Wednesday, April 20, 2005


19-20 April, 2005. We finally crossed Tampa Bay to get here just in time for Mary's arrival from Denver, CO. Our friend, Jay, who we met when we lived in Tampa back in the late 90's, came to pick us up and take us to Bob's house. Jay is renting the "mother-in-law" apartment on Bob's property. Rocky, Mary and I stayed at Bob's house for 2 nights. Gail and her fiancee Marc were also there most of the time and we had a great time hanging out by the pool.

When Rocky and I first arrived in Tampa on Christmas Day, 1997, from Denver, it was raining. Either January or February, 1998, the rainfall totaled something like 27 inches for that month, breaking the record set in the 1880's by something like 10 inches. That was our introduction to Florida after driving from Denver (including a fierce Oklahoma ice storm). Shortly after we arrived in Tampa, we met Bob and Billy, who threw these great pool parties. We also met Gail, Jay, Rich, Hippie Don, Timmy and a lot of other great people.

We are currently in constant touch with Gail, who was living in a house that Bob owned in Zephyrhills (yes, the spring water). We were at a hurricane party at the house in Zephyrhills when we won the first 24 foot sailboat on ebay. We had evacuated Michael, Natalie and Roxanne from Ft. Pierce (on the Atlantic coast) and Timmy was with us also. We even called Hippie Don but he was on his way to Michigan for a month so we didn't get to see him. It was nice to be back among so many good friends after our journey from Chesapeake City, MD. Of course, we had a great time visiting Michael, Natalie and Roxanne in Ft. Pierce before going through the Okeechobee Cut to the Gulf Coast of Florida.

Monday, April 18, 2005


16 to 18 April, 2005. We left the marina and anchored here again to wait out the weather before crossing Tampa Bay. We discovered that our dinghy was gone from the dinghy dock one day after spending some time on the island beaches. We thought it had been stolen but discovered that some kids had thrown a dead fish in it and released it. It had drifted to a nearby private dock where we recovered it. We now lock our dinghy to dinghy docks. I went back to the Sea Horse one night. I hung out after they closed and didn't get back to the dinghy until almost 6 am. It was pretty rough to dinghy against the current after a long night of drinking but I finally made it back to the boat. When we got a favorable weather report and set out, we were delayed by an accident on the Anna Maria Bridge (just after the Cortez Bridge). Two openings were cancelled due to the accident. We encountered several asshole motorboaters throwing up huge wakes right next to us but once we were through the second bridge, the ride was fairly comfortable across Tampa Bay.

Friday, April 15, 2005


A few of my buddies. Don't worry, I let them go.

Manatee, Cortez Cove Marina

The SV Cosmic Debris, Cortez Cove Marina

15 February to 15 April, 2005. Our longtime friend, Gail came down to Anna Maria Island so we could seek out a marina to stay at for awhile. We found Cortez Cove Marina on the other side of the bridge from the anchorage. $10 / foot / month with electricity. We call our boat 26 feet (actually 26'8") so for about $550, we spent 2 months here with electricity, showers and free laundry facilities. Actually, I jumped ship for one of those months to stay at our friend Rich's house. I was hoping to get some work done on my manuscript. I actually experienced a little culture shock at the apartment on the corner of Himes and Waters in Tampa. Endless traffic, constant sirens and millions of people scrambling around with stress in the air. I did manage to get some work done. But mostly, I just needed a break from the small boat we've been living on for several months. Rocky and I are best friends but sometimes, you just gotta get away.

Gail made us promise to be in the area by 20 February because she had a surprise for us. We had no idea what it was. When we arrived at her house, she produced Jason, the salesman from Harbour North Marina in Maryland where we bought the boat. We had become good friends with Jason and we finally knew why his plans to visit us had sizzled out. It was a great surprise and, in my opinion, one of Gail's greatest moments. She had another great moment when some guy was standing in the median shading his eyes from the sun. Gail drove right next to him and popped him a hard salute. Embarrased, he pulled his hand down and Gail did the same as if the salute was returned. We were laughing so hard we almost had to pull over.

Cortez is a great little town near Bradenton. We crossed the bridge on our new fold up bicycles many time to return to Anna Maria Island and rode the bus into downtown Cortez for Wal-Mart and all you can eat Chinese food on many occasions. Michael even came over from Ft. Pierce to visit. I particularly enjoyed the Sea Horse Oyster Bar and Grill just outside the marina. $1 drafts and good people. The first few times I went there, I spent less than $10 a night and had a blast. The last time I went there, I brought $5 and when I ran out of money, Dave, the owner, shoved a $20 bill in my hand so I would stay. Now that's service! I even did 'Help' by the Beatles and 'Satisfaction' by The Rolling Stones during Karaoke one night. If you're ever in Cortez, Florida, go to the Sea Horse. They've even got all you can eat King Crab Legs for $24.95.

Arno, the owner of the marina was a great guy, as were the other boaters living there. Many of them were musicians doing gigs in the area. There were several manatees living in the marina. We met Win and Christy who made the cover and centerfold of Motorboating magazine recently. They deliver yachts for a living and have sailed extensively throughout the region, including Central America. Rocky helped get Win's laptop up and running. Win then let Rocky copy NOAA charts for the entire world. To purchase these charts individually would cost somewhere between $30,000 and $50,000. Once we get a good GPS system to tie them into, we've got the entire planet covered. We can use them as is, but a GPS system would produce real time results for any trip across the globe.