6 Feb 2015: Caloosahatche River - Lake Okeechobee - St Lucie Canal

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Crossing the center of the Florida state presents an interesting opportunity to experience a variety of bridges and locks.

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This journey is best done in good weather and calm waters when you can mosey along and enjoy the countryside and all the onlookers who love watching the process. Many of the bridges are old school and slowly hand cranked. Railroad bridges, lift, swing and fixed bridges. Some of the bridge masters have their work cut out for them with aging equipment and nature's ever changing weather. Each lock also has its own personality. Five opportunities to test one's skill. The lock masters are generally a kind and helpful club. The spectators challenge the boaters to do their best work. Be it bridge or lock, the conditions of both air and water require special attention. Each pass through is one's first pass through with these changing elements and we never take it for granted that we are experienced. Always diligent!

 

 
 

Its Been awhile but we have been having fun!!

Good afternoon everyone.  The past several months have been one crazy whirlwind tour that included areas of the Chesapeake Bay all the way back down to the Florida Keys.  They say pictures are worth a 1k words, lets hope this will help show you the great time we have been having.

Over the next several weeks will try to post some updates about what we have been up to.  Lets just say this, as the weather is getting cold and wintery up in the north it is nice and sunny here in the Florida.

 

6 May 2015: Three Night Stay at Key West

May 3, 2015 to May 6, 2015

Start: Key West Florida Mooring Cove
Finish: Key West Florida, Key West Marina

As we prepared to leave our mooring ball the winds are still gusting to the high 20 knot range, it was another gorgeous day, in the mid 80's with a strong sea breeze.  We are glad we made the decisions to spend extra time checking out Key West, as there are so many things to see!

Key West reminds us of Nantucket, lots of actives; snorkeling and diving, fun shops, too many restaurants to count, as well as lots of  interesting history.  We took a 3 hour tour, and, also we bought tickets to stop at the Earnest Hemingway and the summer White House used by Harry S. Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy and Bill Clinton.  John Kennedy met the prime minister of Great Britain there just 22 days before the Bay of Pigs. Colin Powell used it to negotiate with foreign governments.  The tours were great and we can't wait to share with our charter clients. 

We spent the next day walking Key West with its many shops.  We also took a walk to the Key West Light House and the Marker noting it is only 90 miles to Cuba.

The weather treated us well the next day so we could go to Ft. Jefferson and the Dry Torgugas!

9 May 2015: Key West to Dry Tortugas

May 6, 2015 to May 9, 2015

Start: Key West Florida, Key West Marina
Finish: Ft. Jefferson, Dry Tortugas National Park

As we headed out of Key West we had calm winds and a beautiful sky. About 15 miles out was the  Marquesas key, a small group of uninhibited  islands with a perfect cove for anchoring for a day or two. We will stop on our next trip to break up the trip to Ft. Jefferson, for a swim and dinner.  But for this trip we wanted to get out of the national park.

We arrived at Ft. Jefferson around 5 PM and anchored on the south side of the fort.  There were about 5 other boats already anchored, but plenty of space for us.

Ft. Jefferson is everything we hoped it would be, the perfect place to snorkel, scuba, paddle board and kayak.  The water is an azure blue and clear to the bottom!  

We will be coming back many times and look forward to sharing this great national park.  The fee is 5.00 per person for a 7 day pass and we think it's completely worth this nominal fee.  There are two islands you can dingy or take the Grampstr's Pride into.  Each island has it's own separate light house and white uninhabited beaches.

This is definitely one place to make sure you bring your Go Pro camera or under water camera to gey the fantastic pictures of the tropical fish, marine wild life, and Ft. Jefferson.  There is so much  history at the Fort, which was built in 1822 on a sandy island.  Did you knoe over 3 million bricks were used to build the fort, almost all where shipped from New York? You learn something knew every day.

The seas were calm all 3 nights and with no light pollution the sky was an incredible canvas of stars.  There is no cell or Internet service for over 75 miles.  However, the Grampstr's Pride has the latest in world wide communication system if you need to make that call. The Grampstr's has redundant systems with global tracking and EPRB, in case of an emergency.

The state of the art equipment on the Grampstr's Pride ensures clients have a safe and pleasant stay wherever they choose to embark.  Our seasoned captains are eager to help you plan your charter with GEC Charters.  We hope you contact us.

1 May 2015: John Pennekamp State Park to Marathon Yacht Club

April 30, 2015 thru May 2, 2015

Start: John Pennekamp State Park
Finish: Marathon Yacht Club

It was a beautiful sun filled morning, temperatures in the high 80's but a stiff wind coming out of the North, as we left our lovely cove at the John Pennekamp State Park and head for Marathon Yacht Club. 

The Marathon Yacht Club is small with only 30 slips, but they had a perfect place to dock our 48 Endeavour Trawler Cat.  The club was established in 1948.  What is fascinating about each club is they usually have a picture of the Commodore of the club for each year.  The Commodore is like the president of an organization with a one year term.  There is a lot of pride in the club with several activities going on each weekend. Our arrival was after a fishing tournament, where they serve the fish that are caught!  Unfortunately not enough was caught but the chief had gone out a purchased Hog Fish, local fish caught in the keys and Gulf of Mexico.  It was outstanding!

That night the winds were still very strong and we decided to lay over another day and provision as it appeared we still had a shot to get to our ultimate stop the Dry Tortugas. We took a 5 minute cab ride to town for groceries

On Friday evening May 1, we got to witness the "Lowering of the colors ceremony".  The first Friday of each month the officers of the club lower the American Flag at sun set as they play the National Anthem and Kate Smith's version of God Bless America.  At the end they fire a canon...  It was really cool!  This will be the last time for the service until the renovations are completed and a new Swimming Pool is constructed.  

On another note we learned at each of our Yacht Club stops, the club is making major infrastructure investments, either in new docks, swimming pools or other club facilities!  That says boating is alive and well and there is no better time to be on the water cruising! We are hoping you will join us for a charter with GEC Charters.