3-15-2014: Anchored out in the beautiful, clear blue water by Manjack Cay, Abaco, Bahamas

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

12-31-2013; Still in Gulfport, FL

Happy New Year!

(Taken from a friends Face Book page)

It is New Year's Eve and we are still in Gulfport, FL.  We are having some electrical work done on the boat and Charlie, our electrician, has to come back on Thursday and maybe Friday to finish up.  We have just been catching up on things while we are here.  Rented a car yesterday and did all the usual errands and tonight going to "O'Maddy's" for dinner.  We ate there last New Year's and it was delicious.

Last Friday night Keith talked with 2 young men that were going out fishing for shrimp and they said we could buy some fresh shrimp from them when they got back.  We stayed up until 01:00 in the morning and they were not back so we went to bed.  When we woke up the next morning we had a pail with shrimp in it by our ladder.  They were little but very tasty.  When they came out to fish again on Saturday night Keith went over and thanked them and offered to pay but they said they were on the house as they were small; very nice young men.  They said if they got some bigger ones that night they would leave some more by our ladder as they would not be back until about 03:00 Sunday AM.  No shrimp when we got up, must not have been a good night.

CO's Comments:  Last week a salvage crew headed out and came back in after dark with a Cessna 150 that they had raised out of the bay using large air bags.  Took the wings off, loaded it on their truck, and away they went.  We still don't know exactly what happened.

12-25-2013: Our little Christmas Tree

12-31-2013:  Sun Rise at Gulfport Municipal Marina

12-26-2013: Kim Jo IV docked at Clearwater

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

December 25, 2013

I got this from my brother-in-law and felt it was worth passing on.
We will be making a conscious effort to wish everyone a Merry Christmas this year ...Our way of saying that we are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.  So, we are asking our blog friends, if you agree with us, please do the same.  And if  you'll pass this on to your friends, and so on...maybe we can prevent one more American tradition from being lost in the sea of "Political Correctness".

Friday, December 20, 2013

December 18 and 19, 2013; Gulf Crossinting

The Moorings in Carrabelle to Clearwater Municipal Marina, FL: We spent 3 days in Carrabelle waiting for a good crossing. After missing a good crossing on the 17th and 18th, we looked at every thing; computer models, winds, etc. and decided it would be a good time to go. According to all the forecasts, the first few hours would be some what rough but by night seas were supposed to calm down. Buddy, at The Moorings, gave us a different route to take that should have calmer seas. We started out at 14:30 and 3 other boats decided to go along with us; Francesca, Once Upon a Time, and Merchant Marine. We went in back of Dog Island and followed the coast line for a while until we got to Marker R26. Up to that point is was a beautiful, calm day so we took our regular route towards Tarpon Springs knowing if it got too rough we could always go "due east" and get closer to shore where the waves were only supposed to be 1' or less. All went good until about 20:00; that is when the seas started to get rough. Between 20:00 on Wednesday evening and 03:00 on Thursday morning we had 3' to 4' rollers on our beam which made the ride a little uncomfortable. By 03:00 the waves switched to our bow and they were 4' to 5' high and very close together. We slowed down and went a little closer to shore but it didn’t make any difference; it was still rough and uncomfortable, but manageable. About 04:00 I think everyone wanted to go in even closer to shore but we did not want to go any closer than we already were. As it was, we were about 10 miles out and already in about 35' of water. We were worried about crab pods. It stayed rough until about 07:00. By then it was starting to get light out and sure enough, we started to see crab pods, it is a miracle none of us hit one in the dark. The seas had started to calm down some when it was time for us to pull away and head for Clearwater. The other 3 boats went on into Tarpon Springs. We saw most of the crab pod in the Tarpon Springs area and the closer we got to Clearwater, the fewer we saw, but we still had to watch for them. While coming into Clearwater Pass we heard a call on the radio. It was Merchant Marine; they had gone soft aground while going into their Tarpon Springs Marina. What a way to end the trip but thank goodness for Tow Boat US. We got to the fuel dock at Clearwater Municipal Marina by 11:30, got fuel and a pump out and were in our slip by 13:00. After getting to our slip we did not waste any time.  After we got tied up we both were beat and went to bed. We didn’t wake up until 17:30. We got showered and cleaned up and went to Crabby Bill’s for sea food dinners. At last, we made it across.

Friday:  After a good nights sleep we cleaned the boat inside and out and in the afternoon went for a walk down to the Pier and around the beach area.  Later we stopped for hors d’oeuvrs  and a drink at one of our favorite places; Cooters.


CO's comments: The key to having a good crossing, despite the weather, is to secure every thing before leaving.  Any thing that may fall down, put down.  On trick the XO uses is having small binds that she buys at the $ Store and places all the small containers and bottles in the refrigerator in them; therefore, nothing comes tumbling out upon opening after rough waters.  Remember, hitting a crab pod in rough water like we were in could be disastrous.

12-18-2013  Leaving Carrabelle

12-18-2013  Sunset on the Gulf

12-18-2013  Francesca and Once Upon a Time on the Gulf and Merchant Marine way in the back

12-19-2013  Sunrise on the Gulf

12-19-201  Clearwater Beach from Pier 60; 80 degrees and beautiful outside

Sunday, December 15, 2013

December 15, 2013, Sunday


The Moorings at Carrabelle, FL: Got going by 06:15 and it was warm but overcast. The further east we went the colder it got. On East Bay and Big Cove, about Mile 310, we had very skinny water and even skinner out side the channel. By 08:45 it was time to put the gloves and sweat pants on over our jeans as it got down to the low 50's with strong winds. We had lots of dauphins jumping our wake again today and we saw a few crab pods in the Big Cove area.

The time changed to Easter time zone by White City, FL. Right before Apalachicola we saw a tow waiting along side the GIWW and our guess was that he was waiting for high tide to go out into Apalachicola Bay. When passing through Apalachicola, FL, we were hailed on the radio by Dream Chaser. He decided not to go to Carrabelle as it looked to wavy. We said we were going to try it and if it got too rough we would be back. The water was very shallow the first part of the bay but when we made the 90 degree turn to the port it got better and we got a real good push which helped our speed. At first we were a little worried if we could make it to Carrabelle in the day light but with the push we were getting 12 to 13 mph. On the Bay and on St. George Sound we had good 3 foot rollers with a moderate chop again but they were manageable. We got to Carrabelle by 17:10 with a good 30 minutes or so of day light left.

At 18:00 they had a "Parade of Boats" here in Carrabelle. Surprising for such a small town that there were so many decorated boats. They also had fireworks. There are at least 5 other boats here waiting to cross the gulf and we all got together in the VIP Suite to watch the parade and talk about the crossing. It was a nice evening. Of course, the Packer game was on TV so that made me very happy.

CO's comments: We needed a starboard tie and the only long dock open was in the "back 40".  The dock master said to just drive in and there was plenty of room to turn around.  It ended up that I only had a 3' clearance on the bow and stern; a very tight spin.  I think she thought we had a 40' boat  instead of a.50+ foot boat overall length.

12-15-2013  Parade of Boats parade at Carrabelle

12-15-2013  Fireworks at the Parade of Boats parade at Carrabelle

Saturday, December 14, 2013

December 14, 2013, Saturday

Panama City Marina, Panama City, FL:  We were greeted by dauphins again when we left Joe's Bayou anchorage at 06:15 and they followed us in the channel for while.  We had 3 foot rollers on Chactawhatchee Bay.  At first we thought we could beat the rain and thunder storms but by 09:45 it started heavy rain but the thunder storms were still out in the gulf.  We had 2 more dauphins jumping our wake again in the rain; they looked like they were enjoying themselves.  We were going about 10 mph and they were keeping up with us.  By 11:15 the thunder storms got closer to us and we had to find a place of refuge to wait the storm out.  The only place we could find at this point was under the West Bay bridge, just west of Panama City.  We tied up to the bridge with a trawler and a fishing boat and waited an hour and 1/2 for the storm to pass.

We got to Panama City Marina by 14:45 and got settled in.  We met friends for dinner at a Mexican Restaurant and had an enjoyable evening.


CO's comments:  First time at the City Marina, Active Captain's boat was also there.  We will definitely stop there again.

12-14-2013 Dauphins jumping our wake on a rainy day

Kim Jo IV tied up to bridge

Lone Wolf was in front of Kim Jo IV at bridge
Fisherman decided to fish as long as they were waiting
12-14-2013  Taking refuge from the thunder storm, tied up under the West Bay bridge

12-14-2013 Out to dinner with friends in Panama City, FL; Carl and Greg and Larry and Theresa (it was Greg's and Larry's birthday)

Friday, December 13, 2013

December 13, 2013, Friday

Joe’s Bayou anchorage:  Beautiful morning and sun rise but it was still pretty cold; 35 degrees.  It got down to 30 degrees during the night.  When leaving anchorage, I saw my first dauphin of the trip.  We crossed over into the Florida Panhandle early this morning.  It was a pretty quiet day and we got to our anchorage by 13:00.  I did some cleaning and Keith did some preparations for our gulf crossing.  Then it was a quiet night and early to bed.


CO’s comments:   If it doesn't have wings, tail, aileron's, rudder, elevator, and flaps, I will not fly it.

12-13-2013  Sun rise leaving Ingram Bayou anchorage

12-13-2013 Kite Plane at Joe's Bayou just before sun set

12-13-2013 This shows how straight you drive with auto pilot on

Thursday, December 12, 2013

December 12, 2013 Ingram Bayou Anchorage

Thursday:  Got going about 10:00 after putting on 300 gallons of diesel at $3.61 per gallon, pretty fair price.  Mobile Bay was windy and wavy again, like the other day.  We had 3 footers coming at us on our stern.  After we got past the first way point it calmed down some.  When we got to the GIWW at Red 120 we immediately met two tows very close to each other; they were going west and we were going east.  Also going west was a Sport Fisherman and he felt he had to pass both tows even though we were in the same, very narrow, and shallow channel.  We ended up slowing way down and were almost out of the channel in very skinny water (only about a foot under our props) so this fisherman could pass.  Why he couldn’t have waited until we were past we will never know.  That just confirms what we already knew about Sport Fisherman.

It was a beautiful, sunny, 65 degree day, but the wind made it feel some what cold.  We got to our anchorage by 15:00.  Ingram Bayou is one of our favorite anchorages, so beautiful and peaceful.  We passed a total of 3 tows and traveled 45 miles for the day.  Keith saw the first dauphin of the trip but I haven’t seen any as yet.


CO’s comments:    Forgot to tell you yesterday about the guy in the 40' boat.  His Danforth anchor was so bent out of shape he couldn't or didn't pull it all the way up and it was dangling and hitting his bow all they way through Mobile Bay.  He had battery problems and a hard time starting his engines and was at Dog River, a very good maintenance facility, and didn't do anything about it.  Instead he was headed to New Orleans, Good Luck.  By the way, downtown Mobile is a "slow zone".

12-12-2013 Waves on Mobile Bay

12-12-2013 The Tow, St. Elmo, at about Mile 150 on the GIWW, first time we have encountered one in this area.

12-12-2013 Ingram Bayou anchorage, Mile 164.0

12-12-2013 Eagle perched in a tree by our anchorage

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

December 10 and 11, 2013 Mobile, AL

Tuesday:  Rained early this morning but by the time we were ready to go it had stopped. Had a hard time getting the anchor up because of the current and the anchor was really dug in. Overcast and chilly this morning. We had to wait on a train at Mile 14 Bridge and we got to downtown Mobile by 09:45. When we were just coming into Mobile the Coast Guard drove right by us and waved and then stopped "Pontus". We thought they stopped him because he was from Canada and we were feeling pretty lucky. But, after they were through with Pontus they came back and stopped us just before entering the shipping channel. So, about ½ hour later we were on our way again. All was OK except we needed 3 new flares that work for day or night and they told us to get them at Dog River Marina. There were several huge, ocean going vessels in port all loading up with coal to be shipped over seas.

Mobile Bay was very windy with winds up to 18 mph and gusts to 25 and we had 3 ½ foot waves. It was so windy and cold they had a hard time securing us to the dock at Dog River Marina.  Keith started his oil change this afternoon and we ordered pizza in and had a quiet night watching a movie.


CO’s comments:  The Coast Guard stopped us because they had a brand, new, Gold Bar that they were training.  That would be a 2nd Lt in the Marine Corp.  Evidently his schooling didn't stick with him.  He had a hard time filling out the safety form and had to have a 3 Stripper (that would be a Sargent in the Marine Corp) explain it to him.  I don't think any of them knew what they were looking for except for the flares.  We have been stopped a few times by Homeland Security and they were all former Marines or former Navy and all had experience; they knew what they were looking for.  The poor 2nd Lt looked like he was 16 years old.  At least he was carrying a Sig and not a Glock. 

Wednesday:  Waited on mail and Keith finished changing the oil and filters.  The pump for changing the oil broke so we had to go to West Marine to get a new one.  We also had some miscellaneous work done while we were here.  While we were here we got 3 boxes of mail that finally caught up with us so that took several hours to go through.  We should be good now until Clearwater, I hope.

12-10-2013 Mobile Shipping Channel, ship loading coal

Monday, December 9, 2013

December 8 and 9, 2013; Sunday and Monday

Sunday:  Had to wait 1 hour for fog to lift in lock. Also, there was a tow in the lock too. We were able to lock through, in and out, by 08:08. It was still foggy and overcast. It started to rain by 09:00, just on and off at first. By 11:00 it was a steady, heavy, rain. We decided to pick up our speed so we could get all the way to Bobby’s Fish Camp before dark. We ended up going 97 miles for the day and got to Bobby’s by 16:10 with about 15 minutes of day light left. It was a very stressful day and we were glad to be tied up to a dock for the night. The restaurant was open until 18:00 so we went down and had catfish for dinners. After dinner it just sprinkled some until bed time. There are two other boats here and we are all going through our last lock of the Tenn-Tom, the Coffeeville Lock, at 07:00 tomorrow morning together. It was another early to bed.


CO’s comments: Miserable day, radar on 100% of the time. Again, next year we are going to leave earlier in the season. It was a busy day for tows. We encountered 7 for the day which is the most we have had in a long time.

Monday:   We had thunder storms during the night but by the time we left Bobby’s it was just misting and 59 degrees. After a short wait for a shift change at the lock then all 3 boats (Dream Chaser, Pontus, and Kim Jo IV were in and out of the Coffeeville Lock by 07:40.  After the lock we entered tidal waters again. For most of the morning we had a high sealing of about 2500' overcast.  The sun came out for a while in the afternoon.

We anchored at Mile 39, Tensas River North by 14:30 and Pontus was already anchored.   Dream Chaser got here an hour after us. We got a real good push today from the current.  At 1650 rpm's we were going about 12 to 13 mph where we normally only get 10 to 11 mph.


CO’s comments:  Much better day than yesterday, we even saw the sun.


12-9-2013 (5) Pontus from Ontario, Canada

12-9-2013 (2) Dream Chaser from Minneapolis, MN

12-9-2013 (4) Royal Marsh Harbor Yacht Club Burgee, the Abaco in the Bahamas


Saturday, December 7, 2013

December 5, 6, and 7, 2013 Kingfisher Marina, Demopolis, AL

Thursday, called the lock and it was very foggy and there was a tow ahead of us waiting on the fog and he would go first.  We waited in our anchorage for about an hour and then got to the lock by 08:45.   Gayle Winds Again was in anchorage with us and we waited for them to get to the lock before we locked down.  We were out of lock by 09:45.  We got to Kingfisher Marina in Demopolis by 14:15 and Gayle Winds Again got there about 2 hours later. 

Friday and Saturday: Stayed 2 more days because of the weather and Keith had a big mess to clean up in the engine room.  We went to Walmart and got some groceries and to Napa and got oil and filters for our next oil change in Mobile.

Pumped out on Saturday afternoon; they have pump outs right at the slip and you pump out yourself.


CO’s comments: The more I think about it, since we are planning on doing the Upper Black Warrior River next summer, Kim Jo IV will not be going any further than Kingfisher Marina in Demopolis, AL, next summer.  It takes a lot of fuel to go all the way up the Tenn-Tom and part of the Tennessee River.

12-5-2013:  Spider web in the fog at Heflin Lock, by Gainesville, AL.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

December 1, 2, 3, and 4, 2013

12-1-2013, Swallow Bluff anchorage to Grand Harbor, Iuka, MS, Mile 449.7

Sunday:  We started the boat at 07:05 and Keith went down into the engine room to check on things and found we were  low on transmission fluid; evidently the mechanic didn’t completely fill it the other day.  Lesson learned; always double check after having work done on your boat.  Keith added a little less than a quart and we started engines again at 07:35.  I had trouble getting the anchor up over the roller and Keith had to manually bring it up; we were moving by 07:45.  We got to Iuka, MS, by15:00, took the courtesy car to the little grocery store for some steaks, etc. and then went to Freddy T’s for dinner.

It was overcast all day long and chilly in the morning but warmed up to about 60 degrees by afternoon.  We only saw a few fisherman all day, otherwise it was just us.  Only had the Pickwick Lock today and it went real fast and smooth, just the way we like it.


CO’s comments:  Sure is good to be moving again.

12-2-2013;  Grand Harbor to Midway Marina, Fulton, MS, Mile 394.0

Monday, Up at 05:30 and on our way by 06:30.  Cloudy and 50 degrees.  First lock was the Whitten Lock.  We had to wait 11/2 hour for a tow going north and it took ½ hour to lock down; second lock was the Montgomery Lock and we went straight through in about 20 minutes.  The 3rd was the Rankin Lock and we waited 1 ½ hours again for another tow and this one also took ½ hour to lock down..  By this time we were running out of day light.  We  had planned on one more lock but we found out there was another tow in that lock so we decided to stop at Midway Marina.  By the time we were settled in it was dark and we were glad we decided to stop.  This was not a good day for locks.  We only traveled 53 miles today and it took us 9 hours.  Yesterday we traveled 46 miles and it only took us 6 ½ hours.  Your fate depends on how many tows are in the area, hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Everyone at this marina is in the Christmas spirit and almost every boat is decorated with tons of Christmas lights.  Looks real nice, makes me want to put our up.   If I can, I will wait til after we cross the gulf.


CO’s comments:  There were a lot of weeds coming into this marina which gave false bottom readings.

12-2-2013, Midway Marina all decorated for Christmas.

12-3-2013; Midway Marina to Columbus Marina, Columbus, MS, Mile 335.0

Tuesday, It was a very foggy morning so I slept in another hour and got up at 06:00.  Keith had started the engines by 07:10 and was checking the engineer room while I called the Fulton Lock to see if the fog had lifted.  He said it was starting to lift and if we got there within ½ hour we could get ahead of the tow for the day that was going in the same direction we were.  We hurried and got there in 20 minutes just to find more fog had come back in and we couldn’t see a foot in front of us.  I sat out on the front of the boat watching for buoy’s, branches, logs, and what ever else could be out there.  We finally found the lock and locked down with another boat.  The lock master said we could sit in the lock til it cleared up as even the tows had stopped because of the fog.  We stayed and the other boat left.  We sat there for about an hour and decided to venture out as it looked like it was clearing again.  Wrong, the fog would get light for a while and then get dense for a while for the next 1 ½ hours, so I was out on the front of the boat again watching.  It finally cleared by 09:45 so we could pick up to our normal speed.  We got to the next lock, Amory, and locked straight through with the boat from last lock.  Here they hurried and drove in the fog and got to the next lock and had to wait for another tow so we caught up with them.  We traveled with this boat to the Aberdeen Lock, our last lock for the day for us.   We were told we had to wait for a tow anywhere from 1 to 2 hours!  Lucky for us, the tow was a Corp of Engineers work boat and the captain made one trip through and told the lock master he would wait until we locked down.  That saved us so we could get to Columbus Marina before dark.  Patty and Robert Mitchell from Montana were still here.  Very nice people.

CO’s comments:   Driving the boat in fog is like flying an airplane on Instrument Flight Rules.  Thank goodness for radar and the XO!

12-3-2013, The XO on deck for fog duty.

12-4-2013;  Columbus Marina, MS, to Sumter anchorage, AL, Mile 170.0

Wednesday, We were in the Stennis Lock by 06:45, the first of 2 locks for today.  When I came in from locking down, I smelled some fumes and we thought it was just from idling in the lock.   We continued on down the Tenn-Tom and the smell got worse.  I took over driving and Keith went down in the engine room to check on things.  We had a fuel line leak on the starboard engine.  We turned that engine off and drove with one engine til we could find a place to anchor.  At about 08:20 we were anchored with both engines off.  A tow (the Sabine Pass) came by shortly after and offered to help which we thought was very nice of him.    After checking, Keith found a high pressure fuel line fitting loose and tightened it.  Now we have a big mess in the engine room to clean up.   An hour after we stopped we were on our way again.  We got to the 2nd lock of the day, the Tom Bevil Lock, by 11:30 and we had to wait about 15 minutes for the lock master to turn the water around and we went through without any problem.  We got to our anchorage by 14:30, a nice  anchorage that we have been to several times before.  It had turned into a beautiful day with temp in the high 70's


CO’s comments:  The same thing happened to me when I was flying a Metro Liner.  As I was nearing Billings, a pilot called the tower and told them that I was trailing black smoke on my starboard engine.  There were no indication in the cockpit of anything wrong, just like today on our boat.  As a precaution, I shut the starboard engine down, landed and taxied in, and the mechanics met the aircraft.  They took the cowling off and asked me to start the engine.  Before it was completely  started they were screaming at me to shut it down.  The problem was a high pressure fuel line had come loose because a mechanic had not safety wired it and it was throwing fuel all over the engine creating the black smoke.  Thank goodness jet and diesel fuels do not burn like gas or I would have been on fire both days.

12-4-2013, Sumter anchorage, CO putting the anchor bridle on.

12-4-2013, Sumter anchorage, Gayle Winds Again in anchorage with us.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

November 30, 2013

Saturday, Pebble Isle to Swallow Bluff Island anchorage:

After a small problem with our newly installed transmission oil cooler yesterday our trip was delayed another day. Today we are finally back on the water.  It was a chilly morning but we left at 07:00 anyway.   Other than a few fishermen, a few duck hunters, and 3 Tows we pretty much had the river to ourselves today.  We had frost on the deck this morning and our power cord was so frozen and we couldn’t bend it.  The temp was about 38 degrees on the bridge.   Luckily the sun came out later and warmed the bridge up to about 70 degrees.  Got to our anchorage by 15:30 and got settled in.  It will be early to bed so we can get up tomorrow and do it all over again.


CO’s comments: The last time we were at this anchorage we needed the air conditioner and today we need the heater.  I sure wish the XO had got through to me and I had listened to her and we left a month earlier.  Never again this late.  Next year we are heading south in August!

11-30-2013 Kim Jo IV's first Christmas decoration of the year

11-30-2013 Very cold morning on the bridge

11-30-2013 Goats from the island coming down for their nightly drink

11-30-2013 Sun set at Swallow Bluff Island anchorage

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

November 27, 2013

Wednesday:  We arrived at the boat about 14:00.  We decided last night to stay another day to get everything together.  It was a whirl wind trip; it seemed like we were going steady.  Got doctored up for the next year at Mayo, saw our friends, Dave and Nancy, in Minnesota, and then went on to Wisconsin to our sons.  Keith hunted with Don and the grand kids and I went shopping with my sisters and nieces.  On Sunday I went out to the farm to help cut up deer.  There were 7 deer harvested by the time I got there.   It was very cold in Wisconsin opening morning of deer hunting with temps below zero.  Our youngest grandson got his first deer and we are all very proud of him.

Sisters, different flowers from the same garden

One shot, on kill; good shot AJ

Uncle Jerry and Sara

Keith, Heidi, and Don

Jerry, Keith, and Bobbie

Monday, November 11, 2013

November 11, 2013





Sunday, November 10, 2013

November 10, 2013