Sunday, December 25, 2011

Perfect Paul sings

Xmas 2011

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Friday, December 23, 2011

Free Navigation Program with AIS

Most people are familiar with Seaclear as a free navigation program with AIS to see ships. I just discovered, at least new to me, another and, I think, better one. For the link, just click on the title or goto
You can get free charts from NOAA, but you will need an AIS receiver and antenna to make that work. Otherwise it looks like a really good general navigation program. Certainly the GPS is quite accurate. And it is FREE! Don't want to bother downloading NOAA charts? There usually is a disc you can get cheaply on EBAY (about $10 +/-) with all the charts.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


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From the back of the boat at St. A. The color should be more red than the camera made it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Holidays

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PredictWind app downgrade

I had a really nice app call PredictWind, even though the "tracking" part didn't work. It would predict winds up to 5 days in advance and was almost as accurate as NOAA. Now it has been "updated" so that it only works for one day, which is useless, so I am recommending that you DO NOT use this app. In fact, feel free to complain to them at

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Birthdays this week

Poor unfortunates whose birthdays are within a week of Xmas. Sarah...yesterday. Dave on Xmas Eve!! Julie on News Year Eve. What were those parents thinking in March? HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

Christmas in St. Augustine

Didn't get to fix the pump until the next day and we still have refrigeration! I went home for Thanksgiving and came back Dec. 3. Florrie has joined me and we will be spending Christmas in St. Augustine then (knock on wood) off to Vero for a short visit and picking up some stuff to bring to Bahamas for a friend. Hopefully leave for the Bahamas in early Jan. I just read in a cruising magazine that several of the places in the Abacos were damaged by hurricane Irene but should be back to normal by now.

The picture was taken off our sternat the marina on the San Sebastion River.

Friday, December 9, 2011


Well it has been three hours fixing and refixing and refixing the water pump for the fridge compressor, only to test it and find leaks.  Bah! Humbug! 
 After the first failure I noticed an O-ring on the bottom of the bilge.  Tried to put it on several times...all the time on my belly reaching down into the bilge...but it wouldn't go.  Then I noticed that the fitting already had an O-ring in it so I exchanged the one for the other and it seems to be working.  How the ring got into the bottom of the bilge, I have no idea.  The strainer had to be replaced with a new one then done again, after a long search, with plumber's tape.  Of course, every other connection had to be redone with the tape too.  Each individual part seems to be working but it needs to be reassembled and tested again.  So I took a break and my wrists now hurt just typing.  Maybe after a nap. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A new book

Click on the title above to be linked to a site where I just wrote a book based on an Eileen Quinn song (with her permission): "My Grandma and Grandpa went to sea". It is not for sale but was fun putting it all together. Click on the book to see the next page.

Monday, November 7, 2011

a sinking

Click on the title to be linked to a story about our neighbor who was rescued by the coast guard and local police after apparently hitting the jetty at St. Mary's inlet. They are OK but the boat was lost. The boat is not a shrimper but a trawler. Don't know the details yet.
Be safe out there!

Sister ship to Sweet Caroline

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Dolphins surfing

You know how dolphins like to ride the bow wave? And what do we do but make our way to the bow to watch. Well this time I stayed in the cockpit while about 30 dolphins came to play with Harmony. While there I noticed them surfing down 5 foot waves behind us and pass us as the wave did. They would travel in groups and inspect us as they passed. It all makes sense but it is the first time I had noticed and really watched it. Unfortunately, I was too busy watching to remember to take a picture so I found this video of surfing dolphins:
and this one of a dolphin stampede:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Catamaran Harmony in Florida

I left the boat at River's Edge, formerly Oyster Creek, Marina and flew home until Early Dec. Been in contact with a couple of boats going down the ICW and am so happy we went outside. They are now stopped for a Nor'Easter with gale warnings all along the coast. Not a comfortable time to be moving. Maybe Tuesday they will be able to move again. I was on the bow either watching dolphins or fixing the head.

Sunset at sea.

Hitchhiker. Stayed with us for a day and a night. We thought she was a seed eater but she enjoyed a moth she found.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Less than six days from KeyportNJ to St. Augustine

We are now in St. Augustine having arrived just before 2PM on Thursday to have made the entire trip in less than six days.  While it is snowing in NY, it rained a little here.  I had a great crew for the trip but they left at 5 this morning so I am alone.  Got the laundry and a few little jobs done and will be eating leftovers again tonight.  I tell you, it ain't easy being me.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

South Carolina Coast

We have made really good time. We are just south of Charleston, SC having come west to prepare for some weather on the nose. We left NJ and had a very fast sail down the NJ coast reaching Norfolk in 40 hours. It usually takes us 48+ and we were sailing all the way. By the time we reached Cape Hatteras we had only motored 17 hours total (3 days plus of only sailing) Coming down the NC outer banks we reached a sustained 10 knots several times arriving at the waypoint 3 hours earlier than anticipated. Since then we have been sailing on a broad reach in 15 to 20 knots. Yesterday, the wind died and we turned on the motor about 6pm and motored all night. In fact we are still motoring waiting for the wind to come in but it will be from the SW...on the nose. We are off St. Helena Sound and, if the wind doesn't come sooner, may get to Hilton Head by late afternoon. Man plans and God laughs. Anyway, there are places to duck in and get to the ICW so when the wind does come in at 15-20 knots on the nose we can still make time on the ICW. Predictions say we could go back out on Friday to a Northerly 10-15. Well, we'll see.
The crew has been fantastic. We are eating well and getting sleep. I take the watch from 7-12, after dinner. Joe comes on from 12 to 3 and Merrie from 3 to 7 (she really likes the sunrise). During the day no one is really on watch and people can take naps if needed.
The boat has been doing well overall. The night before last, at 4 AM i was woken up with the autohelm not working. We checked it out and the linear drive motor had come unattached. Joe and I put it all back together by 6AM and off we went. Later that day, I was checking the fluids on the starboard engine when I noticed that the fanbelt had broke. I replaced that with a spare, one of my favorite muscle jobs, and it has been working for the last 14 hours.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

5th Season Begins/photo captions

In the order they appeared, this is what was supposed to go with each of the photos I posted yesterday.

Getting Harmony ONTO the dock.
(It was very windy on Friday morning.)

Loading her up!

The fearless Captain.

One crew aboard.
(Joe looks really happy to be on this off shore trip.)

Fair winds and see you soon - Florrie & Lew.
(Lew will fly back before Thanksgiving, then we will both go to wherever the boat is stored and take off for the winter.)

Roy to the rescue, they need help!
(Roy is the club's launch Capt.)

All three aboard and off the dock!
(I wish I had a picture of Joe leaping aboard at the very last minute with Roy ready to release the bowline.)

Warm weather, here they come.
(It was a cold, windy start but within a couple of hours the winds had calmed.)

Main up, the adventure begins.

(Lew wrote Saturday evening that they had had all but two hours of sailing and they were ahead of schedule. By now, Sunday morning, I imagine they are Quite a bit south of Norfolk.)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Harmony's 5th Season begins/photos

Getting Harmony ONTO the dock.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Story behind the pictures.

The first photo is Florrie's grand-nephew and niece.

Lew asked me to tell this story to our boating friends.  On September 29th I drove to Maine to surprise my niece for her 50th Birthday.  
It was a terrific surprise but the real adventure occurred the next day.  Betsy and her 20 year old son, Shane, were scheduled to take their first sky dives, as a joint Birthday celebration.  Rick (Betsy's husband) and I went along to watch. It was fascinating to listen to the instructor, Scott, a diver with over 10,000 jumps, talking to the 6 new jumpers.  

We waited hours for the clouds to clear.  Then we waited for the 40 MPH winds 5000 feet up to calm down. 

Scott, on the left, and the other tandem divers waited around, too.  I asked the divers if it is always such an adrenalin rush to jump.  Absolutely!  But the diver in the stocking cap told me that the most scared he has ever been was on a boat in a storm! These guys pay money to jump out of planes as often as they can, but a boat on the water is worse?!  (All of a sudden I didn't feel like such a chicken.) 

Finally Scott and one of the other pros went up in a small plane to "test" the winds. 

I AM SOOOOOO GLAD that the first time I ever saw anyone jump it was NOT Betsy or Shane!!!!!  They were up so high we couldn't even see the plane or the divers until they opened their chutes - and THEN they were PIN DOTS!!!!  Pretty quickly they became about as big as the head of a pin.  Scott had\s lost count of his dives at 10,000.   It takes 20 tandem dives before someone is allowed to jump alone.  I am impressed.  It was still too windy so we waited around for another hour or two, then Betsy & Shane got rain checks for another jump within the next 2 years.  I don't have plans to watch - but who knows?

When it is done right - the landing is quite awesome.

(Pardon the  amateur entries! - Florrie)


The skydiving event was September 30 (not October). Oops.

   as Florence Bramley Hill


This is Florrie's grand-nephew and niece.

Friday, September 30, 2011

How to fit an 80 foot mast under a 65 foot bridge.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

After Irene

We are good. Our boat is OK. Wind on the rear of Irene about 30 from the West. Tide going out. WHEW!

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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Florrie's paintings

Florrie just added 36 paintings on her facebook page
Florence B. Hill

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Harmony returns home

From RI we motored to Three Mile Harbor just East of Sag Harbor. Then to Port Jeff where the fuel was $5.00/gallon! But the moorings are free behind the sand spit. Left at 6AM and motor sailed down LI sound getting to Throgs Neck about 2 for the tide change. Actually we were early and came down the East River in slack tide. Got back to the club by 7:30, got a drink at the bar and went home to collapse....

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Monday, July 18, 2011

At Cuttyhunk

Dutch Harbor, RI


Date: Mon, 18 Jul 2011 08:33:05 -0400

We left Plymouth early morning (7AM) and headed through the lobster pots down to the Cape Cod Canal.  With the current we were speeding (speed limit is 10 knots) at 10.7 k over the ground...i.e. with a 5.7 knot current with us.  Got down to Cuttyhunk Island by about 4 and met up with some friends on a mooring outside the harbor.  There is actually lots of room to anchor just outside but we splurged and got the mooring right next to Mel and Sandy.  The next day they took us on the walking tour of the island and we had a wonderful shrimp and lobster dinner with them on our boat.
About 6:30 AM we were off and headed past Block Island to Three Mile Harbor...Yeah Right!  The wind was on the nose and kicked up to gusting 30 in open ocean.  We only got as far as Dutch Island Harbor (directly west of Newport on the other side of Conanicut Island where we had anchored on the way up.  Since it is scheduled to continue blowing from the SW with high gusts and thunderstorms we decided to splurge and take a mooring rather than possibly do the anchor dance at 3 AM in a thunderstorm.  Snug as a bug.
For the cruisers:  Mooring costs per night at Plymouth (call the Plymouth Yacht Club)were $60. At Cuttyhunk (First come, first served and a boat comes out to collect), $40.  At Dutch Harbor (call Dutch Harbor Boat Yard on VHF 69), $50. Lobsters are just as expensive at Cuttyhunk, where they catch them, as in Keyport, NJ but a lot fresher.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Plymouth, Mass

Here we are in historic Plymouth where the Mayflower landed after landing at least 2 other places. The rock is a rock. It is a real tourist town. Went to dinner with John and Sue, old friends from cruising. It was great to see them but I am not thrilled with cruising up here. Lobster pots everywhere, especially in the harbor channel. Yikes. The harbor is very very crowded with no anchoring and transient moorings costing $60/night. 7 year waiting list for permanent moorings.
We are at a dock at a nice but expensive marina (electricity discounted to $15/day). Renting a car and off to Boston for a night and day.

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Buzzards bay

We are anchored between Scraggy Point and Bassetts Island...N41 40 22.7. W070 38 29.6....we tried the guidebook suggested anchorage just north of Bassets only to find it FULL of moorings. This is about a mile East of the entrance to the Cape Cod Canal but we have to wait for the current (up to 6 knots) to turn before entering (about 12:30). Of course at 8:30 the fog has begun to roll in just to make life interesting for a boat with no radar. We should get into Plymouth about 6 tonight...pray for the fog to lift!!!

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

BoatUS Vessel Locator Notification

Lew Hill's wireless phone was last located near Lat: N 41° 30.281' Long: W 71° 23.154' on 2011/07/09 06:04 PM EDT

Friday, July 8, 2011

BoatUS Vessel Locator Notification

Lew Hill's wireless phone was last located near Lat: N 41° 0.818' Long: W 72° 11.307' on 2011/07/08 05:43 PM EDT

Three Mile Harbor

This is one of our favorite harbors. Just East of Sag Harbor and 8 miles directly south of Plum Island. Google it ...eastern Long Island. Two days from Keyport. Good holding and very protected. Good thing as thunderstorms and hail expected today. That plus the morning fog led us to hang out here for a day. We want to be in commuting distance from Boston so Florrie can show grand daughter Boston School of Art (her Alma mata) on Wed.

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Catamaran Harmony pictures

The Admiral has decided to go swimming. We often throw out a line to hang onto as there is usually a current and the boat is anchored. This is the color of the water when the depth is about 10 feet.

Here we have a hitch hiker. This little bird boarded a few miles from Great Sale Cay as we headed home. We anchored on the banks for the night and he/she got nervous and left us. Hopefully she caught a freighter.

We often drag a line behind the boat. We have caught Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, Mullet and other wonderful eating fish. This one is a barracuda which we let go as many of the reef fish have cigaterra (spelling?).

Several of our pictures have shown people steering the boat while standing. Yes you get a much better view but, when there is no immediate need, it can be comfortable sitting down.
Morning coffee while traversing the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW).

summary pictures

Our fearless leader shampooing his hair.

Kinda speaks for itself

Typical day sailing

Treasure Cay


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

BoatUS app for your phone

This new app allows you to share your position with lat and long via texting or email. It will also show your position on a map and provide a link in an email. I know it works at least up to 8 miles offshore.

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

View from the porch

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Moored at Keyport Yacht Club.
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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Atantc city from 24 miles out.

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Coming home

We left Norfolk about 9 AM on Friday. Light winds from the west. Winds went NW and built so we reefed and took in the jib which managed to foul the line around the winch just after my first nap off watch. A lot of slamming between the hulls until we went off 15 degrees from course. Rough but very little slamming...that is when waves come off each hull and join to come straight up under the center on the boat. Anything on the table is soon on the floor and no sleeping in the saloon where i was. Morning presented with confused waves and wind almost on the nose. This calmed down and by afternoon we had shaken out the reef and jib was up...motorsailing as wind was west at 10. Forcast was for NE tonight and East tomorrow. Well the real story is that it went East early this afternoon and is now from the South. Go figure.
Now we are motor sailing about 20 miles north of Atlantic City which is clearly in view and about 8 miles offshore. Crew has been fed a poor dinner of leftovers and it is getting cold. We expect low 40s tonight. Gotta go find my gloves.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Well we almost beat the squall into Little Creek in Norfolk. We closed in the cockpit and did circles in the bay until it passed then motored to Cobbs Marina. Now sitting at the dock. Jimmy arrives today and we leave on Friday when the front passes. Florrie will drive up to see the kids in MD.

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

From Goat island on the Pasquotank River

Happy Easter. Left the Alligator River and are sitting here for the afternoon and night. Dismal Swamp tomorrow.
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Friday, April 22, 2011

20 mile day

We took off from Moorehead Yacht Basin about 7:30 this morning.  Tide was against us all the way.  Went out Adams Creek to the Neuse River where it was blowing about 25 on the nose with 2 and 3 foot waves.  Lots of white caps and uncomfortable (Florrie sniffed when she read this..apparently she thinks I tend to understate things a wee bit).  Turned around and went back and anchored.  While I was taking a nap, the boat dragged and when I woke up we were almost in the channel again.  There was a Tow Boat US hanging out about 1/4 mile away who took off when he saw us taking off.  I guess warning us would have been bad for business.   Looked like a little less wind so we headed NE straight into the wind and waves.  They started building again so we went into the South River where we are now anchored.  Rain predicted for tonight so we will stay here.  Maybe Elizabeth City on Sunday or Monday.  All in all not a very productive day but just a part of boating but now we have 2 anchor alarms set. 

Nasty neuse river

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Discretion and valor

The wind kicked up to about 25 on the nose with the current against us. Port engine decided it needed a rest or at least some oil just past the bridge SW of Moorehead City. Wind forcast was for 20 to 25 with higher gusts and I got tired of fighting it. We are now in a very protected marina and yacht basin at 3 PM. We have stayed here several times and there are several good restaurants within walking distance.

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Discretion and valor

The wind kicked up to about 25 on the nose with the current against us. Port engine decided it needed a rest or at least

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Live fire

We got up early, listened to the weather, and took off to m.ake the 8 AM opening of the Onslow bridge. Got into Camp Lajuene to be halted by a patrol boat because they were having live shooting exercises closing the ICW. We anchored and await to hear from the patrol boat as to when the shooting will end. Talk about being a sitting duck!
OMG loud booms almost like thunder echoing nearby.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

New crew

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Cape Fear

We are now 60 miles SW of Cape Fear..NC. we left St. Augustine monday morning about 9 and went into the ocean. 180 nautical miles later we were off Charleston and Florrie suggested we continue outside for Cape Fear...another 120 miles. It is now about 9 at night and the engines are off. Broad reach in 10 knts of wind and should get into the river about 7 tomorrow morning. We actually slowed down so we can arrive during daylight assuming the wind doesn't die.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Weather Window to US

Today it is 20 to 25 from the North but it is predicted that it will go down to the NE and diminish to 14 tomorrow then less than 10 until Monday at which time it will go up to 12 from the SE. Not really good in speed for sailing as we like it over 15. However, it is from a good direction for crossing the Gulf Stream. Seas should be down with the lower winds especially with the wind direction. We don't like North winds against the flow of the Stream. It gets choppy. Anyway, we will try it so it means that we will not have internet for a few days until we ger to Florida. Float plan: Green Turtle to Great Sale. Great Sale to Little Bahama Bank (anchored). Then on to Fort Pierce at the municipal marina. Then up to Vero. Still looking for crew mid April to NJ. If not we will put her on the hard in St. Augustine. Email me at

Monday, April 4, 2011

Nippers on Great Guana Cay

We’re back at Green Turtle, waiting for the next good weather window to cross the Gulf Stream to the States. What a good winter this has been! At least 2/3 has been terrific. The other third wasn’t great because the weather was doing something extreme… like freezing us. Florida with forty-two degrees in the galley in the morning is NOT what we thought we had signed on for. That lasted far too long. Then this past 2+ weeks have been too hot! Friends and family at home were still dealing with snow in some places! But really folks, 92 degrees for more than two weeks, in March? That’s not what we had in mind either. Another frustration was the Bahamas internet. It was much worse this year than last so there has been very little communication from us - and even fewer pictures.

So - the complaining out of the way - let us tell you that this year was wonderful and all about the people! It was so hard to leave Treasure Cay yesterday because we may not see some of the fascinating and incredibly fun people again! Each year is different from the last and some are going different places in 2012. Sigh. Goodbyes are so hard. However, there was enough laughter and marvelous stories shared to last us all for decades. There will certainly be a good group of us back here next season.

Aside from the delightful visit by Jim, Sarah & Riley Hill, some of the highlights have been the Low Country Boil, the Cajun Onion Soup supper, the Treasure Cay 50th Anniversary fund raising dinner, our own St.Patrick’s Day picnic with the L-Dock Drifters in fine voice, fishing excursions, water aerobics classes, and countless Pizza Nights and Happy Hours on the dock. Amid the jokes and laughter we got to know each other better and even had time for a few, more personal, conversations. Thanks to many new friends for making us “honorary Canadians” for the winter. We’re going to miss you all. We wish you happy sailing - or motoring - wherever the winds and life take you next year.

Here are a few pictures that we can finally share with you all.

St. Paddy's Day

This is what boaters do on St. Paddy's day. Drink and party. The main difference is that there is a lot of green.

Catamaran Harmony images

There is a fish in the last picture and, yes, the water really is that color.

Harmony update

We are currently on a mooring ball at Donny's in Green Turtle Cay. About as safe as one can get (knock on wood). A front is scheduled to come thru on Tuesday evening with winds in squalls up into the 50's. After that is should go East and Southeast with diminishing winds until Sat and then start building slowly until the next front next Tuesday. LOOKS LIKE A WINDOW. knock, knock knock on wood.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Laundry day on hazrmony

Bucket and plunger
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Harmony faces a strong cold front

Last night the front came through. The same one that kickned up tornados in Florida. It arrived in full force about 4:30 AM. Thank goodness we were at the dock. No need to do the deck dance during the squalls. No worring about dragging our anchor or the guy in front of us dragging his. Just closing hatches and back to bed. This morning the thunderheads are still around and the wind is still blowing and from the SW so the front has not passed completely. Tomorrow SHOULD be light and northerly. We and several other boats want to leave and start the trek back to the states. Some will go direct but I think we will go to Green Turtle for a week or so. I am not quite ready to leave.

Still need crew for Florida to NJ in mid April.

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Monday, March 28, 2011


Marine Weather by Bluefin

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Crew needed

I know there are people out there. Email me if interested.

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Harmony in treasure

Oh well. Somebody has to do it
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Two tailed lizard

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Harmony still at Treasure Cay

We are still here and will be for a couple of weeks. First me then Florrie have come down with colds. We blame Riley. Rum only does so much for the symptoms.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fishing at Treasure Cay

Scotty and a mutton snapper he caught (while I was driving). Me? I lost a lot of bait. While I was fishing, they were catching. Oh well. Still a great day.
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