Sunday, December 5, 2010

"The Professionals", at their trade.....

First of all, check out the previous blog.  We made a mistake when publishing the "insertion date" and our wonderful visit with Norm's beautiful sister,  Joyce, on Key Biscayne did not get published.   

We have reconnected with several friends here at Marathon, FL; and, it's only the beginning.  Our first adventures here have been with Bob and Stephanie aboard September Song and Doug and Tammy aboard Gypsies in the Palace.  (Doug and Tammy drove down here from their home port in Cape Canaveral.  That's where their boat is lying at this time.)  They delivered Bob and Stephanie's van.  Anyway, it's always a party with this mixture of fun-lovin, bar-hoppin, beer-swizlin, cigar-smokin cruisers.  And, this was no exception.  Friday night was drinks and apps aboard September Song, followed by drinks and apps at the new Sunset Grille followed by nightcaps at the Brass Monkey. The bands were playing great tunes and dancing was in order.  That Bob and Stephanie have more "moves" than Two Men and a Truck.

Doug, Tammy, Vicki, Norm, Stephanie, Bob at Sunset Grille

Local basket weaver, pausing for a pic.

Now, it's important to note that Doug and Tammy have been titled "the professionals" because of their prowess at partying hearty--long and heavy-duty with no next morning hangovers.  We thought that was, well, just good genes.  But then, at one of the bars in Key West, Doug pulled two fold up coozies out of his back pocket--always totally prepared to hold frosty beers.  Impressed????

We started out with a "roadie" and walked the crazy streets of Key West in search of Fogarty's.  There, we had the special lunch of the house--Sloppy Grouper Sandwich.  From there it was on to the Schooner Raw Bar for their famous wings and music by the legend himself--Michael McCloud.  From there it was on to Turtle Krawl Raw Bar for oysters and to meet some of Doug and Tammy's and Bob Stephanie's friends from the area.  We were stuffed at this point, so we had no famous raw oysters.  But we did have to make a stop at the Chart Room to quench our thirst and to give Doug a chance to whip out those coozies again.  Oops, sorry, they were never put away.  At 7PM we waltzed out to Duval Street for the Christmas Parade. Here's some shots of our Key West escapade:

Tammy working out the old coozie

The gang at our first stop.

Don't try spinning plates at home, kids.  This guy's a professional.

Robert' enjoying a just-wrapped cigar

The famous "Sloppy Grouper" sandwich at Fogarty's.  There's grouper, bacon, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, french fries and some sauce.  Served with rice and beans and plantains.  Ummmmmm.

The Professionals (Doug and Tammy) imbibing at one of the ubiquitous sidewalk beer venders.

Tammy puffing on a stogie just freshly wrapped at the Schooner Bar.

And, a Christmas Parade would not be complete without Santa

Here's a reminder of just how "different" Key West is-a dinghy with a recliner.  I'm sure there is a cooler down there somewhere, and a conch shell.

A holiday-happy bicyclists entertaining the crowd.

Vicki volunteered to be the designated driver for the hour drive back to Marathon.  She did quite well given the hour, the long day, having to look out for endangered Key Deer and the professional snoring in the rear seats.  On Sunday, "the professionals" and we amateurs were not going to miss breakfast at the "Stuffed Pig".  Their sign says "Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Cold Beer". 

Many of you reading our blog know that Doug has been singled out over the years as having the smallest dink (dinghy).  I won't go into the taudry details again because they are not fit for some readers.  But we have to mention that he lives up to his reputation of having small accessories, having recently purchased not one, but two Kia's-the smallest vehicle safely allowed on American highways.  Enough said?? 

Not looking to bad after a day with "The Professionals".  Gotta go--nap time!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Good times in Key Biscayne

It's been a great couple of weeks. The warm weather found us and we've connected with lots of friends on our way south in Florida.  Glenn and Jill in St. Augustine; Wally and Karen in St. Ormond Beach; Pete and Lil in New Smyrna; Nelson, Doug, Todd and Brenda in Cocoa; Colleen, Bob and Stephanie in Ft. Lauderdale; and Bob and Cheryl in Ft. Lauderdale.  We had a fun Thanksgiving with Norm's sister Joyce in Key Biscayne. 

Vicki, Norm and Joyce at the local Cuban restaurant on Key Biscayne

On Thanksgiving, we met several of Joyce's friends at Linda B's Restaurant for stuffed bird and other holiday delicacies.  We were not disappointed.  Everyone had a great meal, lots of laughs and a "bit of the jolly".  Thanks Joyce, for organizing a great celebration feast.
Tonight we're anchored at Rodriguez Key near Islamorada.  We had planned to go to Islamorada tomorrow, but have revised plans to go to Marathon tomorrow to take advantage of good weather.  The winds are kicking up on Monday, so if we don't go tomorrow, we might get stuck here longer than we want.  Sombrero Dockside Marina in Marathon is our home base for December-January-February.  It will be good to be stationary for a while.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dedicated to "Pete"-our most loyal blog reader!!!!!

Good morning everyone.  Again, we've been remis at keeping up the blog.  We've been very busy "movin South" to warmer weather and continuing our "connect and reconnect" theme.   Unlike previous years, we're one month ahead and slowing down to visit places we have not been before.  It's very easy to cruise the same legs as previous years; docking or anchoring in known places.  (And there is some advantage to that.)  But, we decided to take in different places and learn more about this fantastic East Coast, USA.

Here's our cruise line from Fernandina Beach--our last posting.  Don't forget you can zoom in or out to see our route in more or less detail.    But first you need to click on the following link:

Fernandina Beach Fl -to- Marathon, FL (Keys)                           
We're dedicating this blog to Pete, our most loyal blog reader.  Pete is a neighbor of our friends Wally and Karen in Ormond Beach, FL.  We met Pete for the first time this trip, but we've talked over the phone once.  Pete keeps Wally and Karen informed as to our progress and describes our adventure as "better than any TV reality show and soap opera rolled up into one".  Here's to you Pete. It was awesome to finally meet you and we hope we don't disappoint you at the Hollywood Soap Opera Awards.

Before we got to Ormond Beach to visit Wally, Karen and Pete, we stopped in St Augustine for a couple of days.  We toured the Flagler College, which used to be the Flagler Hotel.  How would you like to attend this school?  By the way, the cost of this libera arts school is quite reasonable for a private university.

Main atrium in the "used to be" lobby.

Entrance to the student's areas.

Student's dining room

Wally and Karen in their Ormond Beach Home

Wally, Karen, Vicki and Norm at the "Club" for breakfast

And, here'ssssssssssssssssss PETE!!!!  Pete restores old cars.  One of his Corvette's in the background

Wally and Norm on Wally's Hog.  Norm did not have the customary "leathers" and had to ride without.  Pete called Norm Wally's "biker babe" with that leg shot!!

We had fun reconnecting with Todd and Brenda (Life's 2 Short) and Doug (Gypsies in the Palace) in Cocoa, FL.  Notice Doug's pony tail is gone.  Yep, he's a wo, wo - stiff.   Unfortunately, Tammy who is now a wo, wo, wo---(I just can't say it)--stiff too, had to wo, wo late and could not join us.  We'll see Tammy and Doug again this weekend in Marathon/Key West.  Can't wait.
Well folks, you're up to date now.  We're lying comfortably here in Marathon with good friends Bob and Stephanie (September Song).  We're getting lots of work done on the boat that was waiting till be landed for a few weeks.  Norm's already ready to get goin again.  In the meantime, family and friends, we're open for visitors.  Be here or be square.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Reconnecting and Catching Up

Brrrrrrr, it's cold.  We're tied up to the face dock at Fernandina Beach Marina. That's Florida folks.  But isn't it supposed to be warm in Florida?  Last night, just 30 miles north at Jekyll Island, GA,  it went down to 43F.  Tonight it'll be 39F here in FLORIDA.

We've had a great couple of weeks and guess what....  We're going to tell you about it. So, grab a beverage and relax.  We have a lot to tell you.  First, take a look at our cruise map.  Click on the following link to see it.  Don't forget, you can zoom in or out for a more detailed view; and you can click on the little balloons to see the name of that day's destination.  Enjoy, but don't forget to come back here and read the rest of the blog.

We met up with Sea Pearl at the Portsmouth (Norfolk) free dock.  Joe and Julia had arrived earlier.  We cruised together to Beaufort, NC.  There, Joe and Julia visited Joe's mom and we had the boat bottom painted at Bock Marine.  While being painted, we visited Rick and Lynnie. 

Tide Hiker and Sea Pearl tied up to the Portsmouth Free Dock

Tide Hiker (Bottom right--see Vicki?) and Sea Pearl (Top Left) at the Great Bridge Lock

When we last updated the blog, we were just leaving Bock Marine in Morehead City, NC.  We had a lovely time visiting Rick and Lynnie Tierney (Richshaw) at their home near Raleigh, NC.  They invited us to visit with them until Tide Hiker's bottom was repainted.  And what a great visit that was.  We had not seen Rick and Lynnie for a very long time and it was fun reconnecting and catching up.  We also saw a couple of movies and did the unmentionables--yes we drug Vicki to a KFC one day and to an Indian Restaurant on another night and sub sandwiches on another day.  Shhhhhh, don't tell anyone.  Thanks guys for a great rest--it was wonderful spending time with you.
Rick and Lynnie at Jersey Mikes Sub Shop

Upon departing Morehead City, we hooked up again with Sea Pearl.  We cruised together to Charleston, SC.  In Charleston, we reconnected with Bart Franey.  We had a great lunch at the Fleet Club.  We missed Bart's wife, Ellie, who had to wo, wo, wo--I just can't say it!  Good seeing ya Bart.  Thanks for joining us.
Bart, Julia and Joe at Ashley Marina, Charleston, SC

Our reconnection theme did not stop there.  It was now on to GA to meet up with Joe and Julia (Sea Pearl), Todd and Brenda (Life's Too Short) and Bob and Stephanie (September Song).  But not before a couple hundred miles of fun and relaxing anchoring.

Tide Hiker at anchor in Thorofare Cr (Courtesy Joe Nekola)

The mini-rendezvous was held at Bob and Stephanie's dock at Midway, GA. And, Party it was.  First of all, congrats to Bob and Stephanie for acquiring a contract on their home.  Soon, they will be homeless.  That is, land-based homeless.  (Actually, they have been living aboard and cruising full-time for a few years.)  But, it is a great relief for them to be land-based free finally.  We dined at Sunbury Marina Restaurant amidst a fierce rainstorm and feasted on Bob-caught Bahamian Mahi Mahi aboard September Song while there.  Great laughs, great food and great memories.  We all reprovisioned in Savannah, GA while there.

A tight squeeze on Bob and Steph's dock

Did I say tight squeeze?

The whole gang at Sunbury Marina Restaurant

The "girls" aboard September Song

 The "boys"
This, of course, was just the appetizer to our mini-reunion.  We all departed together and cruised by caravan to Blackbeard Island Anchorage.  This was September Song's final departure from their dock of 11 years.  We all observed a moment of silence.  Blackbeard Creek anchorage is one of those best-kept-secret-anchorages.  Eight miles up Blackbeard Cr making hairpin turns over shallow shoals at high tide, we arrived at a widened area separated from the Atlantic Ocean and a nine-mile clean, deep and wide beach by a high sand dune.  Truly, a beautiful, protected location.  We also found Todd's friends Gale and Mo aboard Blue Heron here.  Of course, get us near a beach and a weenie roast is in the plans.  So, we all descended on the beach by dinghy carrying our coolers of food and beverages.  We collected driftwood for a fire and began enjoying our time together.  On the second night, we did community heavy apps and smores over the fire.

 September Song negotiating one of the hair-pin turns on Blackbeard Creek

 Getting ready for the weenie roast

Norm flying a kite on the beach

Vicki, Gale and Mo on the trail

Vicki roasting the weenies

Tide Hiker at anchor on Blackbeard Creek
From here it was on to Brunswick, GA, except for Life's Too Short.  They had to drop their guests Lisa and Steve off in Darian, GA.  While at Brunswick, we all fueled-up, taking advantage of the best fuel prices on the East Coast.  But the highlight here was Joe and Julia's dinner aboard Sea Pearl.  Joe cooked up his famous clams over linguine after a first course of cheese plate and shrimp.  Vicki's salad and Stephanie's desert rounded out this feast. Of course, the wine was plentiful.

Joe and Julia taking a break from the cooking

The next day, we all departed, albeit to different locations.  We have never been to Jekyll Island.  So, we broke away from the group 2-lbs heavier and headed to Jekyll Harbor Marina.  September Song and Sea Pearl headed for Fernandina Beach and south.  So, they will be a few days ahead of us.  Life's too Short dropped off their guests in Darian and showed up on the hook at Jekyll Is.  It was late and they were leaving in the morning.  We'll catch up to all of them soon.

Jekyll Island was great.  Twenty miles of bike paths, an historic district and a small shopping district.  The Jekyll Island Club was a summer home in the early 1900s to the industrialists holding one sixth of American wealth.  We're talking the Rockefellers, JP Morgan and folks of that ilk. They built a club house--now the hotel, the country's first condominium for six members not building a mansion, and living quarters for the over 200 servants working there.  It's all owned by the State of GA now who leases the land to the Jekyll Club Authority.  The old mansions are now museums, library, art gallery, etc.  Some are left as was for viewing tourists, like us.   We biked most of the island, took in lunch a couple of afternoons at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel and did the tram tourist ride visiting some of the cottages (mansions).

Jekyll Island Club Hotel (Old Club House)

Hotel (Ckub House) Grand Dinning Room

Hotel (Club House) Reading Room

One "Cottage" on the grounds

Part of the 20-mile bike trail
We departed Jekyll today, crossed the St Andrews Sound and St Mary's inlet and are now docked at Fernandina Beach, as we mentioned up front. Guess who's here?  Gale and Mo aboard Blue Heron.  Unfortunately, they are departing in the a.m.   We'll be here for a couple of days then on to St Augustine, FL for a few days.  After that, it's on to Daytona to reconnect with our Milwaukee friends Wally and Karen Juzenas.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Heading to Georgia with the Halloween Tattoos

We left Bock Marine yesterday and are now at St. James Plantation Marina near Southport NC.  Traveling with Joe and Julia aboard Sea Pearl.  We'll be in Charleston Sunday-Monday.  Then on to Bob and Steph's dock in Georgia on Weds or Thurs.  There are a group of boats going from there to Bob and Steph's secret anchorage for a few days.  Should be a fun place to spend Halloween - we're bringing the scary stick-on tattoos for everyone.   

Monday, October 18, 2010

Vacationing with Rick and Lynnie

We're in Cary NC (near Raleigh) at Rick and Lynnie's house which, as Norm says, has a whole room just for laundry!  We're enjoying being in a home with lots of room and being with our friends whom we haven't seen in person for a year.  We've seen movies, played dominoes, ate KFC and Indian and lots of good food at home, jazzercised, walked, shopped, and just hung out.  Every moment has been a delight.  And tonight, Vicki is conscripting everyone to watch 'Dancing with the Stars' with her.  What could be more fun?

Tide Hiker is having her bottom painted at Bock Marine and will be ready to be splashed again tomorrow.  At one point we thought we might be staying with Rick and Lynnie until Christmas, but no such luck.  Norm had to get an xray after lifting something heavy from an awkward position.  The doc said he was very lucky not to need surgery -- had a severely strained bicep -- it's much better now.   

We made a couple stops on the way here that were new to us...  Smithfield VA up the James River is a delightful town and home to the famous "Smithfield Ham".  River Dunes Marina off the Neuse River was delightful.  We stayed at marinas on the way here because those anchoring were getting deluged with Chinese mosquito's or 'blind' mosquito's that excrete yellow stuff on the boat which takes hours to clean. Luckily, we avoided that fate.

So, it's adieu to Cary, NC tomorrow.  We'll splash the boat, wash her down, reprovision, return the rental car and try to get a good night's sleep aboard Tide Hiker.  Then, on Wednesday, it's off to meet up with Joe and Julia aboard Sea Pearl at Morehead City, NC and south to the Mile Hammock anchorage (near Camp Lejeune, NC).

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Catching Up and Slimming Down

Welcome back everyone. We know we have been negligent in updating the blog and we apologize for our lapse in timeliness. Here's a summary of how we got here. We've done a lot since our last update in August. But first, here is a link you can click on to see our cruise route to Urbanna, VA from Rock Hall, MD (Lot's of new places):

Late summer on the Chesapeake has been full of friends and travel.  In mid-August, we cruised the rivers north and south of Baltimore.  Niece Aimee and her fabulous fiancee Brian joined us to anchor in the Magothy River where Roger and Lisa pulled in on their boat. Aimee and Brian were the first into the kayak's.  They were gone a long time and explored much of the surrounding shore.   Later, Rog and Norm caught crab dinner while Aimee and Brian sunned and Vicki and Lisa kayaked.  Perhaps we shouldn't mention that Lisa had to be pulled off a shoal twice - the same shoal, coming and going.  Lisa was using Norm's kayak which has both pedals and paddle -- and the woman still couldn't dodge the shoal!

Brian and Aimee in the kayaks

Crab feast aboard Tide Hiker. Norm, Brian, Aimee, Lisa, Roger

Middle River, north of Baltimore, is beautiful.  The Middle River Yacht Club offers reciprocity with no fee - not even for electric.  What a deal, and a nice place with nice people.

Toward the end of August we landed at Anchorage Marina in Canton, walking distance from the inner harbor of Baltimore.  This was our base for three weeks.  During that time, Vicki traveled to Tucson to see Mom and on to Portland for the wedding of the son of family friends.  Norm went to Milwaukee to see the kids and grand kids who all gathered at Katie's cabin for the Labor Day weekend.  Colleen, the oldest daughter, confirmed that she and husband Brian are expecting their first baby in May.  Great news!

Brian and Colleen (daughter 1), newly expectant parents

Katie (daughter 2) and Jake (grandchild 1)-Waiting for the bus for 1st day back to school

Katie and Evan (grandchild 2).  Just showing off.

JoycE (grandchild 3).  Just showing off too

 Christine (daughter 3) and JoycE.

The MTOA (Marine Trawler Owners Assoc) Rendezvous was held at the Anchorage Marina in mid-September.  Unfortunately, Vicki caught a bug on one of her six plane flights and was down and out for the whole rendezvous.  Norm saw some great seminars and did the bachelor thing at the social events.  It was great to see lots of friends there.  We had fun connecting before the rendezvous with Pam and Jim Shipp, Chuck and Pat Berry, Jim and Robin Roberts and Jeff and Karen Siegel and after the rendezvous with Diane and Steve Koch.

After the rendezvous, we putted across the bay to the Wye River, a wild and beautiful place.  Delaware friends Peg and Mike joined us aboard Tide Hiker for four days.  Roger and Lisa anchored on their boat.  We had a wonderful time at the Audubon Center hiking on a bed of pine needles and the first fall leaves.   Roger, Mike and Norm caught crab dinner again.  (Having learned the last time, Vicki decided not to get the kayaks down!)  We had dinner out on the boat deck each night with a remarkably bright moon.  We did, however, need to turn on the spreader lights to play dominoes.  I'm not sure who the winner was -- my recollection is overshadowed by the fact that Rog once again worked himself into a big hole from which there was no escape.

 Carbing up before the big hike tomorrow.  Roger, Norm, Peg, Mike, Lisa

Rog, Lisa, Peg, Vicki and Mike on the Trail

Vicki slurping fungi juice.  Ummmmm!

Tide Hiker at anchor in Pickering Creek, Wye River, Chesapeake  Bay

On to Washburn's Boatyard in Solomons MD for some minor maintenance and sitting out storms.  You many recall from previous blogs that we have been here lots before. Washburn's has some of the most capable, friendly and helpful folks. That's why we come here often. We intended to stop by here for a quick installation of a new exhaust elbow on our No. 2 generator and fix a fuel leak on our No. 1 generator and some other minor stuff. But, as luck would have it, the weather turned. The tropical storm that was moving up the east coast and dumped 21 inches of rain on NC slammed us. We were forecasted for 4-5 inches of rain and wind gusts of up to 35mph. We ended up getting over 12 inches of rain.  Winds were as forecasted for us.  But our friends Todd and Brenda aboard Life's 2 Short, who are anchored south of here recorded sustained winds of 35 and gusts of 45-50. Fortunately their anchor held. Other friends, (Rick and Lynnie aboard Rickshaw) steamed from Atlantic City 95 miles in the Atlantic Ocean and the Delaware Bay to our old home port, Summit North Marina safely and just before the unsettled weather rained down on them. Experience really counts folks!!! Norm says "when I grow up I want to be just a good as those guys".

Tide Hiker pulled into the Town Marina in Urbanna Va on Saturday.  Vicki found a shuttle driver to take us to one of her favorite things on the Chesapeake - Virginia's Li'l Ole Opry at Donk's Theater in Matthews Va.  Very entertaining - fabulous music - a truly unique experience.  Betsy, one of the performer/owners of the theater remembered us.  She introduced us and others celebrating anniversaries or birthdays to the audience before the show.  For us she said "I would like you to meet the Naughton's.  They came here last year and docked at the Matthews Yacht Club and we picked them up.  This year they are docked at Urbanna and hired a shuttle driver to bring them here".  We had to stand up and face the spotlights.  Real down-home country folks here guys.  The next day the shuttle driver, who is also part time dock hand at the marina, took us a couple miles out of town to another unique experience - a local deli/restaurant called Something Different.  The meat and ice cream are from the proprietor's own beef and pigs -- everything is made there -- they insist that you taste everything before deciding what to order --and it's all delicious.  We had the "Kick-Ass-Chicken" and the BBQ Pork.  Scrumptious!!

You'll recall that the No Booze Cruise to Lose was in full swing during this time.  Vicki is easily sustaining a loss of 17 lbs. and many alcohol-free evenings, and enjoying a vastly expanded wardrobe.  Norm is down 10 lbs. and needs to buy some skinny jeans.