TARPON SPRINGS, FL.

It is Wednesday evening as i write my blogs.   We planned to stay just two nights here in Tarpon Springs, but with both of us suffering from coughs and colds, it has been good to rest another day.

25 years ago Hank ate at a place called Mykonos and that is where we went to eat Monday night when we got here.   As the “story” goes — Hank is sitting there enjoying his dinner when all of a sudden, the chef comes out of the back kitchen area with a long  pointed  knife in his hand WAVING it under the nose of some employee, who is backing out of the kitchen holding his hands up and shaking his head.   The chef was yelling loudly  – in Greek of course!!    Hank was a little concerned about how that evening was going to end!!!

SO — Monday evening when we got seated at our table, this older gentleman came by to bring us menus and he had the look of perhaps being the owner of this establishment.   Mykonos opened its doors in 1991 and was started by this man, Mr. Salavarias,  and his wife.   I digress…..Hank proceeds to share  this story with him, and as the “tale” unfolds, this guy gets the ‘ol Cheshire cat look  ( uh oh – my hand has been caught in the cookie jar, look)  and with a sly grin he chuckles.    I say to him  “that was you, wasn’t it?”.   He walks away and in about 30 seconds, comes back around and tells us that chefs are known for their very bad tempers.   And then he smiles again and walks off.   WHAT fun that was.

When we were leaving the restaurant Hank went into the back to find him and said  “THANKS FOR KEEPING THE STANDARDS RAZOR SHARP!”      Mr. Salavarias smiled!!

We are docked at the city marina, near the sponge docks.   The Greeks came to this area in the early 1900’s where they made their living from fishing and sponge diving.   Fishing and sponge diving continues today.  Tarpon Springs is also a large tourist area  – water activities, learning about the sponge industry, enjoying fine Greek foods, nearby golf courses, and  of course the beautiful Gulf of Mexico.

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TYPICAL SPONGE HARVESTING BOAT
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SPONGES READY FOR THE MARKET

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THE STATUE IN MEMORY OF THE SPONGERS —-

 

Yesterday , mid-afternoon Tues., we got a rental car and drove a few miles from here to see one of my Mother’s cousins.   Her name is Millie Schneeberg.  She and my Mom were first cousins and the same age (92).   They both left Southern Illinois after high school graduation to find work in Bloomington, Illinois.

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MEET MILLIE BREWER SCHNEEBERG!!

After a sweet visit with Millie, Hank and I drove to Ybor City, the original Cuban community in the Tampa area, to meet with friends Hal and Sandy Shevers at The Columbia restaurant.   This is the “original” location – #1, established in 1905.   We had a grand dinner and a fun, fun evening

Today has been used for R & R.   Tomorrow we will depart and cruise further South.

POST CHRISTMAS UPDATE:::::

O’ DARK 100    CHRISTMAS EVE —(AT EXACTLY   0600)          We took off the dock lines and silently and very slowly left the docks of C-Quarters Marina, Carrabelle, FL.

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CAPTAIN JANET FOLLOWING HER “COOKIES” OUT THE CHANNEL TO THE GULF OF MEXICO!!!

Do I need to share with you the fact that I do NOT enjoy cruising in the dark??    Slowly and ever so slowly Mr. Sun did begin to creep over the horizon.   If I ever bitch again about the sun being in my eyes, someone needs to slap me!

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“DAY SPRING”
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GET READY — —-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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AH – HA         ALMOST

 

 

 

 

 

 

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THERE YOU ARE, MR. SUN!!!!    HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVE.

We cruised 82.6 miles today.      The day was long, almost 10 hours traveling across the Gulf. It was also somewhat boring.   We saw only one loon, one dolphin, and 3 boats way off in the distance.  Once we made it to Steinhatchee ,  there was more activity with local fishing boats along the channel.

We had a good chuckle seeing the ingenuity of one of the locals.  Who needs to spend hundreds of dollars for a short “tuna-type” tower to fish from  when you can make your own with a step ladder and several  bright orange ratchet straps to secure it to your fishing boat???

After cleaning the boat and ourselves, we called one of the two local restaurants in town to come pick us up for dinner.   We had been told by the dock guys that this place offered that service.   ALAS – we were not advised that they were closed for the evening.    UGH —NOT to be skunked – in the ship’s stores was some caviar, I had my vodka, and there was plenty of marinated shrimp left.   We dined just fine, thank you.

CHRISTMAS DAY — 2016

We elected to cruise today  and the following day to make good use of the stable weather for being out in the Gulf.   Christmas day found us on a 60 mile run to Cedar Key.   Literature stated that there was a tie up at the city docks.   So we creeped towards what we thought were the city docks,,,,no signage, and tied up in some shallow water,  where Salt Lick was floating at low tide.

Salt Lick was purchased 10 years ago in December.   Hank and I spent a couple of weeks bringing the boat to GA.    We were reminded of that first Christmas with Salt Lick where on THAT Christmas day in 2006, we ate a frozen chicken dinner tied up alongside the Great Bridge Locks in Virginia.  It was raining, cold and miserable. We  did laundry  that day evening, too.    THIS 10 year anniversary, the Christmas dinner was much more gourmet to include pork, fresh mushroom dressing, mashed potatoes, fresh green beans, and a delightful red wine!!    As we entered the channel into Cedar Key we were greeted by many dolphin.   They were having a high-ho time playing on our bow and in the boat’s wake.   ALWAYS a good sign when being greeted by dolphin in a channel.    Merry Christmas!!

Next morning we found ourselves sitting in the sand and unable to MOVE.  So we had an hour’s wait for the tide to rise.   Many local crabbers, clammers,  and fishermen were leaving from the city boat ramp, all “jawing” away about our boat and where the “hell” is Eagle Neck, GA??   Always remembering that someone might know your Mother,,, this one fisherman, knew of Shellman Bluff and exactly where we have our home port.   He also knows someone that Hank knows from the area.      YES – IT IS A SMALL WORLD.!!

Late afternoon on Monday, December 26, 2016  we docked in Tarpon Springs, FL.  this puts us officially off the open Gulf waters and soon to enter more protected coastal water traveling.

See blog to follow………

 

Salt Lick’s early Christmas Present

Friday, December 23, 2016

Salt Lick got her early Christmas gift of a spanking new exhaust hose!!    Today this install was completed and we are ready to travel once again.

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WOW — ISN’T THIS EXCITING???   HIGH TEMPERATURE EXHAUST HOSE.

This baby has an 8 inch internal diameter and is 78 1/4 inches long.

There was a ton of grunting and unkind verbiage wafting out of the engine room these past couple of days.   More so on day one when removing the old exhaust hose!!   We swear that by the time  this trip is completed,  everything on this boat will be brand new!!

Preliminary weather check for the Gulf crossing looks OK for tomorrow —- SO we plan to take off early in the AM after we recheck the wind and wave status.   Destination – Steinhathee, FL

To those of you who will also be traveling by auto, plane, or train,  we wish you safe journeys to your loved ones and friends.   Merry Christmas !!

GREMLINS OR ANGELS????

THURSDAY – DECEMBER 22, 2016

GREMLIN:         While waiting for our mail delivery from home and for a weather window to cross the Gulf,,,,along came a gremlin who put these small slits/cracks along the exhaust hose from our boat engine.   Hank was checking  “things” in the engine when he discovered this small drip and the need to find out from where.   In the meantime, our mail was delayed a day, due to airplane mechanical problems, and thus allowed him to determine the source of the problem.  A replacement exhaust hose was ordered with the hopes of it arriving on Wed. .     Note that it is Thursday.

ANGELS: —- Were it not for the fact that the mail was delayed, we might have found ourselves out in the Gulf with a blown exhaust hose, an engine room filling with water and a basic mess and disaster in the making.   I believe the ANGELS win on this deal.  This does not help us move along on what we were hoping was our schedule, but we will be moving along eventually.

IT is now about 4:15PM on Thurs.   The replacement hose has been delivered to the boat yard.   The mechanic is on his way to do the installation in order to get us up and running again.   OK — this is good.

NEXT issue — we may have to sit here in Carrabelle, FL for several more days due to the weather.   WIND is the determining factor in this upper North-Eastern part of the Gulf.   So once we know that Salt Lick is a “go”, we will then do our weather searches and hopefully be able to travel in the next few days.

ah ha    the mechanic has just arrived.   He may be our next angel in disguise!!!

In the meantime….here is a “look see ”  at where we are docked and where we might end up spending Christmas with the locals.  It seems that everyone around here speaks with a smoke and whiskey laden voice….I think even the children!!!   This sleepy fishing village has some of the friendliest down to earth people. living here.   It also possesses a great fresh fish market.

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C-QUARTERS MARINA,   CARRABELLE, FL
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TOWN NATIVITY — JOSEPH HAS GONE AWOL.     PERHAPS HE REINVENTED HIMSELF TO BECOME SANTA!!!!

Merry Christmas!!         May you all find Christmas Angels in your boat.

CHRISTMAS GREETINGS

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LIGHTS OF FAIRHOPE, ALABAMA

 

One of my favorite parts of this beautiful Season is the sending and receiving of Holiday cards and letters from family and friends located around the World.   Many of these contacts are  made only once a year, but it warms my heart as I look forward to opening each and every one of these cards.

This year, the tradition, on my end,  is very different.  The mile high pile of cards that sit next to me does not exist!   In its place,   I find myself sitting in front of my laptop with this blank  “blog screen” —– my fingers  at the ready to  quickly and easily “mail” off the cards with the press of a button.

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THE DECKING OF THE HALLS HAPPENS AT MARINAS, TOO!!

My eyes fill with tears every time I hear “Silent Night” being sung.  The Christmas songs have been playing for the past week on Salt Lick.   The baby tree is decorated with ornaments purchased along this Great Loop trail, reminding us of places visited.   The Christmas gifts have been purchased and sent.   Salt Lick is ready!!!   Her location is yet to be determined for Santa to know where we are.  The ‘ol boy is pretty smart, so he will figure that out come Christmas Eve.  If you have kept up with the blog, you know what we have been up to for this year.  If you haven’t done so……get cracking’ and catch up!!!

This has been an exciting year for Hank and me.  We are 8 months into this adventure and continue to enjoy each day.   Even with a few delays along the way, it has ALL been GOOD!  We are ever humbled and grateful for each other, our families, our friends and the blessings we have.  We look forward to 2017.  Prayers for Peace of our Nation, safety of our military and security forces near and far, and that the family of Nations World Wide will not explode.

WISHING YOU ALL A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A NEW YEAR FILLED WITH MUCH JOY AND GOOD HEALTH!!!              LOVE          JANET AND HANK

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APALACHICOLA TOWN TREE
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MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!

SUNDAY UPDATE 12/18/16

Good day to all of you “loopinglines”    followers!!

Salt Lick is tied to the docks at C-QUARTERS Marina here in Carrabelle, FL      Salt Lick and her crew are going no where!!!     The winds are whipping up the Gulf, sea fog comes and goes, and in some areas there are predictions of rain and thunderstorms.   Waves are stacking up in this North-East corner of the Gulf.   UGLY…….

SO —- we sit!

Mail is being shipped, boat chores will be done, and I will have time to create my Christmas card!!!   woo hoo

 

GICW!

GICW    –     The Gulf Intra-coastal Waterway.

The GICW is from the Brownsville, TX along the Gulf of Mexico to Ft. Myers, FL.  Since we were not able to go to New Orleans, we have completed as of today, 218 miles along the GICW from Mobile, AL. to Carrabelle, FL.

After our delay in the Pensacola area due to depth finder problems, we departed Pensacola on Tues., Dec. 13, 2016 and cruised to Fort Walton Beach.  This stop brought us to the city marina.   A nice free tie up, but there were no services.

A character named Mark, on an extremely “ratty” old pontoon boat,  stopped by to let us know that he has purchased a Looper flag and will be doing the Loop within the next year or so.  He has a “project” boat though that is requiring lots of work and no doubt money!   We gave him our blessings and encouragement for doing this big adventure.  He has  a young  wife and two small children.  Love his enthusiasm!   May God bless him.

Next stop — Panama City, FL.   On this beautiful day we were SURROUNDED by our salt water mammal friends, the dolphins!   What playful guys they were both the day before and on this day.   TWO different ones made these flying leaps out of the water in front of the bow!!   OH HOW THEY MAKE US SMILE!!!         These two dolphin were riding our wake.   (watch video below)

 

NOTE — amateur video producer (yours truly).   Sorry for the poor quality, but try to enjoy it!!   Seems like the boat is flying,,,but in reality is only going about 9 miles an hour.   🙂

We have cruised thru – PENSACOLA BAY, SANTA ROSA BAY, CHOCTAWHATCHEE BAY, WEST BAY,APALACHICOLA BAY AND UP THE CARRABELLE RIVER!!   I may missed a Bay or two, ha!!!    These Bays are rather shallow, so thankful that the depth gauges are reading correctly now.

Some of the terrain is void of all human habitation.  Hank commented that this is what Florida might have looked like hundreds of years ago when the Seminole and other Indians were living here.  Vast cypress trees, and white white sand on the barrier island side.

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BEAUTIFUL CYPRESS FORESTS ALONG THE BAYS.
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CYPRESS ROOTS

When we departed Sun Harbor Marina in Panama City we saw, but the camera was not at the ready  😦 , this LARGE marine hover craft heading down the Bay as fast as it could go.  Then about 30 minutes later the FLY BOYS were out making runs at this beach area on the other side of the barrier Islands we were cruising past.   IF you are NOT aware, this whole region of Florida is home to several of our military bases and training groups.  One of which is the Blue Angels!   So altho’ there was the above quiet beauty that we experienced, we also were subjected to loud jet noise for part of one day!   Quite impressive though, and my heart swells with patriotic pride when watching them.

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WELL “HELLO” THERE FLY BOY/GIRL –  LOVED WATCHING YOUR TOP GUN MANEUVERS!!!!
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FULL MOON – DECEMBER 14, 2016

OH — not to worry, there still are those ODD things we see while cruising along on Salt Lick.   THIS being one of them!!

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DERELICT SHRIMP BOAT  — NOW NEW HOME TO BALD EAGLES!!!!!                                                   (THIS NEST WAS HUGE)

This evening (12/16/16)  we are docked in Carrabelle, Fl.   We enjoyed a great dinner of crab cakes and fried shrimp at a local place called “The Fisherman’s Wife”!   This is a very sleepy fishing village.   Shrimp, oysters, crab, and all the fresh salt water fish that the Gulf provides are harvested from here.

DECISION TIME:     This is where we will make a decision about our crossing of the Gulf.   This might involve an overnight passage to Tarpon Springs, or we might do a LONG day of cruising and head to Steinhatchee.   As with anything involved in this adventure…..WEATHER is the guiding force.     Will most likely depart here on Sunday.  Check back in a day or two for an update.