St. Augustine, Florida

May 14

View from the flybridge in our slip at St. Augustine Municipal Marina.
Ran for almost 9 hours yesterday to only go 68 miles. So many”No Wake” zones means idle speed for us, around 6mph. Pretty maddening. Add to that we had 10 to 15 mph winds from the north (thankfully), but it made for a loud ride. Since we were running 9-10 mph into those 10-15 winds, the boat was essentially in 20-25 mph winds.

During our stay in New Smyrna we had dinner with these great folks, Stella and Rollin Mcqueery. Great folks from Cambelsville, Ky. Rollin is the kind of guy that really pisses me off. Almost 80 and virtually no gray hair and looks like he’s maybe 50. Pretty active fella as he still performs referee duties for high school basketball and volleyball. wonderful folks, these 2, really glad we got to see ‘em.

Woke up to find this guy on our fender board. If Debbie had seen him first she probably would have jumped ship! Don’t blame the little fella, small crabs are on the menu of lots of large fish.


RYesterday on our way to St. A we had to traverse a couple of bridges that we could not squeeze under. Both times the bridge tenders opened the bridges immediately upon our call. That was great as sitting in a 10-15 mph wind is kinda tough since it can blow you into shallow water if ya don’t pay really close attention. Notice the left side of the bridge did not open? that side of the bridge was inoperable but plenty of room for the sail catamaran and Whisky Business to get through.

Really gloomy day yesterday but the clouds and wind kept the temp just below 70 degrees. First day since we left Burnt Store that we did not sweat all day long.

Pretty sad, we saw so many derelict boats yesterday, At one point there were about 6 abandoned boats.

A 50+ foot motor yacht abandoned at anchor.

This morning the winds are still 10+mph. Below are a couple of photo’s from our slip in the marina.

Outside the marina:

Inside the marina:

This is the dock in front of WB. Water is like glass in the marina.

And now the Piece’ de Resistance!

These fine folks are Tim and Katie Lane from the sailing vessel Pangur Ban. We met them on our 18/19 Loop and they are docked across the fairway from us. Debbie thinks she remembers Tim from when he was a Chippendale dancer. Katie is a fabulous videographer and she took a short video as Whisky Business and crew entered the marina yesterday. She put it together with a video she shot at our Wake Crossing celebration in October of 2019 at Green Turtle Bay. I think there were 7 boats with us when we crossed our wake.
In Katie’s video you see us open this bottle of Woodford that we brought on board when we started our Loop. We opened it and shared with our flotilla from that eventful day.

Unfortunately if you opened this post from your email, you will not be able to see Katie’s video.
Go to: http://mvwhiskybusiness.com and the video will play there. Be sure to turn up the sound as Katie has great taste in music. Quite fun!

Lake Okeechobee and the East coast

May 7-12

Last Wednesday we left Moore Haven and crossed that big lake in the center of Florida, Lake Okeechobee. In the above photo you can see we hugged the SE coast of the lake until we headed in a NE direction across the lake. This path was dictated by the marked channel through very shallow water. We never saw less that 6 feet under the boat the whole way.

Lots of agriculture and cattle in this part of Florida. Bunch of cows cooling off in the water.
Broke out one of our large fenders for starboard tie ups in the locks along the Okeechobee. Half Pint hangs over just a wee bit on that side.
A train bridge that crosses the Okeechobee Waterway. Permantly up position.
Launching an air boat. These things do not require much if any water at all.
No idea, but made me think of our upcoming trip past Cape Canaveral.
There is a dike along the outside of the southern channel along the lake. The sign says it is the Herbert Hoover Dike…have fun with it…we did!
Finally entered the lake. Notice all of the exposed growth? Not much water there!

VIDEO HERE
Go to http://mvwhiskybusiness.com to view.
The winds picked up out on the lake and we saw 3 footers for a while hitting us from th 11 o’clock position.
Once we crossed the lake there was a construction site with Travelifts. These ar large devices used to lift 30+feet and much larger boats out of the water. The one in the right of the photo is large enough for at least a 60 footer.
Everywhere in Florida there are derelict boats. If steel or aluminum recycling is an option. Fiberglass? Only option is to grind ‘em up with really expensive equipment and who’s gonna pay for that. Taxpayers won’t.
Okeechobee Waterway on the east side of the lake.
See the bright green algae? We saw a lot of this for about 10 miles after we crossed the lake.

Dredging operation
Passed this “boat house”, probably $5-$6M in these 3 boats.
At one time this was a fabulous boat!
And VIOLA! We arrive on the east coast of Florida at Stuart. We had never seen so many dredging barges! Bet we saaw 20+ and there was some really skinny water. At one point there was a dredge barge with a small sign that read “This Way” with a red arrow indicating a pass on our port side. The barge was blocking the view of a critical channel marker.

After Stuart we passed through Vero Beach after a long day and just crashed. Nuttin’ to report. Next day we ran to Titusville which is just across the channel from Cape Canaveral’s launch site. Way in the distance we could see that big builking where the rockets are assembled with the big blue NASA sign. Too far for an effective Ipad photo.

Dammit, when we got to Titusville there was a mooring field and a very good anchorage. We chose the mooring field since the area has a muddy bottom and we would not have to rinse off the anchor and chain using a “mooring ball”. A mooring ball is secured to the bottom and has a line with a loop on the end. Ya just grab it with a boat hook and attach the bridle to it. Easy Peezy right? Yep, until we call the marina that manages the field and they ask what is our Length Over All is. Boats are measured by the distance from the front part of the boat at the waterline to the back of the boat at the waterline. Using this measurment Whisky Business is 46 feet long. Our LOA (which includes the bow pulpit with anchor to the back of the swim platform is 53 feet. We were told we could not use the mooring ball as there was a 50 foot limit. So we moved 200 feet away and dropped anchor. And I used about 20 gallons of our fresh water supply to clean the mud off the chain and anchor when we brought it up.

The reason you want a really clean chain is when anchoring in salt water with a muddy bottom the chain can really start to stink and all manner of stuff will begin to grow in the chain locker.

…which is located behind the mirror at the head of the bed in the forward stateroom.
And speaking of chains and anchors oh faithful reader, you may recall our anchoring mishap on the Tombigbee waterway when we lost it all. On some boats there is a heavy wall called a bulkhead at the back of the chain locker that the chain/rope can be attached to. On Whisky Business there is only a thin wall between the stateroom and the chain locker. Not a good place to secure the chain. So, after talking to a lot of folks this is what we came up with. We “braided” a 3/8 inch line to the bitter end of the chain and attached the other end of that line to a 2X4. This method will allow us to cut the 25 feet of line should it run out after the 200 feet of chain. The 2X4 will keep the bitter end of the line in the boat. I secured the 2X4 to the side of the chain locker with a piece of velcro and the line is attached to a sticker with a light plastic tie that will easily give up the line if called upon.
So that is finally put to bed!
After leaving Titusville it was time to blow out the turbo’s. We ran wide open throttle for about 3 miles and achieved a speed of 22.7 MPH. Pretty good for a 40,000 pound boat!
Hmmm, I wonder if that bridge is high enough for us to squeeze under??
How does one find out???
See th little blue icon?
Just touch that little icon on the multi function display and this pops up. The name of the bridge, GPS coordinates of the bridge, type of bridge and the height when closed. Isn’t technology great!
A family of dolphins came along for the ride. Interesting thing about the shape of a boats hull. On a “trawler” the hull is designed to efficiently go through the water at slow speeds, say under 10 MPH. On a trawler a strong bow wave is created at, yeah, you guessed it, at the bow. Our hull is known as a semi planing hull, so it can get up on top of the water and go fast. Our “bow wave” is created farther back along the boat at midship so that is where the dolphins hang out on our boat.
INSERT VIDEO HERE
Go to:http://mvwhiskybusiness.com
Now this is just maddening as hell. After we left Lake O the boat icon on our MFD developed a wayward skew that required us to perform a sea trial wizard and resetting the internal compass to north. Not a big deal but requires the boat to be driven in a couple of circles and then the autopilot drives the boat in a zig zag pattern.
The dotted line is our track. Swear I had not been drinking.

Saw a funny cocktail napkin today. Drunk fellow is walking down the street. Police Officer says, Sir, you are staggering.
Guy responds, Well you’re handsome too!
I need bail money.

Insert rimshot here.

Whisky Business has LEFT the building!

May 5 & 6

Wednesday morning at 8 AM we cast off from our home marina for the last 5 months and headed out into Charlotte Harbor on our way to our anchorage 40 miles away in Fort Myers. Easy 30 minute drive by car…

seven and a half ours later averaging 9 or so miles an hour we arrive. It appears we took the looooooonnnngggg way.

In Charlotte Harbor we saw lots of “islands” of this stuff. Always steered around it. Did not want to clog the water intakes for the engines.
The chi chi private Useppa Island on the left. Only 2 ways to get on that island. Own a home there (we don’t, nor do we know anyone who does) OR tell ‘em your going to the library. My understanding is since the Useppa Free Public Librart gets federal funding, the local authorities MUST let you visit. Great country or what?
On the right of the image is cool as hell Cabbage Key. Only accesible by boat the island boasts a really fun restaurant with a great cheeseburger (not the one in Paradise) and the mandatory brazzillions of one dollar bills on the walls and ceiling.
Close to Fort Myers we see these guys fishing. You can see the really shallow area between them.

If you had an extra $2-3M in your pocket, this is the boat you would buy.
If you look closely, to the left of the image you can see 2 people waving from the dock. We had anchored in an area called Glover Bight last night. Twenty minutes after dropping the hook my phone rings. Yacht broker extraordinnaire Bill Molnar calls. He sold us Whisky Business when it was known as Dustcutter. From his vantage on the dock at Tarpon Point Marina he recognized Whisky Business and gave us a shout. He didn’t see the name on the transom, he just recognized one of the many Jefferson’s he has sold. His lovely wife Debbie is with him and that is the ONLY reason there is a photo of him here!
A refreshing shower on the swim platform after a long hot day.
No way in hell is Debbie gonna let me take her photo!
We just love our Weber Q grill. I installed a 20lb propane tank in the dock box and ran the hose to the grill through a hole in the side. If there is rain in the forcast it will use those little 1 lb. Coleman propane tanks and we cook on the aft deck.
After grilled chicken legs and corn on the cob for dinner, 2 episodes of Yellowstone, it was lights out…at 10PM.

Up at 6:30 this morning. Performed an engine room check, made coffee, putzed around the boat and were off at 8AM for the 70 mile run to Lake Okeechobee.

View from the windlass. Kinda cool how the chain links all line up. Do you have any idea how long it took me to get ‘em to do that? The large round black buttons are foot controls for lifting and lowering the anchor and chain.

Up early, performed an engine room check and made coffee. Had all day to run the 70 miles to Lake Okeechobee.

Underway at 8 again today and it was a hot and sweltering day. When we started this Loop thing back in 2018, coming down the rivers the wind always seemed to be at our backs. Went through gallons of water. Same today. All day, the wind was out of the west and we were going east, just like the damn wind.

This big ol red fender is just big enough to keep the bow of the new dink from hitting the lock wall. We were in 2 locks today. One of ‘em lifted us a whole 18 inches.

Insert video here
You must log on to http://mvwhiskybusiness.com to view the video. Dunno why.
Our trip through a Bascule bridge. The bridge operator must walk from their hut to the middle of the bridge and operated it there. They are literally at the center of the bridge as it turns. We asked this operator if the ride made her dizzy.

We took a number of pretty interesting photos today. Take a look…

We had to turn the boat around to get this shot. After we went by it dawned on us what this is. A landing strip. Couple of planes. On the far end of the strip is a hiway. This end of it ends in the river. Back in the late 70’s I got my private pilot’s license. Not sure if I would have attempted a landing here.
One crazy tree, right?
Saw a LOT of cows today.
Great home on a point.
Our resting place for the night. Buck a foot, helluva deal. Even had a pool. Secured the boat and jumped in.
Looking at a 6:30 departure in order to catch the first lockage of the day to get across the big Lake Okeechobee.
Night all.

Countdown to May Departure

April 10

If it wasn’t for Debbie on the left of the photo, this could be any group of 5 people!

We hadn’t taken an all family vacation in years so we decided to head to West Yellowstone for a snowmobile vacation. Debbie, Nick, Haley, her husband Brett and I headed west. Yellowstone in winter is totally breathtaking! In order to go into the park on snowmobiles you can go on a guided tour or hire your own guide which we did. The day we were in Yellowstone we covered 130 miles from the Little Grand Canyon to Old Faithful.

Some of what we saw…

Interesting, our guide said if you peed to the right of the sign it would run to the Mississippi River. If you peed to the left of the sign it would run to the Pacific Ocean. Cool or what? BTW, no idea which one of us is in this photo.
The Little Grand Canyon. Spectacular in the summer. Words do not do it justice in the winter. And we had it all to ourselvs.
If the Hell’s Angel’s rode snowmobiles they would look like this.
Bison are everywhere in the park.
I told Debbie not to walk too far off the path. She found a deep spot in the snow…
Geysers
For large groups of tourists who require a little more comfort than what a snowmobile provides, there are these bussees with HUGE tires Darn near as tall as Debbie!
The sky was a different shade of blue and the clouds were pretty cool.
And the coolest photo of all!

But this is a blog about boating!

Meet Half Pint, the newest addition to the Whisky Business fleet.

With an aluminum hull and no fiberglass (really heavy), and a 30 HP outboard this thing really screams across the water. Bet I can outrun just about any manatee that wants to challenge me.

A bit of an issue with Half Pint. It has the same dimensions as it’s predecessor but the transom (the little wall in the back that the motor mounts to) is farther back in the boat. Which means it is actually longer when the engine is tilted up.
Since the engine is farther back and almost touches the davit the bow hangs about 8 inches over the starboard side of the boat. Will have to be very vigilant when coming into a slip in a marina as we might bump into a piling.
Got a new anchor for Half Pint in the mail today. Hope I have better luck with this one!
Collapsable so it fits in it’s own dry bag.

Behind the engine is the davit which lifts and lowers Half Pint.


Remember this mess?
These batttery clamps I had installed on my start battteries to manage all of the cables that were there. Not exactly ABYC (American Boat and Yacht Council) specifications.
Nothing a checkbook can’t fix!
Couple of $BoatUnit$ later we had buss bars intstalled and really cleaned up the battery situation.

My big brother Jim made a suggestion some time ago that has stayed with me. Should anything happen to Deb or me while traveling on the boat, it is not so easy if even possible to get help. Calling 911 when out on the water is not going to get a quick response. So at Jim’s urging Debbie and I have just completed CPR training and also purchased an AED device for jump starting a victim of Cardiac Arrest. We did not know that CPR will NOT resusitate a Cardiac Arrest victim. CPR only continues to pump blood. Cardiac Arrest requires an electric shock to the heart to get it going again.
One of our Loop friends suffered a heart attack while on their boat. Fortunately for him he was in a marina where help could get to him quickly.

Gee, look at the time.
Time for…

Punch List, Maintenance, Bernie and MORE!

February 19, 2021

Beautiful sunset as seen from the entrance to our marina. Large boat blocking the view however. Still nice, right?

With boats there is always maintenance, especially boats like Whisky Business who have seen their 25th birthday. Having said that, Debbie and I visited our great friends Deb and John Neal on Saltaire in Fort Myers yesterday and lo and behold, their slip neighbor is a 40+ foot Bristol. What is unique about Northern Star is she has seen her 50th birthday! Early 70’s vintage when fiberglass use in boat building was in it’s infancy. Dave and Cindy Wood are the proud owners of this spectacular vessel. Having been in the boat building business his whole life Dave has literally thousands of man hours labor in the boat and it shows.

Interesting aside to the name of this fine vessel. While chatting with the owner I asked about the origin of the Name “Northern Star” Something he and his wife came up with Dave told me. It reminded me of a great movie based on the book The Man Who Would Be King by Rudyard Kippling. Dave knew the movie well and it was one of his favorites as well. In the movie Rudyard Kippling is the manager of a newspaper in India at the turn of the 19th century by the name of…The Northern Star! Okokok, well I found it amusing.

In my never ending quest to keep WB young by the time we got to our Florida home with her we had quite a punch list of maintenance items that needed my attention.

Fuel Filters. WB has 2 fuel filters for each engine including the generator. Some of these filters are even easy to get to. Some, not so much.

These are the Racor filters. Very easy to change. Just turn off the fuel flow, twist off the top, pull out the old filter and replace. Yeah there are a couple of gaskets that must be replaced as well but no big deal at all.
And then there are these filters. They are well hidden behind the after coolers and quite the pain to access with a filter wrench. They require the removal of the very large air filters to get to. Heck, I didn’t even know they were there and never changed them in almost 900 hours of operation during our first 7500 mile Loop. Did not notice them until I removed the after coolers during last years maintenance.

For the longest time I have had water in my bilge. If it is just a little water that doesn’t even kick on the bilge pumps it’s no big deal. But it has always aggravated the heck out of me. After quite a bit of sleuthing, I found the sources.
This is one of two rudder packing devices. The large vertical shaft is the rudder shaft. The 2 screws with the 2 nuts on them tighten the packing around the rudder shaft which keeps water from entering the boat. One side of the packing nuts was loose, allowing water to seep in.
Wish I had pre-teenage children that I could stick down in these skinny places to do maintenance. This is the inside of the transom, the back of the boat where the rudder shafts are located.


Had to squeeze in there and tighten the packing by feel. The nuts that must be tightened are beneath the large bracket seen here. All work must be done by feel. Ugh!

The other sources of water intrusion were 2 fittings on the hot water heater. Healthy dose of pipe dope and teflon/plumbers tape cured that, and now…

This, faithful readers, is a DRY BILGE!!!
It’s a proud day on board Whisky Business!

Raw water impellers. These are the devices inside the water pump that draw in the cooling water for the engines. Pretty easy task on the starboard engine, even though access is a bit limited.

Not a lot of room between the top of the engine and the floor above.

On the Port side I have to lay on top of the engine and squeeze my head and arm in to get to the water pump.

One issue that has been a bit of an eyesore on WB was a crack in the fiberglass on the aft deck hardtop supports. These cracks were present when Debbie and I purchased the boat but the surveyor said no big deal. So I never addressed it. Add to the fact that I know absolutely NOTHING about fiberglass repairs. Until now. You may recall the crew of Carried Away, a wonderful couple from Michigan that we met on the east coast in ‘19. Carrie worked for Trojan Yachts and actually did the layout schedule for that brand of boats. He knows fiberglass.

This is what I started with.

Close up, it’s pretty ugly.
Using a Dremel tool I cut out the affected area.
Filled the cutout area with a mix of fiberglass resin, tiger hair (chopped strands of fiberglass) and thickener. I had to add a thickener as this is a vertical strut and the resin would simply run out of the repair area.
After the resin and tiger hair mixture cured.
Ta da! Finished! Good thing these are low resolution photos.



A couple of weeks ago our friends John and Deb Neal splashed Saltaire in Port Charlotte. We met them just off the island of Cayo Costa and anchored out for a few days.

Whisky Business and Saltaire rafted up on one anchor.

And Now…Bernie!!!

Gotta improve security in our marina…
Took a nap on the boat and when I woke up…
Went to check on our friends boat and found this squater…
He even showed up on Carried Away when we were on the Erie Canal last year…
Showed up for Domino’s…
And in the end…

Whisky Business has ENTERED THE BUILDING!!!

December 9

Finally, 2 months and 4 days after departing Captain’s Quarters Marina in Louisville, Ky. Whisky Business arrivd at our winter destination , Burnt Store Marina in Punta Gorda, Fl. Actually we only traveled 21 out of the last 57 days but then there were 2 hurricanes, Thanksgiving and Covid that got in the way.
Only problem with arriving in the early afternoon was we were at low tide. Our sonar only showed 1.4 feet of water beneath the keel. Actually there is another 1.5 feet of depth as I have a bit of a fudge factor built in to the sonar.
This is a photo from our first night at anchor just above Leavenworth, Indiana. The occupants of these 3 boats were on their way to a bourbon tasting and when they saw the name on our transom…Man, it seems like ages ago!

We left Clearwater after a little debauchery involving 3 bottles of Champagne, 5 Manhattans and a great meal with our friends the Cassaro’s who drove up from their winter home in Dunedin. Can’t believe none of us took a selfie to commemorate the event.

Last night our plan was to stay in a marina about 6 miles north of Venice where we were assured there was plenty of water to get into the marina from the ICW. We were told by the marina manager to not arrive until after 4pm so there tide would have come in enough to give us enough water to enter. Since we did not want to arrive too early we departed Clearwater at 9:30. Made the turn off the ICW and no water under us. The sun is setting, about 5:30 with full on dark in about 30 minutes. We turned up the heat in the engine room and scooted down to Venice where we found a marina that was closed but the fuel dock was empty. Tied up there for the night and all was good. Our plan was to depart at first light, long before the marina staff would arrive. No one would have known the better and we would have saved over a hundred bucks, but we are firm believers in karma. Called the number on the door and paid $2.50/foot for our overall length of 53 feet.
We slept in this morning and got underway at 7:30 this morning arriving at
Boca Grande marina to top off the fuel tanks with 175 gallons of diesel fuel.


Check this out, see the difference in the color of the water? Tide coming in!

Found this on Debbie’s phone. She’s gonna kill me for this! I mean, she took the selfie, right?

Following are some photo’s of our cruise the last few days.

After arriving at our slip we walked to our condo, got the golf cart and started unloading all of the supplies we had laid in. Had lunch, went back to the condo and took a power nap.

Made one more trip to the boat to bring back more stuff to the condo and got this great shot.

Have some maintenance to perform as we have just completed 1600 miles to get here from Louisville. Will keep you apprised.

Longest 2 Days…EVER

December 6

On Saturday morning we woke to a wee bit of fog otherwise a great travel day/s. We ran 68 miles from our Anchorage just east of Panama City on Wetappo Creek to Carabelle where we would wait for a good weather window to cross the 160 miles of open water in the Gulf of Mexico. We did not have to wait long as no sooner had we arrived at Carabelle that we found our weather window was quickly approaching, like 1 hour later. Found a great burger joint across the street from our marina, stuck one down our necks, jumped back on the boat and within the hour we started what turned out to be a 174 mile, 22 hour run. 242 miles in 31 hours. Debbie, Dave and I deserve some kind of medal!
Whisky Business with mustache taking a well deserved 1 hour respite prior to our overnite Gulf crossing
We had been underway for 6 and a half hours with 55 miles behind us when this photo was taken. All of the numbers in blue circles are boats that use this NEBO boat locator app, most of which are Loopers.
This derelict vessel was here from Hurricane Michael when we came through in 2018.
Our friends, Marvin and Nancy Wehl on Crimson Tug leading the way.
Sunset as we began the crossing.
The above 2 images were our view from the flybridge during the first 6 hours of the crossing. Complete black out. Nuttin to see, except the Star of Marvin. Our friends Marvin and Nancy on Crimson Tug were the lead boat in our 2 boat flotilla. Their navigation light was the only pinpoint of light to see.
And then…
this brilliant wedge of moon appeared around 10:30 pm. A bright halloween orange moon made it’s appearance. Before the moonrise we could not see anything including the water.
Dave found a way to get comfortable.
Could not get a slip in Tarpon Springs so we moved on to Clearwater.

The Municipal marina in Clearwater is a pretty jumping place, even in December.

VIDEO HERE (remember, if you are viewing this blog from an email, you won’t see the accompanying videos UNLESS you go to http://mvwhiskybusiness.com.
Pirates everywhere! Ya know what a pirates favorite letter is? Your thinking “RRRRRR” aren’t ya? Well ya might think so, but it’s really the SEA/C!!!
MY NEXT BOAT!!!

Covid, Thanksgiving and…Sherlock Holmes

December 4

As always, one meets lots of great folks when pursuing such a great adventure such as the Great Loop. One couple we met while waiting for Huricane Eta in Orange Beach, Alabama complained of stuffy noses. Then chills. Kept our distance. Until I got a ride from this guy to pick up a rental car so Deb and I could visit Pensacola. He was not wearing a mask so I got in the back seat with my mask in place. Unfortunately for my buddy Marvin, he had to sit in the front seat. Our new pal driving, not wearing a mask. I survived the encounter. My pal Marvin, did not. As everyone knows it takes a spell for Covid to rear it’s ugly head. We hitched a ride on Crimson Tug with Marvin and Nancy as we had a flight out of Fort Walton/Destin to come home for Thanksgiving. Apparently Marvin had picked it up in the ride to pick up our rental car and then I got it from him on the boat ride to Fort Walton. God Bless Debbie, she never got it. Tested twice. All good! By the time we got home on the Sunday, 10 days before Thanksgiving I was showing symptoms on Wednesday and tested positive on Thursday. Went to the lower level in the house and stayed there for 2 weeks. Still have the remnants of a dry cough. Pretty maddening.

My constant companion for the last 2 weeks.
Having been stuck in the lower level for 2 weeks I whiled away the hours watching old Sherlock Holmes movies. Basil Rathbone was Sherlock Holmes like Sean Connery was THE James Bond in the movies.

This past Wednesday having been fever free for 5 days, Deb and I rented a car and drove back to Orange Beach, Alabama to continue the journey. We have our buddy Dave Heilman as additional crew for the Gulf crossing.

The upside to a 13 hour car ride. Found this Bar BQ place many years ago when we would dirve to Destin for Spring Break with the kids. Fabulous pulled pork sandwiches. Great lunch on the picnic tables.

We left Orange Beach late yesterday morning for a 60 mile run to Shalimar, Florida near Fort Walton on Thursday.

Wheels up at 6:30 AM, the sun just barely got a head start.


Here’s an example of an entreprenureal fellow. Old fishing boat with a HUGE video screen mounted on the deck. Marry Me, Happy Birthday wishes, etc.

We ran 91 miles today for 9 and a half hours to make an anchorage.

Anchored in Wetappo Creek, about 50 miles east of Panama City just off the Intracoastal Waterway.


The entire run today was in cloud although there was not much wind. Quite a bit of rain though.
Most of the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway) is a narrow channel of deep water dredged through a wide bay. Looks like plenty of water, and there is, only oftentimes it is only a few feet deep.
The above photo is of one of our multifunction displays. This display shows the tide where we are anchored tonight. Low tide will be around 1 AM with a rising tide starting around 5 AM. The wind and incoming tide will keep us straight in our anchorage without the boat making a 180 degree swing when the tide changes direction.

After dinner Deb kicked our butts 2 out of 3 times in dominoes.

Tomorrow may be one helluva day. The plan is to start at first light, about 5:30 AM, run for 4-5 hours to Carabelle, Florida. If the right weather window presents itself, starting at 3 PM we will then make a 180 mile run across the Gulf of Mexico to Tarpon Springs. This crossing will last all night long and take 18 hours. To be sure a grueling 26 hours. Keep your fingers crosseed for us!

Happy Thanksgiving All!

Novembr 14

Having waited for almost 2 weeks in Demopolis we made it to The Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama. Just to sit and wait for the whacky Hurricane Eta.

The forecasted path of Eta was to head right for us. Like we had a target on Whisky Business.
Proof that God answers my prayers. Eta veered to the east…and headed right for Punta Gorda, our Florida home. Proof that God has a sense of humor too!
Always be careful for what you wish/pray for!
Fortunately just a lot of wind and rain and our condo survived with no damage.

To while away the time spent in the marina, Deb and I rented a car and visited Fairhope, Alabama and spent a couple days in Pensacola at a great little B & B, The Lee House. Great spot. Fortunately/unfortunately we were there for Veterans Day. Unfortunately because all of the Naval museums were closed to all but Vets and their families.
Fortunately because of the parades and a monument unveiling we were fortunate enough to see.

VIDEO HERE
You can see video’s by going to http://mvwhiskybusiness.com

During Spring Break in years past we would go to a great restaurant in Destin, McGuire’s with our friends Jay and Elayne Noltemeyer.

Found one in Pensacola too! Did not have the fabulous wine list the Destin location had so we had to settle for a single vineyard Napa Valley cab.
We got to see the dedication of the above monument funded by the Woody Williams Foundation. Woody is a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient for acts of valor in WWII.
Woody is still kickin’ and speaking at 97 years young.
Beautiful Korean War memorial.

Remember back in the day when a business would paint advertisements on the side of their building?
The pier in Fairhope with the sun making a valiant attempt at showing itself.
Something I had never seen before. On the way to Fairhope we passed a number of cotton fields. They roll it up just like hay in the hayfields of Kentucky.

Made a visit to the world famous Flor-a-Bama Bar.

Then we headed to LuLu’s, owned by Jimmy Buffet’s sister.
Mask Up Y’all!


Well What New Hell Is This?
The item you see here is called a pig mat. Beneath each of WB’s engines a large pan resides to catch oil or anything else that might escape from an engine so as not to get in the bilge and get pumped overboard. In an effort to keep the engine room clean we line the pans with these pig mats. They are white. This one is pink. When red diesel fuel leaks on a white pig mat it shows up just like this. Uhhhh, leaking fuel is not a desireable condition. Unlike gasoline diesel fuel is quite difficult to ignite. Unless it is in a hot environment like an engine room where the point of ignition is raised. I discovered this after arriving at The Wharf Marina and commenced a search for the source of the fuel leak. On the side of each engine a rather large device called the after cooler hides a significant part of the engines. When I removed them this past winter to have them flushed I discovered there were primary fuel filters located behind the after coolers. Really can’t see ‘em unless you know they are there. On the bottom of these filters is a twist drain to bleed water out of the filter. Well I discovered this drain device was a bit loose. Tightened her up and all is good!

Social distancing reminder in Orange Beach.

Only Boaters will appreciate this…
Got out of West Marine for less than a Buck! I needed a piece of stainless steel wire for the anchor shackle so I purchased a 1 foot long piece of stainless cable and unwound it. So now I have a bunch of stainless steel wires.

Sunset at the marina last night.

Today we departed the Wharf on board the 34 foot Crimson Tug with our friends Marvin and Nancy Wehl.
Their stop today is near Fort Walton where they will kick us off. We will spend the night in a hotel and catch a flight home tomorrow for Thanksgiving.

Crimson Tug is a 34 foot long American Tug with a single engine. To add manueverability it has a bow thruster.
And this thing throws a wake!

Results of Hurricane Sally back in September.

Debbie and I wish all of you a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving. We will be back onboard Whisky Business at the end of the month for our final leg of this years journey to get the boat to Burnt Store Marina in Punta Gorda, Florida.

The Man of the Hour!

November 7

When we lost the anchor and chain we reached out to Bobby’s Fish Camp and asked them if they knew of a local fisherman who might be interested in retrieving it for a $500 reward. This mighty fine fellow, Ben Garland answered the call. On the first night, Ben and a buddy searched the area and hooked on the chain, tied a rope with a float to it and gave up about 11PM. Went back the next day, placed a large shackle around the chain and ran it upriver till he found the anchor. BTW, a shackle is kinda like a horseshoe with a bolt that runs across the open end. On Day 3 of this treasure hunt (I call it a treasure hunt because it would cost me about $2400 to replace my ground tackle).


Once he located the anchor, at this point bear in mind anchors are designed to bury themselves in the seabottom to securely hold a boat. Well, this thing was dug in like a hair in a biscuit. Now that he is close to the anchor he hooked up a come-along.

A come-along is a hand operated winch that he connected to a tree on one end and the anchor chain on the other. And then he started to crank…and crank.
Day 3 gets here and VIOLA he gets it out of the river. Calls me and sez he has retrieved it but he needs a ‘lil more ‘n the $500 we agreed on. Two tanks of fuel and 3 days with help from a few other guys. What’s fair I ask. His response is $900. Bring it to me? I counterd. He agreed. I was happy. He was happy.
Never been so happy to see a hunk of metal in my life. At this point Ben pulls the 200 feet of chain out of his truck bed to the ground so we can find the ends of the chain. I had a couple of carts from the marina to bring the anchor and chain to the boat. I start to put the chain in one of the carts and he says “I’d help ya, but I want you to get a taste of that chain.” I did.
After I got the muddy mess of chain back to the boat I laid it out on the dock and hosed it off. Notice the blue/white/blue section of chain? I have painted it every 25 feet so I know how much I have paid out when anchoring. That particular section is the 150 foot mark.
25’-white
50’-blue
75’-green
100’-red
125’-double white
150’-double blue
175’-double green
200’-double red

View of the chain locker in front of the bed in the forward cabin. I have it temporarily secured until I can get it properly affixed. More on that when it happens.
The Bitch is Back!
A happy ending to what could have been an expensive setback.
This fine fellow is my buddy Marviin Wehl from Crimson Tug. We met he and his delightful bride Nancy during our respite in Demopolis. He and Nancy show up at Whisky Business yesterday morning and inquired as to whether or not Debbie and I would like to accompany them to breakfast.
“Not with those socks” was our response.
Another “Target Rich Environment” Couldn’t help myself, really gave him hell over those ankle warmers. I had Nancy laughing so hard she nearly soiled herself as she had already pleaded with him to remove the offensive footwear.

Footnote:
For someone like me who is not terribly literate in IT I am a bit flumoxed as to why this particular blog soft ware will no longer let me add video content to my posts. Sort of. If you receive a notice via email that a new post is available and click on it in your email, the video’s do not show up. HOWEVER, if you go the the web address of this blog,
(http://mvwhiskybusiness.com) the video will show up.
Why? Dunno.
So in the future when there is a video attached I will tell you VIDEO HERE. At that point if you haven’t fallen asleep yet, go to the above address and you can view it there. I would suggest you go back to the previous posts since we left Louisville as there are a few there. Best one being of our friend Julie Shaffer singing her favorite country song.
VIDEO HERE
I am adding a video of the welcoming committee that greeted us upon our arrival to the ICW at the bottom of Mobile Bay.

Holed up again.

We are in a great marina, The Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama and it appears Hurricane Eta is coming our way.

Image from the NOAA app that shows Eta’s track and forcasted route. The circles are the actual track thus far and the little hurricane icons are the forcasted track. As you can see the forecast has it approaching the Florida Panhandle. Our current location is the little blue and white icon just under the time lapse bar.
In retrospect we should have waited until the middle of November to leave Louisville as hurricane season does not end until the end of November. But dammit, I hate being cold on a boat!