UPDATE#14 05/01 thru 05/07/07

Howdy Everybody,

The period 01/19/07 thru 04/30/07 has been covered in Updates 1 through 13.  We continue with UPDATE07 # 14 .

 UPDATE07 #14   05/01/07 through 05/07/07.

     Welcome back to the new Adventures of the trawler AMARSE.  At last update, we were staying at Ivor and Susan’s wonderful home while AMARSE was undergoing springtime, preventative maintenance. AMARSE was docked behind Roy’s private residence in Port St. Lucie, Florida.



     The spring maintenance project for AMARSE continued today.  Judy and I did odds and ends of chores.  Dave, who has been the major force behind the efforts was busy working on another boat.  He will return to AMARSE tomorrow to tackle those more difficult items that would quickly overwhelm me.  It is hard to believe that we have been working for two weeks now.  In the past 13 months since we departed Houston, AMARSE has performed wonderfully.  With only minor difficulties, she has exceeded all expectations for reliability; “Knock on Wood!”  One of the reasons for this, we believe, is that we did extra preventative maintenance before we departed.  All along the way, we took care of AMARSE and gave her the attention that would keep her performing smoothly.

     Ivor and Susan are back from their Trans-Atlantic cruise on Royal Caribbean.  The planned stop in Bermuda had to be cancelled and they diverted to the Azores because of heavy weather.  All in all, they were glad it happened that way because the Azores are so beautiful.  They enjoyed the voyage very much and had a wonderful visit with family in England. You should hear Ivor brag about his cute grandkids.  We did see the pictures and confirm that, indeed, they are “cuties”.  It is one of the great things about being a grandparent, you get official “bragging rights.”

     Susan spotted this little fellow peaking out of the clay pot in the patio.  He seemed ambivalent to our presence.  Interesting fingers, or are they toes? 




     Chez Frederique was selected to be the culinary master for the evening.  Many of you have seen the TV program, “Iron Chef”, well, Fred is more like the “Tin Chef”.  Actually, I am a fairly accomplished, and appreciated, kitchen magician.  For the evening Bill of Fare, I prepared a sumptuous feast consisting of Creamy Caesar Salad with chicken and shrimp, an entrée of sautéed Tilapia Loins in lemon-butter sauce, and seasoned steamed broccoli.  The chosen wine, a chilled Pouilly Fousse, was the recommendation of Mr. Ivor.  These three smiling faces tell the success story.  Ivor is in his perfect element with a bottle of French wine and two lovely blonds for his big, strong shoulders.





     Dave was back bright and early to continue the AMARSE projects.  We have been wrestling with cantankerous fuel fill caps since we got the boat.  They were the original design that came with the boat initially.  We located some improved models that would provide easier access and superior sealing at the deck fitting.  It turned out to be a more time consuming project than anticipated but Dave did a great job of wiggling into the tight quarters to install the special units.  Additionally, he worked on the teak sundeck fixing some small areas of black sealant.  The awlgrip paint touch up on the toe rail came out nicely too.

     Susan offered to demonstrate her cooking expertise for tonight’s repast.  She started with a medley of mixed greens salad in her own recipe dressing.  On the outdoor grill, she seared a huge slab of beef and sliced it London Broil style.  Accompanying, she sautéed fresh mushrooms and, also, served spears of fresh asparagus.  A South African wine provided a mellow touch to a meal of perfection.  OK, Susan, you win the cook-off.




     Starting early in the morning, Dave finished the project list of items.  The last item was to renew the sealant around the stern lip rail.  This should protect the area for quite a while.

     Knowing that we would depart tomorrow morning, we paid Roy for the use of his dock.  Now we could relax and enjoy the rest of the day with our friends, Ivor and Susan.

     We all had special plans for the evening.  It was like “Reality TV” shows going on right here at home.  For Judy and Susan, it was “Complete Beauty Make-Over”.  The stylist, Susan, commenced with a deep, hair re-coloring session.



     The makeover treatment continued with a cucumber mask application.  I sure hope that stuff comes off.  You know, I have come to the conclusion that men should never be allowed to see this process.  It’ll scare the living daylights out of even the most fearless of men.



     Ivor was getting ready to enter his version of the “World Poker Championships”.  Dressed to the hilt, he was ready to clean the pockets of his opponents seated around the card table.  It will only take the right combination of those 5 cards to “bring home the bacon.”

     For me, I would be re-enacting my version of Rachael Raye’s “30-Minute Meals.”  Since Ivor needed to leave early, I prepared a special dinner plate for him.  I think he loved it.  Hopefully, that empty wine glass would not hinder his ability to maintain a “Poker Face.”

     When the beauties emerged from the “Ultimate Make-Over”, I was ready to serve them in any way they wanted.  For now, it would be a repeat performance featuring Large Shrimp in a sun-dried tomato, cream sauce smothering a bed of linguine.  No one could resist the temptation of Plant City grown, fresh strawberries and cream.

     Tonight, we were all “Reality Stars” in our own way.




     It has been written that “all good things must come to an end.”  This morning, we must leave our friends and continue our adventures.  It has been a wonderful experience having had the opportunity to share time with wonderful friends, Ivor and Susan.  We thank them, with all our hearts, for the generosity and friendship that they have provided us with.  Through their kindness, we were able to do so much more and be so much more comfortable.  Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



     When you have the opportunity to be with friends like this, you truly know that life is wonderful.  Ivor and Susan have enriched our lives and they will remain dear to our hearts forever.  Ya Gotta Luv ‘em!



     Before turning in the Enterprise Rental car, we stocked up on last minute grocery items at a nearby Publix store.  At 11:25 am, this was our view from the upper helm station of AMARSE as we departed Roy Durkee’s dock in Port St. Lucie.



     On the St. Lucie River, we were delayed for two trains at the Roosevelt Bridge in Stuart.  At 1:45 pm, we rejoined the ICW at Mile Marker 987.9, as measured from Norfolk, Virginia.

     Ft. Pierce harbors the Port Petroleum facility where we filled AMARSE’s tanks.  She took 244 gallons of diesel.  Those new fuel fill caps made everything much easier.  That was a great improvement.  At 4:57 pm, just 42 minutes refueling, we pivoted off the dock.  I was a little concerned that it would be difficult to get off that dock with the wind driving us into it.  The departure went flawless and I could relax during the trip up the ICW. 

     At 6:45 pm, we pulled up to the dockmaster’s office to pay for mooring ball #12.  For the total of $11.77, it was assured that our night would be secure, restful, and peaceful.  The city of Vero Beach has banned anchoring and installed lots and lots of moorings balls.  It is a great way to increase the safety and the capacity of this lovely location.



     We traveled 52 miles today.  Served out on the sundeck, we could enjoy this lovely evening while dining on gourmet style, Chicken Pot Pie.


POSITION: N27 39.318  W080 22.230  Mile Marker 951.7




     Leaving a mooring ball is a cinch.  All you do is release their pennant line and drop it in the water.  AMARSE was free to continue at 6:50 am under clear skies and calm wind conditions. Temperatures would remain in the 70’s and 80’s.  The scenery ranged from luxury residences to wild, untamed, natural beauty. 



     I was a peaceful, totally enjoyable day to cruise in the Florida waters.  We considered anchoring in a small cove at Haul-Over canal, however, our attempt didn’t work out because of the intense local traffic at the adjacent, small boat ramp.  It would have approached on rudeness to crowd the cove even more with this large boat.  Even with all the small boat traffic, a manatee was floating, leisurely, in the protected waters.

     Our alternate anchorage had a non-inviting name, Mosquito Lagoon.  I don’t know about you, but it gave me all kinds of itching and scratching thoughts.  At MM861.3, we turned at marker G”19”, as recommended in Skipper Bob’s guide, to get well outside the channel in the wide-open lagoon.  As we dropped the anchor in less than 10 feet of water, we wondered if the insect onslaught would commence soon. 



     We had traveled 91.8 miles today.  Thankfully, this lagoon turned out to be a great place to anchor.  We never saw any insects and not even one mosquito got to sample our blood.  We rested well in Mosquito Lagoon.

N28 50.387 W080 47.811




     At 6:25 am, while the anchor was being raised, the sun was struggling to bring light to the dawn.  We were back in the main channel when the golden orb broke free of the horizon’s grip.  This is natural wilderness beauty in all its glory.



     Eager, energetic porpoises swam playfully around AMARSE. 




     Judy photographed this lone bird in this lovely habitat.  It looks like a prizewinner to me.



     The mirror-like stillness of this tranquil community is totally undisturbed on this early Sunday morning.  Very soon, the buzzing of outboards will echo from these shores and the multitudes of fishermen will cast feverishly in quest of that “big one.”



     As we continued northward, the natural beauty gave way to urban development.  We passed through New Smyrna Beach and on through Daytona.  The St. Louis boat, “SEA FOX”, with Milt and Fran Ohlsen passed us just north of the Daytona lift bridges.  There are presently over 200 wildfires raging in two state area.  The smoke was extremely dense and the visibility lowered to less than half a mile. 



     To add to the smoke, the skies began to darken as the huge area of thunderstorms approached the ICW.  The breeze stiffened and the skies let loose with torrential rains.  We were headed into the weather.  Boats traveling in the opposite direction were running from the storm that was traveling at 25 mph.  They had little regard for the huge wakes that they were producing.  It was somewhat humorous to hear the complaints being vocalized on the VHF radio, especially the ones directed at the speeding Coast Guard Auxiliary vessel.  Oh well.

     When the storms passed, they left the winds blowing at 20 to 35 knots.  We have reservations at St. Augustine Municipal Marina and, I must confess, I’m apprehensive about arriving at that marina in these conditions.  I anticipate that the wind will be in opposition to the strong current that plagues the docks.  In my mind, I mentally rehearsed lots of different scenarios that might effect our safety.  When we arrived, the conditions were as expected with northerly, gusty winds in excess of 35 knots and a ripping current from the south on the outgoing tide.  The marina had assigned a very experienced dockhand to assist with the docking.  They chose the most conducive slip and, with expert guidance and the able line handling by both Judy and the dockhand, we secured without event or complication.  At 4:50 pm, we were relieved to be safe and secure in Slip #20.

     The rains had subsided and we headed for the historic district of downtown St. Augustine.  This marina is perfect for visiting the city.  When we spotted Milt and Fran, we continued our walk with their company.  They had already eaten dinner, so, we selected Pizzally’s Chianti Room Restaurant.  The nice Italian setting complimented our meals.  I selected the eggplant parmesan served with penne pasta topped with meat sauce.  The grilled squash vegetables were wonderful.  Judy enjoyed her Caesar Salad with grilled chicken breast.

     Today, we had traveled 84 miles and experienced a large variety of environmental conditions.


POSITION:  N29 53.517  W081 18.565    Mile Marker 778.6


05/07/07    MONDAY   ST. AUGUSTINE, FL


     Today’s weather started with periods of rain combined with very windy conditions and smoke.  Coffee was served aboard SEA FOX as we discussed the weather and events to come.  There wasn’t much question that we would be here again tonight.

     Last night’s winds had created a nightmare for many boaters that had chosen to anchor out.  In the mayhem, several vessels had broken loose and dragged anchor.  There were numerous assistance calls for Towboat/US and SeaTow.  One entanglement took over 4 hours to sort out.  When conditions of switching currents and gale force winds combine, the result can be catastrophic.  Although it is quite expensive to stay here at this marina, in fact, this is the most expensive one that we have stayed in yet, we know that it is the right thing to do to remain safe.  If a person must be stuck because of weather, there are few places more enjoyable than St. Augustine.  After all, it is the oldest city in North America.

     We visited the Castillo de San Marcos.  This fort of Spanish origin is operated and maintained by the US National Parks Department.  This was our second visit here and we enjoyed it very much.

     For lunch, we followed Milt’s suggestion for Harry’s Restaurant.  Milt had a hankering for the Crawfish Etoufee, Fran liked the Crab Cakes and Red Beans with rice, Judy chose the Chicken Caesar Salad, and I opted for the Harry’s Burger.  The Ohlsens shared a piece of Key Lime Pie. 



     The thick walls of the fort are constructed of a unique substance known as “Coquina.”  It was mined from the nearby island of Anastasia.  The material is comprised of millions and millions of tiny shells that have compacted, compressed, and cemented together naturally over centuries.  This resilient material was nearly impervious to canon ball fire.



     Milt and Fran seem to be keeping everything secure from this guard tower at the fort.



     Some of these canons can lob a ball well over a mile with remarkable accuracy.  The bronze barrels are quite ornate in many cases.  The Spaniards were very proud of their artillery.



     After the fort, we continued our walking tour to include the courtyard of Flagler College, formerly, the Ponce de Leon Hotel.



     The beautiful Casa Monica Hotel still serves as an elegant reminder of the days of great hotels.  Although Henry Flagler did not build this hotel, he did own and operate it for a time.



     Henry M. Flagler, of railroad fame and Standard Oil fame, built this hotel to supplement the Ponce de Leon Hotel.  They were only open for several months per year.  For a while, it served as the City headquarters.  Now it is home to the Lightner Fine Arts museum.



     The Bridge of Lions is undergoing extensive renovations.  To facilitate traffic, this secondary bridge was temporarily erected.  When the renovation project is complete, the new bridge will be torn down.  Wow!




     Milt and Fran wanted to try the same restaurant that we ate in last night.  We joined them at Pizzally’s Chianti Room.  Although we both ordered the brick oven pizza, ours came out too cold.  Judy made mention of it to the waiter who was gracious enough to comp the pizza.  Now that’s good customer relations.

     The forecast for the weather does not look very good.  There is a storm brewing in the Atlantic not far from here.  It is to become the first tropical storm of the season and bears the name “Andrea”.  We certainly will not be anxious to run out into those kinds of hazards.  After all, we’ll just have great fun here.





        As you have probably noticed, I am making progress on my update duties.  As I complete this edition, it is already 5/15/07 and we are in Welaka, Florida.  We are enjoying the beauty of the St. John’s River as a side trip before continuing north.  Thanks for being patient.  Please let us know if you have any special suggestions and thoughts.

    Thanks for allowing us to share our life and adventures with you.

     REMEMBER:  The website is now fully active and you can visit it at any time.  You can review any of the 2006 or 2007 logs and learn more about the crew and our plans.  Enjoy.



"AMARSE".  is pronounced "AM-ARE-SAY".  Our website is:   www.amarse.net   

  We would like to hear more about what is happening in your lives.  Let us know as we very interested in what’s going on with our friends and family.  Please call or email us with your thoughts and comments and ideas too.  Thanks

Lot of Love,

Fred Reed and Judy Law