The bad weather that was moving North of us finally caught up with us. Buddy, The Moorings Marina Official Weather Guru, says he doesn’t think we will be leaving before Tuesday.  Three weeks is the record for “waiting time” in December (bite your tongue).  The local joke is that they “hope we don’t have to stay around long enough to register to vote.”  So we will be pleased if we get out in one week. (Should we be here long enough, Brad WILL consider running for Mayor).  In the meantime, there is a Looper’s Pot Luck organized for the Club House tonight.
Dec 11
Carrabelle (and the rest of Big Bend) is old Florida, a step back in time,  the coastline Jimmy Buffett sang about.  It's mostly found on the West coast of Florida all the way down to the Keys. “My old red bike, gets me around to the Bars and the Beaches of My Town” was surely penned here as it suggest the laid back life that the locals live and that we are borrowing.  As we shop and visit and dine, etc. many locals hail us by name now.  I'm sure we will see many of our friends Saturday at the Big Christmas Festival.  "Hey Brad!  Hey Patti!"

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Dec 13

Today was Christmas Festival Day in Carabelle with Bands, Arts & Crafts, Food, Boat Parade of Lights & Fireworks!!!  Please enjoy the pictures!  The owners of “Harry’s Bar” who happen to be named Jim and Bob, checked out our website and wanted to see a picture of “Harry’s” from the outside on our site!  Here you go guys!!!! Buddy here at the Moorings is having a Captain’s meeting Monday morning at 6:30 am because he thinks he sees a weather window approaching.  Our fingers are crossed for a Monday (or possibly Tues) departure.

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Dec 14

The boating community is a small one.  It is amazing how often you run across people you know.  You might even say that even though the “highway is a little larger—the filling stations are fewer”.  Bart Shubert, a friend from Chattanooga, came in today in route to deliver a Sea Ray.  He works for our friends Craig & Genny at TRC Yacht Sales, Chattanooga’s Premier Boat Brokers. 

Dec 15

Last day in Carrabelle.  Some of our new Carrabelle friends sent the ace reporter Laurel Newman of “The Franklin Chronicle” over to our boat to talk about Loopers and what they are all about.  Look for an article in that newspaper featuring the “Salvage Crew”.

We are leaving at 5:30 am with 3 other boats headed to Steinhatchee, then an overnight anchorage, and on to Tarpon Springs. 



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Dec 16

Left Carabelle under cover of night (5:30 AM). Departure timed for tides & fog that forms when the rising sun warms the air at daybreak. We wanted to be out in the open water to deal with morning fog instead of dodging buoys inside a channel with limited vision. The moon was bright and we listened to Christmas music as we made Dog Island pass.  The sea as predicted was 1 ft making smooth, easy cruising for “Sunshine” “Blue Max” “Going There” and “Salvage Crew”. This was a day worth waiting for. The pointy end of our boat was once again pointed South!  Not enough time to explore Steinhatchee thoroughly.  Will have to come back this way.  But we did bicycle down to “Fiddler’s” for supper and it was all the Looper’s promised us it would be.  I had the Lemon Dill Grouper and Brad had the Porterhouse Steak!  Fabulous! Up early again tomorrow to take advantage of the weather window.  But not before daybreak because of the many crab pots close to shore. 



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Dec 17

Fog delayed departure to 7:30 am and even then it was slow go.  “Lola Marie” joined our group and we picked our way through a maze of crabpots in the fog.  It was like a mine field.  “Hard Port” , “Hard Starboard” I would yell when I spotted one.  “Stop yelling” Brad would yell, “I’m not yelling” I would answer.  But I was.  Because if you catch a crab pot with your prop, you are pretty much in for some time and expense we wish to avoid.  Today was our 2nd long day of cruising Big Bend, but it was warm and beautiful. This is what December should be like everywhere!! In route, the dog on “Sunshine” would start wildly barking every time there were dolphins around.  And they were around a lot.  We are now at anchor in the Withlacoochee River for the night.  I just heard a lyric on the ipod that I had never really listened to before.  Train said “It isn’t just a daydream if you decide to make it your life.”   I think my sister mentioned that lyric to me once.  Wow!  Profound!

Really slow broadband out here, will post pictures tomorrow! 

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Dec 18

Lovely night on the hook last night.  Cocktails aboard “Lola Marie”. This morning “Going There” went to Crystal River to see the Manatee and “Lola Marie” headed straight to Clearwater. We were 3 heading to Tarpon Springs, the Sponge Capital of the World”.  Some explorers from Greece settled here in 1890 because Tarpon is one of the few places useable sponge is found. It’s a huge Greek population still where they dive for sponge and run GREAT Greek restaurants. Of course they are GREAT!  These folks invented feta!!!!We ate at Costa’s. Brad had lamb, I had a combo platter and “Stuffed Grape leaves” was the only thing on there I could pronounce. It was fantastic. The Saganaki (flaming cheese) appetizer was good, too.  We are going to get SOOOO Fat.

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