June 17, 2014

Back In The USSA!

"Men in love with their boats don’t have a lot of rationale. They really don’t know any better and so they just surge ahead driven by a dream that's coming true."

The view from my window this morning told me a good day was ahead.

Back in the USSA? Yes, I know the USA only has one "S".  But that Beatles song,"Back in the USSR" is stuck in my head, and so I am taking poetic liberties here… humor me, please.

After making the crossing from the Bahamas, I found myself once again in the comforts of America.  Suddenly things like 24/7 weather reports, free wifi, channel markers, and a plethora of other boats around me became commonplace.

What a difference in cultures 60 miles across an ocean can make.  I miss it over there, but must admit there is still a lure to cruising in the good old USA.  It was good to see more abundant bird life over here than I ever saw in the Bahamas.  And the scenery and peaceful pace along the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) is always comforting.

I'm actually back in Atlanta now and have left Glory Days swinging peacefully on a mooring ball in St. Augustine for the next month.  Family matters call me here and will need to return to check on Glory Days or move her a bit further north in the next few weeks.  I have found it rather challenging to adapt to land life in an urban area after so many months sauntering through the islands… suddenly things like traffic, expectations, home duties, and endless miles of fast food chains disappoint me… this is harder than sailing.

So below are several pics of my time in the West Palm area and the week long trip north along the ICW to to St. Augustine.

I treated myself to a stay in the Riviera Beach City Marina for two nights.  I can't recall the last time I stayed in a marina, but it was a nice change and good opportunity to see the sights without having to dinghy back and forth each day.

The Blue Heron Bridge at West Palm Beach

It was good to reunite with my friends Craig and Linda who took me diving again.

Craig and Linda drove up from Ft. Lauderdale and we enjoyed a little overnight slumber party on Glory Days.  The following day they took me scuba diving at the famous Blue Heron Bridge.  It is an unusual phenomenon there at the bridge… due to its close proximity to the Gulf Stream it seems to attract a wide variety of underwater sea creatures, not normally seen in inland waters…. 

Cruise ships are commonplace to see passing Peanut Island here.

… as are lanky palm trees as you see the inlet to the sea in the distance here.

THE BLUE HERON BRIDGE DIVE…. One of the premiere shore diving locations in all of South Florida is actually on the Intracoastal Waterway just inside of the Lake Worth Inlet, and just past the Force-E Riviera location. Blue Heron Bridge diving is a macro photographer’s dream! There’s seahorses, pipefish, decorator crabs, batfish, and other rare and exotic species of sea life, all in a relatively small area and all at depths ranging from 6 to 16 feet.

The Fishing Contest:  The KDW Classic

In Riviera Beach, they were hosting their annual fishing contest called the KDW.  That stands for Kingfish, Dolphin, Wahoo.  It was quite the festive event… as a visitor and spectator, I took it all in as I was happily enjoying my stay in a real marina for a change.  

The fishing classic was like a big party… boats, bait, beer, music, and lots of people standing around looking like they know what's going on… I enjoyed my stay there just relaxing and finally getting my laundry done...here's a few scenes from that day.

The Scoreboard of the Fishing Tournament…. 
they have a nice little tiki bar where the boats unload their daily catch.
… and Catch they did.

Just a few thousand dollars of equipment to catch a few fish from the sea

Pelicans always there for any scraps…. I see now why they call a fight a "scrap"...
Glory Days patiently put up with it all.
She just wanted to leave the confines of a marina and get moving again.

More People Shots...

One of the things I really enjoy about photography is taking candid shots of total strangers… not always, but sometimes I capture a moment where I feel like I really KNOW this person… at least for a few seconds… 

Here's a few I took during the fishing tournament as folks were waiting for the judges to tally the scores… pardon my captions please… I couldn't resist.

"I've been warped by the rain, driven by the snow, I'm drunk and dirty, but don't you know… that I'm willing'"

"I'm just Brenda the bartender today…. 
but I have sights on bigger things tomorrow…"

"Yes, I'm telling' you Charlie, it was TEN FEET LONG!"
"Ladies, there's nothing wrong with a one piece suit."
Hemmingway's long lost son, Horace.
 Santa, in the off season.   
"Hi, I'm Hymie. Ya know, maybe if I stand here, real still just like this, no one will even know that I am here…
"… Dammit Melba,  shitfaced again…"
"… I'm outta here Pancho!  Way too weird for me!"

It's always a thrill to find a nice clean laundry mat when you're down to your last piece…. heavenly! 
(It's the little things)

Load 'em up cowboy!

So long for now folks!

Please stay tuned for the next Glory Days Post 

The next entry has lots of cools shots of wildlife encountered along my passage north along the Intracoastal Waterway… Will he make it to St. Augustine?  Will the wild manatee rip out his nostrils?  Will the raging storm from the north sink his dream?!

Until then… May the fish be with you!

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