Friday, November 16, 2007

Longboat Keys Moorings, Longboat Key, FL

Friday, November 16, 2007 - The weather was much cooler today, with the highs in the upper 50's. The skies were sunny and clear. We walked around the harbor and enjoyed the day. Tonight Tracy Feldmann came to the Moorings and we went to the Columbia restaurant on St. Armands and had a great meal. Tracy and her husband Don have a home on Longboat Key and in Cincinnati. We enjoyed spending the evening with Tracy. She shared many interesting facts about Longboat Key.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sarasota Yacht Club, Sarasota, FL to Longboat Key Moorings, Longboat Key, FL

View of Longboat Key Moorings from the entry channel. Thursday, November 15, 2007 - We left the Sarasota Yacht Club at 9:30 AM. Island Hopper traveled 10 miles to Longboat Key Moorings. A sophisticated resort town, Sarasota is traditionally the home of some ultra-affluent residents, dating back to John Ringling of circus fame. Cultural events are scheduled year-round and there is a higher concentration of upscale shops, restaurants, and hotels than in much of the Tampa Bay area. Across the water from Sarasota lies the barrier islands of Siesta Key, Longboat Key, and Lido Key, with myriad beaches, shops, hotels, condominiums, and houses. Upon arrival we were given the choice of two slips. We chose one that has great views of Sarasota bay. The water view from "Island Hopper". It doesn't get any better than this! View looking over the bow of "Island Hopper".

A very happy Captain Kevin. "Island Hopper" ran well with no problems during our journey to Longboat Key Moorings. Tate the "Bird Dog" has also enjoyed his boat trip.

Tonight we will be be toasting the arrival of "Island Hopper" to her winter berth with a bottle of Schramsberg, Blanc De Blanc, Champagne, given to us by our friends at Ohio River Launch Club. Cheers!! Thanks everyone! The champagne was great!!! We didn't crack the bottle on the boat, but drank every drop. After our toast and a beautiful sunset, we grilled steaks on the boat. The past 4 weeks have gone so quickly.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Venice Yacht Club, Venice, FL to Sarasota Yacht Club, Sarasota, FL

Debbie on the bow of "Island Hopper" in the ICW. Island Hopper on the ICW entering the Sarasota area. Wednesday, November 14, 2007 - We left Venice Yacht Club at and headed to Sarasota Yacht Club. We came up the ICW and traveled 16.5 miles. We arrived in Sarasota around 12:30 PM and had lunch on the boat.

Just one of the many beautiful homes on Bird Key.

Later in the afternoon we walked into St. Armands Circle and browsed the shops. As Kevin would say, "No bargains here". Tonight we are having dinner at the Sarasota Yacht Club.

The Shops on St. Armands Circle.

St. Petersburg Yacht Club, St. Petersburg, FL to Venice Yacht Club, Venice Florida

Tuesday, November 13, 2007 - Left St. Petersburg Yacht Club at 10:25 AM heading to Venice Yacht Club. Island Hopper exited Tampa Bay to go on the outside in the gulf then south toward Venice. There were calm waters and a bright and sunny day. During the cruise we saw a few dolphins swimming near the boat. Arrived at the yacht club around 3:00 PM. We traveled 70 miles today. Sharry & Harry Addison drove over to have dinner with us. We went to the Crow's Nest on the island and had a wonderful dinner.

View of the Venice Yacht Club from the water.

The prams racing on the water.

Monday, November 12, 2007

St. Petersburg Yacht Club, St. Petersburg, FL

Friday, November 12, 2007 - Kevin called the Dockmaster at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club ( . They had space, so we motored 2 miles over to SPYC. It is great be in the heart of the town. We had lunch at Dan Marino's Restaurant and enjoyed shopping in downtown St. Pete. Debbie went to Serenity Spa for a relaxing pedicure. This boating is hard on one's feet and toes. Tate has found squirrels to chase in the park across from the SPYC.
We had dinner at Ceviche, a tapas restaurant and wine bar. As soon as we entered the restaurant we saw Bob and Melinda Croskery, members from ORLC. Lt. Col. Bob Croskery is in Tampa serving on active duty with the Army. We hope to meet up with them in Tampa later this winter.

Day 2 at The Harborage Marina, St. Petersburg, FL

Sunday, November 11, 2007 - HAPPY BIRTHDAY HARRY! 39 YEARS OLD AGAIN!!!! Sharry and Harry Addison departed Island Hopper around 11:30 AM to go home to Englewood, FL. Their son Stuart came up from Sarasota to pick them up. We had a wonderful time traveling from Mobile, AL to St. Petersburg, FL. As always we enjoy their company. Harry spent many hours working on the travel plans and it was much appreciated. Harry is an excellent Navigator. Debbie & Kevin spent the rest of the day cleaning the boat after spending a week in the salt water. Later in the evening we walked to St. Petersburg Yacht Club for drinks and then to "Under the Moon" for a light dinner. Another great day on the water!!!!!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Clearwater Municipal Marina, Clearwater, FL to The Haborage Marina, St. Petersburg, FL

Saturday, November 10, 2007 - Walked around Clearwater and watched some of the events of the Ironman World Competition with 1,500 competitors. Swimming, biking and running. Kevin and Harry were hoping to be last minute entries, but they were too late. Luckily for them they will have another year for some extra conditioning. Debbie & Sharry just watched the muscles bike by them. Not a bad view. Left the marina around 9:30 heading to St. Pete. We will be staying at the Harborage Marina. This is the marina where the Ocean Alexander dealer had Island Hopper docked when we bought her. We took a taxi into town. Kevin & Harry went to the Rib Fest at the Vinoy Park.
While Harry & Kevin were out at the festival they noticed a wedding taking place at the chapel on the water.
Sharry & Debbie went shopping. We all later met up for drinks at Under the Moon. It is an English pub. Sharry & Debbie had Caribbean style mango daiquiris. They were just like the ones we had in St. Martin, FWI. Tonight we had dinner at Redwoods to celebrate Harry's 39th Birthday. The four of us have eaten there before, so we chose the restaurant for this special event.

The Moorings, Carrabelle, FL to Clearwater Municipal Marina, Clearwater, FL

Friday, November 9, 2007 - Left Carrabellel, FL at 6:30 AM. The seas were predicted to be 1 to 2 feet. This was great for the crossing. There was the most gorgeous sunrise as we headed out. We traveled 190 miles in the open water, staying 30 miles off-shore. Luckily for Captain Kevin he had a talented and veteran staff. The trip took us 9 1/2 hours. Tate was pleased to see land. Especially grass. It was a smooth ride. Island Hopper performed well and seemed to know she was home again in the blue waters. We were fortunate enough to get a slip at the Clearwater Municipal Marina as it is first come first served. There are a limited number of places to harbor in the area. We tried to stay at the Clearwater Yacht Club, but they had no availability. Clearwater was full of excitement. The Ironman Competition was going to take place tomorrow morning. For dinner we went to the Beachcomber restaurant. This brought back memories for Sharry, who ate at the restaurant as a child. She said that she and her family vacationed at Clearwater. The food was fabulous and we had a wonderful evening.

Island Hopper docked at Clearwater Municipal Marina, Clearwater, FL.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Bay Point Marina, Panama City, FL to The Moorings, Carrabelle, FL

Thursday, November 8, 2007 - Left Bay Point (Mile 290.0) at 9:00 AM to cruise to Carrabelle, FL. (Mile 377.0) And then a few miles down the Island Hopper traveld 95 miles today. Passed Appalachicola (Mile 351.0). Appalachicola lies at the mouth of the Appalachiola River on Apalachiola Bay. It was primarily a fishing town, but has now converted to cater more to tourists. The beautiful old Victorian homes, many assorted gift and antique shops and fine restaurants assume any boater's stop here to be an enjoyable one. A hardware store, museum, large well-stocked marine parts store and several specialty groceries round the attractions. We had to slow down for many fishermen fishing in the channel. Arrived at Carrabelle at approximately 3:00 PM. Fueled and went to the T dock. Carrabelle is located in the panhandle of Florida about an hour's drive southwest of Tallahassee. Carrabelle is laid-back and quiet-rural Florida, where the past meets the present. The uncrowded, white-sand beaches are perfect for family vacations. People come to Carrabelle not only for fabulous fishing, but also to sail, snorkel, scuba dive, scallop, play on the beaches or a just steal away from the real world. Here you won't find any or hotels to block your view, just beautiful beaches, river marshes and plentiful wildlife. Carrabelle's waterfront combines the authenticity of a working waterfront with the fun of recreational fishing and boating. Went to Piratesfor catfish, oysters and grouper.
Island Hopper docked at "The Moorings Carrabelle"

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Ft. Walton Yacht Club, Ft. Walton, FL to to Bay Point Bay Marina, Panama City Beach, FL

Wednesday, November 7, 2007 - Left Ft. Walton Yacht Club around 9:25 AM. Captain Kevin reminded the crew we were 5 minutes late from the designated departure time. It was a cool but sunny morning. Temperature was 42 degrees. Today's cruise to Panama City Beach will be approximately 68 miles. This will be one of our longer days on the water. Passed Destin, FL ( (Mile 227.7). Destin is a sportfishing headquarters, with many restaurants and marinas, but not an abundance of transient slips. Went through the "Grand Canyon, West End (Mile 253.5). The approach to this narrow waterway makes you feel like you are cruising into the land. As we made the approach a small waterway became visible. Bald Eagles are seen often in the area. Arrived at Bay Point Marina, Panama City Beach, FL. The marina is located only moments from the Gulf of Mexico and the Intercoastal Waterway via a well marked channel. The Bay Point Marina is located at the heart of one of the nation's leading resorts. Marina tenants and guests enjoy the many services at Bay Point Yacht & Country Club, Marriott's Bay Point Resort and Legend's Edge, A Marriott Vacation Club International resort. The Marina is served by a dockside, delicatessen, styling salon and barber shop, post office, bank, yacht brokerage office and Bay Point Real Estate Company. Debbie and Sharry are hoping for some little boutiques. The Marina Complex features its own complex of services and amenities, including a swimming pool, showers and washer and dryers. The Bay Point Marina is home to the Annual Bay Point Billfish Invitational Tournament, one of competitive fishing's most notable events. Each July upward of 30,000 visitors and guests flock to Bay Point to take part in the tournament's festivities. Bay Point holds the Florida state record for blue marlin. This 1,046 pound trophy was caught by Conrad Hawkins aboard the lucky 2 during the 2001 Bay Point Invitational Billfish Tournament. We had a wonderful dinner at 30 Degrees Blue Restaurant.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Pensacola Yacht Club, Pensacola FL to Fort Walton Yacht Club, Fort Walton, FL

Tuesday, November 6, 2007 - Left Pensacola Yacht Club (Mile 183) at 10:30 AM heading to Fort Walton Yacht Club (223). It was an easy 47 mile run. We took it slow and enjoyed the scenery on the water. Arrived at the FWYC and were put on the outside slip. The club has mostly sailboats. While walking on the property we noticed several hundred dead fish in the water near the boats and the shoreline. We were talking with a club member and he told us they were experiencing the effects of Red Tide for the past month. The view from the dock is beautiful. There is a small park like area on the peninsula at the yacht club. It is a nice and relaxing place to sit and feel the breeze. Today is in the 70's with partly sunny skies. Cooler weather is predicted for tomorrow and with the breeze a cool front may be approaching. Tonight we are eating dinner at Fort Walton Yacht Club. It is Taco Night. Sharry and Debbie had "Bushwackers". This drink is the club's claim to fame.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Dog River Marina, Mobile, AL to Pensacola Yacht Club, Pensacola, FL

Monday, November 5, 2007 - Took off from Dog River around 10:00 AM. Stopped a Lu Lu's Restaurant, Gulf Shores, AL. Lu Lu (Lucy) the owner, is Jimmy Buffet's sister. Since it moved from Fish River to the ICW, Lu Lu's has lost most of it's funky charm. There is 60' of fixed dock for dinner guests. The new Lu Lu's is a casual bar and restaurant open 7 days a week and it is a BIG business; however it's still a great waterfront hangout. Interestingly enough, the food is even better than before. Prices are reasonable and there is always a chance Jimmy will drop in. Sharry, Harry, Kevin and Debbie enjoyed a great lunch.

After lunch we went to Lu Lu's gift shop for some souvenirs, then back to the boat for our cruise to Pensacola Yacht Club. We were boarded by the Florida Marine Patrol today. They requested our documentation certificate. It only took a few minutes for Kevin to be approved to continue. We arrived at the Pensacola Yacht Club around 4:15 PM. The city of Pensacola lies on the north shore of Pensacola Bay. Nicknamed the city of "five flags", it has a rich history, picturesque old downtown area and many historical forts in the area. Island Hopper traveled 78 miles today. We took the dingy to dinner at the Oar House Restaurant, since the yacht club is closed on Mondays.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Another Lazy Dog Day on Dog River

Need We Say More..
Sunday, November 4, 2007 - Kevin finished up his boating chores in the AM. We walked to the bay an watched the fishermen and boaters. Sharry & Harry arrived around 5:20 PM. After cocktails we went into Mobile for dinner. We wanted to eat a local restaurant so we chose Dee Russel's. They served outstanding southern barbecue.

Relaxing On The River, Dog River Marina, Mobile AL

Saturday, November 3, 2007 - Today will be a day to catch up with the boat chores. We got up early (7:00 AM) to wash the Island Hopper and to do laundry. Ed and Barb are flying home to Cincinnati this afternoon. Kevin took them to the airport around noon. We had a wonderful week with them and were fortunate enough to have great weather. They will be missed. Ed was a great deck boss and Barb gave him a run for the title.

Ater Kevin returned from the airport run he worked on the boat and chatted with other boaters. Another couple from MS on the dock bought a new Ocean Alexander from the same dealer the we did in St. Pete, FLA. Kevin toured the boat and they discussed their OAs. Again, the weather was sunny and in the high 70s. We decided to take the dingy to Mariner's Marina across the river for dinner. Instead of putting the motor on the dingy we rowed across the river. What a hoot! Tied the dingy to Pier Pressure ( the boat from MO) and went up to the restaurant. Had a drink at the bar with boaters we met earlier in the week. We had a good grouper dinner and then rowed back to the Island Hopper. Luckily there was no river traffic. Another great day on the river!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Bobby's Fish Camp, Silas, AL to Dog River Marina, Mobile, AL

Friday, November 2, 2007 - Left Bobby's Fish Camp, Silas AL at 6:50 AM. Traveled 2.3 miles to Coffeeville Lock & Dam (116.6 RDB). Lock 600' X 110' With a Lift 34'. When you leave the lock you are less than four feet above sea level. Traveled about 118 miles today. Took the waterway into Mobile, AL. Mobile is one of the largest seaports on the Gulf Coast. Ships of every description berth there. The GIWW crosses the Mobile Ship Channel near the mouth of the Mobile Bay and the Mobile River delivers the cruisers coming down the Tenn-Tom Canal into Mobile from the north. Whether coming from the north or south the cruiser will be stuck by the seemingly endless variety of commercial vessels and the total lack of any facilities for pleasure craft. We all cheered as we entered the salt water. Island Hopper seemed to remember her way back to FLA. We harbored at Dog River Marina We will be here for 3 nights. Time to do laundry and change crew members. We had dinner with four othe boaters at Mobile Yacht Club. The grouper special was great. After dinner we walked back to the marina. Tomorrow we don't have to get up early. It will be nice to have a relaxing breakfast on the water.

Demopolis Yacht Basin, Demopolis, AL to Bobby’s Fish Camp, Silas, AL

November 1, 2007 - Today' s journey is 88 miles to Bobby' s fish camp. The crew woke up early for a 7:00 AM cast off. Captain Kevin rushed to the dam to make the first AM lock through. We traveled 3.5 Miles to the Demopolis Lock and Dam, Demopolis, AL 213.2 LDB, 600' X 110'with a 30' Lift. The lock was full of with eight recreational vessels. We were quickly locked through and on way when Kevin noticed something wrong with the starboard engine. After some investigation we realized something was on the prop. It made a slapping sound, so we assumed it was a line. Kevin got out his wet suit, hookah (scuba diving regulator with an electric compressor, not a hashish pipe!) and necessary tools. With the supervision and carefully eyes of Barb, Ed and Debbie he dove in the water to check out the situation. Within a few minutes he was up with a 1" diameter rubber hose about 10 feet long that had wrapped it self on the prop. We warmed up the captain with a large towel and our embraces. We took up the anchor and were on our way. The banks of the Waterway are smooth rock walls, rounded, shaped and carved by water. Moss grows on the rocks and hangs from the trees. For the next 6 miles the Waterway was beautiful. The lower end of the Waterway is known for its hairpin turns. Mile 187.7 is the first one and it's a real doozy. Although the Waterway is a scant thousand feet through the trees that we can see from the starboard side of the boat, we had to go almost three miles by water to get there. We have made reservations and confirmed our reservations this morning for Bobby's Fish Camp. The dock space at Bobby's can get used up fast, especially in the fall months when southbound transient traffic is the heaviest. Sometimes it is necessary for the boats to raft off other boats. The record for the number of rafted boats is 17 boats. We are hoping we don' t have to raft off. There is a restaurant on the premises that specializes in, yes, "CATFISH!"