Sunday, July 31, 2005
Cool! We're visiting our hometown for a couple months and we make the front page of the hometown newspaper! The Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel had reporters covering the mini-lobster season, and we made the most interesting photo subjects with our kayaks. Of course, you can't really tell it's us - but we know! Click on the image below and it should take you to the photo on their website. I took some more photos also but I had to wait to get them developed [gasp] because I used one of Lynne's disposable underwater cameras. It was fun taking some pictures underwater. The second day of mini-season was another beauty! We paddled over glassy waters again. Then we just kinda rolled overboard. and went diving! If you want to see some short videos of how kayak diving is done, take a look at last year's weblog post Kayak Diving. Here's Jim hunting for lobster: He uses a snare. He opens the loop on the bottom of the snare and kind of lassos the lobster's tail. When the loop is around the lobster's middle, he pulls it tight. The lobster can't get away, but it isn't damaged in any way. So, if it turns out to be a female with eggs, or too short to be legal, you can let it go. Yes, you do need a fishing license to take lobster. You can read all the regulations here. Then, he measures it before it goes in the goodie bag. Here I am with my special underwater 'do'. One thing I love about kayak diving is the fact that, when you come back to the surface your boat is always there (unlike dive boats that may be off picking up other divers.) I always have the line to my boat securely in my hand.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
What a perfect day. It was Lake Atlantic today. So calm and warm. The ocean was glassy. You didn't need a glass bottom boat. Just looking over the side of the kayak and you could see to the reef and all the critters 20-25 feet below. Today is the first day of lobster mini-season. Today and tomorrow is open season for sport divers to catch lobster. The regular season, where commercial fisherman are allowed to take lobster starts on August 6. Today and tomorrow are just for us. I still can't get over what a perfect day it was. The picture below was taken at the end of our dive when the wind had picked up a bit giving a slight chop to the water. Hopefully you can still see how clear it is tho. Yes! Jim caught lobster. Before we can take them home for dinner, they must get inspected by the Fish and Wildlife representative. I'm happy to say we passed inspection, and now ... guess what we're about to have for dinner?
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Avast me hearties! We did it! Finally a perfect plan and a perfect day came together! Lynne and John came over from Naples and Jim had us all booked on the American Dream for a morning, 2 tank dive off of Fort Lauderdale. We gathered at the dock at 8am. I guess we weren't the only ones with this idea today! We generally refer to this as a 'cattle boat' and tend to avoid dive boat operations on weekends when they're taking out classes of students. But, since Lynne and John are new to diving - we thought it was the safest bet for getting us in the water. Everyone was very well behaved and the boat was well organized, so the number of folks really wasn't a problem. Actually, it was kind of exciting to see a 14 year old boy achieve his scuba diving certification today! Jim offered him a beer as congratulations! woops Oh - correction - Jim tells me what he said was, "I think that deserves a beer" as he raised his own and toasted the kid! (This was after the last dive of course ... drinking and diving definitely don't mix) What a gorgeous day. The boat is docked at the old Pier 66, now the Hyatt. We go a very short distance down a typical Fort Lauderdale canal. Then into the IntraCoastal waterway. Oh! Look over there - one of those funny looking boats is what we took for a one week dive trip to Cay Lobos in 2003. It's called the Nekton Rorqual and it's a special SWATH hull boat - very stable. That was a great trip. See photos on our dive club's website. Then we cruised out of Port Everglades. And to the dive site, just off Fort Lauderdale beach. Only about 20 minutes from dock to dive. My camera doesn't go underwater - but Lynne took a little throw-away underwater camera. If any of those come out, I'll post them. Right now, you gotta take my word for it. We had 2 very nice dives; 25 - 30 feet, 83 degree water, 20-25 foot visibility. We saw 2 large green moray eels, a few lobster, a few scorpion fish, lots of beautiful schools of yellow grunts, sargeant majors and other tropicals, and a few large snook. Lynne and John look like happy campers (divers) dontcha think? Hey! She got her pictures developed already. Wellll, the underwater ones didn't really come out, but I'll let you judge for yourself. Here's John underwater: And, here's Jim. No, I don't need to rotate it - he does like to get sideways/upside down etc. I really like this one ... view from the surface. What a great day!
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Emily and Dianne have each traveled the world with my Mom, Marilyn. Just a few examples I can think of; Emily and Mom have been to Ireland, Mongolia (actually around the world on that trip) and barging in France (Jim and I were on that one too!), Dianne and Mom have been to S. Africa, Palau and many other dive destinations. But, Emily and Dianne have never met each other! So, my Mom decided to remedy that the other night and I tagged along. Both Emily and Dianne have lived in their respective houses in S Florida for nearly 30 years! Here's Emily's house: And, here's her backyard: Here's Emily on the left, Dianne in the middle and my Mom on the right. All 3 of these women have raised kids (all daughters), opened, ran & sold businesses, scuba dived, and traveled the world. Dianne is a pilot, Emily is a sailor and an artist (she created the painting of Jim and me that hangs over our bed!). All 3 are cat lovers, and all 3 have lived in S Florida for at least 40 years! It was getting a bit dark by the time we reached Dianne's house. I hope you can see in this photo that her backyard is equally beautiful, but very different from Emily's because she is on a canal with a dock. What a special, energizing evening in the company of strong, independent, interesting and intelligent women. And, what a beautiful South Florida night - hot, but with enough breeze that we could hang out on the dock.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Posted by Jim
I am proud to be your son. Queen Victoria said: "None of you can ever be proud enough of being the child of SUCH a Father who has not his equal in this world-so great, so good, so faultless. Try, all of you, to follow in his footsteps and don't be discouraged, for to be really in everything like him none of you, I am sure, will ever be. Try, therefore, to be like him in some points, and you will have acquired a great deal." I try to be like you. There has never been a better example to follow. I am here for you now as you have always been there for me. I love you.
If you want the RV lifestyle, like we do, you should know that RV parks are in short supply in South Florida. If you want to stay here in the winter, you need to make reservations at least 6 months in advance. Land is just so much more valuable developed into condos. All the places that used to be RV parks have sold to the developers. Paradise Island, where we stay, is one of the very few left. And, in summertime, sites are still plentiful. I've been remiss in not posting any flower pictures since we've been here. After all, 'Florida' means land of flowers (or something like that). These photos were taken here in the park. But, if you want a bachelor pad ... we saw just the place last night! It's Marina Bay. There's a marina, clubhouse and spa, restaurant, and apartments. We went to visit our friend, Glenn who just moved in a week or so ago. Here's the pool at the clubhouse. hmmm - a bar / restaurant just down the sidewalk from his apartment. Sounds dangerous to me! He confirms ... he's had dinner there 6 of the last 7 nights. Hey Glenn, THANX for a wonderful evening! (I'm sure you'd rather hear those words from some young, single 'hottie' ... but, that's the best I can do!)
Friday, July 15, 2005
Posted by Jim
I'm sitting in the airport in Redmond, Oregon, just wasting time waiting for my flight back. The Rally was a success for us. I was kept busy the whole time. We were the wi-fi hotspot and help desk for the event. It amazes me how many more RVers are using computers. Last year there were times when our hotspot location was empty. This time around we were constantly busy. We had 8 public PC workstations set up and there was always a waiting line for them. We had 3 phone lines for the folks still using modems, and WiFi throughout the registration building. We only had table space for 20 laptop users, so some folks were sitting on the floor. I hope the future rallies can give us more. More chairs, more bandwidth, more PCs for the attendees. Many more of the attendees understand the technology and are able to get connected without assistance. There were still plenty who didn't have a clue. It is fun to help folks get connected the first time. I think we were appreciated. The next big rally is in Minot, ND. Stop by the Coach Connect Hotspot and say Hi!
Thursday, July 14, 2005
I knew I wouldn't have much to say this week, while Jim is in Oregon and I'm here in Fort Lauderdale. But it feels so unnatural not to post to the weblog. Like time is standing still. Days don't go by if I don't write about them! I talk and instant message to Jim every day. He says that the number of WiFi users at the Great North American RV Rally has increased significantly since last year. The space provided for the hotspot is a lot bigger than it was last year, yet people have filled every chair and are sitting all over the floor with their laptops. Most people have newer computers too, so there are not so many of them needing help to connect. With the newer systems - you just turn it on and it works! Jim also presented the 'Get Away, Stay Connected' seminar for Coach Connect. He said there were at least 250 people in the audience. A little different than the 6-10 people we're accustomed to at the RV parks! I've been going to business group meetings and socials. I even got up for a 7am Toastmasters meeting this morning and volunteered to do a speech next week. hmmmm, what should I talk about? Had happy hour with old friends last night. And another friend will be coming by my place tonight. I've been visiting with my Mom - we're going to go over some lessons on Moviemaker this afternoon. I've set a goal to help her figure out how to get clips of her underwater video onto her website. Gotta get that done before we take off again! Here's home for this month. See those kayaks? They're ready. Hurry home Jim so we can go divin'!
Monday, July 11, 2005
Hurricane Dennis didn't hit southeast Florida. But it threatened the west coast just enough to keep Lynne and John here a couple more days. Awwwwww - darn! For not 'hitting' us though, we still got our share of wind and rain. The winds buffeted the coach all night and rocked us to sleep! By the time it hit the Florida panhandle it was a major category 4 storm, but all accounts are that it didn't do the damage that Ivan did last year. On Sunday I took Jim to the airport at 6am. He's off to Redmond, Oregon for the Great North American RV Rally where he'll be operating the WiFi hotspot for Coach Connect. It sure feels funny to be in the RV alone. I am getting some really good work done tho. I used to like living alone so much. It's still a nice change, but I feel a little out-of-sorts. I'll bet he really feels funny tho. We are SO accustomed now to having our entire home wherever we are. You never have to think about packing when you take your house - and the kitchen sink - with you everywhere you go! As long as he has his computer and an Internet connection - he'll be fine.
Friday, July 08, 2005
We tried to go Kayak diving on Wednesday morning, but the wind was a little too strong, so we kayaked around the canals of Fort Lauderdale instead. Very easy paddling and lots to see with all the yachts and other boats, the fabulous waterfront homes and landscaping. Lynne took a disposable water-resistant camera and the photos were developed and put on CD today. I should probably refrain from using them here and just let Lynne post them on her blog .... ... thinking ... naaaah Here's John paddling. Here's me and Jim: Now, for the high point. You see, Lynne and John call their motorhome the 'Cosmic Muffin'. It is their 'Rocketship to the Stars'. The original Cosmic Muffin comes from Jimmy Buffet's book 'Joe Merchant'. The character called Desdemona was contacted by interplanetary aliens and she used the converted Howard Hughes aircraft as her Rocket Ship. I found a great article with the whole story here. And here's the lyrics to "Desdemona's Building a RocketShip". The converted Howard Hughes Boeing 307 Stratoliner is actually for real. And it is docked in Fort Lauderdale. So, that's where we paddled! You can visit the owner's website here. Lynne, John and the Cosmic Muffin 1. Lynne's Rocketship to the Stars?! What a spectacular day!
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
THANK YOU Sean! Thank you for having a home right on the beach and inviting us to join your July 4th party so we could paddle our kayaks to Deerfield Pier and watch the show. I don't have any photos because I figured that beach sand and sea water probably would not be good for my camera. But, take my word for it, paddling out into the ocean on a warm Florida night is a sensual experience. This is the third time we've done this on the fourth of July and it is so heartwarming to see those fabulous fireworks that they set off for our anniversary! Here's a photo that Lynne took of us. 7 years ago today we got married. My Mom paddled with us as well as Lynne and John. We even saw dolphin surfacing less than 100 yards away! We had the best viewing position possible. The crowds on the beach were to our left, the dozens of party boats were to our right, and the fireworks were being set off from the pier in front of us, vibrating our innards when they exploded directly overhead! The wind was blowing a little, which meant that we got some real exercise paddling back to our starting point. Cool. Doubly cool that we get to share this with Mom and our RVing friends! Lynne and John are parked right next door. We get to have dinner together with no more preparation than us walking next door with our plates!
Sunday, July 03, 2005
Our Kayak Diving club - Kayuba - had it's July 4 picnic today. (yeah, I know it's July 3 - so we get to go to another July 4 party tomorrow!) First I gotta show you a photo from the night before with a beautiful sky. This is a view from our campsite at Easterlin Park. Ok, so, here's this morning's gathering: A view from the picnic spot looking north shows that we're right beside Port Everglades. Kayaks and cruise ships sharing the same ocean. And snakes, picnicers and kayakers sharing the same beach! What was SO exciting to us, other than any opportunity to go Kayak diving, was the fact that our RVing friends Lynne and John are visiting. They got scuba certified last year in the springs of northern Florida, so this will be their first time in the ocean - let alone diving from a kayak! They're Ready! Here's the 4 of us paddling out. Y'know, this is just another kind of RV (recreational vehicle). As it turned out, I had a minor equipment malfunction (blown o-ring) so, I ended up snorkeling and we had to stay in pretty shallow water. Lynne and John did great - like they were the 25 year pros and I was the novice. The water was calm and warm and the sunshine was beautiful, just paddling and swimming was great. But, we hope to take them to the real 'Kayuba Reef' on Tuesday to see some real diving with corals and fish and eels more pretty stuff. *Thanx to Mom and Emily for for taking some of the above photos with my camera while I was out paddling.*