Friday, March 6, 2009

.......and Bob wanted to get naked!

Subtitle One: Local Knowledge is the Best Chart!!

Subtitle Two: Nothing is Sacred!!!

Following the Rendezvous, we headed a few miles north from Useppa Island to Pelican Bay, which lies next to Cayo Costa State Park. There, we anchored with a dozen or so other DeFever Cruisers who just couldn't let the party stop. There was a gathering aboard Tide Hiker for cocktails and munchies the first evening we were there. That's were we learned that Sea Pearl grounded on the way in. Now, it's important to say here that Pelican Bay, doesn't have more than 6 feet of water when studying the chart. But, several DeFeverites (September Song, Aurora and Last Laugh) have been there many times before and "knew the way in". Unfortunately, Sea Pearl took a narrow turn too wide and soft landed in less than 5'3" of water. (We've all done it!) He was able to just back out, move over 10 ft and was again in the 8' abyss and able to proceed into the anchorage. We're told that Salty, his dog, was a bit tense about the situation.

It was also at this gathering that Norm confessed to taking a swim in 63 degree waters with all his clothes on, while on his maiden kayak cruise. You see, he thought that since this all happened in the middle of broad daylight that everyone, yes everyone would be snapping pics of this spectacle. So, he came clean before any evidence would be forthcoming on the various blogs. He was adjusting the pedals when the kayak, without Norm's command, did a crocodile roll--hence the beautiful back pike that even Greg Louganis (sp?) would admire. There he was jeans-and-sweatshirt-wet-heavy on his upside down kayak, shivering like dog, waving to someone in a dinghy just 100 yards away. Why, why, it was Joe and Salty. Even at this distance Norm could see Salty was still a bit angry with Joe; and, the only one who understood Norm's dilemna. Anyway, Joe waves back like it's a greeting to someone out for a quick Sunday morning dip. As Joe got closer, it was only his 40-years of sharp NYC detective prowess that he got a hint that Norm might be able to use a tow. "Do you need help, Norm". Norm's reply-"Hell yes, I'm freezing my a__ off in here." So, Joe and Salty towed Norm, his kayak and bruised ego to Tide Hiker for a quick change into fresh warm clothes ("Vicki, I'm home") ; and, a get-back-up-on-the-horse successful maiden voyage No 2. The Kayak's christened name? The Red Titanic! But, hold on! Norm also discovered at this gathering that no one saw, or took pictures. It was at this point that Norm said. "Fooled you, I was only kidding. I make the whole thing up". No one was buying it though.

The next day's festivities were a picnic at Cayo Costa State Park. We all dinked over to the park entrance with our lunches. After a very strenuous group run on the beach, as you can see by these pics, we resumed what we came for--eating. After the picnic, Bob and Stephanie hosted a Bahamas Meeting aboard September Song. Steve and Di Koch gave us a spectacular tutorial on traveling the Exumas. They told us all the safe passages, the best anchorages, the best marinas, where to get WiFi etc, etc. Again, local knowledge is the best chart and this was a very comprehensive verbal chart. Thanks Steve and Di; and, Bob and Stephanie for having us over.

We hit a quiet moment after Steve finished the tutorial. At this point, Bob said that he was going to relax for a couple days--maybe even get naked tomorrow. Everyone chuckled, but the next day six boats left before dawn. Coincidence? Maybe. As expected though, the Gypsies were thinking about weighing anchor and moving closer, figuring that this might be better than a hot southern Florida outdoor Jimmy Buffet concert.

Then, the final supper at Pelican Bay. We enjoyed Carolina barbecue sandwiches aboard Rickshaw. Thanks guys--they were scrumptious.

So, we and Rickshaw began the trek across the Okeechobee waterway to the east coast of Florida. We're now at the state park just east of the Franklin lock and will be here today and maybe tomorrow. Nice docks with water and electricity for just $24 per day. What a find! Actually, it was not a find--Steve told us about this too. Thanks again Steve.

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