It's been a long time since we did our last blog update. Since then we have done a lot of traveling, including spending time in California and Oregon for the 2012 holidays. As always, we really look forward to seeing our kids and grandkids.
We returned to Diamond Girl early in January and immediately started on some major engine maintenance and other projects. Bud had to rebuild one of the turbocharges and that turned into a major overhauling of the exhaust system. After putting over 4,000 hrs. on the engines, you have to take the time and spend the money to keep them in good working condition. After all of this work was finished, we were once again ready to continue south and travel throughout Florida.
We left Palm Coast on January 28th and made our first stop in New Smyrna, about 40 miles down the east coast of FL. We anchored for the night and did a toast, at cocktail time, that the engines worked great! The next day we continued down to the Cape Canaveral area and made plans to meet up with some friends from CA and Ventura YC who now live in Port Canaveral. Alex and Diane are sailors and have cruised extensively.
|Dinner with Alex and Diane at Port Canaveral YC.|
Stuart, FL is where the Okeechobee Waterway starts. The OWW is the route that you take to cross Lake Okeechobee and cut across FL to the west coast. It's 150 miles long and takes a couple of days. The lake is the second largest lake in the contiguous USA. It's also very shallow (12 feet). There are two routes to cross the lake; one is Route One and the other is the Rim Route. The latter is usually closed because there isn't enough water (4 feet or less), so boats that draw over 3.5 or 4 feet can't traverse it. This year because of all the rain they had last fall, there was enough water for us (we draw 4 feet) to do the trip. There really isn't anything that makes this a special trip other than the fact that you can say you've done it. We had plenty of water but were a little disappointed that there wasn't much to see.
|The very beginning of the Rim Route.|
|This is the only bridge on the route and it is opened manually.|
|The bridge opened for us.|
|Slim's Fish Camp is the only sign of civilization.|
|Taken from our slip at the Franklin Lock...a bird roost.|
|The Hyacinth are thick and pretty.|
|We've also anchored in this spot.|
We spent plenty of time on the "left coast" as the locals call it. We traveled south and north doing our updates and then we started back across the OWW again to Stuart. We stayed there for a couple of days then continued south to Ft. Lauderdale. We rented a car and traveled all the way to Key West. If you've never been to Key West, you owe it to yourself to go. It's very eclectic and different from almost anywhere except maybe Venice Beach in Southern California. The one thing that Key West can boast about is that it is the southernmost point of the Continental USA.
|There was actually a line of people to take a picture here. |
We did it from the car.
|You can see Diamond Girl anchored in the background.|
This is just north of West Palm Beach,
it's called Peck Lake and is just off of the ICW.
|As you can tell from the sign, it is a National Wildlife Refuge.|
|At Peck Lake you're only a couple of hundred yards |
from the Atlantic.
|Looking at the mooring field in Vero.|
|We saw this friendly Anhinga almost every day.|
|Can you believe it 50 years and we still like each other!|
|Ted and Joan from "Panchita."|
|Our new summer home...MBYC.|
|The lighthouse marks the entrance to Coquina Harbor.|
|This is the entrance|
You can also see us on Facebook just look for "Bud Lloyd". We do post quite often there.