UPDATE #1 01/19 thru 01/27/07
are very interested in hearing from ya’all.
If you have missed out on any of the previous emails and would like us to
re-send them, please let us know.
Please let me know if these emails containing pictures
are too large and we will send you a version with text only.
The period 4/1/06 thru 11/23/06 has been covered in
Updates 1 through 31. We continue
with UPDATE07 #1.
#1 01/19/07 through 01/27/07.
back to the new Adventures of the trawler AMARSE. After completing the America’s Great Loop Cruise in late
November 2006, we have been ashore in San Antonio, Texas. We had planned that a month would be ample time to complete
our onshore business. Such was not
the case. It has taken us nearly
twice that time to arrange our “stuff”.
The good news is that we now have most of our “ducks-in-a-row” and
can resume living the lifestyle that we have thoroughly enjoyed over the past
One of the major accomplishments was the preparation and publishing of
our Website. It has been totally
revamped to include all kinds of information about the boat, crew, and plans for
our voyages. An important feature
was to include all of the Log pages and Updates from our voyage of 2006.
As we move into 2007, we will attempt to publish our Updates to the
Website, as well as sending them by email.
We certainly hope you will enjoy the Website and that you will visit it
frequently. If you “BOOKMARK”
or “ADD TO YOUR FAVORITES”, you will have easier access to the Website.
You will find it at: www.amarse.net .
At the website, you can read about our aspirations for 2007, including
our plan to do the loop trip again this summer.
Please let us know you thoughts, comments, and suggestions.
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS TO
Last night, we decided to visit our favorite Chinese restaurant in San Antonio. The Golden Phoenix has a great buffet boasting a large variety of Asian specialties, sushi, salads, seafood, and even custom prepare steaks to order. The traditional fortune cookie at the end of the meal was wonderfully appropriate. Judy’s fortune read, “A new voyage will produce fabulous memories”. My question is, “How did they know?”
National Car Rental had the best deal on a One-way rental. We picked up the almost new, Saturn ION just before 10am. Everything was packed at the house and ready to be loaded. By 10:50am, we were saying our goodbyes and headed out on the highway. Interstate I-10 connects San Antonio with Mobile, Alabama. The route runs east through Houston and Beaumont, Texas to Lake Charles and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A relatively short by-pass of New Orleans on I-12 rejoins I-10 at Slidell, LA. Eastward through southern Mississippi, the highway leads on to Mobile, Alabama. After 665.9 miles, we parked the car at 9:40pm. AMARSE is waiting patiently for us at Grand Mariner Marina on the Dog River located south of the city. She is a beautiful sight to behold. We are HOME again.
It doesn’t take long for these two tired kidz to crawl into bed and drift off in blissful dreams of the adventures and voyages that lie ahead.
SATURDAY DOG RIVER, MOBILE,
The rental car is due for return within 24 hours. With our cache of personal and boat stuff unloaded and re-stored inside AMARSE, we headed toward the airport to return the car. Judy was wielding the big, black marina truck for the half hour trip. We turned in the vehicle with minutes to spare.
Our brunch choice was the Cracker Barrel restaurant. As usual, there was the obligatory 20-minute wait for a table. There are not many places that I have the patience to wait that long for breakfast, but Cracker Barrel, somehow, seems worth it.
Back at the marina, the preventative maintenance and chores awaited. With Judy’s willing helpfulness, I changed the oil and filters in both engines and the generator. It takes 34 quarts of Rotella T SAE 40 to accomplish the change. Fortunately, the marina has a used oil recycling tank right here on site. Re-arranging, sorting, storing, and cleaning whittled away at the hours. One of the most rewarding tasks was the installation of our new AGLCA “Gold Burgee”. Only those members that have completed the entire “Loop” trip are privileged to display their pride of accomplishment by flying this special burgee from the America’s Great Loop Cruising Association. Other members display the burgee with the white background as we did during our initial voyage.
Our friends, Robert and Patty Mitchell, from “ORINOCO”, are here at the same marina again. While we were gone, they continued by boat to Houston for the holidays and have just recently returned. They graciously invited us to join them for dinner aboard their marvelous, 48 foot Tollycraft. You may remember that their boat is fully, yes fully, equipped. It even has a dishwasher, trash-compactor, washer and dryer, and automatic ice-maker, just to list a few. Patty is a retired United Airlines Captain who flew international routes on 747’s. Robert, also a pilot, headed up a maintenance division of Gulfstream Aerospace in Wisconsin. Naturally, we have a lot in common and Judy and I enjoy visiting with them very much. They have a great sense of humor and keep us laughing.
For dinner, Judy put together an appetizer plate of sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, and thin strips of Procuitto ham. Patty prepared a delicious cabbage/corn bread casserole and sautéed chicken breast in water chestnut sauce. These two gals are “too cool”. My contribution was to drink Bloody Marys. Robert did the dishes. Sounds like a fair sharing of duties to me. The whole evening was wonderful and we continued to joke and laugh till almost midnight. Now cruisers usually call 9pm as “Cruiser’s Midnight”, however, we went the full measure to the “turn into a pumpkin” midnight. It is times like these that makes our life so great. It’s no wonder that we love being “Cruisers”.
SUNDAY DOG RIVER,
Robert and Patty had planned to leave today headed east. A review of the conflicting weather reports convinced them to stay on awaiting better conditions. Being in no hurry to leave here, we find ourselves in no rush to charge off into inclement weather. The forecast is for 100 per cent chance of rain and windy. Unfortunately, the longer range forecast doesn’t show much improvement for several days, if that. After all, it is winter and this is not too bad a place to stay and enjoy. Let’s see if our patience can meet the test.
The necessity to provision the boat for our voyage continuation was evidenced by the nearly empty refrigerator. We still have a good supply of dry and canned good in ship stores, however, the perishables such as milk, butter, eggs, cheese, and fresh vegetables needed replenishment. Patty, from Orinoco, joined us in the marina courtesy truck to make the Wally-World (Wal-Mart) run. It is a good thing we brought the truck. Did you ever notice how picking up just a few things leads to half a truck load? I really don’t know how Judy finds enough storage space for all the stuff. She must be a magician.
We were delighted that Robert and Patty accepted our invitation for dinner aboard AMARSE. We sure enjoy these wonderful folks. Our menu was styled as “The Taste of Italy”. From the wine cellar, a bottle of Montepulciano D’Abruzzo set the tone. Crisp lettuce wedges accented with fresh, ripe tomato and grated, 5-cheese blend prepared the palate for the feast.
Much to everyone’s liking, we served the main course of “Penne Al Dente en Bolognese”. The sauce had a slight tang, just enough to tease the taste buds. Topped with chopped ripe olives and various grated Italian cheeses, the pasta seemed to be enjoyed by all. Judy’s tasty, toasted Italian bread was great.
Patty and Robert returned to their boat where Maggi, the wonder dog, was waiting patiently. Judy and I watched a music video of Rod Stewart. His recent venture into singing the old classics from the 40’s has made him very popular again. We find these songs to be most delightful and very romantic.
Heavy at times, the rainy conditions continued all night long. The forecast convinced us that there would be no need to get up early tomorrow morning.
MONDAY DOG RIVER, MOBILE,
The morning skies were still spitting a steady rain. A chance to relax, have a nice breakfast of fresh biscuits with eggs and sausage, and visit more with friends; It takes a lot more than a little rain to dampen the fun of a cruising lifestyle.
Patty has been wanting a bread maker. We joined them for a shopping expedition in quest. After several stops, Target had the appliance that would give them an endless supply of fresh loaves of bread. We needed nothing, however, we somehow managed to return with several bags of stuff. Oh, Oh… the power of impulse shopping. By 2:30 pm, we had expired our time with the courtesy car. Since we were actually from two boats, we were allotted double the usual amount of time. We had fun together and even got to enjoy a quick lunch while out.
The afternoon was spent finishing up chores and general puttzing. We are ready to set out for points east in the morning if the weather cooperates. It is not forecast to be wonderful, but, we are hoping for acceptable. A light dinner of toasted tuna sandwiches tasted wonderful. Patty brought us a couple of slices of her fresh made bread. Yummy. It’s good to have friends!
TUESDAY DOG RIVER, MOBILE,
INGRAMS BAYOU, ORANGE BEACH, AL
This is the day. The weather looks positive. The boat is ready. The crew is ready. The time is now.
When the alarm sounds at 0545, we start our preparation to depart on the new series of adventures. The Voyage of 2007 is about to begin. At 6:35am, all lines were being brought aboard as AMARSE’s propellers turned to free her from the dock. As if to wish us “good trip”, a solitary dolphin swam up to give us a friendly fin wave. We followed the Dog River Channel out until crossing the Main ship channel. A course of about 150 degrees brought us across the shallow bay and cleared the Eastern shore and fish trap areas. At 9:42am, we rejoined the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) near channel Marker 124 or approximately MileMarker 146. ORINOCO, a 48 foot Tollycraft, had departed a bit behind us, however, she had passed us up and moved out ahead of us.
One of our favorite anchorages from 2006 was Ingrams Bayou. It was only 12:17pm, however, we had dropped anchor and began to enjoy the peaceful environment of this lovely, protected location. ORINOCO was lying on the hook only a couple hundred yards away.
After a lunch of leftover pasta, we took a long, restful nap on this chilly afternoon that would not warm above 54 degrees. As the temperature continued to drop in the evening, we enjoyed the warmth from our heaters powered by the Kohler generator. Judy fixed us a batch of corn muffins. They may well be the best I’ve ever had. To further fend off the chills, I made up a pot of homemade chicken rice soup. What a great meal.
We watched TV tonight including the President’s State of the Union Address. We slept great.
POSITION: N30 19.213 W087 33.434 NEAR MM 164.0. REMEMBER: These mile marker distances are in statute miles and started from 0.0 in New Orleans, LA.
WEDNESDAY INGRAMS BAYOU TO
FT. WALTON BEACH
It was still dark and only 43 degrees when the alarm sounded at 6 am. The 10-minute anchor retrieval detail brought up a muddy, well-set Fortress anchor from the 10 foot deep bottom. At 6:45am, we eased out of this is a wonderfully secure and lovely location.
I don’t know exactly how she does it. I mean, these are the best scrambled eggs I’ve ever had. Judy brings them up to me on the flybridge while they are piping hot and those grilled bagels couldn’t be more wonderful. Wow.
Within a few hours, we are crossing the Florida border. Now, let me try to remember, isn’t Florida supposed to be warm and sunny? It is still in the 40’s, windy, and overcast. What is this all about? I was about to write a letter to Governor Jeb Bush to complain. Then, I realized that he is no longer the Governor. What has this new governor done to the weather? Judy was wrapped up in three blankets, wearing long underwear, and snuggled in a hooded sweatshirt.
Traveling through Pensacola Bay was lots of fun. We were joined by numerous pods of frolicking dolphin. They are such skillful swimmers and frequently surf in the bow wake and alongside AMARSE.
We had made a phone call to the City Manager of Ft. Walton Beach to make arrangements to use their municipal dock. Some friends of ours had alerted us to this great facility. The friendly folks welcomed us to stay free for one night. Orinoco was already tied up when we arrived at 2pm and they were eager to help us with our lines.
After securing the boat, we walked the very short distance to the town center. We picked up a few grocery items and enjoyed a walk through the town center.
For dinner, we joined Patty and Robert at The Magnolia Grill Restaurant.
This is truly a wonderful restaurant that we heartily recommend to anyone headed this way. This is the kind of place that is well worth going out of your way for. The food, the service, the décor, and the owner and staff are all excellent. Try it, you’ll like it! The steaks are especially unbelievable.
POSITION: N30 24.099 W086 36.386 MM 223.0
FT. WALTON BEACH to PEARL BAYOU, PANAMA CITY, FLORIDA
We left the dock at 6:35am when we motored away from this lovely city, the skies were partially overcast at 43 degrees. Fortunately, AMARSE is so comfortable and well insulated that we were able to keep warm throughout the night. Shortly after 10am, we entered the area known as “the Grand Canyon”. The title is a bit ambitious, however, the scenery is like a miniature version of the canyon. The high dredging banks of the shoreline have eroded revealing a myriad of textures and colors. It is quite unusual.
Judy has been making lots of phone call to get the lowest prices for diesel fuel. We need to fill up prior to our gulf crossing. Panama City is located on St. Andrews Bay and along the GIWW. The St Andrews Marina offered the best price at $2.3025 per gallon including all taxes. We are always amazed at how much variance in price exists between marina locations. It took us 54 minutes to refuel AMARSE and be underway again.
When we passed this way in April, we had enjoyed a tranquil and secure anchorage in Pearl Bayou. We had suggested it to Orinoco and we found a nice spot to drop our anchor within a couple hundred yards from them. It was only 4pm, but the air was already cooling in the late afternoon.
Being in a Bayou may have given me the hankering for a Cajun dish called Dirty Rice. The recipe starts by browning ground sausage and onions, adding seasonings, lightly browning rice, and cooking them all together. Delicious.
POSITION: N30 06.165 W085 37.444 MILE MARKER 295.3
FRIDAY PEARL BAYOU,
PANAMA CITY, FL to
GULF OF MEXICO CROSSING
ORINOCO was already easing out of the anchorage as AMARSE retrieved her well-buried anchor. Although the skies were clear and promised to be sunny, the mercury still only indicated a brisk 35 degrees. Fortunately, the winds were light and offered us smooth sailing. I had been so delighted with the scrambled eggs yesterday that Judy graciously agreed to make an encore presentation. It is hard to believe that eggs can taste this great.
At 10:57am, we crossed the invisible line where time suddenly leaps an hour ahead. At White City, we switched to Eastern Standard Time of 11:57am EST.
The canal led out into the very shallow, Lake Wimico. We had been overhearing VHF radio conversations forewarning that a boat had run aground entering the lake. ADVENTURE, a Carver cruiser, had veered just slightly off the narrow channel. They are traveling the loop from New Buffalo, Michigan and were fortunate to gain this undesirable experience in a soft bottom. They had already arranged for a professional towing service from TowBoat/US to assist. Knowing that good, professional help was on the way, they were comfortable waiving off any help from other passing cruisers. Hopefully, they will have this behind them and they can enjoy the rest of their journey.
We have been closely monitoring the weather predictions and forecasts for the next few days. With decision time rapidly approaching, we would need to plan for a “weather window” to make our crossing of the Gulf of Mexico. It was suggestive that we might have a short window overnight. It would clearly be another week before another opportunity could arise. We would reserve our final decision even after passing Apalachicola and turning more easterly in St. George Sound. Our continuing planning and constant review of the developing weather conditions led us to the conclusion that we would depart the GIWW through East Pass near Dog Island late this afternoon. I programmed the GPS (Global Positioning System) Navigation equipment for a direct course from G5 at East Pass to G1 at Anclote Key. From G1, we would join the channels toward Tarpon Springs, Florida. At 4:57pm, we completed the final section of the GIWW at Mile Marker 375. Through the East Pass near Dog Island, we logged our time of 5:15pm EST passing G5. Our next point lay 156 miles ahead on a course of 139 degrees magnetic. At 8.8 miles per hour, our crossing time would be almost 18 hours. The NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) forecasted the wave heights to be 4 to 6 feet diminishing to 2 to 4 feet overnight from 20 to 60 miles offshore from Apalachicola to the Suwannee River. From the coast out only 20 miles, the seas were forecasted to diminish to 1 to 2 feet. I programmed in some waypoints that would effect an arc-shaped course to follow the coast more closely. Our initial straight-line course started out with a pleasant 1 to 2 foot sea. We decided to remain on the rhumb line direct. Soon after sunset, the temperature started to drop off rapidly.
We were kept warm and comfortable by switching the operation of the boat to the lower helm. By midnight, we were well out into the Gulf of Mexico and Judy was waking me up for my turn at watch.
SATURDAY GULF OF MEXICO to
TARPON SPRINGS, FLORIDA
Until its setting at 2:27am, the waxing moon was a little more than half and provided a lovely glow that glistened across the building waves. Then it was dark, very dark. We were standing two hour watch periods. Around 3am, the seas began to build to about the 3 to 5 foot range as they moved a bit more abeam. When Judy awakened me at 4 am, the ride was already a bit uncomfortable. By 6am when it was time for me to roust Judy for her watch, even the chairs and carpeting were sliding about in the cabin.
I decided to let her sleep another hour in hopes that the seas would settle down to a level where even simple movement through the boat would be safer. At 7am, it was turning dawn and the seas were beginning to cooperate in a friendlier manner. Judy’s watch continued until about 8:25 am when we approached the coastal shelf and shallower water. This area is about 20 miles from our marker, however, it is riddled with crab trap buoys and fish haven markers. The polypropylene lines that attach these buoys are notoriously infamous for fouling propellers and causing a big problem. It behooves voyagers to see and avoid the hundreds of these hazards. Judy rested some more and I resumed the watch from the upper helm where visibility is better. I used a pair of polarized sunglasses to help cut the glare of the rising sun on the water.
Our crossing was accomplished when we reached marker G1 at the southern end of Anclote Key at 10:48am. Several channels would facilitate passage to the Anclote River and the City of Tarpon Springs.
At noon, we were tied securely in Slip #4 of the City Marina.
Judy worked hard to clean and wash the boat to get all the salt rinsed off. She is so cool and willingly exerts every effort to make life wonderful. Judy is a treasure, for sure.
Long time friends, Ken and Georgia Bray came to pick us up. They live nearby in Palm Harbor. When we were here last April, they graciously accepted us into their home and treated us like royalty. We were excited for this opportunity to visit with them again. After cocktails, we were all starving. Our attempts to get reservations at a fancy restaurant were not productive since the waits were too long. Bob Evans Restaurant offered a very nice meal and no waiting. This fit our mood perfectly. We selected a whole French Silk Pie to take home to the Bray’s. It topped off the evening along with some Decaf coffee. Comfortable relaxation, satisfied appetites, and wonderful conversation set the stage for a restful night.
POSITION: N28 09.36.4 W082 45.5
Our plan is to enjoy this lovely community of
Tarpon Springs for the week. The marina is located in an active area that has access to
lots of services and activities. It
is a city very proud of its Greek heritage.
The Greek influence is evident everywhere from the sponge museums to the
variety of restaurants. Please let us know if you have any special suggestions
We sincerely hope that you enjoy these email
UPDATES. We thank those of you who
have contacted us recently and we are looking forward to hearing from each of
you in the near future. Thanks for
allowing us to share our life and adventures with you.
The website is now fully active and you can visit it at any time.
You can review any of the 2006 logs and learn more about the crew and our
Judy can be
reached at 361-550-5353 and Fred can be reached at 210-296-4933. We can be reached at either number. Please call us if you like, we’d really like to hear from
"AMARSE". is pronounced
"AM-ARE-SAY". Our website is: www.amarse.net
Check it out while we will attempt to keep you informed
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
Fred H. Reed
www.amarse.net © 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011