Waterworks Delivery

We have a new neighbor.  Tim and Robyn moved into Dave’s house last week.  The have a new Gemini 35 up river from Bradenton and Tim asked if I would like to join him bringing it home.

Robyn provided the shuttle and we arrived late in the afternoon.  I wandered around the town and got a feel for the area.   Tim and I had dinner at the Marina restaurant and the food was excellent.

The next morning our mate “Jorden” (?) showed up at sunrise and we were off the dock by 8:00.  There was a low fog but visibility was good enough.  We motored down the river and into the bottom of Tampa Bay.  Once out, the winds were on our nose so we were forced to motor down to Venice.  The Gemini is a catamaran and not a full displacement boat.  It’s beam is 13ft and it rides the chop as expected….. we might have chosen to sail but it would have been poor VMG and we would have had to sail all night and I don’t thing anybody sign up for a hard passage.


After running a strong current at the Venice Jetty we arrived at the Venice Yacht Club only to find a large cruiser had taken our slip.  We called the office and were informed that the dockmaster got of at 4:00 and there was nothing they could do.  That sucks! So we called the Crows Nest which was the first marina we saw on the way in and were able to get a slip.  Docking was a bit of a trick against the current but Captain Tim worked the twin screws like a master.

After dinner at the Crows Nest Restaurant (which was excellent) “J” and I took advantage of the loaner bikes and cruised town.  I stopped at the VYC and spoke with Sue the receptionist, she apologized big time and we all agreed the offending skipper was an arsehole.  Ah Well… theres arseholes every where, it’s a part of life.  It was a beautiful night, the boy and I had a great ride.  We hooked up at the Venice Jetty which appears to be “the place” for sunsets and rode through downtown and over the bridge to the Fishermans wharf.  When I got back to the marina, I took a shower and slept like a baby. Good Times

The next morning we set off early and motored down the outside to Boca Grande.  Once in the Harbor we set the sails and enjoyed a nice broad reach the rest of the way home.


971 Peachland

Winds from the south west.  Abbreviated flight due to vibration on the port side cage.   It was pretty dramatic, I looked back to check fuel and the outer cage rings and the tubing was vibrating like a concert grand bass string.   I’m thinking it’s prop balance…. possibly more… the bad weld that was repaired with gorilla tape perhaps.  I couldn’t spend any time with it today but will have to before the next flight.     I did find the Lake Suzi Airstrip.  It looks doable.

970 Peachtree LZ

It’s been too long.  I wasted a couple of weeks trying to re-establish clearance to fly at Shell Creek Airfield.  As of now I’m awaiting word from one of the landowners who is having a waiver drafted.   And, the weather has turned, we are past the winter and experiencing a dry but breezy period.  Either way it had been too long.  I wasn’t in any danger of forgetting how to fly….but it’s more fun when your skills are sharp.  Especially when your launching at an unfamiliar field.

This morning was just fine.  Dawn had an early flight so we were both up by 5:45.  There was nothing on weather radar and the winds were 7 at Placida.  I didn’t get out of the house early enough to make the drive around the Harbor to Placida so I crossed over the Peace River on I-75 and set up at Mike’s home field at Peachland.  

The surface was slower than I liked and a dense ground fog obscured the patches of weeds and occasional irrigation trench.  There was a very slight flow from the South West so I drove to the North East end of the field.  I was met by some dog trainers who met me and moved to the other side of the field.  By the time (10 min.) I was set up and ready, the ground fog had mostly burned off.  The wing came up clean and I quickly climbed to 1000 feet and turned north to follow I-75 for awhile.  With trims at neutral I was penetrating at 20 mph.  The air was smooth but I could see the clouds moving toward me and the beginnings of virga so I turned back at the 20 minute mark and scooted back just under 50 mph.  It was interesting that there was a pronounced layer with the wind almost 180 degrees opposed but in neither the accent or the decent did I feel the transition.  No Drama….  and it was good to get back into the air.

I finished off the flight with coffee and pastry at the top deck on Fishermans Village.

969. Shell Creek

I never thought I’d jump out of a plane but there is a time and place for everything.

Today is the birthday of my beautiful first borns.  I had to do something to celebrate….        so I flew …….like a rock.

This was under a chute but it was a tandem skydive instead of the usual PPG.  I had met my instructor, Carlos, a couple of days ago when I stopped at the field to drop off a waiver.  Actually we had been waving to each other from across the LZ for a couple of years while I  was packing up from a flight and he was opening the Skydiving Business.  Talking with him I got the idea that the best way to retain my rights at Shell Creek was to let the people get to know me.  So… I booked a jump.

Everything went off perfectly.  After a 10 minute video explaining the rights I was signing away with the waiver and a 5 minute orientation with Roy on how to exit the plane we were ready to go.  I was the first to board and sat facing back behind the pilot.  Carlos sat opposite me and two other jumpers sat by the door.  It took about 15 minutes to climb through a layer of cumulus to 13,000 ft.  The other guys exited first and Carlos and I took position at the door.  He gave me two rocking moves and on the third, we were out.  I’m not sure I had my arch just right but we stabilized quickly and he tapped my shoulder to indicate that I could release the harness and use my hands to steer.  I have to admit that I was looking at my hands, and his, more than the scenery.  It was surprisingly easy to turn just by using my hand like a rudder.  I was just about to experiment with pitching down when he pulled the chute.  

I was expecting to be jerked but the chute didn’t inflate that quickly,  in fact, Carlos had to use some brake to get one side open.  The decent was a blast.  The first thing we did was pull full brake to make sure the lines were running free.  Then we pulled some hard spirals.  I was surprised by the huge amount of pressure and length of pull required to get some response.  I could barely hold it in the full drawn position and even then I think he was helping me.  So we did a few turns.  Nothing too dramatic but I guess it was unusual for a first time jumper to go for a second and third spiral.  The landing was quick we overshot by a couple of feet and I came down gently on my butt, as requested.

On landing I was greeted by a group of 70 somethings who had obviously been jumping for years.  My response to, “How wiz it?” Was, “Its like flying a school bus!”  That got a few laughs and we chatted a bit more while we stripped off our gear.  Anne presented me with a certificate and advised me to drive carefully on the way home.

A good time was had by all… and I think there will be no problems with securing the rights to fly my rig at Shell Creek Airpark.