A Simple Sailor Man

A Simple Sailor Man

  • January 27, 2015

Tribute to a Friend, Tom Conrad: We lost a good friend. Tom Conrad passed away recently and the boating community lost one of its best. We met Tom and Patsy Conrad many years ago through AGLCA (America's Great Loop Cruisers' Association). If the Great Loop boating adventure did not exist, we probably would never have met – with the Conrads living in Florida's Panhandle and us living in northern Michigan. What a loss that would have been for us. Because we shared a passion for boating and this…

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2012 Third Annual Looper “Sunset Celebration”

The 2012, Third Annual Looper "Sunset Celebration" was a huge success with over 120 in attendance. It was a little windy (not a problem for Loopers) – lots of good food was shared along with a chance to reacquaint ourselves with old friends. Thanks Patricia & George Hospodar for organizing the event and providing Loopers in the area with an opportunity for this fun reunion.

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Don’t Miss the Looper Sunset Celebration – Marathon, Florida

If you are in Florida - the Keys or near the Marathon area and you are a Looper – you are invited to attend our 3rd Annual "Sunset Celebration" Sunday, February 26, 2012 5 p.m. Banana Bay Resort and Marina Gulf-side beach pavilion Banana Bay is located at 4590 Overseas Highway (Gulf-side) directly across the street from Home Depot. Bring an appetizer to share and your beverage of choice. As an additional incentive to all those who may be traveling…

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Where Have We Been?

Kismet leaving the dock at Stock Island in the Keys with Tab, the new owner, and Jim. We helped Tab take the boat up the Florida coast last month. If you see Tab and his wife Susan on cruising the ICW give him a shout. This may come as surprise to many that follow our blog; we’ve sold our Fathom trawler, Kismet! After five years of a full-time, liveaboard lifestyle while traveling the waters of the U.S., Canada and the Bahamas'…

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It Just Doesn’t Get Fresher Than This!

We walked to Fishbusterz's (an amazing fish market right on the docks of the fishing boat harbor on Stock Island) today with the sole intent of securing some fresh tuna for dinner. We had our eyes set on a huge hunk displayed in the case when all of a sudden one of the fishmongers and another man came and took the whole hunk away (apparently a restaurant buyer securing his own bounty).With our mouths left hanging, because we thought it was…

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Lobster Season at FishBusterz – $7.00 lb.

Just around the corner from the marina is the Stock Island Lobster Company and within walking distance is Fishbusterz Fish Market. We walk by the Lobster Company on our daily walks and the colorful lobster pots and fishermen always brighten our day. This is definitely one of the perks of staying on Stock Island, lots of fresh seafood every day.

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A Little Afternoon Diversion

When we need a little diversion from our normal boating lifestyle; what do we do? Go for a ride in the dinghy of course. After working on the boat we jumped in the dinghy and headed out. We found some interesting canals on the island north or Stock Island and we had a fun afternoon exploring canal life. We think we met more dogs who wanted to defend their waterfront than we did people.

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They’re Blue and They’re Divine!

Yes, we're talking about the Blue Angels. They practiced over our marina for a few days before the Southernmost Air Spectacular show which was at the Naval Air Station on Boca Chica, the next island up from us. Of course we had to take our chairs and unbrella to see our favorite aviators.As much as we love the Blue angels we were even more amazed and astounded by the daredevil Franklin's Flying Circus (http://www.franklinairshow.com). Kyle Franklin as Captain Kyro and Amanda Franklin…

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Blue Heaven for Lunch

Lunch today was at a unique restaurant in Key West, Blue Heaven, with our friend Jean. As you can see this spot features the laid back atmosphere of the Keys. The dirt floors and several roosters wandering about makes you feel as if you are in your own backyard.

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3 Fathoms in Key West

Key West is being inundated by Fathom Yachts – there are three right now in Key West area (2 in Stock Island). Considering there are only about 15 or 16 in existence (and most of those on the west coast) that's a lot in one place. Our Kismet along with Sea Venture and Wishing Star are all proudly representing HarborView Yacht Sales (www.harborviewyachtsales.com ) in the Keys this winter.

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2010 Winter Home – Key West Yacht Harbor

Key West Yacht Harbor is on Stock Island (the next island up from Key West), just a hop skip and a jump from where all the action is in downtown KW. We've used several modes of transportation to and from downtown, bus, dinghy or vehicle but sometimes it's just nice to hang out in the peace and quiet at the marina pool or beach. It's also a good spot to dinghy around when we need to get off the boat.

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Time for a Key West Cruise

Because we use our boat to mostly travel from one destination to another we consider this exploration cruising so we don’t do much in the form of leisure boating once we get to port. After a long haul, moving frequently, it’s nice just to sit and relax in the current location. So when we asked Jeff and Denise, friends from Michigan and fellow boaters who were in Florida on vacation, out for a leisure cruise around Key West we were…

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Dinner Tonight on Wishing Star

Dinner tonight was on Rick’s boat, Wishing Star (a Fathom boat just like ours). Rick is a fabulous host and cook, he prepared the ultimate feast for his friends. (Bottom left to right: Rick, Jeff, Denise, Jeff and Jim.) Thanks Rick!

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Key West – Feels Like Home Away From Home

Mike and Lynne's visit just "whet our whistle" for a taste of home. When you’re on the water, in our case for 5 years, and end up staying in one place for any period of time it eventually starts to feel a little like a home away from home for us. In the case of Key West it’s a "twofer" – this place is magnet for boaters, a lot of whom we’ve met along our trip adventures, as well as…

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Continuing to Explore Key West with Friends

Every day has been more like a vacation for us as we continue to do the tourist things with Mike and Lynne like taking in a Mallory Square sunset, a tour of Duval Street and a walk through the Truman Complex.One night we happened to catch the Victoria Secret Spring Break Party at Mallory Square. It was fun being in the midst of all that young enthusiasm and youthful vibration.However, the best part was being with Mike and Lynne was…

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Home Away From Home

When you’re on the water, in our case for almost 4.5  years, and end up staying in one place for any period of time it kinda feels like a home away from home for us. In the case of Key West it’s a "Twofer"... this place is magnet for boaters, a lot of whom we’ve met along our journey, as well as friends from home trying to escape the drudgery of winter to soak up some sun.Our ex-neighbors, very good…

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Reconnecting with Loopers While in the Keys

While at Albertson's the other day, I (Jim) ran into Scott and Cindy Perkins (bottom-left), who were moored on their sailboat, Chip Ahoy in Key West’s Garrison Bight. We first met them while doing the Loop in 2006, they are fellow Michigander’s and Cindy is a contributor in both of our books (When The Water Calls...We Follow and Women on Board Cruising – favorsventures.com). We decided to meet for lunch a few days later at our favorite Cuban restaurant El Siboney. We had…

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2010 Key West Adventure

After four months of being on the move we’ve gotten settled in our slip at Key West Harbour on Stock Island. This will be our home for the balance of the winter and early spring and we’re both looking forward to enjoying our time docked, not being on the move and taking in all that Key West has to offer... including the heated pool at the marina.Although we like to cruise to new destinations we’ve returned to Key West for…

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Jumping Head First into the Social Scene

Louis and Diane drove down from Marathon, with their friends Reba (top-middle) and Jim (bottom-left), to pick us up for a shopping and lunch in downtown Key West. Lunch was at Black Fin where we met up with Karen and Donna, more friends of the Wade's (top front-left and right).We bumped into the DeGrows (below-we met Bill and Mary a year ago in Palm Coast, Florida but they are actually live very near our homeport – Charlevoix, Michigan) during a morning…

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Kismet Meets up with the 1 Palm Court Group in Marathon, FL

Florida Keys – here we come!We had a relatively smooth cruise  across Florida Bay to Marathon today. Vivid blue skies and turquoise water.We were so happy to meet up with all of our cruising buddies at 1 Palm Court (Sombrero Marina). We had to anchor out in Hawks Channel since Marathon is a busy place this time of year and we couldn't get a slip or even a mooring ball. So we dinghied in to Sombrero for a big breakfast…

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Quickly Through the Everglades

Due to very unpredictable weather lately and having to pick our weather days to move along our route we had to move quickly through the Everglades. This was disappointing for us as this is one of our favorite places. Tonight we anchored out near Indian Key. It was calm as could be tonight and we hope the weather holds for our trip to Marathon tomorrow.

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Naples, Florida

From Fort Myers Beach we took the outside route to an anchorage just outside of the Naples harbor right in the middle of some amazing million dollar homes.On Tuesday we moved to the Naples City Dock's mooring field for a three day visit to catch up on some work and to visit with some friends from home who have rented a house down here for the winter.Our friends Gary and Carol (below), from Traverse City, picked us up on Tuesday…

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Fort Myers Beach On a Mooring Ball

First order of business when we arrived in the Fort Myers Beach harbor was to take on some fuel at Ballards (below). Jim enjoyed talking to the attendant, he had a lot of boating stories to tell.Next we had to grab a mooring ball to tie up to for the next three days.Our Looper friends Charlie and Linda, Freedom's Turn, joined us for a night, they are traveling down south from Michigan visiting all the Looper friends they met on…

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Tarpon Point Marina, Cape Coral, Florida

We're at Tarpon Point Marina in Cape Coral today for a reunion with some boater friends that we have not seen in awhile. They have rented a condo here so we decided to stay at the marina for the night to visit with them. As you can see from the photos it is a very nice marina.

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Good News, Salvage Crew & Kismet Looper Reunion & Birthday Celebration

The last time we saw Andy & Mary Sarver, Good News and Brad and Patti Salvage on Salvage Crew was last spring in Solomons, Maryland. At that time they thought they may be renting a condo in Florida on the Gulf Coast side this winter sometime and as luck would have it we happened to be traveling through Cape Coral where they rented a condo together for a month.Happy hour was at the condo followed by dinner at a restaurant…

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Love the Free Dock in Venice, Florida

We love the free dock the city of Venice provides for boaters. The downtown area is about a mile, or so, walk from the dock and the Crows Nest Restaurant, which we love, is just a few blocks away. Today we got here in time to see the Just Ducky tour boat drive up to and out the boat launch. This is our fourth time using this free dock.There is some talk that the city of Venice wants to do away…

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Beautiful St. Petersburg, Florida

Even though the weather was not the best we still had a lot of fun in St. Pete. We got to visit with the Metro family, whom we met last year in Venice, Florida. Diane, Jim's mom was here with us for most of the time and it was a fun stop to share with her. We'll be back because this town has a lot to offer a visiting boater.We couldn't leave St. Pete without stocking up on veggies and…

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St. Petersburg, Florida

St. Petersburg was our next stop and a place we had never been to before so all of us got to experience it together. The beauty of St. Pete, for boaters, is that the downtown area and everything one might need is within walking distance from the harbor. Restaurants, museums, grocery and  drug store are all within walking distance along with five miles of park that graces the waterfront. Unfortunately it rained most of the time we were in St. Pete…

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Diane On Board Kismet – Caladesi Island Beach

We just spent a wonderful week with Mom... aka Diane (Jim’s mother) and had a wonderful time. Diane, like Barby (Lisa’s mom) is very easy to have on the boat and goes with the flow as easily as if she always travels with us. A couple of days after her arrival we left Tarpon Springs for an anchorage but first we made a brief stop at Caledesi Island so we could walk the beach and collect sea shells. My mother…

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Diane On Board for the “Mom Cruise” (Part 2)

Don't know what the big gesture Jim is performing for his mother (above left) but I'm pretty sure it has something to do with a boat story. Diane Thompson, Jim's mom, is on board with us for a week. While still in Tarpon Springs we rented a car and picked her up at the airport on Wednesday. Of course, as always when we have access to a vehicle we shopped all morning on our way to pick her up.We knew that both…

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The Florida Branch of the Targal Family

On Barby's last day on the boat Lisa's brother and family (Mart, Gina, Christina, Tanya and Craig) came up to Tarpon Springs from their home in Dunedin, Florida (only about ten miles away). We always love to stop on the west coast of Florida because it means we can visit with Mart and his family. They always take time to drive to us, wherever we are docked, for a good visit. When they left they took Barby along with them…

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Foggy Morning Cruise to Tarpon Springs, Florida

It is only about 14 miles from Caladesi Island to Tarpon Springs so the cruise should have taken only an hour and a half. This morning, in the dense fog, it took us twice as long to arrive.One of our favorite stops is Tarpon Springs. A week long visit to immerse ourselves in all things Greek... music, sponge divers, shells and of course the incredible food. We arrived mid-day at the Tarpon Springs Municipal Marina and we took off to…

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Weather Delay Day On Caladesi Island, Florida

We were to leave Caladesi Island today to go to Tarpon Springs but there were high winds and very unstable weather. No problem for us as Jim and I did some more exploring of the island. We took the 2.5-mile trail around the island and got our dose of fresh air for the day. We didn't see much wildlife but the hammock was lush and inviting.We took Thomas' advice and sat for a while and just listened.Today all the birds…

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Pretty in Pink – Caladesi Island State Park – Florida

The weather held out today for an amazing walk on the beach. After all the cold weather we've experienced lately it was a real treat to soak up some warm sunshine. The pristine beaches of Caladesi Island provided the crew of Kismet an opportunity to collect some sea shells and much needed exercise. Tomorrow the weather appears to be degrading with heavy winds and rain. We may just have to stay another day.

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Caladesi State Park, Florida

We have always wanted to visit Caladesi Island. Lisa's brother, Mart, who lives in Florida has been telling about this island for years. While Barby was traveling with us we made it a priority to visit at least for one night as we make our way to Tarpon Springs.Caladesi Island was named the No. 1 Beach in America by Dr. Stephen Leatherman, A.K.A. Dr. Beach. The marina has 108 slips and as you can see it was mostly empty today.…

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Mom On Board – Cruising to Caladesi Island, Florida

Barby (Lisa's mother) enjoyed the ride to Caladesi Island today. We ran outside on the bow quite often to watch the dolphins swimming and playing alongside our boat. Lots of bridges today but no long delays.We came to this one area where there appeared to be hundreds of seagulls dotting the water. As we got closer we could see why, because of the cold weather Florida has had lately a lot of fish have been dying and this one particular…

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Longboat Key – Anchorage

Longboat Key was busy today. Lots of boats anchored, mostly sailboats. We were lucky to see some white pelicans fishing near our boat. We grilled steaks on the back of the boat and played cards.We were hailed on the radio today by James & Sharon Angel on Blue Angel as they were passing us heading south. The Angels have completed their Loop and still enjoy cruising.Loopers Joe & Joyce Essery, Takitez II, anchored shortly after we did and stopped by…

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Free Dockage in Venice, Florida

We've come to Venice, Florida to rent a car to pick up my (Lisa) mother from Dunedin for a week long cruise on Kismet.Jim stayed on the boat while I rented a car to drive up to my brother's house in Dunedin. We had a fun visit with my two niece's, Tanya and Christina and her son Ethan and nephew, Craig. We had a fun ride back to the boat stopping for lunch and a little shopping on the way.

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