June 30, 2011

Linda headed for town early to get a pedicure then went to the store for the meat we need for the weekends festivities.....  We have a big brisket, Baby Back Ribs, Country Style Ribs, Zummo Party Links, 4 chickens and some Boudain.  That ought to take care of the crews appetite.

I worked with my sea glass a bit today, but only finished 4 pieces.  About 5:00 I went to Larry's for a swim, now we are watching "Swamp People" and "American Pickers"  Life is good.

Oh... and yes, for those of you sitting on the edge of your seat wondering if I'm running the sprinklers... yes..... I am.. lol.

June 29, 2011

Sprinkler update..... I know everyone is on the edge of their seat... lol.  I found the suction leak and the system is 100%.  It's pretty sad when the day's excitement is about yard plumbing........

Something that WILL be fun around here.... We are getting ready for the big 4th of July party and parade this weekend.  There is always a fun "small vehicle" parade that courses a 3 or 4 mile route through the local neighborhoods.  There will be Kawasaki Mules, Kubotas, motorcycles, drag race cars and even a riding lawn mower or two.... lol.  All of them decorated in their best red white and blues.   Every year we look forward to this weekend.... pictures next week... 

June 28, 2011

Today I fixed the lawn sprinklers.  The system pulls water out of the lake but the intake was too short.  I added 60 feet of PVC pipe to extend it further down the bank in order to re-submerge the foot valve.  After getting water to the pump.. there were leaks to repair and nozzles to clean.   It's not perfect, but it's working.  I still have an air leak to fix on the suction side of the pump.  The ground is literally sponging the water up.  I'll let it run all night tonight.

June 27, 2011

I try to match the construction of my jewelry to the singularity of the sea glass itself... here are a couple close ups to explain what I mean.

The sea glass jewelry wrapped with wire I have seen simply wraps the wire around the edges of the piece.  Doing it this way shows the nice mature edges better (I think).  It's quite a bit more work, but it's worth it.

I like the gold accents, but the green piece is so nice and mature I didn't want to interrupt the look of the rounded edges so I drilled strategically placed holes to join the two.  I think it finishes nicer this way and is more interesting.

Note that there is no "Standard" hole drilled for the top ring.  --->  I did a 3 way hole that exits on the sides of the piece to preserve a clean look on the face... the natural look of the nicely rounded sea glass is maintained and color accented with the semi mature white shard. 

I think the difference in maturity of the two pieces make this one interesting.  If your showing somebody what sea glass is (most don't know) you can explain holding this piece...  the progressive stages of maturity are right there in your hand.  Maybe that's a guy thing.. to know the mechanics, how sea glass forms.  Women are likely more interested in pure aesthetics, but I think this piece satisfies both needs.....


One of my favorite color combinations (so far) is ice blue and white.  I've given several of this combination away as gifts.  Again I enjoy making unique wire wraps.  The blue and white pieces are joined with clear epoxy.  The blue piece has a natural curve to it that allowed a singe wire wrap between the two.  Every piece or combination shows you what it wants to look like as you sort through the pile....

To balance the piece on the chain properly it made sense to me to put the ring on the plain where the two pieces are joined.


Does anybody know this Logo?  ------>

It's the bottom of a small bottle.  I seem to remember seeing it before but I can't place the brand.  Is it a cologne bottle?  It made a nice piece of sea glass.

SYL... Rusty


June 26, 2011

I have been busy the last couple days....  this is what the dining room table looks like.

Erin surprised me with a gift of jewelry making tools for fathers day. 

I borrowed a dremmel drill from Larry next door and he found a set of diamond tipped drill bits in Lufkin for me.

It's been fun learning to drill holes in the glass and shells we found in the Bahamas. 

I've found some creative ways to wrap and tie wire, my last few pieces are certainly more refined and better finished than my first few....

Here are some examples of what I've made so far.

Sea shells are twice as hard as the glass.

So far I've only broken one shell and I did that with pliers rather than the drill... I was tying through a small hole in a thin shell and ruined the piece.

I've been playing with all sorts of ideas. 

Clear epoxy bonds the glass pieces together.

I wish now we had brought home more shells, I never imagined I'd run out of fine examples... but then I didn't think I'd be making jewelry either.....

These two curved pieces showed up on the table together.... they looked like butterfly wings to me.  Part of the fun is looking for similar shapes or colors to see what you can make of it. 

I glued them to a thin, mature amethyst colored piece, then finished with a shiny clear diamond shaped shard.... The raised wings catch the light nicely. 

wow.... Just now a wild rabbit hopped slowly across the deck just outside the window.  We have seen coons and red fox..... and every type of bird imaginable here on Hummingbird Lane.... specifically on our back porch..

The piece below took about 4 hours to make.  There are 8 holes thru and thru it and two in the back for the hook.  It has about 20" of gold wire woven through the body of the unique green sea glass.... it was way more work than it was worth.. lol.

I guess it turned out OK, it was certainly good hole drilling practice.  If you look closely you can see the two holes drilled vertically in the back for the mounting ring.  The vertical holes appear to be small tornado looking vees (converging at the top hole the gold wire goes in) visible through the glass.  That cavity actually has 3 openings.... front, then top and bottom on the back.

Holes are drilled from both sides with a needle like bit sporting a long taper...  drilling from both sides.... meeting in the middle creates the smallest possible hole.  It's a trick to get them to meet exactly right, but I haven't missed one yet.

As you can see... its possible to watch the hole form even in dark colored glass by rinsing it with clean water to remove the white glass dust.  Also, sea glass is easier to see through when it's wet.  I find it important to stop often and realign your second hole to meet the first as you go.

I keep a small saucer of water on the table and semi submerge the glass I'm drilling to keep the bit cool and wash away the shavings.  Sometimes I dry drill a little to start and finish a hole so I can handle the piece better.  It's hard to see well with the piece under water.

Many times you can tell what section of a bottle a particular piece of sea glass originated from, this green one is a mystery to me.  It may be a shard of tableware or even a vase.  This particular glass is very soft and easy to drill.... much softer than any of the other glass I have drilled.  I suspect it's quite old.

The gold wire I used here is 28 gauge.  Generally I like a bit larger wire.

Sea Yawl Later !!   Rusty


June 22, 2011

We are still relaxing at the lake.  Yesterday we ran errands in town.  We brought some PVC pipe so Rusty can fix our irrigation system.  We had the pipes on top of the car, tied down on the front and back.  As we were unloading the car my flip flop got caught in the twine that was used to tie the pipes down and I went crashing to the cement.  My hands were full of groceries and I landed on my right shoulder.  Ouch!!  Today it is much better.  I still can not lift my arm or move it very much but it is getting better.  Today Larry fried perch and we had a great dinner at their house with other friends.  I have seen more TV in the last 48 hours than I have in the first 6 months of 2011.  I plan on continuing to be a couch potato for a few more days, guilt free.

June 23, 2011

Today is a great day... It's Linda and my anniversary.  Life with Linda has been sweet with WAY more good times and happiness in the mix than not.  When you can live well with someone 24/7 in a space the smaller than your garage... except that the "slab" quite often rocks violently on all three axes..... and still be smiling after 6 months... you've got a keeper there... and I certainly do.  Linda and I have very similar loves and interests.... after each other, our love for the water is probably next on the list. 

June 22, 2011

RAIN!.. oh yeah, finally... It rained much of the night then on and off all day.. the slow soaking rain like I described earlier.  We are still short on the year, but the good thing is.. it rained even more up North so the lake will gain more water than we did here on the ground. 

During the summer Toledo Bend Reservoir loses more water than in the winter because the dam makes electricity.  The combination of low rainfall and longer generation schedules make it hard for the lake to get up to it's normal level.  Last summer the lake was lowered to do work on the dam and it simply hasn't recovered, this rain will help.

June 21, 2011

I'm sitting in the recliner as the day finds it's light here on the lake...  The wind is dead calm.  It rained this morning at 5:45AM... we sure needed it.  The rain quenched the lawns need for the day's moisture, but it only lasted 30 minutes.  A slow soaking regenerative rain is what the ground and the lake want, but we will take anything we can get. 

The weather station here at the lake house showed a serious 5" per hour rate at one time but it quickly passed.

I took Linda to Beaumont yesterday and returned with Larry and Brenda late last night.  A family friend finally lost their Grandfather to old age.. we went for the wake yesterday and Linda stayed for the funeral today.  She will be back as soon as she feels the family is comfortable, in a day or so.

This morning I'm sipping on my coffee and watching the lake.  I'm not sure what it is that's so relaxing about looking at water.... but no doubt it is.  The birds are welcoming the subdued sunshine.... clouds still cover the sky so it's not gleaming bright like it has been the past few mornings.  The ambient light seems to have been frozen at a level that only colors the day, not so bold that it removes the mornings welcome moisture.... kind of nice. 

Time for my second cup...

2:13PM  I grilled some good sausage for lunch... dipped it in BBQ sauce with a slice of hot home made bread..... good stuff.  The sky is still cloudy, we have only had 1/2" of rain but it's benefit has been maximized by the dark but certainly not dreary weather.  The rain was surely a welcome drink for the foliage, but not enough for real relief.

I think I'll make some sugar water for the hummingbird feeder.... My chair sits 4 feet from the outside feeder and the flittering birds are without!

June 18, 2011

6PM Erin and Michael are here with the two dogs.....  we had a great day, more food, good company... the dogs swam and played up and down the sand bar.  E and Michael rode the jet ski and toured the local neighborhoods on the golf cart.  The sun is getting lower but it's still 100 degrees at the waters edge... so it's hot, but bobbing in the water makes the temp more than bearable.  The water is cooler than the air so it feels really good to float around with good friends and family in the calm fresh water of Larry's cove.

I'm so full, but I haven't let that stop me from "grazing" on the ribs and baked ham sitting on the stove.  I walked over to Larry's to borrow a double boiler from Brenda and ate Pizza over there too..... I need to quit grazing or I'll pop... lol.

I'm beginning to enjoy more time up off the couch... I'm doing more around the house.. getting out to swim in the evening.  My self imposed slothfulness is giving way to small repairs that need to be done.  I'm starting to do more and enjoying the few chores needed to get the outside of the house in order...  One thing I need to do is add on to the water inlet pipe that draws lake water up for the lawn sprinklers....  The lake is so low that my intake is well above the water line.  I'll go to town for two sections of 2" PVC pipe in town next week to solve that issue.  Currently we are watering the shrubs with house water that we pay for by the gallon.

June 17, 2011

It's Brenda's (our next door neighbors) birthday today.... I am cooking Baby Back Ribs, Boudain and Links. Linda is making Deana's Sopapilla Cheesecake.  Larry and Brenda's dock is the community swimming hole that everybody comes to so we will eat over there.

I made Brenda some ear rings and a couple necklace pieces.

The sea glass and Shell's we brought home from the Bahamas make nice jewelry.

Erin and Michael are coming up tomorrow with the big puppies. It will be good to see them again and meet the new pup (Michael's dog)

I checked the ribs, they need another hour in the oven before I finish them on the grill.  I like to sear them hard on a high grill setting first then put them in the oven in a tightly covered pan for 4+ hours with the seasoning already on them (applied before searing)  When they get "almost fall off the bone" tender I finish them on the grill with BBQ sauce on one side and Raspberry Chipotle on the other..... mmmmm good.

Next week I'll do one of my briskets.  I stuff the brisket with chopped celery, onions, Italian sausage, bell peppers and garlic before pouring Italian dressing inside.. sew it closed with a stainless wire then cook it very similar to the ribs except it stays on for 10 hours at 250 degrees to make it tender.  I basically make a pita pocket of meat out of the brisket then stuff it.... That way the condiments cook thru the brisket from the inside out.

Our neighbors the Martins take care of everybody around the lake, today it's our turn to take care of them.  Larry is the go to guy for everyone that needs something fixed or built around here....  He always has the right tools and the right answers if you ask..... It's about time somebody took care of them a bit, especially on Brenda's birthday.

4PM  The meat is cooked, the desert is cooling.... we are almost ready to go do the birthday party......  The BBQ came out almost as good as it's I've ever made it.  Time to go...


7:30PM The party was fun.... we fed 8 people and had leftovers.  Brenda loved her jewelry.  After eating we went swimming and riding the jet skis.  Dad put his and mine in earlier so the PWCs are lined up on the sandbar over the hill at Larry's (on the cove side).  We both have Hondas, Dad's is a 2 seater and mine is a 3 seat boat. 

We don't leave boats on the bank on our side overlooking the main lake at night.  If the wind comes up waves can build quickly so we rarely leave anything tied up on our side.  We live on a small peninsula so Larry's place on the other side of the road (that ends next door) is a nice quiet cove.

June 16, 2011

Thursday.... I'm all alone at the lake, mom and dad drove to the biggest town around for 50 miles for the day... It's me, the dog and baked Lays potato chips.   Nothing is different though.... I'm sitting in the recliner watching TV.  I did complete my computer chore of moving all the vacation pictures to an external drive and renaming them all so they would come up chronologically in a slide show.... It took the better part of two days to rename them all, there were over 600 photos in February alone.

Mom and dad will return later this evening as will Linda.

I'm about to connect the external drive to the TV and see how it works with the WDTV box....

It works!  the Western Digital seems to be picking them up nicely.  I have video clips in the file too, I hope they work seamlessly....we shall see.  Some photos are still out of order and the videos don't have sound, so I still have some work to do....

Not much else happening here, kinda nice that way right now....


June 14, 2011

It's funny, the last couple nights I wake up in the night just barely conscious... and I think I'm still on the boat.  I reach for something on the shelf that was forward of my bed and find myself digging around in my headboard here at the lake.... lol.  I guess after six months you get into a habit.  I wonder how long it will take to quit digging in my headboard...

Speaking of the difference between boat and land life, I went to town for groceries this morning...  It's nice to find anything you want at reasonable prices again.  I didn't mind the stores we had on the boat though, we always had what we needed other than fresh milk.  We found milk in a few places, but normally the small stores on the islands we visited didn't carry fresh milk for two reasons.  #1 By the time it arrived on the mail boat it would be out of date, #2 most people on the Family Islands don't have a refrigerator so they buy super-pasteurized box milk.  Boxed milk is fine to cook with, but it's certainly not as drinkable as fresh (unfrozen) milk. 

It's HOT here in Texas.... today it's slated for a 100+ high, and lows in the mid 70's.  Dad and I will probably put the Jet Skis in today or tomorrow.  So far most of my time has been spent visiting with my folks and sitting in the recliner watching TV.  I'm ready to get outside and do some lake stuff.  I understand the fish have been biting, we don't have to go but 100 yards from the dock to fill the boat with White Perch.  I'm not a big fisherman, but it's fun now and then... and the perch have a wonderful flavor.

The lake water level is low.  Our part of Texas is 17" behind it's normal rainfall.  I think I'll walk out on the dock and check out the new sandbar that has developed while I was away.

    Low Water, not enough to set the boat down                       Our place is on Hummingbird Lane                                               Lake side deck

I hooked up the WDTV box to the TV, now we have all our stored movies available for viewing....  The first movie is on now... we started alphabetically, Avatar seemed like the best choice of the "A" movies.  The color and graphics are amazing in this move.

10PM  after Avatar it was "A League of Their Own" then "The Rookie"...... big news.. I know... lol.

June 13, 2011

We have been playing with RC toys here at the Lake.  My neighbor has two helicopters, a couple trucks and several race boats.  One of his boats is Nitro, but the big one has a weed eater 3 HP engine, it's a 50" replica of the Budweiser Unlimited Hydro.  We run boats a while then bob in the water a while..... I worked one of his boat props and got it a bit better....  Another friend has a big monohull with a modified gas motor that runs 60 miles per hour.  The yellow monohull is truly amazing not only in acceleration and speed, but how well it turns.

I have done almost nothing productive.... it's been nice.  I have cooked chicken on the grill, the last bunch turning out the best as I get back into using the big stainless grill here at the lake.  Oh, wait... I watered the shrubs next to the deck.... that should count as work so I did do something productive these last 3 days....  right?  I think it should count.... lol.  I had to walk almost 40 feet with the water hose..... so ..... I did do some actual work huh?

Mom and dad are here, it's been great to relax and catch up.  Linda had to make a run to Beaumont today.  She will be back soon.

June 11, 2011

The Lake house does have some amenities SYL doesn't have.... The toilet flushes without pumping it and the big lazy boy chairs are nice....  I'm becoming re-acquainted with the TV remote control and BBQing quite nicely.  I do miss SYL, but staying on the water forever is not my desire.  I enjoy the ability to change our lifestyle back and fourth....  Having the facilities to do that is pretty awesome.

I did a good job of prepping the boat for our respite.  She will sit well at the big concrete filled floating docks of Brunswick Landing Marina.  Our slip is inside against the shore, so she will sit comfortably while we are away.

My main goal when I got to the lake was to have no responsibility or any chores for a few days.. and for the most part I've been successful doing just that.  Little to report, so I haven't.

Sea Yawl Later !!    Rusty

June 10, 2011

We made it to the lake last night.  We left Tuesday morning around 8:00 am with every square inch of the Magnum "stuffed", including three duffels on top.  I really don't know what we would have done if Tassie had not been willing to come get us.  This still leaves the problem of coming back but for now I will be like Scarlett O'Hara and "think about that tomorrow".  We stopped in Buna to drop off Tassie and see Grannie and Pappy.  I was soooo good to see them.  We couldn't stay nearly as long as we would have liked but we knew we still had an 1 1/2 hour drive and need to go to the grocery.  It is a beautiful drive through the deep piney wood forest of East Texas.  The ground was damp and the highway mowers were out and the air was filled with the smells of freshly cut grass.  We arrive to Sitton On The Lake (SOTL) about 7:30pm, unpacked a few things and then went next door to see my family.  My brother owns the house next door and they were all down including my parents and my son, Stuart.  We visited with them for a little while and then headed back to SOTL.  The place looked wonderful.  It is such a blessing to have Pappy and Grannie looking after the place while we are gone. The water is still 8 feet below normal and we can't get the boat out because it is dry under our dock.  It has been this way over a year.  We need rain badly and lots of it.   I am sitting here watching the sunrise on the water. It is beautiful but I must confess it is not as majestic and the sunsets in the Exuma's. 

This trip did reveal to me that 8 months on SYL is pretty much my limit.  I was ready to come home.  Rusty is a true salty dog.  I don't think he would ever choose to come home.  I think he will enjoy being home but he already misses SYL. 

June 7, 2011

Today is moving day...  we are eating a bowl of cereal then the work begins...  In the cool of the evening yesterday I started on the outside stuff, moving some wood up to the dock, tying lines up tight and settled the boom on it's cradle tightly wrapping an extra line around the outside of the sail cover.  My first chore will be to take the jib down and hurricane proof the decks.  I need to leave the boat set up for a blow.  If one comes it won't be simple to get to the boat and check things out.

I guess I'll leave the dink in place, I thought about removing the engine and tying it to the tramps, but I think it's probably best right where it is, just pull the plug and leave it.  I'll put a couple lines on the Kayak and it will be fine too.

Well, breakfast is over, time to get busy.  Tassie made it to Tallahassee last night so she should be here around noon. 

3:23PM Tassie arrived about 1:00 and we brought the rental car back to Enterprise.  From there we went back to the Sushi place.... again I am stuffed..  we were going for pizza but stopped because we had to go right past the sushi place... lol.  I have most of the boat tied down and settled outside, Linda is about 80% inside too so we are doing well on our preparations to leave.

The dinghy is cleaned out, tied up and down... so it's all settled.  I have all the dock lines set like I want them.  I took the jib off but need to fold it up and put it below.  All the wood and most of the stuff that goes home is on the dock so we are doing well.  In the heat of the day we will pretty much be slugs, this evening I'll do a bit more, but tomorrow we will load the car then leave whenever we decide to....

It's pretty nice just chilling with Tas here....

5:43PM  I just loaded all the wood in and on the car.  Apparently somebody complained about the wood being on the dock....  what a joke.  Some laced-up shoe everything in it's place neat freak I bet.  It was in no way a hazard or a problem...  But now I don't have to load it in the morning (in the cool) I got to do it today when it was blazing hot.. The short pieces fit well inside the car and the 8 or 9 long pieces fit well on the roof rack.  I had to cut the 12' piece as I suspected.  There's more to load inside, but it looks like I can get everything we need to bring home in the car.

I have met several people here on the docks, many from Texas and one from Beaumont!  My next door boat neighbor is a good guy, he'll watch the lines for me.  I have the boat tied very securely, but it never hurts to have somebody walk by and check it out on a daily basis.

8:50PM  We drove 2 miles and ate some great Pizza in old town Brunswick.... Linda and I overate again for the second time today.. lol.  Too much good service and good food at good prices!

Because the car got more loaded that I had hoped today......... we may pull out heading toward Texas tomorrow.  I still have some jobs to do before we go, but they won't take too long.  It will be good to see everybody, Tassie was a welcome site when she arrived.

June 6, 2011

We are in BRUNSWICK!!!!  We arrived before noon.  We had a truly lucky passage, the current and winds were with us all the way.  When we did have a short up tide run, the wind was strong enough to cancel out the adverse current so it was truly perfect.

We intended to rent a one way U-Haul or small van home but there is none available from Brunswick Georgia.  So.... we enlisted the superior driving skills of my sister Tassie.... she's already left from Texas, driving my station wagon here to Brunswick to pick us up.  ROAD TRIP.... She will drive until after dark tonight and probably make it as far as Tallahassee Florida tonight.  Tomorrow will be a chip shot and she should be here around lunch!  Cool Beans.

I have a Fire engine red Dodge magnum with the big engine (the 6.2 liter not the 5.7)... it's a cruiser with all the amenities so Tassie will enjoy herself on the way.  The car I bought was a demo.  Jason Terry of the Dallas Mavericks drove my car it's first 9,000 miles.  It gets 25 miles to gallon and has 450 horsepower.... I can by personal experience tell you that your gas mileage is directly related to you right foot pressure..... lol.  Tas will enjoy the trip... asking Tas to come get us was a great solution that Linda came up with.  Hopefully she won't get any tickets... the car will do 175 mph... so I have been told.  I have only done 150.. that was enough for me.

Enterprise is bringing us a car for this evening and tomorrow morning.  We will go eat out this evening then do some errands around town tomorrow until my sister arrives.  They will pick the car up about the time Tas arrives so we are good to go!

Hasta Lavista.. baby.   Rusty

June 5, 2011

We lifted anchor about 7:30 headed North.  During the night we began to smell smoke from a distant fire, we are now 15 miles North of the anchorage and it's still here.... lol.  I called a boat heading South and found out the smoke lasts all the way to Jacksonville.. at least.   It's actually better right now than it has been, hopefully it will dissipate.  The smoke isn't too thick to see, it's just having to smell it.....

When we got to the St. Augustine cut to the ocean we met a Manta catamaran just coming in from offshore.  I discussed conditions with him and decided to stay in the ICW.  Conditions were good out there but it takes too long to get out into the Gulfstream to gain a current advantage... plus we have a good current now, so we are travelling the ditch together heading North.  I believe he said his name was "Extra Extra" must be a newspaper man huh? 

If we hustled to day we could make it onto Brunswick tonight, but it's Sunday so nobody would be in the office and we don't feel like hurrying.  My water speed indicator is showing about 5.5 knots and the GPS is holding 7.7 miles per hour, so we have about a 1 knot current helping us along.  High tide is about noon, I hope the current doesn't hurt us when the tide changes but I bet it will.  Openings to the ocean are far between here so the ICW carries a lot of the tidal flow.

Speaking of tides, Brunswick has a 9 foot tidal range, so as we make our way North, tides and currents will become more and more important factor to navigation.

June 4, 2011

We had a good nights sleep and left early this morning for our next leg on the ICW. 

We had a great nights sleep and started on our next leg down Florida's ICW.  Again we saw manatees at a distance and dolphins as well though they didn't seem real interested in following any of the boats.  I guess they are so use to boat traffic that they are bored by the whole thing. 

Around 11:00 Rusty spotted this restaurant.  He just pulled right up and we had take out.  It was fun. Rusty had a Grouper Reuben and I had fish and a salad.  Yummy!! 

Service is sooo much better here and the food is awesome (much cheaper as well).  Yes it is good to be home.


Dolphin's View Restaurant in New Smyrna Beach---->

We passed this large group of pelicans towards the end of the day.  Pelican's are everywhere.  We even saw some Pink Flamingo's but they were not in flight and too far away to get good photo's. 

We made a good distance today, 71 nautical miles.  We were aided by a good current most of the day.  We found a wide deep spot in the ICW about 10 miles South of St. Augustine Florida.  I was afraid of bugs (mostly horse flies) invading so we closed up and put the AC on.  Just over 100 miles left to go.


June 3, 2011

We left Cape Canaveral around noon saying goodbye to our neighbors, Paul and Diane Neuhoff with an open invitation to come to their home on Sullivan's Island in South Carolina.  Lovely couple.  They have traveled extensively in the Caribbean and were encouraging us to take our next trip to those islands.  We have been sailing the ICW today and have really enjoyed "the calm".  Rusty was passing a marina and called and asked if they had a restaurant, which they did.  We stopped in at "Nautical Spirits" and had the best meal we have had in  6 months.  Rusty had the shrimp burrito and I had a BLT with a side of onion rings.  We certainly are enjoying the amenities that home has to offer. This slower pace is really, really nice.  Today we saw dolphins and several manatees.  We never could get close enough to a manatee to get a photo.  They are large, slow and apparently shy.

Rusty here.  Another nice thing is that people are interested in serving you and making you happy here.... lol.  In the Bahamas you waited until THEY were ready to take your order and pretty much ate whatever they brought you for twice the price......  great system I guess if you can get away with it, but it's nice to understand the people you talk to and connect in a way that feels comfortable.  I forgot how nice it is to have good service at a restaurant... lol.

7:15PM We are anchored just North of Titusville Fla.  I can see the vehicle assembly building and the last space shuttle that will launch soon sitting on it's launching pad from where we anchored.  The ICW is actually the wide and fairly deep "Indian River" in this area.  We did a whopping 22 miles today... lol.  Man it was fun to start at noon and pull over to eat (or whatever we wanted to do) if the urge strikes us.  I'm glad we weren't out in the big water today.. I saw winds of 18 knots here in the bay......  I motorsailed most of the day, but had times where I was able to pull the motors up, that's a bonus you don't always get in the ICW.

 Our plan is to make 50 or 60 miles tomorrow.  From anchor it's easier to start early... when your plugged into the grid it's harder to get up early and unplug the AC... This morning I had a lot of chores to do before we left, I washed the outside of the boat thoroughly to get the salt off and cleaned the foredeck.  We walked to the rather large and "well stocked" marina store hoping to buy hard charts of the Florida East Coast ICW (where we are) but they only had the West Coast.... amazing.  They had NO paper charts relating to anything close to where the store is located.....  I guess the buyer is the owners son or something... he certainly doesn't make it on his wits.

This part of the ICW is not all condos and infrastructure like the Miami to West Palm run.... it's wide with trees and little islands with sand bars.  It's actually quite nice.  The water is not what we are used to though.... lol.  Some is the color of weak tea while other water is greener but with the same value of clarity... I can barely see the props on the motors where in the Bahamas, I could see my shadow on the bottom in 30 feet.  It's almost comical how bad the water looks to us now and how great it used to look when all we saw was the Texas Gulf coast.... everything is relative I guess.

Linda here: Around 5:00 we decided to drop anchor and we just pulled off the ICW and did just that.

          Some of the beautiful sights on Florida's ICW

June 2, 2011

1:30PM  As we said in yesterdays post we decided not to stop in the Bahamas but to continue on to the USA.  It was a tough night, winds picked up as did the seas in the Gulfstream.  Winds were 15 to 19 knots so the waves built pretty good.  This morning I decided to make up and execute option 3:  We are headed for Cape Canaveral to spend the night after 250 nautical miles in 35 hours.  After last night we just didn't want to do another 36 hours back to back.  The Gulfstream was 6 to 7' all night and has only subsided to 5 to 6's during the day today.  As the sun rose winds diminished, but the waves took hours before they dropped at all.

We plan on taking a slip this evening at Cape Marina on the South side of the Port Canaveral Canal.  When we wake up in the morning we will still be 160 miles from Brunswick, but oh well..... Our thought right now is to make 2 or 3 day trips out if it.  If the winds stays up we may motor along the ICW for a leg or two.  I hated to give up the big current boost the Gulfstream gives us but there is really no need to push so hard right now.  I saw some steady 11 and 12 knot runs (ground speed) last night in the friendly current.... Tonight we will eat in a restaurant, plug into shore power and run the AC....  Then go to bed on clean dry sheets after long hot showers and our first meal in the USA in 2011. 

We have done two overnighters in a row before, but the waves weren't as punishing as they were last night... "Uncle".. there I said it.

I crave:  Being with my family, BBQ'ing at the Lake, Kentucky Fried Chicken, a toilet I don't have to pump.... and of course a Sonic Jalapeno Burger with a chocolate malt.  When we get home and I get all those things..... I know I will miss playing with my boat and clear blue water... I CAN have it all.. just apparently not at the same time.... lol.  And that's OK.

Linda here:  We are in the US!!!  We bailed at Cape Canaveral.  Good decision.  I am sitting here in a flat SYL, just had a shower, with the A/C on....Nirvana!   Just got back from a great dinner at Rusty's Grill.  The decision to eat there was based on the fact we could dinghy there and of course the name of the restaurant.  Rusty is out talking to our neighbor.  Our neighbor has a Morgan and he plans to retire in September and then sail off to the Bahamas and then the Med.  It is good to be back in the USA.  We will probably take the ICW the rest of the way to Brunswick.  We will send you all soon!!!

June 1, 2011

10:28AM  We left Bond's at 5:30AM, went back out the same way we came in and are now rounding the top of the Berry Islands at Great Harbor.  I left early because we had almost 100 miles to go today (if we decide to stop on Grand Bahamas)  Leaving early we can still arrive before dark. 

Waves were in our face for the first hour getting out from under the Berry Islands.  As we rounded the central islands we got almost a beam reach... now that we are headed to Lucaya or West End we have following seas on the starboard quarter.  Winds started out around 15 then went to 17 but as we approached Great Harbor they are off to under 10.  The sea state went from Hilly to almost bland when we rounded the Berry's.  One reason is that the sea rollers are blocked by the Abacos right now and will remain that way for the next 60 miles, but the winds laying are a major part of the better seas too.

Earlier we were bumping over 8 knots quite a bit, but now we barely bump 7....  The explorer chart shows a favorable current in the NW Passage so that will be good.  The weather report gave us two quite different options this morning.

Option 1:  Sail straight through to Brunswick... it's over 50 hours from here, but the deal is that the Gulfstream conditions tomorrow and the next day will be near perfect.  If we stay overnight on Grand Bahamas we won't be able to make it North enough to catch the best weather.  There is a low pressure area in North Florida right now that will suppress the wind gradient between Cape Canaveral and the Georgia line for the next few days.. the thing is we need to be above Canaveral by tomorrow evening to take advantage of it.

Option 2:  Stay in Lucaya or West End tonight (we will get there before dark) and wait until next week to see if the weather gets better in South Florida.  Presently S.Fla. is slated for 20 knots of wind for three days beginning tomorrow evening.  (not very good for Gulfstream travel)

It's all about how we feel when we get to Grand Bahamas.  Right now, Lucaya is 50 miles away and we are thinking GO....  but that may change before nightfall.  I am reserving my vote until 6PM or so.  If waves stay like they are now it will be a cake walk.... except for the fact we will do two overnighters back to back.. so we will see.

Yesterday I read Ludlum's book "Tristan Betrayal"  I wanted to finish it but didn't quite make it last night.  Michael left us his Kendal, it's full of good books.  The first Ludlum book I read was too weird....  it was a spoof on the US government... I just didn't like it.  The CIA was all Italian Mafioso types, the president was goofy always saying "golly gee whiz.." and the VP was clueless in every conversation.... I just didn't enjoy it at all.  This book is well done, I think he tries too hard to show off with his writing having 3 or 4 story lines going at once.  His descriptive quality is good, even to the point of being overdone as far as I'm concerned, but he does his homework or has research done for him regarding period details.  I'm making this up but he writes kind of like this.... "The jeep the tall slender man was driving smelled of burning motor oil as he drove down the bumpy road made of 1.5" limestone cobbles, the Jeep was a 1941 model T-21a (made late in the year) a standard shift model with the all but to common sticky clutch, the body was made by jeep but due to wartime demands this one had the XA-292.01b serial number 20188889321 overhead cam engine made by Edsel.. unfortunately for the slender man with the limp and one blue eye... the 3rd cylinder was a little bit low on compression.... and for that matter, the valve guides on the 4th cylinder probably needed replacing (hence the oil burning) the jeep did have the fold down windshield, it was green, but not army green, and not very well maintained.  Don't get me wrong... the finish was good for war time paint, but just not that nice Kelly green color.  The right front tire was a little out of balance but that was nicely offset by the fact that the graying, pot bellied man in the blue shorts and orange tank top with the .32 caliber Brassfield arms gunmetal blue automatic pistol stuck in his whitie tightites in the right seat was so heavy it was undetectable until the Jeep got over 42.75 miles per hour".  That kind of detail is what Ludlum seems to be all about.  I'm not really complain because it doesn't detract from the book much.. but it certainly makes it longer and easier to write.  Just keep on.. and keep on describing the minutia......  Some would say he develops his characters well, others would say... OK, get on with it.  I guess it adds a historical value to the book describing all the vehicles and hardware..... I don't know.. I like it I guess.

1:20PM  I took a nap and realized things were too quiet on deck so I woke up.  38 miles from Lucaya, Spinnaker time..... winds are down, 6 to 9 knots at 90 to 100 degrees apparent.  We are now seeing 6's & 7's with the spin rather than all 5's with the jib.  It wouldn't hurt my feelings if the seas and wind stayed just like this the rest of the day. 

There are lots of big boats in the NW Channel.  I have seen 4 cruise ships and two big tankers today.  I knew it was a busy shipping lane, one reason I didn't feel compelled to do it at night.  Radar and ships lights would certainly warn of approaching vessels, but a good daytime visual is always better.

The clear blue sky and increasingly better sea state sure is calling us to keep sailing onward.....  This better than acceptable.. it's down right nice.

7:13 pm  We are currently going by West End Grand Bahama.  We have decided not to stop. We will try to post as we go by but this will be our last opportunity for internet for a couple of days.   We will be in the Gulf Stream for the next 40 hours.  This will be our longest run to date ( over 50 hours).  It has been nice sailing, unlike the previous 2 days.  We have are half way from Georgetown to Georgia with just over 300 miles to go.  We are running very close to wind speed with the spinnaker on 110 degree apparent.  The weather is just to nice not to take advantage of the wonderful, calm sailing.  If things get rough in the Gulf Stream we can always bail some where in Florida but we understand this is our best weather window.  So we are taking it!!  This will be our first US soil in 2011.