Archive for the ‘On the river’ Category

The Three T’s of Volunteering

In On the river, Uncategorized on 29/03/2017 at 16:54

I was sitting on my boat in rapt attention to my computer contemplating the three t’s of volunteering .” They are Tourists, Trash, and Toilet Paper.

I looked up and there were about six people looking around my boat. ” What’s up?” Behold the manatee. She was floating around the stern of my boat basking in the sun. I tried to get some good pictures but the sun and water were too reflective. I did get a shot of her flank that shows propeller marks from getting too close to modern man creating an unpleasant result. I occasionally have a similar experience.

Well that’s that.

Today’s tune for Dan Wagner – Fresh Air …. QuickSilver Messenger Service

Dr Brad standing,sitting ,and just rolling over on 16


St. Johns Update

In Don't waste poverty, On the river, Uncategorized on 18/03/2017 at 17:11


Well I’m three weeks into a slice of river volunteer heaven. I can’t think of a better place to clean fire pits, toilets, picnic and campsite areas, and don’t forget I’m driving the ferry.

Got my grey volunteer uniform shirt. I am stylin’ and profilin’.

To other matters we have  living on the boat and traveling forever thing. Had to rally for an eye appointment- glasses broke- and I’m making up with the dental – cash pay- negotiating stuff. Had some problems with an Rx at the local CVS. Can’t transfer a prescription more than once. So I’m calling doctors trying to keep up the meds. And the doctors always want tests . Now I gotta get find a doc and so forth and so on , blah blah blah.

Hey, wake up Dr Brad, it’s a small price to pay unless you want to live in a stick house. Took a dinghy ride today, catfish pole in the water, listening to Motown on the XM. Maybe a Canadian and water, fresh veggies for dindin; come on man.

Dr Brad standing by on 16

todays tune ” I’m sitting on top of the world” by various artists

pick me a good one Mark

Off the Island

In On the river, Uncategorized on 03/03/2017 at 08:48

“I’m sitting in a railroad station got a ticket for my destination”

Waiting for the Amtrak to Tampa and then bus to Fort Myers. I’m getting my vehicle and heading back. I am now well and good at Hontoon Island State Park. I passed my safety test and will be able to drive the ferry.

There are no cars on the island and I tell you peace and quiet are ubiquitous. I volunteer twenty hours a week for free dockage. The rangers are great, the other volunteers are great,and the guests are great.

We refer to people being off or on the island. Isn’t that 😎. “Where’s Bradley.” “Well I think he’s off the island.”

I talk about how good showers and restrooms are at marinas I visit. Well guess who cleans them ” on the island”, go ahead and guess.

Dr Brad standing by on 16

Tune of the day “Cool Change” by The Little River Band

Gates 7450

In boat repair, On the river, winter in the south on 26/02/2017 at 15:03


Great morning! Breakfast at the BucknKats cafe. Big portions served with good coffee and that touch of love you get at the ole mom and pop.

Meanwhile back on the boat the gremlins were at work. Ready to go everything tied down new dinghy harness hooked up looking 😊. I hadn’t run the generator for three days and the batteries had run low😿. So fire up generator and wait about 30 minutes. Grooving after that, engine purring. Here we go🤠 Cowboy.

What’s that whining squeal? Must be that loose belt I figured I could fix in Sanford at the dock. The belt being a Gates 7450- Dammit oye vey Gevalt.

Two and a half hours I’m on my way.

Later that day I’m dropping the hook at Hontoon Dead River.. beautiful.


Great day on the Hontoon. Sunny 75 degrees breezy the whole shebang. I went over to the state park to inquire about volunteer work in exchange for free dockage. Looking good. I will meet the volunteer coordinator tomorrow. Probably be able to get my car here with a few breaks and a good long bus ride.

Keep those 🤞 Fingers  crossed.

Dr Brad standing by on 16

Tune for the day is My Lover’s Prayer by Otis Redding. Dig it

The Day Started Like This

In On the river, st Johns River, Wandering, winter in the south on 19/02/2017 at 15:31

p1040080I left Deep Creek  about one hour after the above.

I cruised through Palatka making a mental note to return on the flip side. The river is looking more like a river than a lake. I pulled off the river into Marsh Creek that winds around to the Southwest of the main channel and it changed to gorgeous. This is a view of shore as I write this. Wish you could see the alligators.

I saw my first female Hooded Merganser. I like the birdwatching thing.


On the charts they warn you to watch out for the ferry at the second bend of the creek. Ferry? There are no roads. However;


You could do one of those wierd modeling shoots on that thing. Supposedly a local nurse lives aboard.

Osprey nest on the bridge;


So here I am;

Dr Brad standing by on 16 after a good day

Let’s Keep Day inValentine’s Day

In Moving on, On the river, winter in the south on 14/02/2017 at 14:24

I arrived yesterday at The Ortega River Marina. Great place great rates. One of my criteria for judging a marina is the quality of the restrooms and showers. A good laundry room just adds the gravy. In almost seven years this little place has hit the top three.

I stopped to get fresh veggies, do laundry and generally walk around at distances greater than 4 feet.

The trip in was about 18 miles of the St Johns with heavy current and some gusty winds. Tomorrow I’ll head out up River to check on a place to do some work on the old gal. This year I think she needs a new dress. I will paint the hull. The river has 163 miles of navigable water. I intend to do as much as I can.


Dr Brad standing by on 16

Under the Bridge

In Moving on, On the river on 12/02/2017 at 14:49

This is my second day at Clapboard Creek. I am off the St Johns River about 3 miles in a very beautiful spot. The bridge I came under to get here is only 12 feet at high tide. I’m ten feet.

I’ve got a few fishing boats but no big wake machines. Tomorrow I’ll head toward the Ortega River for a couple days at dock. It’s the middle of the month and I need to get off the boat for some exercise and fresh vegetables.

This next marina is supposed to cost just a dollar per foot per day. I hope so, that will leave me laundry 💰.

I dropped a couple lines in today but the 🐟 took Sunday off.

Here is the old Goggle pic


Dr Brad standing by on 16

The Lollipop

In boat life, On the river, Uncategorized on 25/01/2017 at 15:38

Left Franklin Lock about 8:30 am. The fog was the old pea soup.


Headed east thru Ortuna Lock and stopped at the Lollipop. This is an old mine and has 35 foot depths. Had to reset the anchor twice to get good holding. Surounded by flat pasture and cows.  The anchorage looks more like a pipe wrench.


The weather was sunny,about 80 degrees and wind was SSW about 7mph. Made my usual five to six hour ride for about 30 miles.

Dr Brad Standing by on 16


Getting Harder to Cruise the Waterways

In On the gulf, On the river, TN River on 06/02/2015 at 11:17

I don’t make it a habit to reprint articles but these two are informative to any one getting ready to cruise the rivers or intercoastal waterways. I have been through the lock discussed in this article and have anchored in the areas mentioned in the next article. For all Florida says about being boater friendly they are not very friendly. The first article highlights one of the latest and hottest topics in Washington. The United States infrastructure is failing. It’s not just highways and bridges. Locks and dams one of the most efficient means of commerce we have are threatened. A mode of transportation which is a true heritage ,one that helped found the country, for all to use for commerce and enjoyment. I don’t have the answers but this article proposes some questions.

The Florida anchoring problem was resolved by the supreme court a few years ago and Florida municipalities have been trying to find ways to increase revenue and bend to the will of rich property owners ever since. Property owners forget that they do not own the water in front of their property they must share it all of us. Some setbacks are good and common boating courtesy should prevail. Yes they should get rid of unseaworthy vessels. The problem is that the responsible are punished and will end up paying the fines because the derelict boats are just that –  non owner boats. They are the junk car left at the rest stop without plates. Cruising boaters spend millions of dollars each year in Florida. Florida can get that through their economy or by oppressive law enforcement. Many of these recommendations should they go in to effect will be the equivalent  of  setting up speed traps waiting for the transient boater to anchor 1 foot closer than the should. I hope to return to Florida again but would like to spend my time and money enjoying the beauty and the people not standing in line at the court-house.

Article reprinted from the New York times

Barges Sit for Hours Behind Locks That May Take Decades to Replace

By RON NIXONFEB. 4, 2015 Photo   Randy Holt piloting the boat Bill Berry out of the lock system at Kentucky Lock and Dam near Paducah, Ky., last month. Credit Joe Buglewicz for The New York Times PADUCAH, Ky. — On a recent winter morning, Randy Holt piloted the boat Bill Berry as it pushed a group of barges nearly as long as two football fields steadily down the Tennessee River to the Kentucky Lock and Dam here. But then Mr. Holt had to wait several hours at what has become a major choke point as boats moved one at a time through the narrow, cracked, 70-year-old lock. “Sometimes, we get here in the mornings and won’t leave until late into the night,” Mr. Holt said. Locks are intended to make it easy for the Bill Berry and barges, with their cargoes of grain, coal and oil, to navigate the uneven waters of the Mississippi, Kentucky and Ohio Rivers. But largely out of sight of most Americans, the locks are crumbling. There are 192 locks on 12,000 miles of river across the country; most were built in the 1930s, even earlier than Kentucky Lock and Dam, and have long outlived their life expectancy. A result is that barges are often delayed for hours because decrepit locks have to be shut down for maintenance and repairs. Photo   The aging systems of locks and dams on the nation’s rivers helps move the equivalent of 51 million truckloads of goods every year. Credit Joe Buglewicz for The New York Times “Few people realize the shape our locks and dams are in,” said Mike Toohey, the president and chief executive of the Waterways Council, an industry group in Washington. President Obama has asked Congress for billions of dollars for infrastructure improvements, and last year, he signed a $12.3 billion water resources bill with money to complete construction of a major lock and dam project near Olmsted, Ill. But the president has also called for cuts in the United States Army Corps of Engineers budget, which includes money for repairs of locks and dams. Transportation advocates say the funding is vastly insufficient to deal with the construction backlogs of locks and dams. The Corps of Engineers, which maintains most of the system, says it will take $13 billion through 2020 just to fix the decaying locks. Without the money, Corps officials say it will take until 2090 to complete all the projects. Steve Stockton, the director of civil works at the Army Corps of Engineers in Washington, said last year’s water resources bill was a good start. “But we would need about twice as much to bring the system up to the level of repair it needs,” he said. In the United States, the equivalent of 51 million truckloads of goods move by river each year. The lock here at the Kentucky Dam is a major thruway for products from nearly 20 states. But over the last decade, the average delay here has grown to nearly seven hours, from less than four hours in 2004. Because of its age, the lock has a hard time accommodating newer, larger barges. Workers have to break the barges into sections before letting them through, which increases the wait times. In the meantime, large cracks are visible in the walls of the lock. Photo   Construction crews working on the Kentucky Lock Addition Project, which will be larger than the current lock. Credit Joe Buglewicz for The New York Times Although a new lock is under construction here, it will not be completed until 2023. But the Corps said even that completion date could be pushed back if there were delays in federal funding. “The Corps is doing the best it can to ease the congestion, but every additional hour you have to sit at a lock waiting costs money,” said Dan Mecklenborg, a senior vice president at Ingram, the nation’s largest barge company, which owns the Bill Berry. Ingram, which moves coal and grain south down the Mississippi River and concrete and road salt north to Minnesota and Illinois, accounts for 20 percent of all barge traffic. Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story The delays have had the biggest effect on the agriculture and concrete industries, which depend heavily on barges to move their goods to market. Last year, several highway construction projects in Minnesota fell behind schedule because delays in Mississippi barge traffic kept companies working on the roads from receiving concrete in time. Farmers in the upper Midwest, who say they suffer from lower grain prices because trains are crowded with lucrative oil shipments and there are not enough cars to get their crops to market in time to avoid an oversupply, now say they are having similar problems on the rivers. American corn and soybean exports travel by barge to ports in Mobile, Ala., and New Orleans, where the grain is loaded onto ships headed for foreign markets. But because of bottlenecks at the locks, farmers say their grain sometimes gets to the ports late. “If it continues, our customers will start looking elsewhere,” said Mike Steenhoek, the executive director of the Soy Transportation Coalition in Iowa. Fixing the locks has taken on more urgency since last year, when farmers planted record amounts of corn and soybeans, and companies like the Minnesota-based food giant Cargill and other shippers had to prepare for larger exports. Rick Calhoun, the marine and terminal division president for Cargill, said the company could still get its products to market by using trucks or trains. But he said barges were cheaper: 15 barges can carry the same amount of cargo as 1,050 tractor-trailers or one train with 216 cars. “We prefer that all three modes of transportation be robust in order to maintain healthy competition and keep shipping costs down,” Mr. Calhoun said. “Otherwise, there is a rise in price for transportation that is passed on to the consumer.” Correction: February 5, 2015 A picture caption with an earlier version of this article misidentified the lock in one photo. It was the Barkley Lock, near Grand Rivers, Ky., not the Kentucky Lock near Paducah. (The photo has been removed.) A version of this article appears in print on February 5, 2015, on page A13 of the New York edition with the headline: Barges Sit for Hours Behind Locks That May Take Decades to Replace. Order Reprints| Today’s

Article reprinted from the Waterway Guide

Florida anchoring survey results are now available
Date Reported: Feb 03, 2015
Reported by: Mike Ahart, News Editor

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has posted the results of the online survey dealing with potential anchoring regulations in Florida. The purpose of the survey is to inform FWC on drafting guidelines for new anchoring restriction laws likely to be introduced in this year’s Florida legislative session, which ends May 1, 2015. The survey was open to public input from November 21 until December 7, 2014, and followed a set of public meetings. Six concepts were developed at these meetings, contemplating the granting of authority to local governments to regulate anchoring in their jurisdiction: 1. A setback distance where anchoring of vessels would be prohibited in the vicinity of public boating access infrastructure, such as boat ramps, hoists, mooring fields and marinas. 2. A setback distance where anchoring of vessels overnight in close proximity to waterfront residential property would be prohibited. 3. The storing of vessels on the water in deteriorating condition would be prohibited. 4.The timeframe for storing vessels on the water would be limited unless relocated a specified distance away. 5. If authority was granted to local governments to regulate anchoring in their jurisdiction, an allowance could be created for other anchoring regulations where need is demonstrated. 6.If authority was granted to local governments to regulate anchoring in their jurisdiction, the creation of an online, interactive map to help boat operators know which local areas were covered under local anchoring restrictions. From the Executive Summary of the survey results for Anchoring regulation concept 2 – setback from waterfront residences: Respondents were asked their thoughts about a potential setback distance (150 feet was proposed) from waterfront residential property. Proposed exemptions included boats seeking safe harbor, government vessels for law enforcement, fire-fighting or rescue, vessels anchoring for short time periods while fishing and those involved in construction or dredging activities. ▪ 51% of respondents either somewhat or strongly agreed that a setback from waterfront residences was appropriate. 6% were neutral, and 43% either somewhat or strongly disagreed with this concept. ▪ 32% of respondents identified 150 feet as the most appropriate setback distance, while others preferred a 100 foot setback (21%) or a 50 foot setback (18%). The other preferred setback distances varied significantly among respondents (greater or less than 150 feet). Note: In this reporters opinion, a significant flaw in the survey was the lack of “zero” setback as a choice for this last question. The respondents who somewhat or strongly disagreed with the entire concept of a residential setback would have needed to select “other” and type “0” in. FWC-Survey-Results.jpg Links to the entire results of the Anchoring and Mooring Public Survey, from FWC:

In the case of residential setbacks (as this reporter has written many times), the outcome of new Florida legislation may hamper the ability for a captain (you) to safely anchor your vessel where and when you decide is appropriate. Proposed “setback distances from waterfront residential property” could effectively close many of the anchorages in Florida that cruisers rely on. Even a minimal setback of 50 or 100 feet, while certainly a reasonable and prudent distance, would create an environment of confusion and animosity for boaters and homeowners – and likely an increased burden on law enforcement. Related Waterway Guide Cruising News articles:

Source: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Comment submitted by Ian – Thu, Feb 5th If the 150 or what ever footf set back occurs….all properties should have a recent and up to date survey, registered with the appropriate legislative body. This way lawyers can have proper references if it comes to civil suits. As well, the city or town enforcing should be required to have proper bout and marker systems intact and up to date. These civil bodies should then be required to pay and fund such up dates to charting, dredging and other functions as they now take full responsibility over these waterways.

Comment submitted by Wally Moran – Thu, Feb 5th Those agreeing with setoffs are either not cruising, or are part of the homeowner problem we have in FL. I’m speaking specifically to Ron Lafontaine here. Any setoff if enacted in law will lead to amendments increasing them in the future. And a 150 foot setoff will effectively eliminate most anchorages in south Florida, forcing people to either use marinas, or travel offshore. In any event, setoffs are illegal, against the Public Trust Doctrine. There are already laws in place to deal with boats blocking infrastructure, let’s not add to them but instead, demand that those laws be enforced. Setoffs must be fought against if we are to preserve our rights to anchor at all in Florida. Homeowners do not own the water.

Comment submitted by Tom Beaty – Thu, Feb 5th While I know a lot of boaters (and I am one) don’t want setbacks, the reality is there HAS to be a compromise. Homeowners should have some protection from encroachment and damage. Plus blocking of their dock access and not have to look at a boat fall to pieces over years of abandonment. Not everyone is going to get 100% of what they want.


Comment submitted by Mike Ahart, Waterway Guide News Editor – Wed, Feb 4th The setback is from the high water line at the property\’s edge. The setback does not include piers and other structures, although provisions will likely be made that you cannot impede the use of piers, ramps, etc… If legislation goes through and ordinances enacted, it will be certain homeowners who will be the de facto enforcers, by calling the police when they think you\’re anchored too close…and they\’ll think you\’re too close even when you\’re not…I guarantee it!

Comment submitted by NOEL COUTURE – Wed, Feb 4th I don’t see how a boater traveling down the ICW can plan for an overnight anchor were each City along the way has its own rules, I can understand resident feeling who have a view of anchor boat for weeks or months YEARS

Comment submitted by Webb – Wed, Feb 4th I agree with Marty, setback from what and how do we measure the distance? An anchored boat tends to swing and may swing in and out of compliance. Who is responsible for enforcement, the already stressed Law Enforcement?

Comment submitted by Marty Lawton – Tue, Feb 3rd My question is “set back from what?” it could be the property line, but how would anyone know that from the water?, it could be the house, the pool deck the street the largest tree? and how does it get measured? and what if it is from the dock but the dock is illegal (never permitted)? The whole idea is full of holes big enough to make it a lawyers dream.

Dr Brad standing by on 16

Six Days On The Boat And I’m Gonna Be Home Tonight

In old boat, On the river, Uncategorized on 25/01/2015 at 14:15


Last week on January 13th I got a call from Joe Bru. Joe had been looking at a sailboat for a few months up in Florence Alabama. I had been up there a few times with him to check it out. I also drove his son and him to Florence to bring it down as far as Columbus Mississippi. Lot’s of driving later and bad weather they arrived after 135 miles on the Tenn-Tom waterway and the boat was tied up at Columbus. We picked them up and I thought it would be next month and then the boat would be brought the 350 miles to Mobile Alabama. The whole trip is 6 hours by car 9 days by water

Well the phone call came. It did not come next month it came on the 13th. “ We have a weather window and we need to leave Thursday.” He spoke like it was the last chance to see a close friend before he dies. He was hot for this boat and he had a grandbaby on the way in a few weeks and he wanted it home like we all would if it was our boat. But it wasn’t my boat and 24 hours notice is a bit much for a 6 day 350 mile trip down the Tenn-Tom.

However, I am made of  a tough polycarbonate material and not particularly the sharpest knife at the butcher shop.

This boat has no depth gauge, an engine that leaked at the freshwater cooling impeller seal and bad batteries. Last but not least it possessed no VHF Radio. But as we joked with Joe, “ It has really good upholstery.”

The game was on. I packed and grabbed my stuff . I took my heater, my GPS, my computer, my annotated charts my storm suit and fancy life jacket.  I took my hand held VHF, a spoon and a knife and a pan and a cook stove. By accident I grabbed the wrong clothes pile and ended up with 4 pairs of clean under an one clean t-shirt. I guess for a man that’s actually a good ratio.

Below is joe on day one 1/15


bru trip 3

Above me on day 3

The thirty foot 1969 Morgan. A beautiful boat with good upholstery

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The weather was quite cold in the mornings but the days were perfect. Highs in the 60’s and sunny. Old Joe could pick a weather window


Above is a screen shot of a satellite image of the river. Note the switch backs all over the place.

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Above: IBID. Check your Latin.

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Falls below Demopolis Lock and Dam are beautiful. This trip was the first time I had locked trough with another person. Piece of cake. I will hear no more complaining from folks not locking through alone.

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Mile marker at Barron’s Landing which is real challenge if there is boat traffic. This anchorage is not for weekend boaters

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I told you what I brought along. Well after the last trip when Joe’s son unpacked the boat he took some needed things like silverware. Joe with the gift of gab – he did talk me into the trip-managed to get a spoon from the lockmaster at Tom Belvil Lock.

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The old I had to walk to the  nearest phone. It was uphill both ways.

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At bobby’s fish camp We found this old Matthews. This was a 1968 wooden boat. All boats have a story. From what I gather a gentleman purchased this boat somewhere back up the river about a month and a half ago. No one knows where. He started to bring it down the river and got caught leaking fuel in one of the locks and got the big fine from the coasties. He was stuck at Bobby’s for three weeks. Being stuck at bobby’s is like vacationing in a  parking garage: not a lot to do. The part came in and it was the wrong part. The fellow told the grounds keeper he could just have the boat. He gave it to him and left. Well the grounds keeper tied it up and in the first week of January when the river flooded it foundered.


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Every time we went under a bridge Joe was worried we would hit it. All bridges on the river are 52 feet tall. I however encouraged his paranoia.

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Sometimes a picture doesn’t do it. This scene was very beautiful. The rocks were all glistening with run off and the reflection was a perfect mirror image. This scene went for about a mile. you could see the thin sheen of water shining and flickering as it rolled over the shale.

We made it in 6 days. The boat held up although we had to bail the bilge quite a bit. Boat didn’t have a bilge pump either.

Six days And I was home .

Well I haven’t been all cruising down the river. I have volunteered one day a week at the Food Bank. I sort food. They have 18 million pounds of food in the warehouse. I can sort about 800 to 900 pounds a day. These are great people.

bru trip 2


I also built a shelf for my outside galley. As you can see I had this gizmo made from an old TV wall mount. Couldn’t put a darned thing on it for fear of failure. So I built a shelf that folds down like a table leaf.



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You can stand on this one. I have to dismantle it and sand and finish the wood.

In my last post I showed work on the port lights over the galley.

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Now I am going to put a light over the sink and close up underneath.

Well ,we are all caught up.

Carl Sagan spoke for me.

“ For me it is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring”

Dr Brad standing by on 16

what’s a boat trip without a sunrise

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