Saturday, May 22, 2010

Naples Florida Wrap-Up Post

Naples Florida

I'd have to say that my stay in Naples has been a resounding success. Time is such a slippery thing as I had made the decision about a year ago or more to curtail my trip and head to Naples. So with Naples set upon the horizon of my mind, I left Grenada in my wake in November of 09. Perception of time's speed moves in lock step with the fullness of ones life. I guess I live a full life.

I could hardly believe when I arrived that I had actually make it back so rapidly, given the amount of time it had taken me to get to Grenada. You can read about my trip from Marathon in the Keys to Naples undertaken last December by clicking here.

I try to live strategic like. With intent. A plan. This requires me to cast into the future and make judgments, and then break things down into practical steps. Your basic goal planning. The rub is to apply some kind of discipline. It's easy to get all pumped up after watching a Tony Robbins infomercial at 3am. Surely another matter to sustain the motivation the next morning when you realize you should have been sleeping instead of watching Tony and his big Mellon. But the bottom line for me is I have found that when work-lists are created and goals are documented in writing, some how they get done. Amazing. When I first started this business of goals/work-list, I learned a trick to keep me on track. My boss made me jot down as my first work-list item of the day to simply read the work-list and review the longer range goals. And then, most importantly, scratch off those items on the list. Pow! Straight away I already had tackled two things off my work-list for the day. This small piece of mental gymnastics worked for me. Now it's habit. My larger point is, I believe my success here in Naples can be tracked back to my planning I did well over a year ago. Staying on course in life is not an instant gratification game. But once you realize that the "luck" your experiencing is grounded in previous thought, it's very gratifying. FYI. Most of my planning is now done using Mind Maps.

One goal I had set for myself in Naples did not go so well. And that is boat maintenance. The systems on the boat are fine. But the cosmetics are bringing me down. I never got much traction in that area.

But my goal of employment went great. You can read about how I stumbled into my job at Ridgway's Bar and Grill by clicking here. The military life, of which I was a part for 20 years is a lifestyle. So venturing outside of that world was very interesting. I am very grateful for being hired by Tony Ridgway. He took a chance as I had zero experience in the restaurant biz, and being trained as an Expiditor was a lift in a restaurant as busy as the one I was in. I met all kinds of great people who work in the restaurant industry. Over all, in my humble opinion, it is not an industry I could recommend long-term. Most people working out-front are stressed and dumped on every night no matter what. This is the nature of the business. Some customers never can be pleased.

The kitchen, where I worked was a whole other world. A world full of illegal immigrants. As far as I can tell, this fact is standard in most kitchens in Florida restaurants. Leaving aside the politics of this divisive issue, I have to say the cooks, bus people and such were all wonderful, good spirited people who were very hard workers and quick to smile. I liked them all. Working in an environment where I am about the only one who speaks English, at times was infuriating. Many many mistakes are made due to the language barrier and this comes right out of the owners pocket. Not my problem to solve. I will say that watching a 55 year old Mexican grandfather washing dishes night after night is upsetting. Over all it was a great experience for me. I not only peeked into a side of our society, but really existed within that world for 4 months. I achieved my goal of earning some money to offset the huge cost of trucking Christa to California. Where's my work-list? Check.

It was great to not have to worry about weather Christa's anchor was going to drag and of course being dockside, no worries about low batteries. I had time to get into a groove. I consistently practiced yoga, rode my bike and ran. I went to the dentist, had a chipped tooth fixed by a guy with freakishly white teeth. Had a through physical done by Dr. Pedro Arrocho, who looks like he hails from Sweden. I acquired the Green Hornet, my green Honda Accord and again was ambulatory so to speak. I spent an obscene amount of money at Whole Foods. Damn! Yes, I again afirm my successful time in Naples.

I think maybe the best part of staying in Naples has everything to do with Mike & Amy. Being with them and their/our larger group of friends really means everything in the end. That stiff support structure. The same structure I felt when waking in the morning in Honeymoon Bay and right next door was Wandering Dolphin.  I felt the same when cruising with the Jansen family and SV Adamo. So while I am very excited to be heading to San Francisco to open a new chapter, it is with some sadness that I leave Florida where my parents, grandfather, Janina and more extended family reside. Thus far in nearly 43 years of life, it appears to be a theme. But I guess that is how I roll. That dogs painted face captures the mood.

Capt Chris

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sailing North From Naples to Fort Myers Beach Florida

On a Mooring Fort Myers Beach Florida

 The weather was perfect and my window had arrived. I had been seeking a windless day. Sounds counter intuitive for a sailboat I know. But after having the diesel engine sitting for 5 month without much load I wanted to open her up for a few hours of activity. Pow. 51 horses of Yanmar ran like a champ. Here I am working on the beast in Long Island New York in September of 2007. Photo credit goes to John Gamble. Bastard.

I fired up all the systems along the way including the water maker and all equipment worked well. It was about a 5 hour transit and I was on a mooring by 1pm. You can see Christa is the 8th boat on the right hand side. It felt great to be out on the water again, if only for a brief time. I am now just a stones throw away from Olsen Marine where Christa will be hauled and put on a truck. That will take place either May 28th or June 1st. The truck driver is now delivering a boat from CA TO WIS, then to SC and then to snatch me.

Mike and Amy have been wonderful to me. Not only did they let me use their dock and then see me off this morning. They then arranged a ride for me back to Naples to pick up the Green Hornet. And to stay in the house. Central Air!!!!!!!!!

Mooring Field FT Myers as Seen from the Bridge

I'll likely head back to Christa on Sunday and start stripping everything I can while on the mooring. Tuesday on the high tide I'll be dockside at Olsen Marine. The crane will be ready to pluck the mast on Thursday.

I slapped together a quick video from this mornings departure. Enjoy!

Capt Chris

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Been Offline And On The Road

St Austine Florida
Camping with Janina

 I high-tailed it north in the Green Hornet a few days ago to visit my parents in central Florida. Cognizant of my move west and my ability to see family is evaporating,  I felt a little adventure in northern Florida would be prudent. Also another axe to grind was to see Janina, who planned out a couple of days of camping in St Augustine Florida.

St Augustine Lighthouse Established 1884

After two days of visiting with Mom and Dad and then dinner with two aunts, Janina swung by and collected me and my REI tent and bugged out for northeast Florida. We had such a good time. On the way we stopped by a hillbilly like blueberry festival, complete with shooting range and country band. By late afternoon we had found our RV Campground on the Vilano Beach side of St Augustine.

At the Blueberry Festival

Our Campsite..Really for RV's

The following day we pulled chocks and headed into Old Town for a day of touring. We hit the Castillo de San Marcos Fort and then a smaller Fort called Fort Matanzas. Also featured was a very cool Cuban restaurant on Alivas street, somewhat off the tourist beaten path.

Vittels Cuban Style

Onward to Anastasia State Park to slip into another campsite for the evening.

We awoke the next morning to thunder and lightning. Since this was Janina's first experience with camping, she got to experience the joy of breaking down camp in the rain. It was time to head back to my folks house where I was discharged.

But my week and a half was not finished. After a night of rest at the rents, it was time to head to Vero Beach to visit my 87 year old grandfather. Always love visiting him, as he is the one responsible for my nautical inclinations. After a night and two days with Pepe, I finally headed back across Alligator Alley and back to Naples.

I just couldn't find enough time to update the blog during my sojorn. I think this is the longest stretch of time I've gone in some time without an update. Sorry about that!

So I leave you with some more pictures from the camping trip and touring in and around St Augustine.

Capt Chris

PS: I do believe I will be sailing Christa north to FT Myers Beach tomorrow and snag a mooring for a few days. I am due to tie up at the shipyard in FT Myers on Tuesday May 25th, the mast comes down on the 27th and the truck arrives either on May 28th or June 1st. I also am scheduled to deliver a 35ft Cobalt from Sarasota to Naples, maybe this weekend. Stay tuned! It's all happening!