Monday, March 16, 2015

After Fort Pierce

Monday, March 16 -

Left Fort Pierce City Marina around 11:30 AM on Monday, March 9,  having downloaded new charts to cover our upcoming travels.  Nice day of travel.  Anchored at Palm Bay/Rocky Point at mile 925 behind one of the islands for some protection from the SE winds.  Gorgeous little spot in the evening...

and in the morning!

We dubbed this Lucy's Place...

On Tuesday we traveled to Titusville Municipal Marina mooring field.  Before we decide on that, we eyed three different anchorages and decided all 3 were lacking in wind protection from the howling SE blow.  Well, little did we know!  The winds that evening coming in on our moored boat made us feel like we were in a rodeo.  Yee-ha!  I'd say a moderate chop on the mooring field..

Lucy and I had a rather harrowing experience while on her evening walk.  We had taken the dinghy to  the closest ramp near our mooring, which wasn't the closest to the marina.  Wayne decided to take the gas can over to get some gasoline for the dinghy and Lucy and I stayed in the park to walk around until he got back.

The park had a walk along the harbor and we strolled over there.  I was interested to see whether the walkway went all the way around to the marina, so sort of leaned out over the rail to look.  I turned back around...and looked for Lucy.  I mean, she's on the leash with a short lead....where was she?  Then I noticed the leash pulled taut over the edge of the walk!  I hadn't heard a splash or a yelp, which worried me even more.  I peered over the edge...and there she was, soaking wet, standing on some rocks, and staring at the wall.  I knelt down and was able to pull her up by the harness.

I checked her all over and she was fine!  But soaked!!  I had on two t-shirts that evening and used the outer one to dry her off some.  By the time Wayne got back, she was nearly dry.

Poor little thing!  I wonder what was going on in her mind when she fell into the water.  I've always felt that she has had a sense of where drop-offs are, even though she can't see.  When she's on the bed she won't go off the edge.  And when she walks up the step to the bow of the boat...she will stay there barking until we get her down.  Apparently not!  Then again, it could be she would have had her senses up if she'd been off the leash, but has learned to [gulp] trust our lead. Well, I've learned a lesson there: no more walks along the water with Lucy unless she's in my arms!

Shortly after sundown the winds diminished...and during the night the water was totally flat.

Next morning our waters were still smooth.  Here's our view from the mooring field as the sun began to rise.

Good news!  May not know who he is...but he's here!!!

We had another beautiful day of travel last Wednesday.  The waters were so calm that morning, they were like glass....

Going through the Haulover Canal, heading towards the Mosquito Lagoon, we saw more manatees than we've seen in years.  There were people fishing off the bank all along the edge of the canal...and at the end, the bridge.

We passed a....well, what do you know.  I've left my copy of the Exaltation of Larks at home and don't know off hand what a group of beginner kayakers would be called.  I know!  A slap of kayakers!

Wednesday evening we anchored at Rockhouse Creek near Ponce Inlet.  We were the only boat in the anchorage that evening and it may be one of the prettiest places we've ever anchored.  In the back ground you can see the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse.

"Phenomenal," declared Wayne, as he enjoyed the late afternoon deck time...

We are anchoring more on this trip than our last and there are several reasons for that...not the least of which is the ease with which we can deploy and haul in our dinghy.  [Commercial plug to follow.]  Ben's Dinghy Popper holds the little vessel up out of the waves without obscuring the back deck view...and can pop that dinghy right in the water when we're ready to go ashore.

Here's Wayne the next morning as we got ready to take Lucy to the nearby shore.

The only yukky thing about this anchorage was that on that nearby shore where hundreds of jellyfish that had met their demise.  Apparently we're not the only ones who shouldn't get too much sun:  those jellyfish just melted away, leaving (to paraphrase Jimmy Buffet) a temporary impression of a permanent condition.

After three long days of travel, we realized we were ready for a dock.  We called Stephanie at Hidden Harbor and asked if we could come in two days early.  She checked their space and said we could come on up!  We had a pretty long day of travel that Thursday and got into the marina after 5:30.  We didn't have to worry about needing help getting in, though, because Stephanie, the dock master,  and about six other boaters on the dock were there to help us in through the considerable current.  That was just our first indication that this is a unique community of boaters, many of them here for extended stays, who go out of their way to be friendly and helpful.

Why, we even got invited to a birthday party on Saturday afternoon for one of the children who live here at the marina, Kenzi.  Kenzi turned 9 on Saturday and we were all treated to a pot luck and birthday cake!  Here's Kenzi opening up her presents...

We've been here several days now and are feeling right at home.  Today I'm blogging in the laundry room while taking care of some life chores.  Hidden Harbor Marina, located at King St. and Hwy 1,  is well situated for walking around the Old Town of St. Augustine...and for accessing the local Sunshine Bus System for those trips further in the area.  

On Friday, our first full day here, we started off with a cooked breakfast at Theo's, right by the marina.  A Greek omelet and French toast feast had us ready to take on the day.  Theo's gets into the nautical atmosphere of St. Augustine with artifacts hanging all over the place...

We walked up to the Bridge of Lions, admiring the unique architecture in the old city on the way...much of it sponsored by Flagler.  

Starting our visit with a 1.5 hour motor train tour seemed to be a good way to get oriented and to pick out some things for return visits later in the week.  I spied several art galleries/shops I'd like to revisit...and a museum.  And we saw a LOT of motorcycles out and about!  Apparently Daytona Bike Week is good for the entire coast of Florida in terms of tourist visits!

Later we walked to the Sailor's Exchange, a collection of some new, some used, boating items.  It looked like a big old antique store inside with the shelves going up to the ceiling and packed with items.  You had to look at everything in the store to make sure you hadn't missed that special something!  ;-)  Wayne was looking for a small paddle for the dinghy.  Apparently he wanted a mama bear size 'cause we found a papa bear and baby bear size.  

I was drawn (so to speak) to a huge bin filled with bolts, screws, nuts, etc.  I came home and sketched a piece for my art journal.

This is an animal friendly marina.  So far we've met 2 cats and 3 other dogs.  Brisa is a Portuguese water dog and lives with her humans on a lovely 1980 Kadey Krogen that they are slowly renovating.  It's hull number 15!'s name is Miss Brisa.  Brisa sits upright in a chair on the back deck and watches the goings on....

Had lunch yesterday at the Back 40 Urban Cafe, which is in walking distance of the marina.  Had an excellent lunch of a Cuban sandwich and sides.  Really good food at a really good price!

Here are a few more pictures from our walks around town.

Alleyways and small streets just chocked full of interesting stores...

A taste of this funky, arty, eclectic city....

Old buildings galore....

We leave here on the 31st to move north, so we'll have more time to explore.  ;-)  More to come from St. Augustine.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Okeechobee to Fort Pierce

Monday, March 9-

When last we met, we were sitting in Moore Haven debating the route we'd take to cross Lake Okeechobee.  The reports on weather that Tuesday morning were a little we decided to do the Rim Route which goes along the south edge of the lake.  It takes longer than the straight across route, of course, but there's more protection from the wind.  Looking back on the day's travel, it was the right choice for us.  The winds were strong, even on the Rim Route.  

We traveled 75 miles that day from Moore Haven over to Port St. Lucie State Park.  We had a little fog at Moore Haven that morning, but it lifted pretty quickly.  We got out by 8 AM and arrived at St. Lucie around 6 PM.  Long day, but we accomplished a lot.  ;-)  Below is a shot of the Moore Haven City Dock with one remaining boat...

We were entertained during the trip across Okeechobee by the beautiful scenery...

Port St. Lucie State Park is mainly a campground with spaces for tents to RV's.  There are 8 boat slips available, first come first serve, at a nightly rate of $30.  If you're old enough to get a seniors park pass (which we are, but don't have it with us) you get the slip for $15/night.  Having traveled long the day before, we decided to spend Wednesday at the park to r & r.  The park is right by the St. Lucie Lock so the first day we were there we saw more boats in one day than we'd seen since we left Ft. Myers.

On Wednesday afternoon we were alerted to the arrival of the Nina and Pinta tall sailing ship replicas coming through....

I was almost distracted from the ships' arrival when I saw the lovely view up the channel.

Thursday morning we planned a short trip to Jensen Beach anchorage where we'd arranged for Lucy to be groomed.  As we got on the water, we decided the next few days might actually be more comfortable in a marina.  Nothing like wind and rain to dull your enthusiasm for a dinghy ride.  So we canceled the Jensen Beach grooming appointment and made one in Fort Pierce instead.  Thursday afternoon we docked at Fort Pierce City Marina.  Right downtown Fort Pierce, it's a nice setting.

We're on fixed wooden docks, as are all the boats here now.  The marina had new concrete floating docks that were completely wiped out in a hurricane in 2004.  They are just now in the process of rebuilding those docks.

Friday we walked around town and checked out the place, including a local bakery.  I stayed in town a bit longer to peruse a few of the art galleries.  Art Mundo is a collection of studio/galleries and was most interesting.  I also checked in on a working gallery, The Treasure Coast Art Association, where anyone can pay $4 and come in to work in the studio.  An oil class was meeting the day I was there and a nearby table had 4 people painting away with oil, watercolor, acrylic.  They were very welcoming and would be a nice group to visit were we staying longer.

My next stop that morning was Beads and Baubles, a bead...and, well, baubles shop that not only sells the supplies but offers classes.  I looked around and made a small purchase.  The woman who tended the cash register, Ginette, had a cute haircut so I (of course) asked her where in town she got her hair cut. Turns out she's only down for a while from Boston,  cuts her own hair, and is a former hair stylist.  We talked further, we me lamenting the plight of short-haired lady boaters who must walk into unknown salons with every haircut.  Sad, isn't it?  Ginette looked at my ragged hair and suggested how it might be cut.  She allowed as how a barber would probably do a great job on the cut I was eyeing.  Seeing a barber right across the street, I made for the door with the intent of trying it out.  As I was leaving I heard Ginette say, "If I had my scissors, I'd cut it for you."  [pause]....

.........the air stood still.

"I just happen to have hair cutting scissors onboard our boat," says I, as I saunter back to the register.  Thus began what looks to become a lasting connection between me and Ginette.  ;-)  She came to the boat that afternoon and cut my hair (Did I mention how windy it is down here?  We had hair flying everywhere and Ginette had to stop a couple of times to clear her eyes and throat!)  She gave me a great cut...and we talked constantly while she worked.  Turns out Ginette is an accomplished oil painter.  She showed me some of her work and I showed her some of the things I've been working on this trip...including my art journal.  Ginette really liked the art journal idea, so I loaned her a book to get her started.  How lucky was I to meet this lady!!!

My new, wash and wear do...

I'm encouraging Ginette to set up a chair at the docks here when she chooses.  She'll get takers!!

Friday afternoon, after a shower to shed the stray hair, we took our laundry up to the marina laundromat and knocked out the whole job in about 1.5 hours.  Four new washers and dryers did the trick in no time!  Nice facility, to my way of thinking.  That evening the town held Friday Fest down near the marina with arts/crafts, food, drink, and live music.

Saturday was farmers market day and we donned our raincoats to cruise the booths early.  We came away with veggies and a sweet fix from a luscious pastry.  We then hauled Lucy (on foot and paw) to a grooming salon for a much needed haircut.  While she was getting pretty, we enjoyed a good lunch at Cobb's Landing.  Then we iked back to groomer and picked up a much lighter Lucy.

Sunday we made plans for our getaway on Monday.  After lunch at the Original Tiki Bar, we walked to the local Save A Lot grocery.  We walked away with 3 bags full of supplies...for the awesomely small amount of $26.

We contacted Hidden Harbor Marina in St. Augustine and made arrangements to stay there beginning next weekend.  We'll spend the next few days anchoring our way up to St. Augustine.   We're looking forward to spending some time with Dave, Heather and kids during their visit to Orlando later this month.  Should be fun!  We're ready to "get on with it!"  ;-)

Friday, March 6, 2015

Addendum to Ft. Myers Beach stay

Friday, March 6-

My friend Pam in Ft. Myers Beach is the publicity person for FMBAA and lives on the same street as the local Island Sand Paper editor.  She mentioned to the editor that she had an artist friend traveling through the area while on a year long boat trip and wondered if the paper might want to do an article on us.  The editor liked the idea and passed it along to Jo List, one of their reporters who specializes in human interest stories.

Long story short, Jo came to the art center and to the boat to gather material for the story and this article was published in the next week's paper.  Jo was with us on the boat for maybe an hour and we talked non-stop.  It was a really long article, starting on the front page and continuing on into the paper. She recorded our conversation, which accounts for some of the detail she included in the article.  She also did a great job linking to references made about the Loop, Mary Baumgartner, etc.  I told her afterwards, her research skills were worthy of praise from a librarian.  ;-)

This article is published here with permission from the Island Sand Paper.

Cruising the Loop

There are many cruisers in our community. Some call Fort Myers Beach home port, but for many, like Wayne and Doris Prichard of Knoxville, Tennessee, the island is but one port of many along The Loop, that includes the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Gulf Coast, Mississippi River, Great Lakes and countless rivers that feed those waterways (go to for maps and details about this massive system).

When the Prichard's were ready for their first live-aboard cruise using the loop waterways, they spent some time in 2008 in the Town's mooring field. "It was a great experience," Doris says with a smile (she smiles a lot). Their second cruise to the area in 2010 brought the Prichard's to Snook Bight Marina (just before it was extensively upgraded and renovated) and Doris remarks that it wasn't the best facility at that time. "It was a great location, though. And when we tried to reserve a spot there for this trip, they were completely booked." Checking out other marinas in the area, Doris found the Pink Shell Marina wasn't quite right for them. And though she says Legacy Harbor in downtown Fort Myers "is gorgeous", its location would not serve well her main reason for coming to this area - to hook up with her fellow artists and friends at the Fort Myers Beach Art Association, where she has been a member since the Prichard's first trip in 2008.

Doris is a painter who works primarily with water media, not altogether surprising considering her lifestyle choice to spend so much time on the waterways. And the course she set that has led to her pursuit of her art and her relationship with the Art Association is a bit of loop itself. "I didn't always paint, no. I've always liked to do things with my hands, though, like crochet and needlepoint. I made a lot of clothes for myself and my son David, much to his chagrin," she says with a laugh. But she also had the notion that she wanted to do watercolor painting, and took a course in one of those adult education classes offered through public school systems. "I enjoyed it, but at the time, I was still working and just didn't have the time to pursue it."

But in 2003, Doris retired from her position as Medical Librarian at the University of Tennessee (UT) Graduate School of Medicine, and immediately went out to find her muse. She has a friend who teaches art at the university, and asked him what he thought about her going back to her alma mater for a degree in art. He asked her what her goal was, and she told him it was to paint, to do art. "He recommended that instead of a degree, I should go out and find workshops and painting groups, so that's what I did." After trying a few classes and workshops offered around town, Doris found a teacher - Mary Baumgartner ( "She's really good for beginners; she teaches the basics. You can branch off later, but you need those basics first. I started with still life and painting from photographs, but I am at the point now where I want to branch out. I want to start a piece before I even know what it's going to be." Her love of adventure in her art, and in her life, jives well with her work in water media. "It runs and moves... you never know what it is going to turn out to be."

With their son David grown and off to make his own way in the world, Doris found herself earnestly pursuing her art, while Wayne - after 15 years with IBM - went off to work for himself. Being an avid boater and diver, one of Wayne's first pursuits was the design of a tracker system that would allow the boat operator to locate any diver, and any diver to locate the boat from which they dove, using acoustic-based or sound wave technology. Dubbed "The Navigator," a company in Switzerland agreed to produce the product, and it won a Popular Science award (circa 1990's). A few months after returning from their first year-round cruise, Wayne started up his own Internet company "Cruiser Marine" - he ran all aspects of the business from home, selling products avid boaters and cruisers need. He sold that to a company in California last year.

For their trip this year, Doris had to do a bit of research to find a place to tie up for a while. Using "Active Captain,” an online resource listing all the marinas and anchorages in the area, Doris saw Fish Tale Marina. "We had eaten at the Fish House many times, but had the impression that Fish Tale was a much smaller marina than it really is. I just took the chance and called to see if they could accommodate us, and they said, 'Sure, we've got room'. So here we are. On Doris' blog ( she writes: "So far, we love the marina and the setting! ... Very quiet, very sheltered...little wake. May be our new favorite marina in Fort Myers Beach." As she tells it on Tuesday afternoon looking out at the marina surroundings from the Journey's cabin, "It is just wonderful. This is the friendliest marina staff we have ever been around, to a person. It's been pretty amazing."

Their 32' trawler boat 'Journey' has been home since October 2014 to Wayne, Doris and their 9-year-old miniature schnauzer, Lucy. It's a small space, so stowing supplies can be a bit of a challenge, but the Prichard's have been practicing the fine art of downsizing for at least a decade now, and they are up to the challenge. "After our first cruise (on a 43' Californian Trawler), when we got home, our house seemed so much more than what we needed." They sold the house in the neighborhood with the pool and all, and got a much smaller house on a lake in the same area. That worked well for them, but after their second cruise, they decided they could trim their life's accouterments further, and bought a stand-alone condo, still in the Knoxville area. "There is something very freeing about having a small place to take care of and having very few possessions," Doris says, her quiet contentment with this way of living showing clearly in her face and demeanor.

Living on the boat for long periods of time has changed the Prichard's in many ways. "You learn to be patient with delays. You learn your schedule must always be flexible," Doris says as she begins to consider the ways her downsized lifestyle has affected how she and Wayne view the world and how to do even the most ordinary things. "First of all, the weather is always the gorilla in the room. You have to bow down to it when you're cruising." Doris says the big box stores are no longer appealing or even practical for them, with limited storage on the boat and in the condo. But having a different perspective on the amount and size of things in their life is not the only effect of downsized living. "We don't get the daily newspaper while we're out. We don't see a lot of TV. You don't have all that aggravation coming at you. I feel like we are spared a lot of things that we had to contend with before." 

Doris and Wayne both believe you should pursue those activities and situations that make you happy. One gets a sense that cruisers know something not everyone figures out. "Maybe life is not meant to be hard all the time," Doris says with a note of compassion for those who find life difficult. "We love where we are in our lifestyle. We are around happy people mostly having fun all day. It makes you feel good to be around happy people.”

Jo List

In the Art Association Loop

The big attraction to Fort Myers Beach for cruiser Doris Prichard is the Fort Myers Beach Art Association and the many good friends she has made there since joining the group seven years ago, on her first trip to Fort Myers Beach.

Following the advice of a friend in Knoxville, Doris has pursued the art of water media through attendance at workshops and painting groups in her hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee, and in just about every port of call. But clearly, she has made dear friends, like Pam Flaherty, while pursuing her art.

Like musicians who will seek out bands to sit in with when they are visiting somewhere, and who keep in touch with each other and share music with each other whenever and however they can, artists like Doris seek each other out to share their work and their techniques.

"I take advantage of the workshops and painting groups here.” On Tuesday morning, Doris, Pam and a few other members were setting up for an Experimental class. "We share a lot, and try new things,” she says, adding with a chuckle, "It’s adult play time.”

In addition to classes, workshops and annual events like the Plein Air "Paint the Beach” Art Festival, the Fort Myers Beach Art Association will be offering a new fun event on a somewhat regular basis called, "Masterpiece and Merlot.” Led by artist Patty O’Kane (not to be confused with artist and Association member Patty Kane), Pam Flaherty says this is similar to Vino’s Picasso, where all supplies are included in the fee. "But Patty O’Kane is an excellent teacher. You will learn a lot from her.” This event will take place next month on Tuesday, March 10th.

For more information about all the classes, workshops and events held by this active group go to or call 239-463-3909.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Bye, Bye Fort Myers Beach

Tuesday, March 3-

Our month here in Fort Myers Beach has flown by!  We got a lot done, both on and off the boat.

On the boat, we painted the upstairs deck; installed a new, larger anchor; installed a holding tank monitor (Wayne was wiring that booger for days!); cleaned the engine room; installed three new LED lights, one above the galley sink, one near the floor in the salon for night maneuvers, and one above the bed overhang; installed new red and green navigation lights and white all-around anchor light; had a Coast Guard Auxillary safety inspection (adhered the "we passed" sticker to side of boat); and made some further improvements to the shower.

Many of these project involved multiple trips to the hardware here at Santini Plaza...and some involved rather lengthy bus trips to Fort Myers for other resources.  The trolleys and bus system here are very handy...though, in the busy months (like February) the traffic on the island can really slow down the trips.

We rented a car twice this month.  First, Wayne and our dock neighbors, Marleen and Kevin on TIKA, went to the Miami Boat Show on February 13.  I had planned to go, too, but Lucy wasn't feeling well so stayed home with her.  They went over and back in one day and seemed to enjoy the venture.  Wayne allowed it was a very busy affair, however (parking was hard to come by), even more sign of the upswing in boating activity we've seen on this trip.

On Monday the 16th we drove to St. Petersburg, FL, for the Picasso/Dali exhibit at the Dali Museum.  We had purchased tickets online and got there around 11:30 AM.  The place was packed, of course, but we managed to see everything and learned a lot through our audio-guided tour.  Very interesting artists!  I didn't know they were contemporaries and that Picasso influenced some of Dali's work.  I've always liked Picasso's work.  There was one painting in the exhibit I really liked, so I noted the title: Woman in the Chair.  Little did I know, Picasso painted a zillion such paintings and I still haven't found an image of the ONE I saw.

The Dali Museum, new since we'd been last in the 1980's, is a beautiful building in a breathtaking setting.

We really liked St. Pete.  It's been years since we visited the city, and we want to go back for a longer visit, having seen it again.  Our friends the Benders stayed for a month at the municipal marina in St. Pete (seen in the background of above photo) and were most impressed with the town.  Bill almost had to drag Laura away from the place.  ;-)

We visited with various friends while here.  Our friends Pam and Tom Flaherty live here year-round and had us over twice for gourmet meal with Pam at the helm and one from Chef Tom. Pam and Tom have completely renovated the home they purchased a couple of years ago when they moved to Ft. Myers Beach.  The most recent project, the kitchen, is a dream...and is put to good use by the talented couple.  We were lucky to be on the receiving end of those talents. We attempted to reciprocate with a meal cooked in our galley on Journey...

Pam and I met through the Ft. Myers Beach Art Association and "bonded" immediately.  We continue to discover common interests...and traits.

We had a wonderful lunch and reunion with Tom and Sue Jones.  We met Tom and Sue on the first Loop trip and really got to know each other while we were stranded for two weeks when the Illinois River flooded.  They lived in Chicago before their retirement and traveled the Great Lakes extensively.  They gave us some great insight on cruising Lake Superior...and followed that up with a trunk load of guidebooks for that area and others on which we will be traveling.  Tom and Sue spent years doing the Loop, taking their time to enjoy the areas they really liked.  Now they have sold their boat and purchased an RV so they can do the same kind of exploring on land.  

When we came down to Ft. Myers Beach in 2010, I discovered the Fort Myers Beach Art Association (FMBAA).  I joined that year, and have been a member ever since.  Every winter they have a couple of nationally known artists come to present workshops.  I've been fortunate to have attended at least one workshop a year there since 2010.  In addition to the workshops, an Experimental Group meets on Tuesdays from 9-12 (lunching 12-1, until the afternoon Portrait Group convenes with a live model).  There's also a Wednesday painting group and plein air groups.  I've met some amazing artists and have been inspired by the projects going on there.  This year was no exception.

Our nationally known artist this year was Sue Pink, NWS, SW, FWS.  Sue is a member of the art of ours who's done great!  The workshop was geared to abstract painting with acrylic paint and was well attended.  It was informative, varied in activities...and fun!  One day Sue requested we come wearing a "unique" outfit.  It was a great way to start the day!

The class at work...

Later that week Wayne and I had an "open boat" for friends at FMBAA...

Lynne (seen below) is wearing an even bigger smile today because she won 1st place in the show which just opened! Check out the Facebook page at

On the Friday before we left Ft. Myers Beach, our friends Laura and Bill of Kindred Spirit III stopped by to meet us for breakfast in Santini Plaza.  They were staying in Punta Gorda and were taking a road trip to Marathon, FL, for a get together.  We talked non-stop...and Laura even managed to get in some shopping at the Fish Tale Ship Store!  Here we are in Skye's Restaurant that morning...

In between all the activity, Wayne and I enjoyed lots of meals out...and trolley rides.  It's fun for the young and the old.  ;-)

Now for a few more memory shots from the month.  First, one of the fish hauls we saw while there.  Talk about some excited anglers!

A view of the mooring field in Estero Bay from the bridge going over to Ft. Myers Beach.

I love finding clever boat names, like this one.

One Saturday morning while we were there one of the forklifts went up to the edge of the dock...and the piece that was meant to stop the forklift gave way.  The forklift was left dangling over the edge, with a transmission fluid leaking from the bottom.  The whole marina crew flew into action.  The white pieces you see in the water are absorbent pads to soak up the leaking fluid.

Later in the afternoon, a huge crane (um, mechanical crane, that is, not the bird kind) was brought
in to pull the forklift up onto the dock.  All that's missing is the popcorn!

And, yes, I've become fascinated with the panorama shots from my phone.

A view of Estero Bay from the bridge at the lower end of the island.

One of the many beach access walks....

So, we left Ft. Myers Beach with TIKA (headed home to Jacksonville, FL) on Sunday morning.  We went out the lower end of the bay at Big Carlos Pass and ran outside to the river going into Ft. Myers.  It was only about a 30 mile trip and we were there in time to have lunch downtown with Kevin and Marleen.  We spent the night at the City of Ft. Myers Yacht Basin (sounds fancy, but those who have been there will tell you it's comfortable...but not fancy.;-)

Yesterday morning we left Ft. Myers in the morning after the fog cleared and did the first leg of our trip on the Okeechobee Waterway.  We got to Moore Haven City Dock at around 4 PM.  We had some wind and current against us on the way, but all in all it was a very pleasant, if long, day of travel.

Moore Haven is a neat little place.  Not much here, but we're right across from the City Hall and the public library.  Today we are looking at the weather for crossing Lake Okeechobee.   

"Lake Okeechobee means "big water" in the Seminole Indian language, an appropriate name for a water body whose opposite shore can't be seen from the water's edge. With a surface area of 730 square miles, it is the largest lake in the southeastern United States. Despite its impressive size, the lake is shallow, with an average depth of only 9 feet." South Florida Water Management District 

The fact that the lake is shallow and long allows for some fierce wave action depending on the direction and speed of the wind.  It's 6:15 AM on Tuesday morning as I finish this and I'm guessing we'll be doing the rim route today.  More on this later....