Monday, January 25, 2010

Yes, we're still alive and well and cruising Florida...

We're on the move again.  After a month in Stuart Florida we departed last Saturday for the the Gulf Coast.  We have a lot to tell you so grab a cold one, sit down and relax while reading the "Tide Hiker Times"--sorry no crossword puzzles.  First, our latest cruise route and our current location:  (Remember, just click on the link below to see our cruise route and our current location.  And use the "+" or "_" to zoom in or out for more or less details.)

We're actually located just east of Ft Myers at the Franklin Lock and Dam.  The Okeechobee Waterway includes 5 locks and dams run by the Army Corps of Engineers.  These locks and dams keep the water levels where they want them.  Some years, when there has not been much rain, this waterway is closed to boating traffic.  But, no problems this year, or last year when we traversed it eastbound.  Now, on with the stories.

When we last left you, we were in training for the Defever Rendezvous and the Stuart Boat Show.  And, I might add that the training was very beneficial.  We were physically ready for long walks to the show, boat tours, sleepless nights, stomach-aching laughs, and the rigors of continual partying!!  Oh yea, the boat show conferences were also quite informative and very well-done.  Unfortunately, it was a small show and the vendors were not many and were not too keen on "show prices".  So, we obstained from any purchasing of equipment until we can get decent prices.  BTW, the Defever group here accounted for about 90% of the Cruiser Expo's attendance.

We may not have the order right--so many parties and so little gray matter left.  Here we are aboard Aurora.  Emir Steve and Princess Di hosted 10 of us to scrumptous Moroccan Chicken.

There were so many people aboard at the dinning table, Di and Steve relegated themselves to the kids table.  Is that wine there at the kids table?  Thanks Di and Steve.  The party was fantastic!

Stephanie Moralesaklin and Roberto Rodriquesjechte hosted about 20 of us aboard September Song for Roberto's famous Enchilada's.  They were at least a pound a piece and were prefaced by tons of mexican apps.  Thanks guys.  Everything was awesome. (Sorry, I forgot the camera.)

Of course we could not forget the Rendezvous' formal dinner at the Yacht Club.  We had to get dressed up, which meant jackets for the men (tie not necessary) and our dusty funeral shoes.

Chuck and Pat Berry hosted a bunch for bourbon slushes and apps before the Club's happy hour and roast beef sliders.  I admit, I had 4 slushes--they were quite refreshing.  Ganks Tuys.

Vicki and I hosted about 23 folks for an old fashioned weenie roast dock party.  Vicki russled up some baked beans, potato salad and cole slaw.  Norm grilled the dogs, italian sausage, kielbasa and similar tubesteaks.  Folks brought a lot of extra apps and trimmings.  And our new friends from Quebec, Louie and Danielle, brought drunken grapes. (Grapes marinating in port wine for 24 hours--Merci guys to everyone).

Port side crowd at the weenie roast.

Starboard side crowd at the weenie roast.

Midship crowd at weenie roast.

And, a weenie roast would not be complete without smores for desert.  Here's the smores assembly line up on the boat deck of Tide Hiker.  Norm, Bob and Nancy.

It wasn't long after that day that Bob displayed his new piercing.  Fortunately, in the correct ear.  Looks great Bob!  What's next?

Dave and Penny Stormont hosted about 20 folks aboard Stormy for cocktails and appetizers that were fit for a king.  It was truly our meal for the night. Thanks much Penny and Dave.  And, congratulations for deciding to remain DeFever Cruisers.

Well, it was time to move on.  The weather broke, our paid month was up and we were ready to start detox.  Oh, I mean, move on to the Gulf Coast of Florida.  We planned to meet Aurora about 7 miles up the south fork of the St Lucie river at 0800.  So at 0715, we departed the Harborage Marina with great memories.  Well, it was a quick re-immersion into cruising.  The fog was so dense we cold not see more than 50 yards.  But with modern electronics, a fog horn, experience in Maine and 4-eyes on the bridge, we kept our date--just a few mintues late.  We navigated in this fog for another couple of hours.

That's Aurora out there.  They just left the Port Myacka Lock and are entering Lake Okeechobee. We're right behind them.   As you can see the water levels on this part of the waterway are such that the Corps of Engineers has both lock doors open and we only had to pass through.  Not so at the other locks.  We had to either lift or fall about 8 feet in each.

All the conveniences of home and on the waterfront.  Let's sell the boat and be squatters here.  Whatta ya say?

We wondered if our davit (crane) could lift this wonderful looking "meat on the hoof".  Too bad it's a hangin offense down here.

Upon arriving at the Franklin Locks we spotted a couple of friends we met here last year.  They were in the same camping spot.  It was John and Nel from Indiana.  (That's them on the far side of the pic).  What are the odds?  It was great fun getting re-acquainted and sharing laughs again.

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