November 15-31 Cruising Log for S/V Freedom - a Gemini 105 - Jim and Deb Faughn

November 15 - What to do when it rains? Well, it didn't just rain, we had tornados just to the west and then again to the north. We were rocking and rolling even in the marina. the only thing I could think to do today was to EAT. Yes, we decided that after losing 10 pounds on this trip it was time to cook off and on all day. We started with breakfast and made up some potato biscuits along with scrambled eggs. We ended up putting salsa on the potato biscuits and they were very good.

Then the rain came. Actually, it was wind and rain. I hope you can see from the picture the rain is sideways and there is quite a bit of it. There were things blowing around the marina and the monohulls were really rocking. Our Gemini 105 was wonderful, we were rocking but not rolling. Because of the two hulls we didn't roll side to side although we were riding the swells up and down as were all the other boats. If I haven't said it before now, we love this boat. We still believe we have made the right choice based on the amount of money we had to spend and our desire to enjoy life today.

After more of the rain, it was time for lunch. I sat down last night and pictured in my head what I would like to make from some mahi mahi we had in the freezer. I ended up dreaming up a Fish Casserole which was a rice dish with the mahi mahi covered in a bit of cheese. In the end, I broiled it so we could get some color to the cheese. This was a definite remake and we will have it again sometime when it is cold and we need to use the oven to heat up the boat.

Dinner? I'm glad you asked. Looks like tonight is Pizza night. Of course, you've seen that one before.

Well just in case you wondered what the wind gusts were today, I took this picture from the news on TV and if you look closely it says that we had 70 mph gusts today. Overall, I am pretty happy with our decision to stay at a marina even though we are tired of spending money and ready to go.

Tomorrow the front is gone but they expect 20-25 knot winds from the west. We will cross Pensacola Bay and then we should be able to sail quickly with following winds and seas. We will probably put in a reef or even two in the sail but we will see tomorrow. The high will only be 61 degrees but who cares. We will be sailing most of the way tomorrow which is great. We will probably stop around Destin for the evening and then on to Panama City. Don't you just love cruising!


 November 16 & 17  - We left Thursday morning with a bit of wind left over from yesterday. As soon as we cleared the marina, I raised the sails and we sailed most of the rest of the day. In retrospect, I should have started with a reef in the mainsail and ended up putting one in when the wind built quickly. We were going about 60 degrees into the wind and the wind was at 20-25 knots. Then it built to 35 knots before we turned the corner to go east. This was good because the wind was out of the west. We sailed until about 12:30 when we started motor sailing when the winds became more variable and lost their strength. We pulled into Ft Walton Beach and decided to stop. We remembered there was a free, yes free, pier there and it isn't in our cruising book. However, when we were getting ready to go by, it was obvious it had been replaced. So we stopped, since the wind was supposed to be out of the north and build during the night. We were protected and could walk some. We ended up at the Publix store for a couple of items we needed (groceries.) What we found was they had their annual Thanksgiving promotion on the food you can get if you buy Thanksgiving dinner from them. Well, cruisers are cruisers so we had to try it all. In the end we had an entire Thanksgiving dinner before we left the store. Too bad we couldn't pick one up for two next week too. We ended up buying more than we went for so, I guess it evened out some. Walking back we saw a small theater and they happened to be playing Pirates of the Caribbean so of course we had to come back to watch. Admission was 3 bucks each and we also ordered a bit of wine which they served at our table.

Friday morning I was trying to let Deb sleep in and get out at 6:30 am. I got everything ready and started backing out when we stopped. I knew immediately it was the rudder dragging (it was low tide) although, when we came it the depth finder said we had 4 feet of water and we shouldn't have been dragging. No problem right, we have a Gemini. All I have to do is pull up the rudders. Well that worked fine on the port side but when it came to the starboard, it was stuck. I pulled and pulled and then tried to loop the rudder with a line to pull it up. In the end, I put on my half wet suit along with sandals and went for a swim. 66 degree water and 40 degree air. I pulled it up and after drying off and changing we were off. Deb went back to bed for another hour and a half while I watched Destin pass us by. We motor sailed again today picking up a bit of speed until we got to the Choctawhatchee Bay cut to Panama City's West Bay. I ultimately pulled the sail down while Deb steered. This is a narrow waterway but it is very beautiful.

By the way, to the right you can see where we are leaving the Choctawhatchee Bay.


This is the entrance to the cut which was built just so Deb and I could use it on this trip. Well, others get to use it too but it is nice to see where our tax dollars are going.

I have to tell you that Deb was saying "No not the Tenn-Tom." We had 17 miles of the cut and it was actually beautiful. The marsh lands were actually pretty cool. We are ready to move off-shore but this was worth the trip through it to see the landscape.

Does anyone need a boat cheap? This one is available.

We've seen quite a few boats that are still washed ashore from a hurricane. I just wonder how they aren't held liable for their boats? I guess they set up a corporation for the ownership with no other resources but I mean, how is that right? I would think the owners should be responsible rather than you and me in the end.

You can see that we have also encountered more dolphins and it was shrimp night. These were excellent shrimp that we picked up in Pensacola plus I made a cocktail sauce for it from the ingredients on-board.


November 18th - Today we got up and cleaned up the boat as usual and then we were off to meet new friends. We really didn't know if they were serial killers or if they were a bunch of fun loving cruisers but I'm a little ahead of the story. Several months ago I had put an email out to the Gemini list serve that we would be going cruising and included a sketch of our plans. It was soon after that Larry contacted me saying he kept his Gemini in Panama City and if it worked out for both of our schedules, we might try to get together. Well, Larry and his wife Susan kept up with our travels via our website and soon they had given it to several of their friends. As it ended up, there was a space available where Larry kept his boat on a small dock run by a friend of his named Mike. So they invited us to stay at the dock when we arrived. Now this is where the decision comes in to play - Are they serial killers or fun loving cruisers?

We tied up to the end of the dock and met Larry, Susan, Mike and Cheryl who were there to greet us. We hit if off pretty quickly as fellow boat owners and of course began comparing differences in our boats to start with. (Larry and Susan have the Gemini 105 at the right end of the dock named Destiny.) Then they were very generous to take us out to lunch at Bayou Joe's and of course off to the obligatory Walmart run, Home Depot and West Marine to name a few. On our return we stopped by the City Dock and met some more of their friends who were immediately invited to have dinner that night with us. We first met at our dock for a little happy hour and gave some boat tours. Roger gave me some great tips on the crossing and then it was off to a great restaurant in town. Which gets us to the part where we confirmed we were really with a bunch of fun loving cruisers. Talk over dinner was of sailing, Latitudes and Attitudes Magazine and if everyone was going to Mikes hot tub later. We had a pretty good group as you can see below.
Mike and Cheryl Burton
Janet Knapp with Roger Sanders
Roger and Judy Sanders
Larry and Susan Beck

Of course you know us - Jim and Deb Faughn - I actually had some people email and say they didn't see enough pictures of us on our site. I thought we would put in this picture Mike took so everyone can see we are alive, well and starting to get a tan.

It turned out that today was also Larry's birthday. What a cool night. Mike arranged for the waiter to bring out some cake for him and of course everyone sang.

Happy Birthday Larry.

We had a great evening and even went over for some time in the hot tub. Who knows what tomorrow will bring but so far, meeting other cruisers has been a great experience.

Right now it looks like another front is on the way so we will probably be making our crossing from Apalachicola to Tarpon Springs starting the morning of Thanksgiving day and ending sometime between noon and 2 or 3 on Friday. This is about 150 miles and should take somewhere around 30 hours if we average 5 knots. We will probably do it quicker but I would like to sail for most of it if possible and the winds are supposed to be less than 15 knots if you believe the long range forecast. We will see about a real plan as we get further into the week.  November 20 - We decided to stay in Panama City another night so we were out all day with Mike running around. We had a great lunch on the beach and found out the entire complexion of Panama City Beach has changed. It is now a sea of condos that ensure you can't see the beach from the road. I guess that is progress to some. We had a great lunch at one of the last beach restaurants still open this time of year. Throughout the day, Mike has been teaching me more and more about fishing in salt water. On Sunday night he even opened up his closet and fixed me up with the right hooks, leader, sinkers and some other tackle just so we would have the right items before we left. Like I said before, the generosity and kindness of these new friends to what were strangers is amazing. By the way, we even picked Deb up a pair of thermal underwear so she will be warm on the crossing. Email her and ask her about the design. She will kill me. Hint - They didn't have women's and men's were too big.

 We all went out to dinner and pictured to the left is Emily LaPlante along with her son (plus Erik's) Andrew, Cheryl, Deb and I, plus Mike.

This was a great dinner at Charlie Coram's Place. This restaurant is a locally owned, honest place to eat. The food is very good and and priced so anyone can go out to eat. Monday was catfish night (he picks it up fresh on Monday morning) and that is what Deb had while the rest of us had hamburgers and cheeseburgers. I had to make sure I had something I won't get on the boat. Cheeseburger and Fries. During the conversation, we reviewed our previous statement of not knowing if we were meeting "serial killers" and the funny thing was, Emily had warned Mike and Cheryl of the same thing. I guess the joke was on us too.

 After dinner we were returned back to the boat to get ready to leave on Tuesday morning. Across from the boat, somebody is already trying to win the Christmas decoration contest. I hope there is a contest based on all of the decorations that are up.  
Finally, we turned on our new "fireplace" (DynaGlo propane heater) to warm up the boat since it was going to be down to 30 tonight. We picked this up at Home Depot and it is great. No noise and it puts out quite a bit of heat. We can turn it on during the evening to warm up the boat, turn it off to sleep and turn it back on in the morning. It will raise the temperature in the boat by 15 degrees in about 20 minutes. Pretty cool or should I say warm and Deb is happy. Hopefully we won't need it much in another week or so. 

November 22 - We left our new friends yesterday at 11 am. We decided we would make it two easy days so ultimately we anchored after only 2 1/2 hours off of Allanton. The area was real exposed and we rocked and rolled all night. It really didn't matter though, Deb slept in and I made a breakfast casserole which I baked underway. It helped warm up the boat along with our new "fireplace." We were able to raise the boat temperature from 51 degrees to 70 degrees in about 40 minutes. Overall, the "fireplace" has proved it's worth. We motored through the canal to Apalachicola which was pretty uneventful but the landscape is pretty as you move through the marshes. We saw the docks at White City that Skip told us about and ended up we probably could have made them yesterday but it would have been pretty close on light. We may use them next time. We arrived in Apalachicola at about 2:30 and pulled into Miller Marine. This is a very small place but they had a slip open so we took it. We took on fuel, filled up both tanks, and then pulled around and got situated into the slip. Then we were off walking the town. We probably walked 2-3 miles looking in shops and to a couple more marinas looking for a better cruising guide. None to be found. We went to a happy hour next to the boat and then back down to take showers.

It looks like the crossing will be uneventful. Seas are forecast for 3-5 foot laying down to 2-3 foot on Friday. Winds will be a bit lighter than I would like but that will pay off in a first easy crossing on our boat. The payoff will be Deb will find it really isn't a big deal if we pick the weather right. I don't know how it could be much better than what is forecast.

We wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving and we will be giving thanks while we are on open sea. We have quite a bit to be thankful for, family, old friends, new friends, each other and of course the opportunity to live our dream. We have been blessed and we will be thankful for that too. You probably won't get another update until Friday night or Saturday morning. It depends on how much I actually sleep on the trip.

November 25 - Our crossing was good but..... We left at 7:25 am on Thanksgiving morning and made our way under the bridge at Apalachicola. We followed a string of trawlers that all turned left to go to a Thanksgiving celebration over at Carrabelle. It appeared there was only one other boat going through the cut. The boat going out was a Russian sailboat we saw over at Panama City when we were there. It was a cool boat and I wish I would have taken a picture for the site. It looked like an antique and it had a cross it was carrying on the foredeck. We passed them before we left the channel. The picture to the right is looking back at Apalachicola and the boat I mentioned is in the picture.

After crossing the bay, we were ready to pass through Government Cut which was cut through the island so you can get to sea. The picture at lower left is a picture of the cut. As we left the cut, we were met by dolphins. There were a bunch of them out feeding so I thought it was time to get the fishing poles ready.

We were out of the cut by 8:15 and were sailing by 8:35 am. At this point the seas and wind were exactly what I had hoped for. The winds were perfect and the seas were low so it appeared it would be a great trip. We saw the Russian sailboat come out of the cut and set sail but never saw them again on the trip. As a matter of fact, we never saw anyone on the entire trip. I guess that is because it was Thanksgiving or another reason may be that it is a big ocean out there.

The wind was running between 10-15 knots and we continued to sail all morning.

About 9:30 we had a fish on. We caught this one on a jig we were trolling and it is a bonita. You get mixed reviews on if bonita is good to eat however the majority is no. This one went back into the ocean.

We continued to sail until about noon when the wind started dropping and I started the diesel so we could motor sail. I was running the engine at about 1800 rpm and we were making 5.5 knots. We could have gone faster but we wanted to arrive at Tarpon Springs in the daylight.

I have always been prone to getting seasick and we were hoping that with the exposure to the waves so far, I would be ok. However, that wasn't to be the case. We've sailed in much higher wave conditions and it didn't bother me, however, this time we had the sea swells coming from the rear of the boat but the waves from the wind were coming from the side. It made our boat rock and roll even though the waves were only 3-4 foot. Well I let go of my breakfast and felt quite a bit better. I ended up laying down for awhile in the cabin. I went back on watch and ate half a sandwich and was feeling ok. Later in the afternoon, Deb took watch again and I layed down again when she called and said "Fish On."

We caught a King Mackerel and then drug it behind the boat by the tail to kill it. The fish measured 39 inches long and was a pretty nice fish as you can see to the left. Well I was still doing pretty good up to the point where I I cleaned the fish. I was looking down and filleting the darn thing when I decided it was time to get rid of that sandwich I had for lunch. Well enough of cleaning the fish. Deb got a plastic bag and we wrapped it up to put in our Engel to clean when we got to land. I laid down for awhile and then went back out to take down the sails because the wind was down to 5 knots.
Out plan had been for Deb to take watch from 6 pm until midnight so as the sun set she got ready for her watch.

We agreed before the trip that anytime we were on watch at night alone we would harness ourselves in. As you can see on Deb, she has her inflatable life jacket with the rings on along with her harness. I have two harnesses that I attach to the cleat under the winch on each side. In addition, I run a jackline from the port bow back around the mast and then continue it to the starboard stern cleat of the boat. This way if I need to go on deck I will be harnessed in the entire time. We also have a deal that if I do have to go on deck at night then I will wake her up first.

The purpose of all of this is that it makes us sleep better if we know that the other one won't fall overboard during the night. That would ruin your day!

Deb took the watch from 6pm to midnight while I napped off and on inside. About 10 pm I put out some of the gib because the wind was back up to 10 knots. (It was supposed to die out and seas get to 2-3 feet) The winds were also shifting to the east. I went on watch at midnight and remained on watch for the rest of the trip. I put out the rest of the gib and ran the motor at about 1800 rpm so we would only run about 5.5 knots. At about 4 am the wind died back down and had shifted further to our bow so I pulled the gib back in and we motored the rest of the way. We had a great sunrise.

It was interesting during the night, the stars were everywhere. I remembered this from a previous crossing but it was beautiful. I kept singing in my head, "When you see the Southern Cross for the first time, you know why you came this way." Making crossings was one of the things I was looking forward to on our cruise. It is just beautiful at sea and you have to be out there to actually see it. .

We were entering at Anclote Key and started avoiding the floats for the crab traps at about 8 am. We made our way to the marked channel north of the Key and were behind the Key at 10:30 am. We were planning on anchoring in a anchorage where the power plant takes in water which is also off of a park. When we started heading for the Tarpon Springs channel, we received a cell signal and we had messages. One of them was from the people we met on the way down the Tenn-Tom waterway , you may remember Prancer from our earlier logs. When I called their cell phone, Dave told me they had a place for us to tie up. Our plans as cruisers are more like guidelines anymore so we motored to the very back of the Anclote River which goes to Tarpon Springs. We were able to raft up with Dave and his brother Ned who also built his own boat.

We will be able to wash our clothes, clean the salt from the boat and of course, as you can see to the left, filet that fish. We are looking forward to seeing the sponge docks and riding our bikes around the area.

By the way, we ate quite a bit of the fish Friday night with our friends down here and still had enough for five more meals.

 November 28 - We rode our bikes all around Tarpon Springs on Sunday, sat around the campfire and then departed for Clearwater Florida on Monday. We motored out of Tarpon Springs and were planning on going offshore for the trip to Clearwater. However, when we got through the channel going out of Tarpon Springs, there was a fog bank that was just at the intercoastal waterway so we had to stay on the inside. We sailed for part of the morning at 3 knots since we had lots of time and ultimately took the sails down and motored through the bascule bridge and then through Clearwater Bay to our anchorage off of Clearwater Beach. We will stay here until Wednesday and then we are deciding about making a jump down below Tampa. We will have to read the guides first and then decide. We are looking forward to getting to Cabbage Key, Sanibel and Fort Myers Beach where it of course will be warmer still. However, we really can't complain. We were in shorts yesterday with a high of 80 and didn't run the heat last night. It is supposed to be in the 80's all week. Sorry to you in St Louis, I heard it was going to get cold up there.

To the right is a picture that Mike took of us leaving Panama City. He was on the bridge that opened for us and we have pictures of him taking pictures of us taking pictures of him. In the background you can barely see the building where Cheryl works. She was on the balcony waving bye to us. I think the experience was great for all of us.


I said that we had a call from Prancer when we were coming into Tarpon. This was really cool because we were able to raft up with them at the boatyard where his brother Ned has worked for years. In the picture, inside out, you see Prancer, Rainbows End and our boat Freedom. The interesting thing here is that Prancer was built by Dave and Rainbows End was built by Ned. Two guys with lots of talent and perseverance.

The other cool thing was this was a real boat yard and they didn't just build boats, they built BIG boats.

The company's name was Duckworth Steel Boats and they have built lots of big steel boats in their history. There is a picture of one of their boats in a hurricane in the office and Ned told me the Captain said he wouldn't want to be in a hurricane unless he was on a Duckworth boat. I would say they must have a reputation for quality. Based on what I saw, I would say it is well deserved.
This is the boat Pursuit. They built this totally from scratch. That means they started by cutting out the keel, laying it up so the remainder of the boat can be built upwards. Ned used to to the layout for the keels along with many of the other parts. I was fortunate to be able to tour this boat with Ned. It is huge. The boat was designed for fishing for scallops. They drag for them and once on deck they must be processed. They are cleaned, packaged and fast frozen right on the boat. To say we now have fresh seafood is right. You can just see the freezer section on the rear of the boat. It is the white part that is sticking up. The remainder of the boat is purpose built. Cranes are installed, winches and of course lots of power to run the entire thing while they fill the freezers. The crew quarters is nice with a good kitchen, eating area and places for them to sleep. Overall, a very high quality boat with everything from the steel to the cabinets made right at the boat yard.

Inside, there are two Cat engines. One of them is to propel the ship and the other is a generator to run all of the electric needs on the boat. Much of the control is done with hydraulics and that all has to be piped along with the pilot systems to operate the valves.

To the right you can see the propeller and rudder. I think the rudder weighed about as much as my boat does. The propeller is surrounded by a shroud which according to my airplane experience increases the efficiency of the propeller.

I thought you might like to see the other ship they were building and see what it looked like under the skin. You can see all of the frames which then get skinned and together they make up a very strong structure which becomes a very safe vessel. You can probably see the steel collar where the prop shaft runs in at the center of the picture.
The Pursuit is almost ready to be launched and they are in the process of readying it to lower onto the skids. The boat is still several months away from finishing but you have to get it out of the yard and onto it's bottom so you can start another boat. Sometime this week they will finish waxing the rails, lower the boat completely onto to the track and of course they will have two steel plates welded on each side to hold it into place. When the high tide comes in, they will cut the plates and off she will go sliding down for the launch. There isn't any stopping it once it starts so you have to be sure all is ready.
On Sunday we took our bikes and rode all around Tarpon Springs. We also visited the sponge docks. Years ago, the Greeks were the experts on harvesting sponges. They heard there were good sponges in the Gulf off of Tarpon Springs so they came over and settled in Tarpon Springs. Today you can get an education on sponges, buy any kind of Greek food you might be interested in and of course lots of other souvenirs too. Today, they use scuba equipment and harvest the sponges. There are many different varieties and each has a different value. Once they bring the sponges on board the boat, they must clean the membranes from the sponge and ultimately the sponges will be washed and then cut for sale. After getting educated on sponges, we purchased a wool sponge for our showers. It really is a soft sponge and works very nicely. Not a bad souvenir for 8 bucks.

As we were motoring through Clearwater Bay we heard Hearts Desire calling the bridge tender of the bridge we had just passed through. They were traveling with HayRide and once they passed the bridge I gave HayRide a call. I let them know we would be staying at Clearwater Beach at an anchorage and they didn't know where they were staying yet. Ended up we were all going to the same place. We took on fuel and they arrived as we were moving to the anchorage. We put our dingy together and had a short visit with them and were off to the beach. We had a good walk, found a good happy hour and then back to the boat where I made a fish casserole for dinner.

Today we are off to the marine aquarium for part of the day and then we will probably get together with the others from Kentucky Lake and possibly go out for dinner. Tomorrow we are off to our next place we just don't know where that is yet. It really doesn't matter and if we get lost, to borrow a phrase from Captain Ron, we'll just pull over and ask directions.

 November 29 - Today we left the Clearwater anchorage at 7:05 am. We motored out and through the pass so we could go offshore to Tampa. But before we get to that trip, lets go over what we did in Clearwater.

Yesterday we went to the Clearwater Municipal Aquarium. This isn't a place for shows, rather, it is a place where they rescue sea turtles and dolphins and work to be able to release them back to the wild. They have a treatment facility downstairs which was off limits to us. They will go out when the sea turtles are laying their eggs and baby sit them so they can ensure predators don't have as good a chance to get the baby's. Some of the turtles they rescue aren't able to be returned to the wild. We say one that had been dropped and wasn't able to go underwater, another without a flipper and another that had been hit by a prop. they will keep them at the aquarium for the rest of their lives.


 As you can see on the left, they are currently treating a sea turtle. They have a syringe inserted and are pumping it. I'm not sure why but I am sure they know why. It was impressive that they all took their jobs seriously including all of the volunteers.

Below you see a cute dolphin. This little guy had quite a personality and was talking to Deb through a window. What you didn't see at the beginning was the fact that he didn't have a tail. Nope no tail. This little guy had been caught in an abandoned crab trap and rescued by the aquarium. They were able to save his life and I have to say he is pretty happy talking to the people and the trainers. What they are worried about is that he is swimming side to side like a fish rather than up and down like a dolphin. They are working with people to try to figure out how to fit a prosthetic tail so he will learn to swim like a dolphin and not hurt his back.

I felt like this was a cool project but I'm to ignorant to help in this one. More than likely another project will surface.


 They also had a stingray pool and this one was eating away. I'm sure they have lots of PR to do now that there has been a death and another person injured by stingrays.



 Of course there is always the dolphin show. This show was different. All of these dolphins have been injured and some very seriously. So if you were thinking Disney, think again. Regardless, the blur in the middle is a dolphin in mid air doing some aerobatics. This was the only time in the show one jumped in the air.

As you can see below, they had taught the dolphins to beach themselves so they can treat them. The one in the photo had a back injury that was treated with beta dine and then an antibiotic.

The other picture shows where a shark bit out part of the tail which has caused this guy to hang around the aquarium for the rest of his life too.


 Well there is a pretty good picture. This guy was happy and loved the interaction with the trainer. I think they like the applause too.



This is one of the dolphins making a sideways pass while splashing the audience. I think this is actually a means for the dolphin to excerpt lots of pressure on the tail to get a workout. However, it was a pretty good show too.

Overall the people here are to be acknowledged for their work to save the sea turtles and dolphins. Hopefully they will continue to receive the support necessary to continue their mission.

Well, back to the trip today. Once we were out of the pass, we put up all of the sails and were able to sail in 10 & 11 knot winds at 4.5 and 5 knots. We were fairly close hauled and we had a great trip without engine noise. We sailed from about 7:40 until 11:30 and then made the Tampa Channel. As you can see to the right, there were other boats in the channel too. By the way, the little boat behind the big boat is the boat to return the Pilot back to shore. When a boat comes in to Tampa this big, it is required that they take on a local Pilot to ensure they don't hit the bridge or run aground. Yes, someone hit the bridge before.

Once we were in Tampa Bay, we could see the bridge. This was the best picture we could get because there were some rain showers in the area. We anchored in Manatee River off of De Soto National Park. Tomorrow, we will dingy in again so we can see the movie and walk the trails in the park.

Friday it looks like we will be docking at another person's dock. My friend Steve Bennett called Ed Sterba - propeller maker - and a person we met on a trip down to sail to Key West in 99. Ends up there may be space at his neighbors dock so we may be there tomorrow night so we can bike in for groceries. Saturday I think we are off to Longboat Key and then Sunday Sarasota. Monday our mail should be at the post office in Sarasota.

More about our future later because we never know when the plans will change. Flexibility is the mark of cruising and I think life so we continue to keep all options open.

 November 30 - We went into shore this morning to the De Soto National Park and looked at the exhibits along with viewing the movie. Hernando de Soto was an interesting character. He was previously successful on an exploration and returned with evidently a great deal of wealth. After a number of years he got board so he built three more ships and under the deal with Spain he was to explore, exploit, and colonize Florida. Well he was also to take christianity to the area too. Ends up he marched around killing and taking Indians as slaves but found no gold, didn't create a single colony and of course no spreading of christianity. Sounded like a bully to me with his eye only on the gold which he never found. We "marched" or should I say walked around the paths and then dingyed back to the boat where we fished some and had lunch.  

 It was hot so we ended up just in swimsuits and listened to the weather. Steve had emailed me from Omaha it was 11 that morning and Tom had called from Cape with news that Winter was coming. Later that day my Aunt Sandy called with news both Deb and my old colleges were closing for weather. Julie emailed me a picture along with a message of - you think you were cold, or something like that and we received another email from Pat and John about the weather. Well I have to say, sorry folks. Weather here is still pretty good, highs will be 80 again today. However, there is a change afoot and it looks like it will be down to 50 as a low later in the week with highs in the low 70's. Uh oh, breakout the jeans again. Seriously, I hope everyone is safe driving up north in the ice and snow. We are thinking of you.

At about 2:15 we called and Ed was home and the invitation to stay at a dock was still open. So off we went. It took a little under 2 hours to arrive in the canal where he described. We docked, invited Ed aboard and then spent the next half hour getting to know about each other. There is always something people have in common and when you start with sailing and airplanes, other things will follow. Ed is a great person too. We went out to dinner at a pier overlooking the bay with some good honest food. Overall it was a great night.

Tomorrow we will be doing a little washing of clothes and the boat followed by filling our water tanks. We should see Ed again before we leave for Longboat Key. That trip is only two hours through a couple of briges that have to raise for us so no big hurry. The next log will be the December one so there is a new log coming up. By the way, I've received a number of emails from the KR group and have truly appreciated them. We have fun keeping in touch and it means a great deal to receive the words of encouragement. Thanks for the emails I responded to them all and hope everyone received them.

In addition, I looked at the calendar today and I will no longer be an employee as of about 9 am Friday. I really enjoyed what I did at the College when I was able to make a difference. This life is different and a dream we are now able to also accomplish. We are actually starting to think about how we can use our experiences to make a difference as we go. Perhaps there is a volunteer project in our future. Who knows. Regardless the life is interesting meeting people, learning and experiencing what life has to offer.

Web Page by Jim Faughn