Monday, May 2, 2011

Treasure Island to Brunswick (May 2, 2011 to May 10, 2011)

I think I left us in Charleston on my final post of 2010. We didn't actually stay there all winter. We continued moving south with our troublesome inverters. They weren't performing correctly so we couldn't use our cook-top, but other than that we could cruise along okay. At this point we were just ready to be in St. Pete and cruised as far as we could each day considering the shortened daylight hours of November. Every time we're on the ICW during the normal spring or fall migration times, Joe calls our friends Curt and Nancy on Magic. The first time we took Carolyn Ann north, spring of 2008, we met them briefly at a marina. A day or so later we anchored in Oriental and looked over to see Magic anchored nearby. We launched the dinghy and went over for happy hour. That was our first time sharing happy hour with someone we'd met while cruising, and later that summer we used the mooring behind their house in Maine. We thought we had the timing right one day in November, but circumstances changed and this was the closest we came.
We met another interesting character along the way. Bill was motoring along in what appeared to be a customized canoe. We assumed he was local to the area, but it turned out he was on his way south from Nova Scotia!
After a short stop in Brunswick, we moved on south and across Lake Okeechobee to Moore Haven. There, Joe's brother Mike and our friend John Sarachene met us to cruise the last few days with Joe. I drove Mike's vehicle up to St. Pete and played with Alex until they arrived in Gulfport.
Once they arrived, Joe finally got to meet Alex in person - something he'd been anxious to do for years!
The holidays were spent with lots of family and we enjoyed every minute of our time together. Caitlin even made it down from Atlanta to spend some quality time with her nephew - and do some wedding planning.
We stayed in Gulfport for two months but had heard about a marina on Treasure Island. We moved Carolyn Ann there in mid-January. The facilities there are wonderful and in a nicer area. They have a jr. olympic pool (heated and cooled) and within walking distance to the beach, restaurants and Publix. Randy and Barb on Lazy Dolphin (GH 37) were also there, so we enjoyed spending time with them.
We had planned to leave at the end of February. But when we arrived at the Club at Treasure Island, Joe soon learned about a boater there who was having the same type of issue with the same type of inverter. I won't go into too much detail here, but the bottom line was that the inverter company was telling anyone with a problem that they were the only one having the problem. Once Joe had contacted several boaters/installers with the same problem on different types of boats, that information was sent to the inverter company and they finally had to admit that it was more widespread. Nick, who had the problem boat at TI, introduced Joe to his electrician, Charlie. Charlie had installed Nick's inverter and so was involved in the dialogue with the company. Joe hired him to also look at Carolyn Ann. After a month or two, the final verdict was that there was a design flaw in the inverter and we were promised new ones as soon as they could solve the problem.
We hadn't wanted to leave TI until the problem had been settled and once it was, we no longer had time to get Carolyn Ann to either Brunswick or Charleston before Caitlin's wedding in Atlanta on April 3. So we delayed our departure again and drove to Atlanta from there. The wedding weekend was hectic - but fun! Everything went off without a hitch - beautiful bride, gorgeous flowers, and great food - or so they tell me, I only had a few bites. And of course the best part was having so much family together. The bride and guests even managed to get in a few games of bocce - a Pica family tradition for all occasions.
After the wedding, we put in a few days of baby sitting to get our last Alex fix. Evidently we really wore him out!
Just when we were ready to leave again, I had a sore that became infected and the doctor preferred that we didn't leave until I'd been on the antibiotics long enough for her to see improvement. So again, we needed to stay long enough so we couldn't get far enough with the boat to go to another commitment. This one was the annual seminars and owners association meeting at Mirage for Great Harbour owners. We drove to Gainesville during the last week of April for that. As usual, we had a great time catching up with everyone.
Once back in St. Pete, we had time for another Alex fix. He's growing so fast. It's hard to believe that the next time we see him, he'll be walking. Thank goodness for skype - if I can figure out how to use it.
We finally left on May 2, and once we got started, we really moved. Lake Okeechobee was low, so we wanted to cross as quickly as possible - before it got any lower. The crossing went well, but central Florida was inundated with love bugs! They really like all that white fiberglass.
Twice we had a manatee in a lock with us. Joe asked one of the lock tenders if he thought they get in by accident and he said no. He's seen a mother take a calf back and forth through the lock repeatedly as if teaching it how to use it.
Once back on the east coast, we were again escorted by our friends, the dolphins. Joe got a new camera - it only took about 200 shots to get this nice dolphin picture!
Except for a quick stop in Cocoa where we visited with Christy (Christina Sea, N-47) and went to a great Derby Day party, we put in long days and made it to Brunswick on May 10 (happy birthday, Lynn). We'll probably be here a week or so, then on to Charleston.

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