Thursday, April 10, 2008

Good Bye Joan & Ian Downs

Today, Joan and Ian departed "Island Hopper" at 10:45 AM. Debbie drove them to the Hertz car rental to pick up a car. They headed to Orlando for the evening before flying out of Orlando to New York and then on to Manchester, England. After arriving in Manchester they will drive to their home in Ayr, Scotland. We thoroughly enjoyed our holiday with Ian and Joan. They were wonderful guests. BYE - IAN AND JOAN - THANK YOU FOR A GREAT BOAT TRIP!!!!!!!! Debbie and Kevin went into town in the late morning. Today is laundry day and preparing the boat to go to the Hinckley yard for a month. The Ocean Alexander representative came to the marina to discuss some gelcoat issues. Tomorrow morning we take the boat across the river to the Hinckley yard where she will be hauled. She has performed flawlessly for 530 miles from Longboat Key, FL and --- gallons of diesel fuel. Kevin won't say how much. We will come back to "Island Hopper" in mid May to begin moving the boat north to Rock Hall, Maryland for the summer. We plan on spending three weeks moving the boat north. Stay tuned for our continued blog next month.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Stuart, Florida - Exploring and having FUN!

Today we explored Historic Downtown Stuart. Joan & Debbie went through all the shops, while Ian and Kevin went to the Maritime Museum and West Marine. We all met up for lunch at a small cafe in town. We then drove over to Hutchinson Island and Jensen Beach for some sightseeing.
The skies were cloudy and a misty rain started when returned to Pirates Cove. Tonight we had the last dinner of our holiday with Joan and Ian. We can't believe how quickly the 3 1/2 weeks have passed. Debbie & Kevin are thrilled that Joan and Ian came over from Scotland to travel the Florida coast on "Island Hopper". We will meet up with them at the end of June to sail on their sailing yacht "Diva" on the French Riviera. We know we are guaranteed another holiday!!!!


Tonight we ate dinner at a local restaurant, Schrimpers.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Jupiter, FL to Stuart, Florida

Jupiter Lighthouse

Playing on kayaks in Hobie Sound

Fishing in the sound. (Literally!!)
After a great visit at the private club of Jonathan's Landing Marina, "Island Hopper" departed the dock at 10:05 AM. Skies are sunny with some clouds, a light westerly wind at 5 - 10 and predicted to be in the mid 80's. Another day in paradise. We will be traveling 19 miles to Pirates Cove Resort and Marina in Stuart, Florida.( Pirates Cove Resort and Marina is located on the banks of the St. Lucie River and the intracoastal waterway in the heart of Sailfish Alley, this cozy enclave is a perfect place to recoup after a day at sea. This mid-size resort is relaxing and casual, but packed with recreational activities for the day. Stuart, Florida is a compact little town on a peninsula that juts out into the St. Lucie River. It has a remarkable amount of river shoreline for its size as well as a charming historic district.
Strict architectural and zoning standards guide civic-renewal projects in historic downtown Stuart, which has more than 50 specialty shops within a two block area. This will keep Debbie and Joan occupied. On the National Register of Historic Places, the Lyric Theatre( has been revived for performing and community events; a gazebo has free music performance. The old courthouse has become the Courthouse Cultural Center and presents folk art and other exhibits. The George W. Parker General Store is now the Stuart Heritage Museum. Linking the watery past with a permanent record of maritime and yachting events contributing to Treasure Coast lore, the Maritime & Yachting Museum( is near a marina with many old ships as well as historic exhibits to explore. Ship modelers are usually on hand.

Tate welcoming the crew aboard "Island Hopper"

Tonight we ate dinner at Finz, a local restaurant on the water.(

Monday, April 7, 2008

Sailfish Marina, Palm Beach Shores to Jonathan's Landing Marina Club, Jupiter, FL

Ian & Captain Morgan at Sailfish Marina

Debbie boarding MV Island Hopper at Sailfish Marina

Eddie Daniel's Florida Houseboat

Tate "just chillin". He has been the Best Bird Dog!!!!!!

Kevin's Aqua Office

We got up this morning , had breakfast and then went for a walk. Out on the water we saw a school of of 8 - 10 manatees swimming in the Lake Worth inlet. "Island Hopper" left Sailfish Marina at 11:45 AM traveling 11 miles to Jonathan's Landing Marina Club, Jupiter, FL. ( The weather is sunny with less humidity in the low 80's and winds SW 5-10. It is a beautiful day to travel. Last night there were heavy rains and then again around 4:00 AM another round of storms appeared for a few hours. We have been very lucky with the weather for the past three weeks. The land Jupiter occupies was once named for the Native American Hobe tribe, who lived in a village at the mouth of the Loxahatchee River. Explorer Ponce de Leon sailed into the river in 1513 but the Hobes drove him off. A series of mapmaker errors over the centuries changed the name to "Jove" which an English mapmaker assumed was Latin for the Roman equivalent of Zeus. He anglicized the name to Jupiter and the name has lasted. Today, Jupiter is one of the few little towns in the region not fronted by an island. Beaches here are part of the mainland, and Route A1A runs for almost 4 miles along the beachfront dunes and beautiful estates. Northeast across the Jupiter inlet from Jupiter is the southern tip of Jupiter Island, including the planned community of the same name. Here expensive and expansive estates often retreat from the road behind the screens of vegetation, while at the north end of the island, turtles come to nest in a wildlife refuge. There are three species - green (, loggerhead ( , and leatherbacks( - which frequent the shores at night from May through August. To the west, on the mainland, is the little community of Hobe Sound. Burt Reynold's has called Jupiter home for much of his career. The town keeps this no secret. The Burt Reynold's Park ( is on an island to the east of the ICW. Just north of the park is the Burt Reynold's & Friends Museum. ( Here you can view autographed sports jerseys, the "Bandit" car, hats from "Mystery Alaska", and a belt buckle from Gene Autry. How can you go wrong???? We arrived at Jonathan's Landing Marina at 1:30 PM, just in time for lunch.

MV Island Hopper docked at Jonathan's Landing

Jonathan's Landing Restaurant and Clubhouse

Jonathan's Landing Pool

We're hoping we don't have to have drinks at the "New Members Lounge"

Tonight we had a wonderful meal at Jonathan's Landing Restaurant. A great way to end a fabulous day!!!!!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Touring West Palm Beach and Palm Beach, FL

CityPlace Plaza
CD sculpture

Worth Street

Today we took a cab to CityPlace where we had lunch at The Cheese Cake Factory. Ian and Kevin actually went shopping all day with Debbie & Joan. We then walked to Clematis Street and then hailed a cab to The Breakers Hotel.(
The Breakers
Brick walkway at The Breakers

The Breakers pool area

Debbie, Joan and Ian outside at The Breakers

Debbie, Joan and Ian in The Breakers beautiful lobby

The Breakers, built by Henry Flagler in 1896 and rebuilt by his descendants after a1925 fire, is a magnificent Italian Renaissance - style resort that helped launch Florida tourism with its gilded-age opulence, attracting influential, wealthy northerners. The hotel still owned by Flagler's heirs, is a must - stop even if you don't stay here. We walked through the 200 foot lobby, which has soaring arched ceilings painted by 75 Italian artisans and hung with crystal chandeliers, and the ornate Florentine Dining Room decorated with 15th-century Flemish tapestries. We then walked out back and walked along the sea wall. The cab driver told us that rooms start at $1,200.00 a night. We then took a cab back to Sailfish Marina. Tonight we ate dinner at the Sailfish restaurant.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Boca Raton, FL to Singer Island, Palm Beach, Shores FL

Ian & Debbie collecting the lines when leaving Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club.
"Island Hopper" departed the dock at 9:00 AM heading to the Camino Real bridge for the 9:30 AM opening, which was actually scheduled to open at 9:40 AM. We waited carefully in the wind until the bridge opened for recreational crafts. Today is hot humid in the mid 80's with winds south 15 to 20. There is a 60% chance of rain later this afternoon. Skies are cloudy, but there is still a lot of blue sky. The second bridge we needed to go through by scheduled openings was Palmetto Bridge. We waited for the 10:00 AM opening. We traveled two additional bridges that did not have to open for us, then approached the Atlantic Avenue Bridge that opened on the 1/2 and full hour. Today is a slow moving day due to all of the bridges. The next bridge, the George Bush Bridge opens on demand, which saves us time. Then there are 7 additional bridges with three that need to open in order for us to pass through it.
A beautiful Palm Beach home on the ICW
The Old Biltmore Hotel
Today's destination is Singer Island, Palm Beach Shores. We are staying at Sailfish Marina for two nights.( Sailfish Marina, established in 1952, is a full service marina and resort. There are two pools, hotel rooms, restaurant and bar. A water taxi is available to take us to the Palm Beach area. We arrived at Sailfish Marina and the water passage was shallow with areas out of the passage just a few feet sand covered. A few boats went aground. The weather has held off. Blue and sunny skies, but the winds is gusty. We ate dinner at Sailfish Marina Restaurant.
The low tide was right near the passage area

A boat that needed Sea Tow's assistance to get them off the sand bar
West Palm Beach was long considered Palm Beach's less-priviledged stepsister. Sprawling West Palm has evolved into an economically vibrant destination of its own, ranking as the cultural, entertainment, and business center of the entire county and territory to the north. High-rise buildings like the mammoth Palm Beach County Judical Center and Courthouse and the State Administrative Building underscore the breadth of the city's governmental and corporate activity. The heart of revived West Palm Beach is a small, attractive, easy-to-walk downtown area, spurred on by active historic preservation. Along five blocks of beautifully landscaped Clematis Street, which ends at the intracoastal waterway, are boutiques and outdoor cafes, plus the 400 - seat Cuillo Center for the Arts, which features and pre-Broadway shows and concerts; and Palm Beach Dramaworks, an intimate theater, which often shows new plays. Molly's Trolleys ( is a free and frequent trolley service that makes continuous loops down Clematis Street, the city's century-old main street, and through CityPlace, a shopping-restaurant-theater district. ( Palm Beach is a town of unparalleled Florida opulence with the ornate architectural work of Addison Mizner, who began designing homes and public buildings in the 1920's and whose Moorish-Gothic style has influences virtually all community landmarks. Thanks to Mizner and his lasting influence, Palm Beach remains a playground of the rich, famous, and discerning.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Fort Lauderdale to Boca Raton, FL

Island Hopper looks like a dinghy next to the Yacht CV-9
Fort Lauderdale Boating
RiverWalk in Fort Lauderdale
History Museum in Fort Lauderdale in the old town area.
Riverfront Restaurant
Just another yacht along the way.....
A beautiful home on the ICW
Yesterday Debbie & Joan took the bus (What an experience!) to Saw Grass Mills Mall. Sawgrass is an outlet mall with high end stores like, Nieman Marcus, Nordstom, and David Yurman. They left the boat at 9:15 AM and returned at 6:30 PM. A full day of glorious shopping and saving money for Ian and Kevin. Chris Gaffney, Debbie's cousin Vicki's husband, came to the boat for cocktails and we all went to Big City Tavern for a good dinner. Today "Island Hopper" departed the dock at 10:45 AM heading to the Royal Palm Yacht and Country Club in Boca Raton, Florida.( ) The skies are partly cloudy, and the winds south 15-20. The temperature is in the mid 80's again today. We have had only one afternoon of rain for 1/2 hour in Naples for the past three weeks. The weather has cooperated except for the sea state to attempt the Bahamas. We could have gone to the Bahamas yesterday, but the predicted winds would not have given us a window to return next week. Less than an hour south of Palm Beach and anchoring the country's south end, upscale Boca Raton has much in common with it's fabled cousin. Bothereflect the unmistakeable architectural influence of Addison Mizner, their principal developer in the mid - 1920's he meaning of the name Boca Raton often arouses curiosity, with many folks mistakenly assuming it means "rat's mouth." Historians say the probable origin is Boca Ratones, an ancient Spanish geographical term for an inlet filled with jagged rock or coral. Miami's Biscayne Bay had such an inlet, and in 1823, a mapmaker copying Miami terrain confused the more northern inlet, thus mistakenly labeling this are Boca Ratones. No matter what, you know you've arrived in the heart of downtown when you spot the town hall's gold dome on the main street, Federal Highway. It is interesting to see what a great job the townspeople did planning Boca - no billboards, parking lots at the beach hidden behind dunes, gas stations and shopping areas screened with lush landscaping - controlled growth and strict zoning and ordinances paid off. Boca is one of the nicest towns on the Gold Coast.
Debbie getting the bow lines reading for docking at Palm Beach Yacht & Country Club
We arrived at Boca Grand Yacht and Country Club. The dockmaster invited us for cocktails at the dock bar. After lunch we cooled off by swimming in the pool. We ate dinner in the Commodore's Grill.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Exploring Las Olas

Today Joan & Debbie went shopping on Las Olas Boulevard and had lunch. Ian and Kevin stayed behind and washed "Island Hopper". It was in the mid 80's and very warm and sunny. T he Bahamas are not possible, due to high winds and seas. Since the itinerary changed, we are staying an additional night in Fort Lauderdale Marina. Now we have a reason to bring her back down next October. We went to Riverwalk and walked around the area. For dinner we took a cab back to Las Olas Boulevard and ate at a wonderful restaurant, Cafe Europa.
Just another day of living the good life.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Miami Beach , FL to Las Olas Marina, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

"Island Hopper" departed Miami Beach Marina at 10:15 AM cruising to Ft. Lauderdale , FL. Winds are easterly 15 to 20, partly cloudy, but we are protected going in the ICW.

Singer Island

Yachts Along the Way

Another Ocean Alexander 52

We have 28 miles to go today. We are staying in the Las Olas Marina. The City of Ft. Lauderdale's Las Olas Marina is a state-of the art facility custom designed for mega yachts. It is a 60 slip marina with all the amenities, and a location next to Fort Lauderdale Beach, clubs, restaurants and BeachPlace.( Like many of its southeast Florida neighbors, Fort Lauderdale has been revitalizing for several years. In a state where gaudy tourist zones often stand aloof from worksday downtowns, FortLauderdale exhibits consistency at both ends of the 2 mile Las Olas corridor. Efforts have been made to upgrade both the beachfront and downtown. Matching the downtown's innovative art's district, cafes, and boutiques is an equally inventive beach area with cafes and shops facing an undeveloped shoreline, and new hotels gradually replacing faded icons of yesteryear. Joan and Debbie have already completed the shopping research and have made plans to go to the Las Olas Riverfront. This is a shopping, dining and entertainment complex. They also plan to do some window shopping (Well, that is what they told Kevin and Ian.) at Las Olas Boulevard, where the city's best boutiques plus top restaurants and art galleries line beautifully landscaped streets. Tonight we took a cab to Las Olas Boulevard and ate dinner at Indigo Restaurant at the Riverside Hotel.