We are writing this blog for one reason and one reason only. To provide a vehicle to make it easier to remain in touch with our family and friends back home.

Our plan is simple. Depart our home port of Goderich Ontario in the Summer of 2011. Cruise Georgian Bay and the North Channel of Lake Huron while visiting some of the ports and anchorages we have missed over the years. As well as revisiting some of our favourite haunts hopefully with some of our very good friends with whom we have cruised with many times before. All the while adding up the miles and gaining experience with our new trawler. Our first and only self imposed deadline is to be in the Chicago area around Labour Day. South of Chicago, weather and circumstances will guide us!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

February 24-March 10 – Fort Myers, Fl.

Up river on the Caloosahatchee River!  (Try to say that quickly 3 times)   Next stop the City of Fort Myers Yacht Basin, within walking distance to downtown.  We spent a week rocking and rolling on fixed docks, but pleasant and reasonably priced all the same.   Both Mark and I took advantage of the quaint little yellow boathouse hair salon, trying to spruce ourselves up for our trip back home.  The salon was moored right at the city dock and we left feeling civilized once again.  Chores had to be done and plans for haul-out had to be solidified.

After a week we moved next door to Legacy Harbour Marina, complete with floating docks and a pool.   This is a popular place for looper boats to rest for a time.  Thanks Jill (Last Dance), for inviting me on a shopping day trip using your car – don’t think all those groceries would have fit on the bikes!   Friends Solange and Glenn made the 3 hour trek from their winter home in Fort Lauderdale to spend an afternoon visiting.  What a treat!
While in Fort Myers, we couldn’t pass up the chance to visit the 14 acre riverfront Edison and Ford Winter Estates.  Well I think Mark could, but I dragged him along just the same.  The following pictures are just a sample of the vibrant and diverse gardens belonging to the estate property.  No wonder the Edison and Ford families travelled to this tropical paradise every winter season.

Capt.P Tour Boat on Caloosahatchee River

Approaching Fort Myers

Sunset Fort Myers City Docks

Solange and Glenn @ Joe's Crab Shack

Ford & Edison Estates

Estate Porch

Orchids in Trees

Plant Diversity

Estate Pier

Mrs. Edison & Terri

Mark strolling with Mr. Edison under canopy of 1st Banyan tree planted in USA





Thursday, October 18, 2012

February 21-24,2012-Sanibel Island, Fl.

Ahhhhh Sanibel Island!!!  Well worth the couple of hours patiently (well one of us) hovering outside Sanibel Marina in San Carlos Bay waiting for our reserved dock to become available.  It’s a very busy place, especially at lunch, since this is the only public marina on the island.  Known for its great shelling beaches, miles of bike paths, fabulous restaurants and not one stop light on the island (although they might reconsider after observing the traffic jams from vehicles coming and going from the mainland).
Wonderful day to unpack the bikes and explore the island with Bonnie and Charlie from Sonata!  Off we merrily go, wind in our hair, sun in our face, with Bonnie leading ready to make a quick pit stop if any interesting boutiques cross our path.  And….you guessed it, a boutique was found.  Actually a good compromise, boutique for Bonnie and me and a bike shop for Charlie and Mark right next door.
Shopping all done, no sign of the guys, hop on the bikes and away we go…….ahhhhhhhh………crash!!!!  What the heck????  In a split second I find myself sprawled in the gravel of the boutique parking lot.  What happened??  As I dust myself off and pick myself up with blood trickling down my leg, I notice my bike seat is missing!!  Someone has stolen my bike seat!!  Who would be so mean as to steal my bike seat?

As the shop owners rushed out they exclaim that no one ever steals anything on this island, it is unheard of!  Great – my lucky day!  Where are the guys, anyway?  I give Mark a quick call from my cell phone and he answers, laughing, “Mark’s bike shop, ha-ha.”   I explain that some evil person has just stolen my bike seat causing me to have a nasty fall on the sharp gravel.  He answered with a quick “I will be right there.”  
As Mark and Charlie saunter over to the boutique parking lot, I spy a big bike seat in Mark’s hand.  Very quietly, so as not to be overheard, he whispers “I took your bike seat to surprise you with a more comfortable one.  Who would be so stupid to get on a bike and not notice that the seat is missing anyway?”

Are you kidding???  Luckily I didn’t have to answer him because all the people who gathered in the parking lot were chastising him far better than I could have.  Actually one of the shop owners whispered in my ear that at our next stop, I should let the air out of his tires when he was not looking!

So I decided that “discretion is the better part of valour” and we continued on our bike ride – me with a beautiful new bike seat and scrapes up and down my arms and legs!

All was forgiven by the evening when we all got dressed up and treated ourselves to a wonderful dinner on the town.  I can still taste and smell the lobster ravioli!
As we bid a fond farewell to Sanibel Island it is also time to say so-long to Bonnie and Charlie as we cruise our separate ways.  Mark and I headed to Fort Myers and Bonnie and Charlie continuing south on their loop.  We had a blast and will fondly recall our lively adventures and conversations especially at cocktail time.  Bless your heart Bonnie and Charlie!!

PS…Oh, Mark wants to present his version of events of that fateful day – readers, you are the judge………
Now Terri has her own way of recollecting certain events.   Me, I think mine would be closer to the facts. Don't get me wrong. I love her dearly, but sometimes she leans towards her natural tendencies to be rather sceptical regarding my motives.  Time has now passed, Terri has now calmed down and upon reflection she might accept my story as fact.   However after 32 years of marriage I still sense a twinge of doubt.  So in order to set the record straight here is my account (the facts) of that afternoon.
It was a beautiful day in paradise and we were riding our bicycles in the tourist area of Sanibel FL.   We were with Charlie and Bonnie from Sonata and the girls were in a shopping frenzy, albeit more window shopping than the serious variety.  They went from store to store as if each one held the promise of a new found Steinmart which had recently become Terri's favourite store.   Charlie and I had long since learned our role in this pastime.   We dutifully followed from one store to another, thankful for the odd store front bench, or a piece of shade.  This was payback that we used to help tip the scales in our favour.   Well at least a little less in the girls favour.   I had promised Terri shopping all down the rivers on this loop.   In all honesty shopping had been scarce since we have left home.   If I had to tally things up, I would give the nod to more visits to marine stores like West Marine rather than promised quality shopping.   Terri's new shopping partner Bonnie just seemed to enhance the experience and helped to create more of an enjoyable frenzy.   I digress yes, back to the facts and only the facts.

 Now as Charlie, Bonnie, Terri and I have folding bikes on board, Charlie and I compared bikes as would two kids on the street.   I think we were bored, sitting on store front benches void of shade.  Basically the bikes were very similar except for one thing.   Probably the most important thing and the first thing that will remind you of its design flaw after an afternoon of riding.  You guessed it.   Charlie and Bonnie had tractor seats on their bikes.   Down- right John Deere if only they were green.   Charlie and I had both made a mental note to keep an eye out for a bicycle shop days previous to this one.  You guessed it!   We just happened to be across the street from one.  The girls continued to shop and shop.... Charlie and I looked at the bikes and across the street at the bike shop.   A great plan was born.   I will take my bike across the street and see if they had any John Deere seats.  Of course they did, for only $35 plus tax I could own one.   On sale today, a special deal, two for $70.   Sign me up.   Now while Charlie and the store owner tackle my bike modification I ran across the street to retrieve Terri's seat to bring it back to the bike shop.   It seemed easier to remove the seat than bring the whole bike back with me.   I can only ride one bike at a time you see.   What a surprise this would be for Terri.   She and her backside will thank me.   I will be her hero again, maybe.   Heck, I might even buy her a bike bell, I am thinking as I cross the traffic with her bike seat in hand.   When I return to the bike shop Charlie and the store owner are finished with mine and waiting for Terri's seat.  They continue with the quick change over and I search for a suitable bell.

 There is a dark cloud in the sky....

 Phone rings.   I recognize the caller as Terri, my surprise is spoiled.   Fear not I think!   For the comfort of the farmer seat will last long after the feel of surprise has faded.   The cloud overhead thickens, grows and the day light diminishes.   Now Terri understands me and my strange sense of humour like no other. She even appreciates it sometimes, I think....  so I answer the phone "Mark's bike shop" silence, Terri is not amused.   She is in obvious distress.   Somebody stole my bike seat!!   No it's OK honey, I have it and I will be right there.... you have it?   Why are you laughing?   It’s not funny. You should see my legs, the gravel, the blood, the stones, dirt.   I'm a mess and all you can do is laugh?   There are no clouds.  There is just plain darkness at 3pm in the afternoon.   I have really messed up this time.   While I have done nothing wrong or malicious, it matters not for I must now stand up and face the results.   I must be a man and take it like one.   But what have I done?   For it is definitely a horrible mistake, misunderstanding.   It matters not I must hurry to Terri's side, aid her, comfort her!   She needs me. Regardless of the circumstances I must rush to my damsel.   For the moat or the tower or.... some other awful fate awaits her.   Quick, my armour, my sword, my fellow knight (Charlie) we must make haste.   To Terri I say....charge.   With all the speed we can muster Charlie and I mount our sturdy horses (bikes) and cross the meadow (road) -to get to the other side of course.  Lol!

 I spy Terri and as advertised she is battered, bruised and bloodied.   Standing there holding her saddle-less steed (bike), blood trickling down her stone embedded legs.  There is no darkness, nor clouds or even night time, for I shall not explain this one away.   Terri’s and my mind truly work in wonderfully different ways.   I never in my wildest dreams thought that Terri would mount her bike without a seat.   I just imagined she would see that the bike seat was missing and.....

I have no more to say and as expressed before I am taking my punishment as a man.  Ouch!

Foot Note: As I write this almost 7 months after the incident I must confess that time indeed does heal and that Terri has forgiven me, I think.   We still chuckle about this.   Also to dear friends Charlie and Bonnie please understand that in no way shape or form do I hold you responsible for my actions.  I acted strictly on my own, but boy am I glad you both were there to assist and I thank you both.


Mark holding up lighthouse

Mark and Terrmar

Charlie and Sonata

Crash!!!! Thanks Mark!
All is forgiven

Bonnie & Charlie

Egret eying live bait

Sanibel Clubhouse/Restaurant

House on Sanibel Island

Road entrance to marina

Tropical estate

Florida Palm trees

Bon-voyage Bonnie & Charlie

Cast off Mark

Pelican guard as we depart





Tuesday, October 2, 2012

February 20-21, 2012 - Pelican Bay, Fl.(Anchorage)

Well, it seemed like forever, but we finally managed to find a beautiful anchorage located in Pelican Bay, nestled beside Cayo Costa State Park.  Here we swayed gently on the hook in about 8 feet of water enjoying beautiful scenery and weather.  Mark managed to get the dingy operational, although we had misgivings about soaking our precious dingy in Florida salt water.   Oh well, always the yin-yang!  Salt water, yes, but up close and personal at a Florida paradise – no hesitation and worth every minute!

Exploring the coves

Bonnie and Charlie from Sonata


Pelican hiding in the Mangroves

Mark walking on a shell beach
"Pennies from Heaven"

Cayo Costa State Park

Mark strolling the beach

Peaceful cove

Terrmar anchored at Pelican Bay


Day is Done...hmmmm!

February 19-20, 2012 - Boca Grande, Fl

We arrived in this upscale Florida town located at the south end of Gasparilla Island and stayed only one night.  That is really all the time we needed to see what there was to see!  Docking was interesting with finger docks non- existing, just 4 wood pilings.  (Surely they could afford to upgrade, but I guess it added to the old time feel of the town.)  Must have been a sight, Mark, I and Smudge trying to get on and off the boat from the stern, especially when the tide changed!  We toured the island from south to north and back again from a rented golf cart.  What a hoot!  Great driving Bonnie!


Charlie and Mark on the back of a golf cart
Welcome to Boca Grande Marina

Mark and Terri at the beach-watch out for sharks!

Original Gasparilla Inn

Street lined with Banyan trees