Monday, January 31, 2005


Johnny B
Free Dock
Bird mating dance
The misspelled No Swiming sign and warning for the single alligator that stalked the bathroom
A rare Florida Pelican
View from bridge that leads to Slim's
Bridge that leads to Slim's
Free Dock
The Buccaneer
The Buccaneer in paradise
Some record fish on display at Slim's
The Buccaneer hiding out
The hand-crank bridge that leads to Slim's

20 to 31 January, 2005. As soon as we passed through the lock and into the lake, the waves were hitting us from the side and we rocked pretty hard. The shelves in the boat were falling over even though the waves weren't all that big. Rocky took the tiller and I worked on the computer. We saw at least 20 monster alligators in Lake Okeechobee- some at least 12 to 15 feet long. Scary but also very cool. About 2 hours into the trip, we arrived in a protected channel and the trip smoothed out. Before arriving at the town dock, we passed under a manually operated bridge. This poor guy breaks out a long metal pole, inserts it into the bridge gears and begins walking the wheel. After we were docked, I was able to ask him if they paid him well and he said that they did. The town dock here is in the middle of Slim's Fish Camp. The marina here is totally destroyed but there are many campers and fisherman around.

We were able to hook up to the free electricity at the fish cleaning stand here. Free dock with free electricty- priceless. This place is a bird watcher's paradise even though most of the birds are pelicans. I walked the 2 to 4 miles into town (Belle Glade) several times for supplies since the small store here is not only limited but they don't accept credit cards. I see lots of turtles in the creek along the way. Somewhere along the line, I threw my lower back out (still don't know how) and I could barely stand or walk for several days. Even after nearly a week, it still hurts but I'm much more mobile. Rocky caught 2 catfish here that he cleaned and cooked. And on January 30, a pelican collided with a transformer that cut power to he entire camp. When the transformer exploded, so did the pelican. Power was restored that night. Also, I was able to open a new ebay sellers account so when the first of the month arrives, we can start posting on ebay again. Hopefully they won't make the connection to our many accounts over the years and cancel it. Michael and Natalie traveled the 80+ miles to visit us here too. It's always nice to see them.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


17 to 19 January, 2005. We tied up to the dolphins (large pilings) here for three days. They are just before the Port Mayaca lock that leads into Lake Okeechobee. Apparently, the lake can get pretty mean, pretty quick since it is so shallow so we were waiting out the waves. At one point, we put the 6 HP engine on the dinghy and took it back to Indiantown Marina that we had passed on the way. We needed smokes. We din't realize that it was 10 miles behind us so when we arrived after 2 hours, it was already getting dark and we were quite cold. We stopped at a small inlet just before arriving at the marina that had some very nicely formed whelk (I think) shells. It was hard for me not to collect them for either my mom, Gail or our friend Mary in Colorado. The tiny inlet is on the north side, just west of Indiantown Marina if any of our fellow boaters are interested. When we got to the marina, they welcomed us into the clubhouse and made us coffee. One of the men even gave me 2 beers. He ended up driving us into town so we could do some shopping. We decided that bthe trip back would be grueling in the cold and dark so we threw $70 we couldn't afford at a hotel room. We dinghyed back the following morning. We finally received an agreeable report on Lake Okeechobee waters and headed into the lock.

Sunday, January 16, 2005


St Lucie Lock's resident alligator
St. Lucie Lock Recreation Area
Resident alligator
Resident alligator again
Rare flying animal, St. Lucie Lock area
The Buccaneer below the pavillion and fire pit
The Buc in its slip
The Buc again
Roxanne as Popeye
The Buc inches from the rocks
Roxanne being dinghy
Some sunk boat nearby
Johnny B making hamburgers
Roxanne jamming out
Michael being stoic
Michael still being stoic

2 to 16 January, 2005. Once again, our Golden Access Pass comes into play. As far as we know, this is the only Army Corps of Enginners Boat-In campground on the entire east coast. We got half price with the Pass ($8 / day) and stayed for the limit of 14 days. This place is immediately after the lock, with 8 docks. We met several people here, including Richard, we helped us dock. His catamaran was docked next to us for most of the time we spent here. I began to wonder just how much standing room he could have in his boat since the center of a catamaran is so far above the waterline. When he left, a very unpleasant man and his wife took the spot. This man treated his wife like dirt. Rocky and I were both on the verge of speaking up on several occasions. One day, his wife was in the dinghy, scrubbing the tow line and he told her to pull the plug to drain the water out. She informed him that water would come in if she did that but he insisted so she pulled the plug. When the water started coming in, he snottishly commented, "well, what do you want me to do about it?" I did hear her tell him one day that she felt sorry for him for being such a miserable man. It was nice to know that she wasn't completely beaten down. It was a great day when they left.On the other side of us was George. He was very cool but we didn't see him much- usually just when he came and went to shower. Another guy named Rich was on a double-masted sailboat that he never sails. He was a nice enough guy but very negative and basically unhappy. He came to build fires at the common fire pit in front of the docks.

There was also 2 young couples who were also on a 27 foot sailboat. I really only met Jeffrey from that group. I couldn't imagine 4 people on a boat this size. They would sail around the small body of water there to pass the days while waiting for engine parts. One night, after sitting around the fire with Rich, Jeffrey and I walked the 2 miles to the convenience store for a 12 pack of beer. Jeffrey had a small bottle of 140 proof liquor with him that he sippped on during the walk. When we got rung up at the convenience store, Jeffrey offered the cashier $5 instead of the $5.89 (or whatever) that the beer actually cost. She didn't appreciate it much. After taking the beer behind the counter, she told us to leave before she called security. I tried to apologize for Jeffrey but she wouldn't listen. When I stepped outside, Jeffrey had slammed the rest of the liquor and threw the bottle behind him. Not good. He was already too drunk before that. I managed to apologize to the cashier and she finally sold me the beer.

On the way back, Jeffrey got a little wild. At one point, he grabbed the open 12 pack and began running through people's yards. When he returned, the 12 pack was three beers short- he had dropped them somewhere. From there, I had to hold him up while we walked back. Suddenly, he just took off running ahead. I tried to find him all the way back to the campground with no luck. I went back up the road to search for him and found him laying in the grass just as a cop rolled up. His face was covered in blood and there was a puddle of blood on the sidewalk nearby. The cop was totally cool. He called the paramedics and they took Jeffrey to the hospital. I informed his boat mates and they got himk back to their boat either that night or the following day. He didn't have a cuncussion or anything but some pretty nasty scars are sure to persist. Rocky and gave them some aspirin, acetominophen, ibuprofen, naproxen and some bandages. There is an alligator that hangs out on the other side of the dam and I got a few pictures. It's about 7 to 8 feet long. Michael, Natalie and Roxanne came out for a few visits and we took the boat a few miles west for the fun of it. They enjoyed the trip, as did we. It was nice to stop somewhere for 2 weeks.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Jan. 12 to Feb. 1, 2006. Rocky and I got right to work on the boat after my vacation. Our friend, Houseboat Joe, spent nearly two weeks with us doing fiberglass work among other things. Joe finally got his Social Security Disability benefits approved after years of getting the runaround. It's great to see him so much happier with the huge weight of getting jerked around by local and federal agencies finally lifted from his shoulders.

When I first got back to Cortez, FL, Rocky, Michael, Jason and I took a road trip to Pensacola, FL, 7 hours away, to pick up a 40 HP diesel engine for our boat. The seller had limited information regarding the engine's dimensions so we took a chance and went to pick it up. It turned out to be too big to fit our boat so we resold it on ebay. We've got another engine that we know will fit being delivered here on Friday, Feb. 3. We were hoping to get our boat out of the yard and into the water by the first of the month to avoid the skyrocketing rates here at the marina since they officially opened the boat yard. We had our boat delivered here from Ft. Pierce on the Atlantic coast several months before the yard officially opened for business. The dry storage rates (having a boat in the yard) are increasing monthly from $12/foot/month to $15 to $20 to $25 by March 1 so it's definitely time to get in the water.

We'll be securing our mast on the deck and then get towed back to Davis Island Yacht Basin where we spent last summer. There, we can get all of our rigging in order before raising our mast by way of leverage between two other boats while we're at achor there. That should be interesting. We have many friends at Davis Island and although we can't wait to head down to Central America, it'll be nice to spend some more time with them.

Saturday, January 01, 2005


29 December to 1 January, 2004. We made it! This was our primary goal before spending a couple of weeks in St. Lucie, FL at the Army Corps of Engineers boat-in campground for $8 / night. Our friends Michael and Natalie live in Ft. Pierce with their daughter, Roxanne. Rocky grew up with them in Southern Illinois. We made 70 miles in one day to get here and pulled into the anchorage after dark, about 6 pm. We promptly dinghyed to shore and walked the 3 blocks to their place. They hadn't heard from us in 4 days and were quite surprised to see us. They expected we would be another day or two. They live on Hutchinson Island which was ground zero for both hurricanes (Frances and Jeanne, I think). We saw lots of damaged boats and property on the way here. Michael and Natalie live next door to a bar called Archie's which has been there for 50 years. It was pretty much destroyed by the hurricanes but they will be re-opening on February 14. Patty, the owner of Archie's got a one-day permit to have a New Year's Eve party in the parking lot with a live band. It was lots of fun. It was becoming a hassle to dinghy back to the boat everytime we needed something so we paid $15 for a slip at the apartment complex docks. I always enjoyed hanging out at Porpoise Beach across the street. The walkway that leads down to the beach is now level with the sand. The hurricanes threw mountains of sand onto the land. They're still digging out from the aftermath. A lot of people lost their rooves from the hurricanes. It's always nice to spend time with Michael and Natalie but we need to move on to Stuart.