Author Archives: Theresa

Caladesi Island State Park (Nov. 2019)

CALADESI ISLAND, FL – 2019 (By Theresa)

Below is a short video-clip of our recent excursion to Caladesi Island State Park, a little slice of paradise about an hour south of our home port in Tarpon Springs, FL. Randy’s sister Patti joined us on our sojourn, making the trip even more special.

The swaying palms, pristine white sand beaches, and crystal clear aqua-marine waters rivaled many of the beaches we have visited in the Caribbean.

Caladesi Island State Park (Nov. 2019) Caladesi Island State Park (Nov. 2019)
Caladesi Island State Park (Nov. 2019) Caladesi Island State Park (Nov. 2019)

The island is also home to  scenic nature and hiking trails. We were fortunate enough to get a personal guided tour of the island with the park ranger and a nature trail guide.

Patti, Park Ranger & Nature hike guide (Nov. 2019) Patti, Park Ranger & Nature hike guide (Nov. 2019)

Ryan on the nature trail, Caladesi Island State Park (Nov. 2019) Ryan on the nature trail, Caladesi Island State Park (Nov. 2019)
Patti, Caladesi Island State Park (Nov. 2019) Patti, Caladesi Island State Park (Nov. 2019)

We all enjoyed he beauty of the island and continue to love being out on the water.

R&R at the beach, Caladesi Island, FL (Oct. 2019) R&R at the beach, Caladesi Island, FL (Oct. 2019)
R&R at the beach, Caladesi Island, FL (Oct. 2019) R&R at the beach, Caladesi Island, FL (Oct. 2019)
Ronan & Randy (Nov. 2019) Ronan & Randy (Nov. 2019)
Randy & Patti (Nov. 2019) Randy & Patti (Nov. 2019)
Ryan at the helm cruising past Three Rooker Bar (Nov. 2019) Ryan at the helm, cruising past Three Rooker Bar (Nov. 2019)
Theresa & Marlow (Nov. 2019) Theresa & Marlow (Nov. 2019)
Randy on the bow, Caladesi Island, FL (Oct. 2019) Randy on the bow, Caladesi Island, FL (Oct. 2019)

In an ironic twist of fate, as we were departing Caladesi Island, we passed the incoming ferry. Later in the day, we received an email from friends of ours, Gail and Jason (S/V Two Fish) who were our boat marina neighbors in Grenada in 2015.  It  turns out they were on the ferry headed to Caladesi Island and snapped a photo of Pilots’ Discretion in the channel departing the island.

Ferry to Caladesi Island State Park, FL (Oct. 2019) Ferry to Caladesi Island State Park, FL (Oct. 2019)
Pilots’ Discretion leaving Caladesi Island (2019) Pilots’ Discretion leaving Caladesi Island (2019)

It is a very small world indeed that our bows have passed in this fashion!

We have more boating adventures on the horizon. Details to follow.

 

Ronan, Ryan, and Doug Milne (PGA Tour Sr. Media Manager) in PGA Media Center (March 2019)

RONAN’S PGA GOLF DEBUT (March 2019) – by Theresa

Warning, this post is not boat related, however, it does recount a recent, amazing landlubber, encounter at the 2019 PGA Valspar Championship, where Ronan, 12, received the surprise of a lifetime when he got to play the 18th hole with reigning champion Paul Casey, and Sergio Garcia!

Click here for full PGA.com article and video “Ronan Mowrey, 12, sees ‘Most Colorful PGA Tour Tournament in the World’ Through New Lens” by Doug Milne (March 21, 2019).

Below are a few pictures that we snapped along the way.

Reigning PGA Valspar champion, Paul Casey, surprises Ronan during his interview on the 18th hole (2019 PGA Valspar Championship)

Reigning PGA Valspar champion, Paul Casey, surprises Ronan during his interview on the 18th hole (2019 PGA Valspar Championship)

Reigning PGA Valspar champion, Paul Casey, surprises Ronan during his interview on the 18th hole (2019 PGA Valspar Championship)

Reigning PGA Valspar champion, Paul Casey, surprises Ronan during his interview on the 18th hole (2019 PGA Valspar Championship)

Reigning PGA Valspar champion, invites Ronan to play the 18th hole with him and Sergio Garcia (2019 PGA Valspar Championship)

Reigning PGA Valspar champion, invites Ronan to play the 18th hole with him and Sergio Garcia (2019 PGA Valspar Championship)

Paul Casey drives on the 18th (2019 Valspar Championship - Practice Round)

Paul Casey drives on the 18th (2019 Valspar Championship – Practice Round)

Sergio Garcia tees up drive on the 18th (2019 Valspar Championship)

Sergio Garcia tees up drive on the 18th (2019 Valspar Championship – Practice Round)

Ronan prepares to drive on the 18th (with Paul Casey and Sergio Garcia looking on) (March 2019)

Ronan prepares to drive on the 18th (with Paul Casey, and Sergio Garcia, looking on) (March 2019)

Sergio Garcia, Ronan and Paul Casey on the 18th fairway (2019 Valspar Championship - Practice Round)

Sergio Garcia, Ronan, and Paul Casey on the 18th fairway (2019 Valspar Championship – Practice Round)

Ronan, Paul Casey and Sergio Garcia on the 18th green (March 2019)

Ronan, Paul Casey, and Sergio Garcia on the 18th green (March 2019)

 

Reigning PGA Valspar Champion Paul Casey giving Ronan his new EnChroma glasses! (March 2019)

Reigning PGA Valspar Champion Paul Casey giving Ronan his new EnChroma glasses! (March 2019)

PGA Valspar Champion, Paul Casey, and Ronan, finishing up the 18th hole (March 2019)

PGA Valspar Champion, Paul Casey, and Ronan, finishing up the 18th hole (March 2019)

Ronan’s special day at the Valspar PGA championship this past Tuesday was full of surprises, and thanks to the EnChroma glasses that Paul Casey surprised Ronan with on the 18th hole, Ronan is now seeing the world in a w”hole” (pun intended) new, and more colorful way! In addition to the kindness and generosity of both Paul Casey, and Sergio Garcia, there were a lot of wonderful people behind the scenes that worked to make our sons’, Ryan and Ronan’s, day at Valspar unforgettable.  Our heartfelt appreciation is extended to all who contributed to making the entire event so incredibly spectacular!

Click here for full PGA.com article and video “Ronan Mowrey, 12, sees ‘Most Colorful PGA Tour Tournament in the World; Through New Lens” by Doug Milne (March 21, 2019).

FLORIDA: EAST TO WEST COAST ACROSS THE OKEECHOBEE WATERWAY – by Theresa

Okeechobee Waterway - FL Map Okeechobee Waterway – FL Map

Since arriving back in the U.S., after four (4) years cruising the Caribbean, we have received many inquiries about our next port(s) of call, and go-forward cruising plans. Long story short, after arriving in North Palm Beach, FL, we were at a cross road. Either head down the East Coast of FL, towards the Keys, around the southern tip of FL , and up the FL West Coast, or set a course northwest, to cut across the state via the Okeechobee Waterway.

The Okeechobee Waterway is a man-made waterway that stretches from Stuart, on the East Coast of Florida, to Fort Myers, on Florida’s West Coast. A series of canals, including the Caloosahatchee River to the west, and St. Lucie Canal to the east, link Florida’s East and West Coasts to Lake Okeechobee in the center of the state.

Okeechobee Waterway & Locks Map Okeechobee Waterway & Locks Map

We opted for the Okeechobee Waterway since it was a shorter route, and we were coming up on some deadlines for re-enrolling the boys in a bricks and mortar school. Hence, we positioned ourselves in North Palm Beach until the next appropriate weather window, and locks’ schedule, allowed us to cross from the East Coast to the West Coast of Florida.

During our E-W Florida crossing, we encountered countless car and railroad bridges: swing bridges, draw bridges, fixed bridges, etc. Some, we could pass right under because they were high enough for us to clear.

Bridge Bridge
Bridge Bridge

At lower clearance bridges, we had to hail the various bridge operators on the VHF radio to  have them open the bridge so that we could safely pass through.

Draw Bridge Draw Bridge

While transiting the “Locks,” (a series of water-like elevators), we positioned the Pilots’ Discretion in the lock basins, which then closed and either added or drained water before opening to let us out at the appropriate water level on the other side.

Along the way, we made stops at Roland & Mary Martin Marina, in Clewiston, Fort Myers, and Venice. We had dolphins and jet skiers hitch rides in our wake along the way, and the sunsets were as spectacular as ever.

Sunset in Venice, FL (2018) Sunset in Venice, FL (2018)At long last, we reached the Anclote River, Tarpon Springs, FL. We slowly made our way up the river to our home port, Port Tarpon Marina, which had served as our departure point four (4) years previous.

Theresa refueling, Port Tarpon Theresa refueling, Port Tarpon
Randy refueling, Port Tarpon Marina Randy refueling, Port Tarpon Marina
Ronan, Randy & Ryan, back where it all started, Port Tarpon Ronan, Randy & Ryan, back where it all started, Port Tarpon
Sunset from Pilots' Discretion, back in her home port slip at Port Tarpon Marina Sunset from Pilots’ Discretion, back in her home port slip at Port Tarpon Marina

To say it was a bittersweet surreal moment would be a dramatic understatement.

Mark Twain has been attributed with having said:

Throw of the bowlines ...

Our family is most certainly not disappointed. We are tremendously grateful for our unique experiences and adventures. We have lived the dream, and will continue to do so. 

Since returning to Florida, it has been a whirlwind of nonstop activity reintegrating as part-time landlubbers. The changes have been quick and dramatic, some of them easy, others more challenging, We will provide updates on the reintegration process after we are more settled. In any event, it is all part of the next leg of our journey, which includes, among other things, a new addition to our crew! More about that in our next post ….

Swimming piglets at Big Majors, Bahamas

WHEN PIGS SWIM! BIG MAJORS SPOT, BAHAMAS (MAY 2018) – by Theresa

Continuing with our video logs, after leaving Staniel Cay astern, we next stopped at Big Majors Spot, home to the infamous swimming pigs. (Click on photo below for video.) The three little piglets swimming ashore, 0.55 seconds in to the video, were absolutely priceless!

The pigs swim out to greet the arriving dinghies, aiming to have their efforts rewarded with snacks. Although most of the swimming/beach pigs were docile and friendly, there was one rather large and aggressive pig. The posted warning advised beachgoers to beware of the pig (pictured above and below) appropriately named “Big Mama Karma.”  She was given that moniker because, like karma, she had been known to come back and bite individuals in the backside!

Big Mama Karma, Big Majors, Bahamas

Big Mama Karma, Big Majors, Bahamas

After Big Majors Spot, we next set a course north to Exuma Land and Sea Park…

STANIEL CAY YACHT CLUB, EXUMAS, BAHAMAS (MAY 2018) – By Theresa

Those following our journey closely know that we have been remiss in posting. In an effort to catch up to our actual present location, and still post updates on each of our stops along the way (for those following and planning similar routes), we will be posting a series of video logs (“V-LOGS”). Our first V-LOG covers Staniel Cay, in the Exumas, in southern Bahamas (hit the “play” button on below photo  for the V-LOG). The sharks at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club put on a spectacular show at the fish cleaning station and in the underwater lights directly behind our boat!

We had visited the Staniel Cay Yacht Club on our previous journey south, in 2014 [See [Staniel Cay, Exumas (2014) – by Randy] ].

One of the charming aspects of the Staniel Cay Yacht Club is that it has preserved its quintessential small cay essence for decades.  On our latest trip, we had the pleasure of adding to the decades old ambiance of the establishment. If you ever get the pleasure of visiting Staniel Cay Yacht Club, look for the Pilots’ Discretion life ring hanging on a post, just to the left of the entrance!

Ryan, Theresa & Ronan in front of the Pilot's Discretion life ring, Staniel Cay Yacht Club, Exumas, Bahamas (May (2018)

Ryan, Theresa & Ronan in front of the Pilot’s Discretion life ring, Staniel Cay Yacht Club, Exumas, Bahamas (May (2018)

We know some of you have already found it. You know who you are! If anyone else finds it, let us know.  Next stop, Big Majors Cay …