Allen's great circle trip

Okeechobee Crossing
East Coast of Florida

Elegant Living Indoors and Out.
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Once again we're back burning up the waterways. We left Clearwater April fourteenth after waiting two days for the winds to settle down. After crossing Tampa Bay we spent the night in Bradenton. Lucky us; they were having their monthly downtown biker night, yes we put on our leathers and joined them for a delightful Italian meal. Early the next morning we started out and spent the night anchored in Placid Cove. 

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Our next anchorage was at Bimini Cove where Allen found an ice-cream parlor and went on the wild side by having two scopes of something other than Butter Pecan. We finally made it to Fort Myers where we spent a few days enjoying the sights. 

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At Fort Myers we made our easterly turn up the Caloosahatchee river toward the Okeechobee waterway and Lake Okeechobee passing through five locks. At Port Maycale Lock we set a record by piloting thru in one minute (both gates were open)! 
At other locks we did our usual wait as Lee is doing in this picture..

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Traveling north up the ICW we were hailed by Tow Boat US to help him tow a tug boat ,who had ran aground, by throwing a big wake. We were so proud a tug had ran aground, but not us. 
Melbourne was our next uneventful stop. That is until Lee spotted an alligator and felt he had to protect Winston. 
Winston being more aggressive went for the tail and saved Lee. 

Later Lee saved Winston from this alligator that was cruising  in the marina.

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Fort Pierce was our next marina where we discovered that everything closed early on Sunday. Leaving the marina the next day we followed our GPs map trail of the previous day and ran aground. We sat a few minutes trying to figure out what was different -- the tide was lower. As we waited the tide rose and off we went up the ICW discussing why we let this happen.
A short two hours later in the middle of the channel we came to an abrupt halt. Tow Boat US was called to tow us off a sand bar that had recently developed. We didn't feel quite so inept when we were told that he had towed three other boats off earlier.

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The following day put our navigating skills to a task as we learned the Titusville swing bridge was closed for repairs and opened every four hours. We calculated our course and speed and set off. The whole day we were being passed by other boats speeding to the bridge in order to set and wait for it to open. At fifteen minutes before the bridge was to open we heard on the radio "well the tortuous finally caught up with the hare." 

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Again we experienced a first by anchoring on a mooring ball at Stuart. What a thrill trying to attach a line to the ball from the bow of the boat. But seasoned as we are we didn't let that discourage us as we went to the stern and attached the line without any trouble: but now to get the line to the bow. No trouble attach the line to the docking pole and pass it up to each other. Great idea ,but the wind was blowing causing the boat to drift and almost pulled Allen out the window. Successfully meeting this challenge, we went off to town for a leisurely meal. ( seems like all we do is eat)

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At Titusville we spent time cleaning on the boat and Allen spent two days at the Kennedy Space Center. While he was there he viewed a fuzzy 3 D movie without the glasses and returned the next day to once again view it only with the special glasses. 
Allen also got a chance to hold a piece of moon rock. 
Titusville is also known for the Dixie Crossroads Restaurant so we hiked on down and gave it our gourmet thumbs up.

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3000_miles.jpg (16082 bytes) After leaving Titusville We crossed the 3000 miles point on our trip. Allen having the opportunity to pick up and examine a moon rock was reluctant to wash his hands for days.
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Daytona was our next port of call after a leisurely breakfast (all we do is eat). The ICW was calm and filled with people fishing from the banks as well as in fishing boats and we exchanged waves as we passed by.  The marina supplied a shuttle to take us to the beach where we walked in the water, took pictures, ate pizza, and had ice cream like real tourists. 
We were surprise at the large number of motorcycles dealers and suppliers.

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riser_weld.jpg (15320 bytes) On one of our hourly engine room checks we discovered that the exhaust riser that had been rebuilt in Marathon had begun to leak. We were able to locate a welder in Daytona who came to the marina and took the riser to his shop and repaired it.
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cool_allen.jpg (86024 bytes) Once back at the marina Allen discovered that they had hot tub. After a short nap he trudged off towel in hand for a short dip. Two hours later he returned shriveled up like a prune telling the story of how he had met this couple who had turned their business over to their family and were spending the summer on their boat. 
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Getting instructions on where to eat.

We enjoyed being tourists so much that we headed off to St. Augustine to see the sights. At St Augustine we decided to become real boaters again and anchor out. We found the anchorage adjacent to the municipal marina and set our anchor perfectly. Next we lowered the dinghy and took Winston to shore it inspect the turf. Dinging back against a swift tide and strong head winds Lee was cautioned by a boater that we were anchored too close to him. Trying to be courteous boaters we pulled anchor and headed to another spot fighting the strong current, white caps, and twenty five mile head winds. Once a suitable site was found we dropped anchor only to discover that it wouldn’t hold. No problem we pulled anchor again only the line became entangled in the windlass. Sitting on the bow of the boat Lee took the windlass apart while Allen feverously kept the boat from drifting into the anchored boats. The third time is always a charm, only this time the windless became so jammed that it wouldn’t go up or down. We pulled as much line on deck as we could, then Allen left the helm and we both pulled on the line trying raise the eighty pound anchor and chain. Finally Lee manned the dinghy and was able to secure a line to the anchor and hoist it enough to allow us to make it to the marina. 
We spent two days exploring the historic district and the fort. Between the time spent being tourist we managed to find time to repair the windlass and were confident that it would work at our next anchorage.
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Jekyll Island was the next port beckoning us. At Jekyll we decided to practice our skill in anchoring again. First attempt the anchor held, we were so proud. Our jubilation was halted by the dock master warning us that we were too far out in the channel and might be nudged by a barge. No problem just pull anchor and reset it closer to shore. But the ###### windlass jammed again. After manually pulling the line and anchor on deck we decided to spend the night at the marina.

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 Once the boat was docked and Winston and Lee did their thing and later we hobbled to the marina’s hot tub to soothe our aching backs.

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Breakfast was an experience at the Jekyll Island Club (we always find time to eat). Next we set off on our scooters to explore. The restored building and clay tennis courts were interesting. Winston enjoyed looking for critters and the beach as we discussed the importance off the sun and moon on the tide.  

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Out next port of call was the town of Darien, Georgia which is eight miles up the Darien River off the ICW and not charted on our map.
No we didn’t try to anchor! Darien is located in a marsh and grows cannibalistic flies and noseems and also has built a new dock to encourage tourism.
Walking about the historic town Allen was given a narrated tour of the historic town by Lee and shown the house that his grandfather had built. 
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bow_thuster.jpg (18941 bytes)  We are now at the  Isle of Hope Marina in Savannah, Ga.  Allen will spend the next week doing maintenance while Lee and Winston fly home. .
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anchor_slide.jpg (18404 bytes) When we bought Professor and Mary Ann I found this nylon item in one of the cabinets and wonder what it was for.
Well guess what?
It is part of the anchor system!!!! It keeps the anchor line from kinking when retrieving the anchor. 
I called the windlass company and they are providing the damaged parts at 1/2 price because this nylon item is not in any of their drawings.
Could this be the end of our anchor problems?  
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