother is on the bank

We must have spotted a couple of dozen gators. Needless to say I did not go swimming any more.

We did see a lot of wildlife on our trip on the Okeechobee waterway Otters, birds, and alligators.

Strange things in the water

On the picture, it looks very innocent, but this is an ALLIGATOR. And b y the looks of his size he has been around for a number of years!!!!

Our first night out on the hook

This is what we woke up to on Tuesday Feb. 27th our first night out at anchor. This anchorage is somewhere in the St Lucie river between Stuart and lake Okeechobee and it is VERY peaceful. In the morning I even went into the water for a quick dip. It was wonderful BUT!!!!

Ready to leave

Finally the time has come on Monday Feb 26 that we are ready to leave Stuart. This pelican is seeing us off, and we are good to go.
Just an hour in to the time of departure, we detect trouble with the alternator, and we decide to turn around, and have the Krogen people check things out. They are right there at the dock, and after a few hours we are making our second attempt.

Dingy being installed

The crane is finished, now we have to prepare a sling to lift the dingy. First attempt and the dingy is not hanging to level, so we have to make some adjustments.

Bright work

Mike is the fellow who is putting the varnish on the teak rail

Many things to be done

The david crane to lift the dingy on board is being installed