Monday, May 15, 2006

Vacation Day 3

Day three of my vacation dawned bright and sunny, though just a bit breezy.  Our plans for the day were to launch Ken’s larger boat, “Kelly’s Girl.”  Ken has owned “Kelly’s Girl” since 1986 and we used it as the base for many an adventure together in the Tampa Bay area of Florida where we both lived at the time.


Ken’s wife Joyce was able to take the day off and join us.  Our plans were to go find a nice beach protected from the breeze and enjoy the day swimming and walking the beach.


Ken is meticulous in how he cares for his possessions and “Kelly’s Girl” is no exception.  This boat looks as good today as it did when it came off the showroom floor in 1986.  This boat features a classic style design by Wellcraft and was one of the more popular ”pocket cruiser” designs of it’s day.  Boats of this era are hard to find on the East Coast of Florida still in this good of condition and Ken gets admiring looks and stares every time he launches “Kelly’s Girl.”


In this first shot Joyce, ken’s wife, and Ken welcome me aboard “Kelly’s Girl.”

We are in the Ft. Pierce inlet and Ken has chosen our beach location for the day just up ahead.

It doesn’t take Ken long to expertly set the anchor with the boat lined up perfectly with the beach in just the right depth of water.

Joyce and I have known each since their first date.  She is a wonderful lady with a good wit and a sharp mind.  Always looking to improve herself, Joyce takes night courses at a local college in accounting.  She’s been working in the accounting field for many years and I admire her resolve to keep abreast of her career field.  Here we are together saluting Ken as he snaps this picture.

This next shot takes me back twenty years.  Whenever I think of the island camping trips, fishing adventures, diving experiences, or lazing at a beach outing, I always have this mental picture of Ken hanging off the swim platform of “Kelly’s Girl” as you see him pictured here.

Joyce and I took the opportunity to walk the beach and chat.  Here you see us on the return trip to the boat.

We tried to get into the Ft. Pierce City Marina so that we could eat at the Tiki Hut Restaurant.  We ate there on the first day of my trip and had some of the best cheeseburgers I’ve had in years.  The Dock Master would not let us tie up for lunch because the Southern Kingfish Association was holding a tournament nearby and all boat slips had been reserved.  He did let us stay long enough to place to-go orders, though and Ken and I sat at the bar and people watched while we waited for our order.  Here’s a shot of the crowd.

Joyce and I were sitting in “Kelly’s Girl” while Ken was checking on docking accommodations when I noticed the America Flag standing straight on the pole over Joyce’s shoulder.  I quickly got the camera and snapped a shot.

We pulled out of the marina in search of an island to tuck into while we ate our lunch.  We noticed some commotion at a county park nearby and realized that that was where the Southern Kingfish Association was holding the weigh-in for their tournament.

There was a big stage and bleachers had been erected on each side of it.  These events draw huge crowds and we happened by as one of the very earliest boats had pulled into the dock to weigh in.

If any of you remember my very first posts last April, you may remember a fellow by the name of Woody who set out to sail a tiny boat from Savannah to Charleston in some extreme weather conditions.  Woody has been by again on a new adventure and I’ll be posting about it soon.  In the meantime, I have one more day to share of my vacation.  This day we did no boating, but had a great adventure.  ‘Til then be safe and take care!

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Vacation Day Two

It turns out that my assistant did not break his ankle as I mention in my last post.  He broke his leg just above the ankle.  He is coming back to work this week on Wednesday and is to be allowed light duty only.  He will be able to pump gas and run the hoist, but no strenuous walking or lifting.  Not too bad in the total scheme of things.  My high school part-timers can do the garbage when they arrive after school on those days when I’m not there.  If there is an emergency on the docks, the maintenance department can help him out.  Now on to the subject of today’s post, day two of my recent vacation to Vero Beach, Florida.


My best friend Ken was playing host to me while I used up some vacation time.  The first day had been spent exploring spoil islands and swimming.  On this day, we rose early and set out to do some serious fishing.


We had no luck in finding live bait in the area and resorted to using frozen shrimp and artificial lures.



Our favorite inshore location produced little on this day so we stuck our nose out of the pass hoping to run across some jacks or mackerel just off the beaches.



After a while, we decided it was time to head over to Captain Hiram’s, my favorite beach bar and restaurant in the area.



Luck was on our side and Jen was on duty behind the bar again.  You may remember seeing her in one of the PICS taken and posted in October.



As before, she made the tastiest drinks and we enjoyed a fine lunch as well as a few rounds of exotic beverages.


I never tire of the view from Captain Hiram’s.



There was a good crowd on hand to enjoy the ambience as you can see from this shot I took of Ken coming back down the pier after checking on his boat.



Ken is getting the boat ready for our departure in this next shot.



As you can see, I always have a smile when I am going or coming from Captain Hiram’s.



Since we had little luck fishing that morning, we decided to enjoy the rest of the day exploring more islands.



I’ve got enough PICS to do two more posts of this vacation.  In the next vacation post I’ll introduce you to Joyce, Ken’s wife.   the meantime, take care and stay safe.

Thursday, May 4, 2006

Hats Off To You!

So many of you who follow this journal on a regular basis have written to me asking questions about the hat I’m pictured wearing in the “About Me” section on the upper left hand side of this page.  I’ve decided to delay for a post or two showing more pictures of my Florida vacation.  Don’t worry, there are more great pictures to show and I will be sharing them here, just not yet.


Every spring, my thoughts turn towards my summer wardrobe for my job on the docks.  I like to wear the loose fitting Columbia Fishing Shirts with the netted inserts on the left and right side of the back.  They are durable, comfortable, and the netted inserts allow for greater air circulation and help keep me cool.  I order a full week’s worth of new ones each spring.


My chief concern each year, though, is my hat.  I am out in the direct sunlight so much I really have to have just the right hat to protect me from the UV rays and to give my eyes the proper shading.  This requires a hat with a wide brim which, under normal circumstances, might be very hot to wear.  That’s where the mesh top comes into play.


I found a hat six years ago which has become my trademark on the docks where I work.  I have clients of the marina who bump into me all the time at the store who do not recognize me because I am not wearing my trademark hat.  The hat is made by Dorfman Pacific and I purchase a new one each year.


What may be interesting, though, is how I prep the hat before I put it into service each year.  I treat it with a fabric guard and waterproofing solution.


A couple of years ago I was able to get hold of a couple of Styrofoam wig forms that are used to store a wig when the wig is not in use.  These are excellent to place the hat on while waiting for the hat to dry after treatment.




First you saturate the hat totally with the treatment, after which it must be put in direct sunlight to dry.  The hat must be totally dry and then you repeat the treatment and drying process.  Do this a third time and your hat is guaranteed to be waterproof and to be able to endure the abuse of a full summer season and still look good and repel water in a hard rain.  This year I used a product by 303 named fabric guard.  I used this same product last year and was pleased with the results.  This is a picture of this year’s hat with the product.



Okay, okay!  Absolutely nobody wrote and asked me about my hat.  I just wanted to tell you anyway!


On a different note, I was running around the marina the other day and looked up and saw sun rays beaming down from the center of a huge cloud mass.  I grabbed my camera and took two shots of it.  The close-up one seems dramatic to me and I wanted you all to see it.




That’s about all for this time.  Except that I will probably be working seven days a week for a couple of weeks.  My New assistant at work broke his ankle on one of his days off this week and who knows how long it will be before he can hobble around the marina.  I’ll have to work straight through until the rest of my summer help gets out of school.  See y’all next time!  Stay safe and well!

Monday, May 1, 2006


Where does one begin?  I did not mean to leave this space untended for this long, however, fast moving events swept me up and carried me away.  Now I have a few stories to share.


First let me just say that I’ve missed all my friends here in J-land.  I’ve missed reading your posts and keeping current with all the happenings in this community.  I’ve missed sharing with you about what’s been happening in my world, too.


A couple of days after I wrote my last post, I got a memo from our Human Resources Department telling me to use 48 hours of vacation time by the third week of May or lose them.  We can only carry over so many weeks of vacation time each year and any extra must be used up by our anniversary date with the company.


I looked at the calendar on my desk and quickly realized that, due to upcoming events at work, I needed to use this vacation time the following week or I would have to forfeit it.  A quick meeting with my boss and it was confirmed.  I’d have nine days off starting that coming Monday.


My first plan was to just loaf around the house for a week doing a few chores and catching up on some reading and goofing off.  A call from my friend Ken the next evening had Paulette and I planning to meet Ken and Joyce for the following weekend in Daytona, Florida.  We picked Daytona as a half-way spot between our respective homes.


Sunday night after work, I walked in and found Paulette and Ken talking on the phone.  Ken and Joyce would not be able to go to Daytona the following weekend because of some health problems of their aging, but beloved pet dog, Valentine.  It seems that in my absence, Paulette and Ken decided I should drive down to Vero Beach for that week.  The thought was that I should finish the vacation that had been interrupted last October when I left early to return home before an impending hurricane made landfall. You can read about that trip in my archives for October 2005, if you like.  Paulette did not have any vacation time left so I’d be going by myself again.


That’s how I found myself once again on a tropical beach swimming and enjoying a cool beer in the hot sun.





With nothing to rush my visit this time, we decided to explore as many of the spoil islands in the area as we could.  This is a shot of Ken on one of the prettiest little islands we visited checking his messages from work.



I was having a blast and we saw some great spots for return visits.



We discovered that you can adopt an island if you wanted to help in keeping these islands clean and pretty.  Here’s Tom, Ken’s dad standing beside a sign explaining the program.



I, as you can see, am enjoying every minute of the adventure.



We needed to keep our strength up, so we foundour way to the Ft. Pierce City Marina and took sustenance at the Tiki Hut Restaurant located on the property.  Ponce De Leon would have loved to discover this place.  The adult beverages had great rejuvenating powers.



After lunch and a few beverages, it was back to the arduous task of finding more island beaches to swim and play at.  On some of the islands we made interesting discoveries such as these two stumps the locals have been carving on for years.



Here’s a shot of Ken on yet another island.  Notice the stump in the clearing behind him.  This one had been carved on and then it had been scorched on purpose with fire to give it a very eerie effect.  I love making these little discoveries.  Each new island had some distinct little secret to be revealed.



This is how we finished out our day before returning home to hot showers and some excellent hospitality.



There’s more of my trip to share next time and I’ve visited an interesting shipyard here in Savannah that I want to tell you about.  I hope you are all doing well and enjoying some excellent spring weather.