Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Brenda and I were dinghy cruising today and saw this 600 h.p. pontoon boat. Seriously, who needs 600 h.p. on a 25' pontoon boat? That is like putting a 5.7L V-8 in a Smart Car. Gee, do you think he is compensating? There is a boat salesperson out there who is just laughing his butt off. "Of course you need two $30,000 outboards on this little pontoon boat sir."


Friday, March 25, 2016

Why Are We Still In Clearwater?

Goat at Don's Marine Salvage

Yes, we are still in a slip at Clearwater Beach Marina. "Why?" you ask. Well let us show you why.

We've met some awesome cruisers who enjoy life and are a ball to be around. We've had walks on the beach, dinners aboard each other's boats, happy hours, dinghy rides, fishing, bus rides and cocktails on the pier together. It makes it so much more fun to share this adventure with others.

Big Storm Brewery
Brewery tour

The Big Storm owner even bought our entire group their first round. We were the first group that the brewmaster had given a tour of their new brewery.

A long fun hike
Brenda and Stacey hiking toward Caladesi State Park
Seashell Trees
Don and Mike toasting Jim's birthday with Drambuie
A happy hour stop quickly became a pub crawl.
Fishing time

See, this place is a blast!


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Wood Spirit Carving

Our new friends Don and Gail (Island Tyme) had seen a few of Mike's carvings aboard Wrinkles and hatched the idea of finding some driftwood for Mike. They went for a bike ride and walk to the north tip of Clearwater Beach where they came across a 3 foot long stick that had some interesting knots and grains in it. Don strapped the stick to his bike and brought it back to our boat.

Mike cut a couple of 12 inch long sections from the stick and carved a simple dolphin in the knot on one piece. In the second piece Mike decided to make use of the interesting knots to create a rather different wood spirit. As you can see it turned out odd, quirky or maybe even a bit strange. Mike gave the wood spirit to Don and Gail as a good luck charm for their sailboat. They named him, "Woody the Drifter". It certainly is a one of a kind.

May that odd wood spirit bring them luck and safe adventures in their travels.


Thursday, March 17, 2016

A Dinghy Sort Of Day

The dinghy parade

Yesterday we joined three other couples for a ride in our dinghies. Don and Gail (Island Tyme), Lee and Eileen (Enchantress), James and Stacey (Glass Slipper) boarded their dinghies while we fired up The Ernie T for an afternoon of fun.

Don and Gail / James and Stacey

We putt-putted into the nearby canals and bays while enjoying sightseeing from the water. We had beautiful weather with plenty of warm sunshine. Eventually James and Stacey took the lead taking us out near the Clearwater Pass to a quiet sandy beach. What a perfect spot to beach our dinghies and eat a light picnic lunch with our toes in the sand.

Does it get any better than this?

Once everyone had wandered the beach and eaten their lunches we boarded our trusty little boats and headed out to find a cool drink. We thought we could dock behind Frenchy's building, but the dock master told us that the barnacles on their docks would tear up our rubber boats. Their loss, we had eight people ready to patronize their business, but I guess 8 foot boats aren't what they want their docks used for. Lee and Eileen took the lead and headed us across the bay to an alternate spot they knew about.

Lee and Eileen

Island Way turned out to be much more accommodating. The docks were empty and perfect for our little boats. The bartender even opened the bar 30 minutes early so we could belly up and order our much anticipated cool drinks. Don showed what a great sport he was by buying the first round when we reminded him the last boat to arrive was supposed to buy. (Don has a 15 hp outboard while the other three boats had 5,4 and 2.5 hp outboards.) Obviously he could have lapped us many times if he wished.

Yup, a dinghy sort of day indeed. Dang this is fun!



Tuesday, March 15, 2016

S.S. Sophie

S.S. Sophie

Here is a picture of the SS Sophie which docked near Wrinkles a couple of days ago. She is 76.4 feet long and weighs in at 85 tons. For all you lovers of beautiful classic boats this 1947 Trumpy should get your heart racing. She was meticulously maintained by her crew for owner Greta Van Susteren of Fox News fame.

This gorgeous yacht turned everyone's heads as she entered our marina. What a beauty.


Saturday, March 12, 2016

This Life Is Fun

Spring Breakers have arrived at Clearwater Beach. The change from last week to this is dramatic. The beach has gone from quiet to crowded and the average age has plummeted from 70 to 20. Obviously we could still pass for 20-something's, but we decided to find a less crowded area. We jumped on our bikes and pedaled over the Clearwater Pass Bridge to Sand Key. The view from the top of the bridge was extraordinary. The different shades of emerald made it very clear where the channels and shoals were.

Sand Key Beach has shells everywhere! It got hard to walk by the water's edge because there were so many. The sound as the waves came up over the shells was indescribable. We also saw various sponges (thanks to our trip to Tarpon Springs we could recognize them for what they were), a starfish and a sea snake skeleton. We hadn't really planned for a beach day, so we will have to return with our umbrella, towels and a bag for shells.

Upon our arrival back at the boat, the winds had settled and the back bay was smoothing out. Perfect for dinghy cruising! We tapped on the hull of Enchantress two boats down and asked if they wanted to join us. "Yes! Yes! Yes!" was Eileen's response. So off we putted. We explored some of the nearby channels and marveled at some of the houses. We even saw a turtle floating along. Later we cruised under the bridge to explore a little bit of Mandalay Channel. Lee and Eileen were like teenagers on a great date grinning non-stop.

Lee and Eileen
The Ernie T

Tomorrow we might need to stay out of the sun. Shoulders and noses were a little red by the end of the day, but it was worth it. We are using SPF 50 and wearing hats, but this Florida sun packs a whollop. Mike did it again, he took me to someplace beautiful!


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Dunedin, Florida

Last Friday was our day to do Dunedin, so we hopped on the Jolley Trolley that took us to the bus station. From there we took the bus to Dunedin. See how good we are getting at public transportation! The bus dropped us off right by the Farmer's Market where we found good coffee and good smells. There were a few jewelery stands, but mostly fresh produce.

Cap'n Bob

Next stop was the Dunedin Marina. This is where Mike and Jim picked up our original Wrinkles. While they were there they had chatted with Bob Lamb, a fellow Com-Pac sailor. We wanted to see if he was around, and sure enough he was sitting in the cockpit of his boat. He remembered Mike and they immediately started talking boats. Bob had converted his Com-Pac 23 sloop into a salty Pilothouse. It was fun to run into an old friend and spend time with him. We are hoping this happens more and more as we travel.

We were disappointed that the museum was charging a fee, so we didn't get a history lesson. (Boy are we getting cheap!) However, from our friend Google, we found that Dunedin was originally settled by Scottish Citrus farmers and because of it large docks, became a major shipping city. Today it is a laid back waterfront town with several small independent shops with very few large buildings blocking the view. We enjoyed wandering in and out of the shops and the sense of humor that some of the businesses had. When we saw Casa Tina, we texted Tina to see if she thought we should stop. "Of course!" was her reply. Good choice. The food was excellent (Chicken Burrito and Pablano Burrito Mole) and the interior design was even better. They had a magnificent lighting fixture that was made out of metal geodesic globes that had designs cut in them that let the light shine through. There were floating stars interspersed as well. It was absolutely beautiful. There were also velvet curtains with silk ropes suspended from the ceiling. Mike remembers from his previous visit that at night, ladies do an acrobatic show. (Some memories of Jim and Mike's previous trip are a bit fuzzy.)

Casa Tina

There was a one-woman band playing at the farmer's market, so we wandered back and listened to her sing and play her guitar. It made for easy listening and nice relaxation.

Soon enough we were back on the bus heading back to the boat. But our day wasn't over. We ended up on a neighbor's boat for cocktails which led to hor d'oeuvres of mussels (yes we ate them and they were ok) which led to a community dinner of garlic shrimp in penne pasta. Each boat contributed a little something to the pot. It was fun to get together and hear everyone's stories.

Home Sweet Home

Needless to say, we were exhausted, but content! Ahhhh....such is the cruising life.