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JANUARY 1 HAPPY NEW YEAR!
We woke up to rain. Lily wedged herself in her bed in the guest stateroom
and then at the foot of our bed.We then had thunder and lighting and
warnings of wind in excess of 60 MPH. I managed to get the flags and
burgess tied up since I didn't do that the night before as usual. Luckily we
didn't get much wind. The sky finally cleared up late in the day, but the
wind did kick up some, just enough to push water in the basin. We hope we
don't get high water levels that could come over the dock since we have a
full moon. It was a lazy day hanging around the boat. Jim spent most of
the day doing work on the computer. Lily had a nice walk around the
grounds and enjoyed new smells.
Happy New Year! Our view from starboard Our view from port Jim working on the computer
Condo to the right is Graham and Rita's
It's freezing cold here, not as cold as back home, but cold enough for Florida! The temperature went
down to the high 30s during the night and by noon had reached 45 degrees. We keep the shades up for
the warmth of the sun during the day, but close them all around at night to keep the heat in. Everyone
here seems to be hibernating, as the wind makes it feel colder.
Our friends, Van and Diane, from Tennessee who we met on the loop last year were driving back down to
their boat which is in Marathon right now. They are spending 2 months there. We had a really nice visit
during the morning before they left to head south. We had a good time talking about our adventures and
places to stop. They recommended a marina they liked at Port Canaveral, and we like the sounds of it.
We are thinking of spending our extra month there when we cross to the east.
We stayed on the boat all day today to keep warm. It became cloudy and windier later in the afternoon,
so we snuggled inside. Lily kept herself occupied looking for Moses, the cat!
It's still freezing cold here. Nights are in the 30s and days in the 40s. The sun is warm when coming
into the windows of the boat or if you are in a sheltered area, but the wind makes it feel like November!
Only thing to do is stay warm indoors or take car rides. Short walks are fine, but even back home, you
wouldn't see anyone outside. We are going to an MTOA get-togther tonight at Fishermen's Village Marina
which is downtown Punta Gorda.
We are still in the cold front with nights into the 30s and days in the 40s, however, today it reached
near 60 late in the day. As long as the wind stopped, it felt ok. We finally saw people out walking and
riding their bikes which we will have to start doing again. We were really gaining ground in exercise and
feel we lost it the past few days. We finally ventured out and took a car ride to Pine Island which is an
island that runs north and south just off the coast. We drove to the north side where the town is called
Bokeelia where there was a nice restaurant and beautiful, quaint homes and fairly remote. After taking a
picture of Charlotte Harbor, we drove to the other side which overlooks the channel and Sanibel. This
side had more of the Old Florida look, streets and streets of mobile homes along the canals. I never
knew there were so many pine trees in Florida. When we got back to the boat, we went over to Rita and
Graham's to taste his mince pie...really delicious! Lily came with us and had a good time visiting.
|Lily had a busy day today with her
car ride and finding a stuffed toy at
the Ebel's that she played with. This
is her new "bed"...the guest
stateroom. Happy little dog!
Today we drove into Punta Gorda to get batteries for my watch, but they were closed. We stopped a the
post office to mail a package, and since it was a nice day and still too cold for a bike ride, we decided to
drive to Boca Grande. Boca Grande is on Gasparilla Island on the northern coast of Charlotte Harbor
between the Gulf of Mexico and the GICW. As soon as we crossed the ICW bridge, the water turned to
that beautiful turquoise color. Unfortunately, I only thought we were going to the store and didn't think
of brining my camera, so no pictures. The homes were gorgeous and there are bike and walking paths all
over the town. We stopped at a dead end street and I collected a few shells. The waves on the Gulf
were pretty big and it was quite rough. The wind and sun felt good! We thought it had warmed up, but
when we got back to Burnt Store, it must have been 10 degrees colder. The north wind really makes it
chilly. We are still wearing winter coats and hats. It's supposed to be getting warmer Tuesday going into
the 60s and by the end of the week back to the 70s. We'll see about that!
Today we drove to Big Cypress National Preserve which is part of the northern Everglades. Route 41,
Tamiami Trail, which links Tampa to Miami goes directly through Big Cypress. We took the longer route
south first, going through the Florida back country and a town called Immokolee which is known for the
field workers village. Parts of the town looked fairly modern with fast food restaurants but the rest was
rather poor. At this point there were many signs to watch for panther crossings. I'm glad we didn't have
one run in front of us. We then drove to Everglade City which we thought was very remote, but was
pretty touristy with a beautiful motor home park and lots of places to explore the Everglades. We then
back-tracked a few miles north and headed to Big Cypress. We finally got to see lots of alligators and
tons of birds and swamps.
Alligators sunning themselves along the shore. The swamp at Big Cypress
We have been pretty busy the past 2 weeks. We had a terrible cold snap where the temperature went
below freezing at night. We had condensation on the walls of our stateroom and water dripped down to
the shelf and head of the mattress. We had to lift it each day and prop it up to let it dry to prevent
mold. We also kept all the shelf doors open to let the heat in to prevent mold.
It was sad to wake up to see hundreds of fish gasping for air, spitting out water, swimming in circles and
upside down from the cold water. For a week we saw hundreds more fish wash into the basin and the
smell became pretty strong. We finally had very strong winds this week, and the fish got blown out. The
whole south west coast had thousands of fish die.
We have been back to riding our bikes at least 8 miles a day as it has now warmed up to the 70s again,
although it is still quite breezy. Bob, Jim's brother and wife, Donna flew in Monday to spend the week
with us. We went to Sanibel today to Bowman's Beach where we went last year and collected shells. The
tide was just going out, so we didn't get a big pick of shells, but we did find some nice ones. We paid for
2 hours, walked a round trip of 2 miles on the beach, saw a dead shark and a huge fish that got washed
up on the beach. We stopped at the Citrus Harvest Orange Juice factory store and bought more honey
bells, quart of the best OJ in the world, and a box of coconut/cocolate patties.
The dead fish in the basin Bob and Donna Barb and Jim