TWO M’S AND TWO R’S

VERO BEACH, FLORIDA                     MARY, MARY, RALPH AND RAY

Mary and Ralph Mace are our hosts here in Vero Beach.   YEP —RALPH THE SHE-CAT –  the  stray who became my cat for 17 years — this is the guy that fed her, and adopted her for me, and for whom I named that cat after.   Once again we are blessed with long time friends and family along this water trail that we can visit with and re-connect with.    We have told them that we will be here for 6 weeks ——- hee hee — I think they are scared of that possibility!      Hank and I had cruised for five days straight by the time we arrived here, so the first two days were spent  in recovery mode.   We were tired and exhausted.    Thank you Maces for food and shelter!

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MEET MARY

Like the Belles, Shevers  and several others previously introduced,  the Maces have been in my life for 48 years!!

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SAY HELLO TO RALPH!!!!!!

 

Remember the blog about going to the Columbus Zoo??   That was last July.  The adult and young children that I took there on the Zoo tour are the daughter, son, grandchildren and “in-laws”  of these two characters.

 

 

 

 

 

The “other”  M and R here in Vero are my cousin Mary and her husband Ray Zeuch!   This past Wed. we met for lunch and visited for a while.   Mary is of the Shoemaker clan and my first cousin.   Our Dads were brothers and we share the same Shoemaker eyes……..the rest of Mary is all her Mom, Aunt Lucille!!!       Lunch at TOOJAYS.    Mary and Ray Zeuch.     Love you guys!

 

Anne Malsbary lives here too, but due to her having the flu, we have only briefly seen her when out for dinner earlier in the week at Chill and Grill.   “HEY”  ANNE — hope you get well before we leave!

 

 

 

WOW — HEADING NORTH

It has been quite a number of days since my last blog, so here we go to bring you up to date with where we have been, where we are and where we are going!

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FINAL STOP  IN THE KEYS — GILBERT’S IN KEY LARGO                                                             photo courtesy of Hank
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THE M O — HANK

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THIS TIKI BAR  – GILBERT’S was huge!   Certainly upholding “truth in advertising”!

The following day we headed out for Miami and the compass heading of North!

 

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HELLO MIAMI

After a long rainy and foggy day,  we were happy to find the next morning with blue skies and the ability to see the Miami sky line!    We crossed over the ship’s channel without any heavy traffic and motored our way North to Pompano Beach, FL.    Docking there, we visited with a long time friend – Pat Weiner.   It had been many years, perhaps 10 or more,  since we had seen each other.  Our evening spent together was one of sharing memories and creating some new ones with updating each other on our families and our daily lives.

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PAT WEINER, HANK AND ME
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STAY  WELL MS. PAT

BRIDGES, BRIDGES, AND MORE BRIDGES —————

Requesting the bridges to be raised is a common event along this part of the ICW.   The bridges are multiple in number and each one has its own schedule of times to open with a minimal number that will open upon request.   Approaching this one bridge we radioed to let the bridge tender know that we were standing by for the next scheduled opening!   At which time the bridge tender comes back to state that the bridge was not going to open for another one and a half hours.    UGH —- the day was coming to an end, so we anchored off to the side of the bridge.

FEB. 25, 2017    SATURDAY       Early sunrise departure and off we cruised for destination of Vero Beach, FL.

ANOTHER KEY —

DUCK KEY,FL —- We departed Key West on Saturday arriving here on Duck Key at a great place called Hawks Cay Marina and Resort.   We idled our way to the back side of this funky place in order to arrive at the marina.  Reservations were for two nights and this is night #3, as we elected to extend our stay.   Having fun!!!

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A VIEW OF HIGHWAY #1 FROM THE MARINA!
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MILE MARKER SIGNS
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WHERE IS SALT LICK??     GALLEON MARINA IN KEY WEST

THANK YOU, THANK YOU PETER L. FOR THESE GREAT MARINA SUGGESTIONS!

We have enjoyed pool time, delicious dinners, and meeting other “boat people”!   So – as plans go, tomorrow we will head out towards Key Largo.   Soon the turn North at Miami will be taking place.  — GOOD GOLLY — SALT LICK is approaching the final turn on the GREAT LOOP with compass heading set for home port and crossing our wake.

MOST SOUTHERN POINT!

HERE WE ARE – MILE ZERO FOR USA ROUTE #1 AND MILE 1240 FOR THE END OF THE ICW  (mile zero is in Norfolk, Va.) — KEY WEST, FLORIDA.     This is also our most Southern point of cruising with, Mackinaw Island, MI being the Northern most point.

Greeting us at our boat slip when we arrived on 2/15/17 was this big guy!!

 

 

Yesterday we explored Key West and visited the Mel Fisher Museum.  Mel Fisher and his family were the ones who located the Spanish ship, the Atocha , that sank off the the Keys in the Fall of 1622.   The family fought the courts all the way to the Supreme Court over the rights to keep the spoils.   Both the Feds and the State of Florida wanted it.   Mel offered them 38% which both refused.   In the end, the Supreme Court ruled in Mr. Fisher’s favor and gave ALL of the salvage findings to him!    aaaaaahhhhh   Justice well served.   Fascinating story.  Sadly one of his son’s, his daughter-in-law, and another diver were killed in a diving accident while working on the Atocha.     DID YOU KNOW THAT MEL FISHER WAS FROM INDIANA AND ATTENDED PURDUE??

And of course there was the obligatory visit with Papa H!!!

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SLOPPY JOE’S – NOT THE ORIGINAL BUILDING, BUT SAME NAME AS HEMINGWAY’S FAVORITE BAR!
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A TOAST TO PAPA HEMINGWAY!!

 

 

We toured his Key West home.  After Hemingway’s divorce from wife #2, she kept the home and raised their two sons here.   He had another son from his first marriage, who came to this home frequently to visit.   Perhaps he liked the cats too.   Upon the death of his second wife, she had willed  the house to Ernest Hemingway, so he got it back.

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MASTER BED ROOM WITH TWO OF THE 53 CATS ON THE PROPERTY!

About half of the cats have 6 toes………each female cat is allowed to have one litter of kittens and then she is spayed.   CATS , CATS, and more CATS!!!    And they all have names.

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UPPER LEVEL SIDE PORCH OF HEMINGWAY HOME.

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ENDING THE DAY AT THE MARINA TIKI BAR — WAITING FOR OUR DRINKING BUDDIES TO SHOW UP!!!    THIS COULD BE ANY ONE OF Y’ALL OUT THERE!   🙂

Tomorrow we will leave for Duck Key and eventually wind our way to Miami.

ON THE MOVE AGAIN…..

After 36 days at the Belle Marina in Naples, FL, Salt Lick let loose her lines this past Sat., Feb. 11, 2017, and cruised back into the waterways.   I am certain the Belle’s were thinking —“about d_____d  time these people left!”    What a great time I was able to spend with these “old” friends, along with meeting up with others in the neighborhood, attending an IU meeting, etc.   We are forever and  deeply grateful.

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SALT LICK AT THE BELLE MARINA
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CASTING OFF AND OUT THE CANAL TO NAPLES BAY AND THE GULF OF MEXICO!  

We met Mike and Deby Sage, with whom we traveled along parts of Michigan, across Lake Michigan and down the Illinois River with, for dinner one evening.   They completed their Loop a month or so ago when they arrived to their home port in Punta Gorda.  Here we are eating again !!!!!

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DEBY AND MIKE SAGE, JANET AND HANK AT BRUNO’S OF BROOKLYN!!    

THE BEACHES OF SOUTH-WEST FLORIDA ARE BEAUTIFUL!!!!

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We hated to say adios, but the rule of fish and visitors smelling in 3 days was definitely abused!!    To celebrate our impending departure, a fabulous dinner was enjoyed at Bleu Provence restaurant in Naples.   Highly suggest you try it out if in the area.   We even got to meet the owner’s great grandfather – Jacques!!!

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GREAT GRANDPA JACQUES!!    I LOVE HIS FACE!!!!!!    (THIS PHOTO HANGS IN THE WINE CELLAR AREA OF THE RESTAURANT.)

4,720.3 miles have been logged with Salt Lick thru the month of Jan., 2017.   We have suddenly realized when looking at charts and planning our days, that we are nearing the end of this adventure.   WOW !!!!!!

We arrived in Marathon Key, yesterday and tomorrow, 2/15/17 we will cruise to Key West for a few days.   The weather is gorgeous with bright sunny and warm  (80’s) days.   At this marina, Faro Blanco, we have met up with a few other couples that we saw earlier along the Great Loop trail.   Always fun!!

STILL AFLOAT!

“Hey” everyone.    Just letting you know that Salt Lick is still afloat here in sunny, warm Naples.   Mr. M O, managing owner (aka Hank), arrives tomorrow and by the weekend we plan to set off with a compass bearing of 180 degrees.    That means SOUTH.

ACTIVITIES OF SALT LICK’S CREW

Since my last posting and blog,  I have had several enquiries about us and if we were OK and where we were, and on and on….SO—here is a short update.  Thanks to many of you  for your interest and concern!!

We left Salt Lick with the Belle’s in Naples, FL.  I had an email today reporting that she is afloat and fine.   Hank has been working at two different food shows  (Atlanta and Dallas) with a third one (Conn.) slated for the end of next week.  The cowboy, aka pickle man,  was last sighted in Utopia.

Yours truly has made a trip to Belize for SCUBA diving.   Joining along for the week were my niece Meghan and her husband, Justin.   Friend Karen from HHI joined me mid-week.  The weather was beautiful and new visitors to the Island of Ambergris Caye, Justin and Karen, fell in love with the place and already are wanting to return.

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VIEW DURING FLIGHT FROM BELIZE CITY TO SAN PEDRO, AMBERGRIS CAYE

 

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FAVORITE RESTAURANT – BLUE WAER GRILL –   JUSTIN, MEGHAN AND KAREN
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SHOEMAKER /  SALERIAN CLAN DIVERS!!!!

I unfortunately strained my back after the first dive and wasn’t able to dive for the rest of the week (back spasms), but it was a great time anyway.  It was good to have my vet, doc Justin and PT assistant along.   Nothing like traveling with one’s own medical team.  🙂    The dive guides, Rene and Jacinto Bradley, are doing well with Jacinto’s family of 3 boys growing and business remaining steady.  They seem to NEVER change!!!   We get older, but they do NOT!!!

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JACINTO AND RENE BRADLEY
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WE TAKE THIS SAME PICTURE EVERY YEAR!!!    
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LAST DAY “SELFIE”  — JACINTO, ME, RENE, MEGHAN AND JUSTIN.   
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BELIKIN’S AT FIDO’S  

I returned to Hilton Head Island  Jan. 22nd for eye doctor and other appointments.  For the THIRD time, we had water intrusion at the office/warehouse.   THIS TIME due to the hot water heater bursting.   All of the photos and papers Hank carefully laid out all over the floors to dry from Hurricane Matthew got all wet again.   Good Grief!!!    All is dry now, the water is shut off, and I am still in the Scarlet O’Hara mode of —” I will deal with IT tomorrow”.  Or to be more precise, upon the completion of the Great Loop adventure.

HILTON HEAD ISLAND  — STILL RECOVERING FROM HURRICANE MATTHEW!!!!!

This was my first time back home since the big storm and I have found it all to be disorienting and just strange!   There remains large piles and mounds of debris to be picked up and dealt with, several homes with the infamous blue tarp over their roofs as they await repairs, and many large trucks loaded with tree stumps, branches,  debris hauling their cargo to the grinding and processing area designated at Honey Horn Plantation.  Predictions are for this to go on for several more months.   The marina at the condo remains a mess.

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A FEW OF THE APPROXIMATE 10-12 BOATS NEEDING TO BE REMOVED FROM THE THE AREA OUTSIDE OUR BALCONY.

THESE VESSELS  have been tagged by the DNR with a date for removal or they will be open for salvage.   So eventually this mess will be removed.  As parts break away and float off on a high tide they can become navigational hazards.

I return to Salt Lick this coming Sunday.  Hank will return on Feb. 8th.     I will attend a meeting (in Naples) on Feb. 9th and soon after that we will head to the Keys.

I hope each of you are having a good start to 2017.   Two of our older friends have recently died, Ron Sadler and Martha Hartman, reminding us how precious each and every day we have on this beautiful Earth truly IS!!!    With that thought in mind, I send hugs and much love to all.