Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Florida Adventures April 2011

When we bought an investment house in Englewood, Florida in March, 2011, we decided to take our mostly unused boat off Lake Eufaula and put it on our dock at the new house.  This seemed like a pretty easy task - after all, we already had over 500 miles with the boat on the trailer - far more than we ever had in the water.  So what was another 500 miles?

The street in front of our new house.  Love that Spanish moss.
So we loaded up the boat on the trailer that hadn't been licensed since 2001, and headed out at 3:30 a.m. on Saturday morning.  We arrived at the marina where we had arranged for a tuneup on the boat by 2:30 p.m. and hoped to have the boat ready to take to our new dock by Wednesday afternoon.  "Murphy's Law" really applies to boating more than any other sport I am aware of.  First everyone in the marina had to go to New York for a funeral, which delayed our boat tune-up for a full week.  We cleaned out the garage of debris left by the last owners, washed windows, painted shutters, wrote on my memoir, visited a casino, and generally wasted time for a full week while we waited for the boat.  We started every day with a long walk in the sunshine in perfect weather.  Oh, did I mention no internet?  Yikes!  How to find how addicted you really are:  take a couple of weeks off!
Bird watching is easier for me when there are BIG birds to watch.  I watched this Great White Egret snag a baby gecho and digest it in a split second as he prowled our flower beds.

The only bad weather day we had in the two weeks we were in Florida was the day we showed up at the marina determined to get a definite time to pick up the boat the next day.  They announced it was ready to go NOW, and in the water.  It was already 4 p.m., we didn't know exactly how to get from the Myakka River to Lemon Bay, and we came totally unprepared.  In our shorts and t-shirts (it was 77 degrees) we took off at 4:30 p.m. with 15 gallons of fuel for our dock on Forked Creek, off Lemon Bay.   We thought it would be about 20 miles, and were fairly certain we just went straight south until we hit the intercoastal waterway, and then followed it to our marker and thence to our dock.
This is the relatively calm water of Lemon Bay where I finally dared to take a picture.

What innocents we were!  We didn't realize it was 42.9 miles (our GPS reading when we finally got to our dock) and there was a small craft advisory for all waters.  By the time we crossed Charlotte Harbor with 4' waves, we were both drenched to the skin and shivering with cold.  We arrived at 7:30 p.m. in our channel, only to discover it was a serious maze and our knowledge of our new GPS left a LOT to be desired.    On the positive side, we did arrive alive, we didn't run out of fuel, and we did find the dock before dark.  However, it was a seriously frightening ride, and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone!