Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Okay, we are back at it!

Hello everyone, we are back!!  Another new year cruising in Florida. I promised I would not bore you with repeating some of the same places we have already visited, so I will highlight new things we may see along the way. 
After spending about 5 weeks at Palm Island Marina in Placida, Florida, we are on the move. Each year I run a rendezvous for a group of Ranger Tug owners in the first week of February. We had 18 boats in attendance and it was a great time of comradery, education and food. We each share our experiences of cruising different sections of the Great American Loop as well as other places such as the Pacific Northwest, Lake Tahoe, Lake Powell and anywhere you can think to trailer the boat. Having a boat that you can trailer sure makes for a variety of places to visit. What is even better is that we stay on the boat at campgrounds when we are on the move by land. Someone coined the phrase “boaterhoming”. We do get some stares and lots of questions when we pull into campgrounds. The typical question is “Are you expecting a flood”?  
This year we are hoping to make it to the Bahamas.  Nothing in boating is definite, especially schedules. It is important when crossing the Gulf Stream that none of the wind components can have the word "north" in it. The Gulf Stream is pushing north and if a wind is pushing from the north it lends itself to a rather uncomfortable ride. Seas can build pretty quickly. We plan on leaving late March because that is when the winds tend to calm down and are much less prevalent from the north. Until then we will meander our way to the Keys and take in the beauty of nature and living on the water. There is a definite correlation between stress and the further south you go. 
So for those of you who are in snow, cold and slush, sit by the fire with a nice hot toddy and join us for a new adventure to wherever the warmth, sun and water will take us!
A typical scene while trailering and camping along the way.

Trailer maintenance is very important. While being at dock for five weeks may sound boring, there is always something to do. I replaced my fenders and replaced all of my brakes, rotors and calipers with stainless steel components. Seven hours of work and I am good to go in the spring. 

Not a bad spot to stay for five weeks and then end it with a tug rendezvous.
It wouldn't be a rendezvous unless there is a pot luck dinner and some dessert.

The group of Ranger Tug owners.