Our mission -- Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enter .. OOPS, sorry, I got carried away. Let me start again.

Our mission -- Warm Waters and Great Weather: The final frontier. These are the voyages of the Motor Vessel Traveling Soul. Its five-year mission: to explore strange warm waters, to seek out new forms of recreation and new civilizations, to boldly go where no Brown, Applegate or Higgins has gone before.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Boca Chica to North Palm

There she was, face-to-face with a 10 foot-long American salt water crocodile – or “croc” as we adventurers call them. Yes, it was in the wild, not in some zoo or other kind of park; yes, the croc could have attacked and eaten her at any time; yes, this specific crocodile looked particularly vicious. (We know that because, well, it makes the story better.) And this was only ONE of our many adventures!!! Okay, if the truth be known Ann was about 100 yards from the croc. And there was a fence between her and the monster. And the croc was facing another direction. But hey, it was a croc in the wild! AND there is so much more to tell, so let me start at the beginning.

If you look closely, just up from ..........................................................here, you can see the croc.
If you will recall, at the end of our last blog entry, Traveling Soul was docked at the marina on the Naval Air Station near Key West, on Boca Chica, Florida. If you will further recall, I was, to the best of my ability, rubbing in the fact that it was between 80 and 85 degrees every single day -- and that we had to use our air conditioning so we didn’t get too hot. Well, for the last several days we were there, nothing changed – the weather stayed beautiful. Oh, it may have become a little colder up north, but I am not sure about that.

Anyway, while at Boca Chica we needed to start provisioning for the trip home. We had to go to West Marine for some boat supplies, visit the Commissary for basic foodstuffs and make a trip to Publix (a major Florida grocery chain) for the higher end gourmet food to which I am becoming increasingly accustomed. Well, to get all those places, we really needed to rent a car. And since we had a car we thought we might as well make one more trip to the infamous Duval Street. We had lunch at a quaint little street-side restaurant called Caroline’s. It might not have been an adventure like the crocodile spotting, but it was still fun.

Ann continued her morning walks with Marty (of Marty and Jay aboard Cruz-In) and I continued to ride my bicycle. In fact, while riding I discovered a marina and restaurant at Geiger Key that turned out to be the location of a great dinner we had with Marty, Jay and some of their friends. The restaurant had the duet “Island Times” singing a cross of sixty tunes and Jimmy Buffet fare. They were very, very good. It was a fun evening.

Just before we left I decided to take the dinghy out for one more spin. Since it had failed us a few weeks earlier, I had been taking it for a ride every other day or so just so we could make sure it would run when we needed it. I cranked it up and headed into the Boca Chica channel. I noticed that when I fed it more gas, the engine seemed to slow down. Hmmm, that shouldn’t be happening. I did it again. This time the dinghy motor stopped. That meant I was going to have to get the oarlocks out and row back to the boat. Well, as I was in the process of getting everything ready I noticed that there was quite a current in the channel. In fact, it was so strong that I was not going to be able to row against it and get back to the marina, let alone the boat. Hmmm, this could be a problem. On the far side of the channel, however, about 100 yards away, there was a shallow area less than a foot deep. Since there did not appear to be any current in there, I was about ready to start rowing across the channel, wait there and then figure out what to do. Then, thank heaven, I spotted another dinghy with four young people in it. They offered to tow me back to the marina and I gladly accepted. Being stuck in the shallow It might have been a bit of a problem if they had not picked me up when they did.

I know a few of you want to know what happened to the dinghy to cause it to conk out like that. Well, as soon as I lifted the engine cover I noticed that the fuel filter was practically falling out of it position in the engine. It seems that the mechanic we had hired to repair it did not screw the filter in adequately. As soon as I did that, everything was working fine once again.

Eventually, it came time to leave Boca Chica. Although we were sad to leave the land of cheap slip rates and our friends Marty and jay, we weren’t going to miss the jet noise.
Spot sitting in the bar waiting patiently for
her drink.

The first leg of our trip back was in Hawk’s Channel, which, while inside the reef, can nevertheless get a bit bumpy – maybe three feet waves on the day we headed back. And this, of course, was Spot’s first cruise. Actually, she did extremely well. Yes, she was a little anxious for the first ten or fifteen minutes (and who wouldn’t be the first time you learned that the “house” in which you are living can jump up and down!), but after that, she sat between Ann and I on the helm bench.

The fist night we anchored at Channel Key. There wasn’t anything there except some peace and quiet – and after having spent most of the day in three foot seas, that was exactly what we needed! (Actually three foot seas aren’t particularly bad for us, but they are certainly less comfortable that one-foot seas!) For our next stop we took one of three mooring balls at Lignumvitae Key. The island is called a “botanical state park,” because, in addition to a house and some outbuildings that were built around 1919, the island is known for its virgin tropical forest. The trees on the island were once common on most of Florida's Upper Keys, but have been lost to development on other islands. Since there wasn’t much to see and do other than go to shore to see the flora, we downloaded the dinghy and headed to shore. On our way we headed right into the choppy seas and got very wet the whole way. We eventually got to shore and paid our $2.50 each. Unfortunately, the day we were there, there was no ranger tour, so we looked at everything there was to see, but without a guide it was kind of boring.

We decided to stay for at least part of another day so we could take the tour, but we determined that this time we would go around the southern end of the island to avoid heading directly into the chop. Well, if you haven’t already guessed, the water to the south of the island was VERY shallow – too shallow for our dinghy. We spent about 45 minutes trying to find a way around the island before we eventually turned around, getting as wet as we would have if we would have gone north like we did the day before – AND we were too late for the tour. AARRGGHH!

On our way to the Tarpon Basin anchorage the following day, the water was very shallow, in some places we had less than a foot under the keel. That was fine until we heard a bump and a grind. I immediately put the engines in neutral, but as we picked up speed it was clear that something had happened. It could have been one of two things: (1) we had tangled some rope from a crab pot around the propeller, or (2) we could have bent the blades of the propeller – either of those would have caused the type of vibration we were feeling.

If you look closely at the prop on the right,
you will see that it is pretty banged up.
That night we kind of held our breath and hoped the vibration would go away. No such luck. We then called the municipal marina at Fort Lauderdale – our next stop – and asked if they could give us the name and number for a diver so he could check out the prop. He dove the props, then told us he had good news and bad news. The good news was that we had a rope around our props and he could cut it off. The bad news was that we had also dinged our props pretty well and he couldn't help us with that. He cut off the rope and we hoped that would smooth out the ride. Of course, it didn’t, so we had to find a propeller shop in Palm Beach. Also while we were in Fort Lauderdale the air handling unit on our air conditioner went south; that would be yet another expense when we got to Palm Beach. AARRGGHH AGAIN!!!

Fort Lauderdale, though, wasn’t a complete loss. We stayed at the Fort Lauderdale Municipal Marina, which was about a block away from Fort Lauderdale’s famous beach. The price wasn’t that bad and we learned about some other marinas a few miles away from the beach with very reasonable rates. From our marina, we managed to take a couple of trips to the beach, we took a water tour of Lauderdale, and we had a pretty darn good meal at Coconuts, a waterfront restaurant near our marina. Apparently there isn’t much history around the area as the tour focused primarily on the houses and yachts of the rich and famous. We saw a house where Sonny and Cher had lived, several houses where Bert Reynolds had lived, and we saw Steven Spielberg’s 282 foot yacht Seven Seas. Lauderdalians seem very impressed with yacht size, house location and the square footage of individual homes.

It was on the way from Lauderdale to Palm Beach that we learned that the rope that had been wrapped around our propeller did not cause the vibration; it was the bent prop blades. Darn!!! We called a prop shop in Palm Beach and arranged for them to fix the propellers. First, if course, they had to get the props off the boat. That can either be done by hauling the boat out of the water, or by hiring a diver. We hired a diver. In fact, he was there about the time we arrived at the North Palm Beach Marina. Man that was fast. Repairing a propeller consists of making very precise measurements of the pitch and the diameter of each individual blade, comparing it to what it is supposed to be, then pounding the hell out of each blade to get it back to the pitch and diameter it are supposed to be. The shop said it would be about a week and it was, well, about a week.

We also called an air conditioning company. Some of you may remember that I had previously used and had recommended Beard Air Conditioning. They have very good technicians and seemed to be available o short notice. They had only one mark against them. Last year after we paid for the repair of one of our air conditioners we received an invoice in the mail for $400+. I called and pointed out that we had not had the work done and were, in fact, far from Palm Beach on the date they specified. They immediately cancelled the invoice, telling me that they meant to send it to another boat called Traveling Soul. Hmmm. It didn’t sound quite right, but they fixed the problem quickly, so I didn’t think any more of it. This year, though, we asked them to replace our salon air conditioner and they asked us to pay half of the cost of the air conditioner up front. The procedure is fairly common in the marine industry, so I paid for half the cost of the air conditioner.  THEN a month later when they sent me an invoice for the installation of the system, they tried to charge me for the whole thing!! Now, I am a believer that any business should be forgiven one mistake. But I am not a believer that a business should be forgiven when their billing error rate is 100%. So, even though their technicians are good, I refuse to do business with them any longer. The alternative air conditioning company did repair the air handling unit so we are sitting here today in air conditioned comfort.
Juno Beach on an overcast day. This is the beach
 to which I rode my bike (almost) every day

And that, my friends, pretty much catches us up. Oh! I almost forgot. You can be sure that if I would have seen the enormous crocodile I would have wrestled it to the ground and then served crocodile stew. But alas, I didn’t accompany Ann and Marty on their morning walks and thus missed him. Maybe next time!

Ann’s Notes: My part of the blog is going to be short and sweet, I have put off writing  for a few days and Michael has asked me several times to do my part so he can sent it out. I know my grace period is up so I better get it done now.

Our time in Boca Chica NAS was fun. It was better for me since I made a new friend when I met Marty. I really did enjoy our walks in the morning. Some days it was very pleasant with a nice breeze, and other mornings it was just plain old hot at 8:30 in the morning. And always the sound of freedom flying very loudly over head. Marty and I went to  a Framers Market in town and had a good time exploring all the goodies they had to offer. The four of us went out to dinner a few times and sampled some of the local cuisine.

I will have to admit most of my time has been spent training Spot. For a little kitten she has a very large personality and a mind of her own. We had her spayed, microchipped and all her shots done. She is good until next year. Spot is growing out of her kittenhood quickly, I know she is only four months old but the time is going by fast. It took her a few days of acting crazy when we put a collar and bell on her, she was not a happy kitty to have that thing around her neck. I have taken her off the boat on a leash, that is an act in progress, getting better each time we go out. Spot is turning out to be a real people cat which is good. Our last cat Chardonnay was not a people cat, so this is a nice change.

We are getting ready to leave North Palm Beach Marina tomorrow. Again I will be saying goodbye to yet another good cruising friends Kathy and Martin. They are heading back to the Bahamas and we are heading back to the Chesapeake.

All of the planned boat repairs have been done so I guess it is time to start cruising once more.

Time to make some future intentions for the summer…

Wildlife count.

1 crazy but cute kitten

Wednesday 11 March 2015
  • 1 Salt water Croc seen every day on my walk with Marty
  • Many types of lizards...all shapes, colors and sizes
  • 1 dolphin in the mooring field almost every morning

Thursday 12 March 2015
  • 1 pod of 2 dolphins
  • 1 pod of 4 dolphins
  • Osprey nest on an old water windmill with 2 nesting osprey

Friday 13 March 2015
  • Flying Fish
A Fort Lauderdale iguana

Sunday 15 March 2015
  • 1 dolphin checking out all the boats in our anchorage first thing in the morning
  • 1 pod of 4  dolphins in the Atlantic

Thanks for reading and stay tuned…

Traveling Soul...OUT





Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Marathon to Key West to Boca Chica and Introducing Spot the Cat

On the way to Key West, whether you are going by sea or by road, you feel you are going to the end of something. Maybe not the end of the earth, but certainly the end of the country -- and you are. Key West, of course, is the southernmost point on the US. But there is something else. "Conchs," as people from Key West call themselves are just a little bit out of the ordinary. I know, I know all of us are a bit out of the ordinary. But Conchs are even a little bit different than that. There are lots of strange people here. There are lots of live-aboards, lots of folks "off-the-grid", lots of sun worshipers, and lots of people who are, frankly, just a little bit weird. In short, there is just the odd combination of wonderful people that you would expect to see at the southernmost corner of the US. And THAT makes it a place that should be on everyone's bucket list. However, before I get carried away with the joys of Key West, we need to tell you about our trip there, what we did while visiting, how much we enjoyed the visit of our friends Dave and Joan ... and about the newest member of our crew.

On our way to Key West, we decided to spend a couple of days at Marathon, Florida primarily because we had heard that a number of our friends were spending at least a portion of the winter there. And we heard correctly! Although the only marina space we could find was a little very pricey we stayed a couple of days at the Marathon Marina and Resort. On the way in we called Shay and Elizabeth Glass on Escape. They were staying at a mooring ball at Boot Key Harbor and drove over to visit us almost as soon as we arrived. In addition to having a bunch of stories to share, Shay and Elizabeth took us to the grocery store in their CAR!!! We didn’t need a lot, but, to those who do not have one, a car is a wonderful and liberating possession.

Shortly after we arrived, we noticed that two boats down the pier was the boat Meandering Joy with her owners Steve and Joy. We had met them in the Bahamas almost three years ago. A little later we found out that Galivant , with Don and Pam Van Grinsven, were also nearby.  It really turned out to be quite a reunion! Although we were only in Marathon for two days, we were quite the social butterflies, having lunch at the local restaurant with Shay, Elizabeth, Don and Pam, and later having drinks with Joy and Steve Poole aboard Meandering Joy.

The only wrench in the works, of course, was the repair of our dinghy. As you might recall, after we had downloaded it a couple of days earlier, on our way to Lorelei’s Restaurant on Islamorada. It wouldn’t start. So, after we left the anchorage and before we arrived at the marina, we called a dinghy repair person who could be at the marina the following day. The problem turned out to be a dirty carburetor caused by bad fuel. When gasoline containing even small amounts of Ethanol comes in contact with water, the Ethanol will absorb the moisture. When it reaches a saturation point the Ethanol and water will separate, actually coming out of solution and forming two or three distinct layers in the tank. For several different reasons, the problem is particularly acute with outboards in the marine industry. You guessed it. Our gasoline had been in the tank for quite a while and phase separation had occurred. That, of course, dirtied the carburetor and voila – an engine that would not start. The repairman fixed everything and put our engine back in the category of functioning outboards.

Our first sunset at Key West
After all the reunions and the outboard repair, we headed back out to sea, on our way to Key West. It was a rather short, uneventful cruise (the best kind) and we docked at Key West about 1400. We gave the boat a quick rinse, cleaned the dirtiest spots and awaited the arrival of our guests, Dave and Joan Wolf – the friends who keep, among other things, the vestiges of our household goods in the basement of their house in Virginia. Dave and Joan flew into Miami, then rented a car to drive on the Overseas Highway to Key West. After finding a parking place (a not insignificant task), we all went to have a drink and watch the sun set over the ocean. Although it was beautiful, it was also chilly, so immediately after the sun went down, we headed back to the boat.

The first thing we did on our second day in Key West was, of course, to find a Starbucks. (Those of you who know Joan Wolf knows she likes loves, has an affinity for cannot live without Starbucks.) Afterwards, we took the Old Trolley Tours around the city. We had taken the same tour the last time we visited (three years ago) and thought it was the best way to get a quick overview of the city. Since the tickets were good for two days, we figured we could use the trolley to go back and visit the places we wanted to explore in greater detail. Then “touristy” places we visited include:
This is NOT SPOT. It is one of
 the six-toed cats at
Hemingway's house

·         Hemingway’s House: The house in which Earnest Hemingway lived from 1931 – 1939. They have done an excellent job of maintaining the house and the tour guides do a very good job of describing discussing Hemingway and the house. 

·         The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. If you like butterflies (and who doesn’t) you need to walk through the conservatory and see the hundreds of butterflies representing fifty to sixty species.
Mel Fisher’s Maritime Museum. Mel Fisher was a treasure hunter who eventually discovered the treasure contained in the Atocha, a Spanish galleon sunk in 1622. The treasure has been valued at over $450 million.

·         Harry S. Truman’s Little White House. President Truman spent quite a bit of time resting and relaxing in Key West while he was in the While House. It was his home away from home.

·         Mallory Square. A grand party every evening.

·         Duval Street. An avenue of t-shirt shops, bars, restaurants, bars, souvenir stores and bars.

·         Key West Lighthouse and Keeper’s Quarters Museum. What more can I say?
  •     The Southernmost Point in the US. Key West has the southernmost point in the US and the closest point to Cuba.
·         The site of Charlie Battery, 6th Bn 65th Air Defense Artillery. Dave Wolf is a former air defense officer who was almost assigned to the Hawk Battery (Charlie Battery) defending Key West. We visited the site of the battery where you can still see the towers that housed the radars.

After spending three days at Conch Harbor Marina in Key West proper, we moved the boat and Dave and Joan to Boca Chica Naval Air Station Marina. The marina is only open to active duty and retired military personnel as well as certain categories of DoD civilians, though I do not know the details. The marina costs only $1.00 per foot – the cheapest we have seen – and is only about 9 miles from downtown Key West. Now you can see one of the reasons Dave and Joan rented a car. They kept the car at the marina and took all of us to town or to the grocery store whenever we wanted.

The marina at Boca Chica is quite nice.  There are probably 120 slips and twenty or so mooring balls. It has a small bar and grill that is open for lunch, happy hour and dinner every day. There are a number of full-time retired military live-aboards and several transients like us. All in all it is a very nice marina. There are only two downsides. One, I mentioned already – the distance from Key West. Other than downtown Key West, there isn’t that much to do within walking range – though there is a bowling alley and small Naval Exchange Quick Mart Store. There is one more downside to Boca Chica; it is an active Naval Air Station. No, I mean it is a VERY active air station. The Navy has an aggressor squadron of F5’s here, as well as periodic complements of various FA-18 series aircraft, E2Bs, maybe some P3’s and even some Air Force C-17’s. The base is active from about 0730 onwards. I think we are less than a mile from the air strip and we can see and HEAR planes landing, taking off and just running their engines very, very loudly. You are thinking that it couldn’t be much louder than living near a civilian airport. Remember, though, that civilian airlines spend a lot of money on noise abatement. The Navy, not so much. I know, I know, I keep telling myself it is the “sound of freedom.” That works from about 0900-1500. But at 0730, man those planes are loud.

I explained one reason why Dave and Joan rented a car – so we could travel back and forth from Key West. Well, there was another reason. For those of you who don’t know, we have adopted a new member of our crew – Spot the Cat. We had to travel the Overseas Highway from Key West to Palm Beach to pick her up.

Spot -- Checking out the
 steps on the way to the flybridge
Yes, it is true that I am generally a dog person, but I fully admit that I am a lazy dog person. On a boat, you have to take a dog ashore at least once a day, both for exercise and so she/he  can do its business. I admire those people who are willing to do that. Me? I’m sorry but I am really not interested in getting up at o-dark-thirty in what can be rainy, foggy and cold weather conditions to take the dog to shore. A cat, on the other hand, just needs some carpeting on which to run and a box full of sand.

Spot is an Able Seacat Third Class and is a pure-bred Bengal. We got a Bengal because some members of our family are allergic to cats. Bengals are one of the closest things they have in the cat world to hypoallergenic.  Moreover, she appears not to shed very much. Her duties on the boat have not been fully prescribed as she is only 12 weeks old, but it is clear she is excellent in the “entertainment” specialty as she keeps Ann and I in stitches as she chases a piece of string, her tail, my fingers  and just about anything else.

We haven’t taken her outside very much yet as we wanted her to get use to the inside of the boat – where she will spend most of her time – first. I suspect Ann will spend a substantial amount of time in her section discussing the cat, so I will move on.

Some pirates keep a parrot on their shoulder.
 I have an Able Seacat Third Class
In addition to sightseeing, enjoying the weather, having fun with Dave and Joan, listening to all sorts of noise from those jet engines and playing with the cat, I have been doing a decent amount of bicycle riding. It turns out that there is a small beach with some pretty good shade about 7.5 miles from the marina. 7.5 miles x 2 = 15 miles – which is about the distance I like to ride in a day. It is flat, which is good, but it is often windy, which is not. Today I may ride towards Key West, which is the opposite direction from Geiger Beach. The problem is that the wind will be with me for the first part of the ride and against me for the last part. I prefer the wind against me at first, then with me for the second half of the ride. Oh, decisions, decisions.

I just learned that Geiger Key has a marina, restaurant and tiki bar. The restaurant and Tiki Bar are supposed to be very kitschy and like Keys’ restaurants used to be. We definitely have to try the restaurant and bar the next time we have a car. But wait, there’s more. According to the web, Geiger Key is the only legally sanctioned clothing optional beach in the Keys. I can hear you know, “Well, Mike, did you find out for yourself?” No, not yet. But I would be remiss if I did not explore everything within biking distance of our current marina. Ann has been walking early every morning (0830 -- I guess "early" is in the eye of the beholder) with our next door neighbor Marty of Cruz-In.
Ann’s  Notes:
It has been a very busy stay in the Conch Republic (aka Key West), and I like that very much. The atmosphere in the Keys is very unique, very laid back, and “I don’t care if you like the way I do things I am gonna do them this way anyhow!” I think it may have something to do with the heat and all the bars in the area. The big event every night is the sunset and I must admit they are beautiful in the southern most part of the United States.

We had a great reunion while in Marathon, seeing old friends is one of the many parts of cruising that I like. It does not matter how much time has passed between visits, we always have something in common and the conversation is easy from that point on.

The visit with Dave and Joan, as always , was fun. They like to explore and do tourist stuff like we do, so we had a great time in Key West. We had lunch at Sloppy Joes, one of Hemingway’s favorite hang outs, I think he spent most of the time at the bar…no…I am sure he spent most of his time at the bar. We also ate at a place called Blue Heaven. I had the best lobster omelet ever. Dave’s mother told him about the place, she and her sister Marge have been here a few times. Marge has a son that owned a B and B, he just recently sold it.

Hemingway’s house is very interesting , our tour guide was a spunky young man that really knew his audience. Dave said he reminded him of our son Tim, and he was correct. I was very much into my cat mood at that point, seeing all cats made me very happy. I did not have my little bundle of fur as yet but was only a few days away from picking her up. Hemingway was a very popular man around town and had a large personality. His books are still as popular as ever and his legacy lives on. He had a very troubled personal life and in the end the bipolar part of his personality won. The medical treatment back in the forties and fifties was brutal to say the least.

Our stay at the Boca Chica Naval Air Station is … NOISY…that is the word…and LOUD…and OFTEN.

This place is the Top Gun training center for the Navy and we do hear and see our tax dollars at work, ay and night. It is the sound of freedom and that I admire…however it is very loud. We did have a few mornings of fog and we got to sleep in…it was so quiet. Once the fog cleared those jet engines were fired up and cruising down the very close airstrip. I don’t think I could live in this marina full time.

Now on to the newest member of our crew on Traveling Soul…Spot . ..the  kitten.

Wow …where do I begin…While Dave and Joan came to visit they volunteered to drive all the way back to Palm Beach to pick her up from the breeder. The one way trip back is about five hours due to traffic on the overseas highway, traffic around Miami and just driving around these parts. Anyway we spent the night in Palm Beach on the 18th of February and picked up Spot in the morning of the 19th. There is also another story behind this one, let me just say we got a call from the breeder while in the car just outside of Palm Beach that said she may not release the kitten due to her sneezing and needed to go to the vet to make sure she was healthy. I was NOT going back to Key West without the kitten…it all worked out but there were some very tense conversations with the breeder. I understood her position and I made my position very clear to her also.

Spot ... waiting until she gets outside!!
Spot is a handful, she is as smart as a tack and can be very stubborn. The boat has been kitten proved as much as possible, the rest is shear diligence on both our parts. She is learning the words NO and DOWN but also Good Girl, her name, and I love you. She is only three months old, she was born on the 4th of December 2014 and had one other sister and three brothers. So from her point of view, she has made the most in the adjusting department. The Bengal breed loves to be at the highest point of any room, so she has learned how to climb up and down the steps to our second deck door. The litter box training went well, with only two accidents and that was early on. Her hind legs are longer than her front, another feature of her breed, they are like springs. It is amazing to see this small kitten jump from the ground onto your lap in nothing flat. She is also learning that fingers and toes are not play-things, we would rather not declaw her. She has lots of toys and a scratching post, and so far it has been so good. Her coloring is light and her marking are beautiful. She has what looks like dark eye liner around her green eyes. Spot is a joy and will grow into a fun cat to have with us. I love her very much and I think Michael does also, but would never say it out loud. I do catch him petting and playing with her. One of her favorite past times, to burn off some energy, is a simple ping pong ball in the wooden-floored companionway (hallway). The ball is so light is moves at the slightest touch and bounces of the wall. She will stalk the ball and then pounce on it, making it fly. She will play in the companion way for a long time, so much fun to watch. Ok…I could go on and on, but I think you get the point that Spot is very much a part of our life on board.

Wildlife count:
Polydactyl cats (six toed) cats at Hemingway’s home

Dolphins in the Mooring field in Boca Chica, most mornings
Large Tarpons (five foot?) swimming close to the mangroves and under the docks in the shade

A few Jelly fish
One Portuguese Man O War jellyfish, this kind can actually kill a person, Very long and stringy tentacles ... stay away from these guys.

Thanks for reading..
Traveling Soul…OUT