CHAPTER 24            

NOVEMBER 2009  to  FEBRUARY  2010 



GEORGIA  (Intracoastal Waterway) ICW
We begin November in GA where the ICW is 138 miles of meandering waterway, mud flats, barrier islands, sounds, and inlets, with 6 to 9 foot tides.  This month we are travelling with Steve and Jean from “Suncat”.  Our first stop is “Thunderbolt Marina” (just outside Savannah) in GA, ICW Mile 583.  We all enjoyed GA shrimp at “Tuddy’s Tank House Restaurant”.  The following morning the marina delivered the newspaper and a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts (hot, fresh and free!) – how decadent!  Next day, we anchored at Doboy Island, Mile 651.

Entered Florida the following day, and stayed at “Fernandina Beach Marina” on Amelia Island, Mile 717.  Friends Tom and Gerry invited us over to a pot luck dinner at their yacht club.

CENTRAL FL – 2 week side trip on the ST JOHNS RIVER:
“Summertime” & “Suncat” cruised together on the St Johns River, starting in Mayport on Florida’s east coast, and continuing for 160 miles to Sanford in central FL.  It’s one of the few north flowing rivers in North America.  The St Johns River is a nature tour of central Florida featuring herons, ibis, bald eagles, turtles, sandhill cranes, ospreys, vultures, anhingas, moorhens, coots, kingfishers, roosters, peacocks, wild turkeys and lots of alligators.  It’s easy to see why the early Tarzan movies were filmed in central FL!
First stop was Jacksonville (see picture) tied up to the free wall at “The Landing” right in the middle of downtown.  We enjoyed “First Wednesday Art Walk” – food, drinks, crafts, entertainment and tours.  Next was Green Cove Springs, then Palatka where we visited “Ravine Gardens” & went to “Andersens” a real southern honky-tonk bar with a great band.  Next, we anchored in Murphy Creek and then Orange Point.  Next stop was the Blackwater Inn in Williams Landing (see picture) where we had to plow through water hyacinths at the dock!  We ended our first week by arriving in Sanford - great farmers market and “Alive After Five” – a street fair where for $7 we had live entertainment, wine, beer and all kinds of great food!  Also, visited our friends on “Puffin” (Mary brought Jean & I shopping) and “Sea Fox” (Milt gave us a terrific land tour of the area surrounding Sanford). 
During our second week, we cruised from Sanford back up the 160 miles of the St Johns River. Stopped in Blue Springs Park (saw lots of manatees swimming in the crystal clear spring), Silver Glen Springs (lots of turtles, eagles, and alligators), Georgetown Marina, “Corky Bell’s Restaurant” at Gator Landing, anchored in Deep Creek (spot lights on the shoreline at night revealed many pairs of red gator eyes staring back at us!), “Outback Crab Shack” in 6 Mile Creek, and ended up back “Lamb’s Marina” in Jacksonville.

In St Augustine, Mile 778, visited the fabulous “St Augustine Alligator Farm” (see picture) and had a lovely birthday dinner for me at “A1A Ale Works”.  Next few stops were “Seven Seas Marina” in Daytona/Port Orange, anchored in Addison Point, Mile 885 (lots of white and brown pelicans and lots of dolphins), then took a mooring in Vero Beach, Mile 952.

Crossing FL on OKEECHOBEE WATERWAY (150 miles, offers a chance to see ranches and farms of rural FL (see picture), there are 5 locks and 20 bridges)
First stop was “Sunset Bay Marina” in Stuart, then “Indiantown Marina” in Indiantown where we had a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner at the “Seminole Inn”.  Upstairs in the Inn, the walls are covered in wonderful murals (see picture) depicting the Seminole Indian history.  Next stop was a free dock in LaBelle.

Ft Myers Beach
- “Bonita Bills” is a fun pub where dogs roam freely in and out!  A great stop for fuel, Ballard’s Oil, is also here - we bought 200 gallons of diesel for $2.54 a gallon.  Next day we went to Cabbage Key, made famous by Jimmy Buffet’s “Hamburger in paradise”.
Dec 1 2009 – arrived at “Fishermens Village” in Punta Gorda where we stayed through end of Feb 2010.  We picked up our van from covered storage in Port Charlotte – nice to have our own wheels again for the 4 months we spend in FL.  It’s great to see old friends again (this is our 3rd year here), and enjoy happy hour on “B Dock” (see pictures).  In early December, Ray’s sister’s Kathy and Jane with husband Paul (see picture) came to visit us.  In mid December, Ray and & I flew to CT for an early Christmas celebration with my sister Carolyn & her husband Rick (see pictures), and got in daily visits with my Dad in the nursing home.  While in CT, the family was honored to attend a ceremony at the nursing home where my Dad was awarded the “CT Veterans Wartime Service Medal” (see picture) for his time served during WWII.  The following week, back in FL, Ray & I spent Christmas week with Jane & Paul (see picture), at their condo in St Petersburg. 
We spent New Year’s 2010 (see pictures) anchored in Pelican Bay off Cayo Costa, with Darwin and Jean on “Darwin’s Theory”, and a few other boats.  We feasted on great food and drink, played Mexican Train Dominos, and found terrific shells on the beach in Cayo Costa.  Also in January, we went to the play “Meet Me in St Louis” (loved it!) at the Charlotte Cultural Center, and went on many road trips exploring FL.  Also, friends from CT, Frank and Dave (see picture), came to visit.
In February, we visited “Edison & Ford Winter Estates”, and “Ringling Brothers Circus & Art Museum” in Ft Myers with friends from MA, Ray and Barbara (see picture).  In mid February, we drove to Tarpon Springs with Jane and Paul for some wonderful Greek food and atmosphere.  In late February, we drove to Stuart to visit friends Patty and Dave (see picture) at their condo.  We ended the month by dropping off our van in Marathon, so we’d have it during our month in the Keys - hoping for warmer weather there.  This has been a very cool winter in FL, mostly in the 60’s & 70’s.  Many fish, iguanas and manatees have died from the cold weather and cold water.

So far, we’ve travelled  12,881  miles aboard SUMMERTIME.
We look forward to hearing from friends and family – please keep the calls and emails coming