Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Eric Stone, Lats and Atts, getting ready

Well, it's getting to be that time. Hurricane season is winding down, so we're winding up for the next leg of our journey. We will be leaving St. Pete on December 1, headed for parts south.
Actually, our first stop will be about 40 miles north of here. It's a little town called New Port Richie. Our friends, Julie and Tim, have a house there with its own dock and they have invited us to spend a little time visiting with them. It's also an opportunity to earn a little cash as I have been helping Tim remodel the interior of their boat.
So, these weeks are filling up with activity centered on getting the boat ready, organizing storage, plotting courses, locating anchorages, etc. Planning a voyage is a lot of work.
We are also hearing some tales about crossing Florida Bay, the route to the Keys. Some folks say it's a cake walk, some say it's dangerous. Pretty much the same story we heard about Lake Michigan and about crossing the Gulf. In both cases we found a spot to sit tight and wait for weather, and we made the crossings without incident. I expect we'll do the same going to the Keys.
On November 3, we went to the "Strictly Sail" boat show in St. Pete. It was a lot of fun. We went with Julie and Tim. Eric Stone provided the musical entertainment all afternoon and well into the evening. For those of you who haven't heard Eric's music, it's a bit similar to Jimmy Buffet, but much more centered on sailing, diving, living in the islands, etc. A bit more down home, a bit simpler but every bit as enjoyable. I even do a couple of Eric's songs in my own "show," if you can call it that.
Another highlight of the boat show was getting to meet Bob Bitchin (yep, that's his name). He's the publisher of Latitudes and Attitudes magazine, one of the best magazines around dedicated to the cruising lifestyle. I showed him a picture of my boat and he asked me to write a feature article for his magazine. As Bob would say "Kewl!"
Yesterday, while Bev was at work and I was helping Tim install a new fuel filler hose on his boat, a dolphin swam right through the marina. I didn't have the camera with me so I couldn't get a shot, but it was neat to see this magnificent animal come so close.
We also just found out that Chandra will be visiting her great-grandparents for Thanksgiving and we are invited. It will be great to have another visit with her. She's really a neat kid.
Here are a few pics of the Lats and Atts cruiser's party and Eric Stone.