Monday, December 27, 2010




The Pass a Grille Clubhouse of SPYC
Holiday Inn Indian Rocks Beach HOME CLUB ST PETE YC
The Captain has been remiss in completing the blog of the journey's of M/V Island Hopper in the fall. After visiting Boca Grande, the crew took a break on land before departing for the St. Pete Yacht Club and points north. After Thanksgiving with cousin Chip who lives in Tampa, IH departed for SPYC on Saturday November 27. After enjoying the sights of St Pete including the new Dali Museum, IH headed north to Indian Rocks Beach to visit longtime friends Nancy and Gordon Obarski. A good marina was located on the ICW operated by the Holiday Inn. The crew bicycled to the Obarski's who live on the beach about 1/2 mile away. After catching up and enjoying a few adult beverages, IH headed south the next morning to the Pass a Grille clubhouse of SPYC, located near the Don Cesar Hotel on St Pete Beach. The crew enjoyed bicycling and taking in the sights. After an evening at the YC, IH headed back to home port, Longboat Key Marina.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

NOVEMBER 23-24, 2010
Island Hopper at the dock
Banyon Street, guess why the name?
note the crew on the bicycle
The lighthouse on the south end of the island on the Pass
The lighthouse mid island on the Gulf Boca Grande Marina
The crew of Island Hopper have been remiss in not posting to the Blog two recent trips. The first voyage was to Boca Grande Marina. Our friends from Cincinnati, John and Pam Payne live here in the winter so a trip was scheduled to check out their new home. Boca Grande and Gasparilla Island is a great destination. Nice restaurants, beautiful beaches, great cycle paths, and very beautiful homes make for a fun time. Two light houses also grace the island.,_Florida After two nights of visiting with the Payne's the crew headed back to home port in Longboat Key Marina to celebrate Thanksgiving with cousins in Tampa.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

November 18, Longboat Key Marina

New Chartplotter in POD on right

Note Chart on Left Plotter and Marina Aerial Picture on right Chartplotter

M/V Island Hopper returned to her home port on Saturday November 13. The Captain and crew (That would be the First Maid, I mean First Mate) have been busy all week readying her for her next voyage. The plan is to head south to Boca Grande Marina to see our friends, John and Pam Payne who have a home there.
The Captain has been busy improving the vessel's navigational system by installing a second Raymarine E120 Chartplotter. The current system was installed when the vessel was new in 2006.  Wanted to add the second system and discovereing that a new chartplotter was not available, the Captain was resourceful and found one on Craig's List in Charleston, SC. After negotiations the chartplotter safely arrived in Cincinnati. After checking it out, updated software was installed. A new POD to hold the chartplotter was purchased and all of the equipment was transported to FL with the crew.
The Captain also wanted to upgrade the system with a Sirius Satellite Weather module. With this service updated weather info is delivered to the vessel in real time, this includes radar, storm tracks, wind and wave height. This info is especially useful when the vessel is off shore out of range of WiFi or in the Bahamas and Canada which are planned destinations.
Now, the second chartplotter is a backup unit as well as providing radar, weather, aerial pictures of marinas, and Sirius weather while the main chartplotter is dedicated to the chart while underway.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

November 12, 2010 Venice, FL

Love the FL Birds
Another Kilwins Ice Cream Shop
Entering Big Pass in Sarasota between Siesta Key and Lido Key
We enjoyed a morning bike ride on Captiva before readying Island Hopper for the 50 mile run to Venice. Our destination was the Venice Yacht Club.  Seas were 2-4 feet, but calmed to 1-2 feet as we approached Venice Inlet from the Gulf. Winds were still northerly as they have been all week, but only 5-10 knots. Clear sky and temps in the upper 70s by the time of our afternoon arrival. We always enjoy a visit to Venice. Nice small town atmosphere, wine store, and a gelato shop. Also we usually run into members of Venice Yacht Club who are from Cincinnati. This is our last night of our trip as we depart on Saturday morning for the short hop of 24 miles to Longboat Key Marina, our home base.

November 11, 2010 South Seas Resort

After departing Naples Sailing and Yacht Club we stopped at Naples boat Club across the river for 200 gallons of diesel fuel to feed the thirsty diesels for the trip back north to Longboat Key. Fueling takes about 30-40 minutes for docking, fueling and paperwork, after which we departed at 10:00 AM to travel back down the Gordon River, to the Gulf of Mexico. Winds were predicted to be 10-15 knots out of the north east and seas 2-3 feet, not bad but right on our "nose".  Once reaching the Gulf,  Island Hopper accelerated to 18 knots for the trip north, 50 miles to Redfish Pass. We chose a different marina on Captiva Island this time, South Seas Resort. ( ) I first stayed there in the mid 80s when I owned a sailboat, which I berthed at Ft. Myers Beach. It has changed quite a lot over the years. It was hit hard in a hurricane Charlie in 2004 and was closed for a year to rebuild.  We enjoyed the night at South Seas,  including the great beach and sunset. The marina is very large but only a few vessels were enjoying the resort amenities, as it was a Thursday night.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

November 9,10- 2010 Naples Florida

Beautiful Home in Port Royal
The Crew Awaiting Lunch Our Favorite Activity, Biking
Heading up the Gordon River to Naples
Underway in the Gulf

The crew departed Captiva Island through the same pass, Redfish, and headed south 50 miles in the Gulf through Gordon Pass, the inlet for Naples. The seas were 1 foot and winds NE 10 knots, so we navigated a following sea. We entered the pass and headed up the Gordon River about 3 miles at slow speed to the Naples Sailing and Yacht Club.( ) We enjoyed bicycling around Naples seeing the beautiful homes in Port Royal, shopping, beaches, and of course restaurants.

Tuesday November 9, 2010

After a nice visit to Venice we departed for Tween Waters Resort on Captiva Island, just north of Sanibel Island. The winds have moderated, so Island Hopper headed out Venice Inlet for her 50 mile run in the Gulf of Mexico to Redfish Pass which separates North Captiva from Captiva Island. We departed at 10:00 AM and arrived at 1:30 PM after passing slowly through Redfish Pass, as the entrance channel continually shoals creating shallow spots. The crew enjoyed bicycling on Captiva Island, a great meal at the Old Captiva House and Crab races in the bar after dinner. Our champion crab racer, Eddie, struck out however as his crab failed to muster what was necessary for a win. Tween Waters is a very nice resort. You will note in the pictures above that the resort is gearing up for the holidays.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Back in Florida!!!

We arrived in Florida last week and welcomed Nancy and Dave Blum for a few nights as they were traveling to Sarasota for a wedding. We took Island Hopper out for the first time on a day trip for lunch to Sarasota Yacht club. Beautiful day in the 80's and clear sunny sky. Everything ran well.

Cruise to Boca Grande Interrupted

We welcomed Ed and Barb Daniel as our next guests to see our place on Tidy Island and then for a boat trip on Island Hopper. Ed and I are fraternity brothers from 40 years ago. After two days of sightseeing the area we loaded up Island Hopper for a trip south. We departed early on Sunday morning so we would arrive early afternoon at Boca Grande for a long bike ride. After an hour in the voyage I heard the Coast Guard on the ship's radio announce that the Boca Grande swing bridge was not able to open. A problem for us,  as we had to pass through it to get to the marina. So, after a few calls we booked a slip at the Crow's Nest in Venice, Fl.  It was very windy (15-20) knots with gusts to 25 from the north. Luckily it was at our back and the sky was sunny.
We will leave this AM on the outsid. (in the Gulf) even though the winds are still 15-20 as the bridge will not open until Monday night at the earliest. Our stop tonight is Tween Waters Resort on Captiva Island.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Naples to Longboat Key Moorings The crew of IH shoved off from Naples Sailing and Yacht Club at 0915 and proceeded to a nearby fuel dock for several hundred gallons of diesel fuel to feed the thirsty engines. Destination for the night Tween Waters Resort on Captiva Island. The weather radar showed thunderstorms approaching Naples so an early departure was in order after fueling. IH went out Gordon's Pass after 30 minutes at slow speed into the Gulf. Once clear of the Jettys, the Captain increased speed to 20 knots for the 55 mile trip. Arrival was by 1300 (1 PM). The crew enjoyed swimming and dinner at Captiva House. The next morning after a bike ride for the crew, Venice was the next destination. Out Redfish Pass into the Gulf and off IH flew again at 20 over 1-2 foot seas. Venice Yacht Club hosted the crew but the club was closed for dinner so nearby Crow's Nest was the choice, great fresh fish, right on Venice Inlet. After a relaxing evening the crew settled in awaiting their last leg back to Longboat Key Moorings Marina, the home base for IH. After 250 miles round trip to Naples it was nice to see the home port.
Thunderheads over Venice
Nothing like the wake of IH running 20 knots
The Deckhand awaiting the instructions from the Captain
Longbaot Key Moorings Marina, Homeport

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Naples, FL

Church at Ave Maria, FL Nice Pub for lunch near the church Main Street of the Planned Community of Ave Maria Founded by the owner of Dominos Pizza!

Only place I have seen these Lilly Pads is on the Amazon
Corkscrew Swamp Deep in the Swamp
Part of the two mile long boardwalk

The Captain and Admiral
A Thunderhead over Naples
Love these birds this one an Egret
A great day for a Pedicure
August 8, 2010
The IH crew spent 4 days and 3 nights in Naples, always a fun destination. Sister in Law Karen was a gracious hostess and tour guide. The crew enjoyed the Naples Botanical Garden, Corkscrew Swamp, owned by the Audubon Society, and the planned community of Ave Maria, Fl, .
The restaurants are also a highlight of visiting Naples, especially in the uncrowded off season. Just dodge thunderstorms not tourists! The crew bid farewell to Naples at 9:30 this morning after taking on fuel for the trip back to Longboat Key. The weather was predicted to be stormy especially in the afternoon so an early departure was in the cards. IH arrived at 1PM at Tween Waters Resort about 50 miles entirely run in the Gulf. Storms hit about 4 PM but the early arrival allowed the crew to relax at the resort, Kevin with a swim and Debbie with a pedicure. No bike ride today.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Captiva to Naples Sailing and Yacht Club

Thursday August 5, 2010
These are a few of the homes along the Gordon River in a neighborhood of Naples called Port Royal. It is a journey of about 5 miles up the Gordon River from Gordon Pass to the NSYC.
The Naples Sailing and Yacht Club
An early alarm for the Captain as he had some real work to do before departing. He also checked the weather as the run today from Tween Waters on Captiva to Naples required a 55 mile run in the Gulf, no intracoastal waterway (ICW) for protection. forecast was for SE winds at 5-10, seas 1-2 feet, a great forecast. IH departed the dock at 0915 and proceeded to Redfish Pass, the nearest outlet to the Gulf. IH increased speed to 20 for the run in the Gulf. Seas however were 2-3 feet and the wind was 15 from the SE gusting to 20. Whitecaps were common. No problem for IH though as she sped towards Gordon Pass the inlet to the Gordon River. Destination the Naples Sailing and Yacht Club on Naples Bay one of the first mate's favorite destinations. ( The Captain eased IH into the slip at 1245, after a lengthy slow speed zone on the river, with the aid of first mate Debbie and the Dockmaster Marilyn. After hosing off IH of the salt from the "ride" in the Gulf the crew relaxed in the pool. Happy hour soon!