Thursday, March 29, 2012

Going to the Motherland

I had to take a break from waxing the topsides so I could stretch out and rest my poor body so I took a few pics around the Marina. This is another special order vessel, not sure where is is going but it seems to have bullet proof windows and I knocked on the hull and it is not metal but it is something very tough!

This Osprey has been hanging out on the Sabre next to us every day.

This will be our Marina for 7 months, our slip is just behind the catamaran sailboat in the center and next to the sport fisherman on the right. The building behind is the yacht club facility with 2 outdoor pools, one just for adults and a bar by that one, a downstairs cafe, a upstairs restaurant, and a complete gym and spa downstairs.

I got El Dingy out to clean and run the outboard for a couple of days, motor started on first pull..Amazing!

This is the 85' motor yacht that is moored directly behind us. He is also staying through till the end of the upcoming Hurricane season. The problem is he blocks the WiFi signal. I bought a extra long USB cord for my wifi antenna and I plan to haul the antenna up the flag halyard to the 1st spreader. Hope it works!

I stopped by Lake Travis to see the lake, it had just rained 4-5inches in the watershed so the lake had just gone up 5' but it is still very low. All the white parts should be underwater up to the tree/green line.

This is the entrance to Commanders Point Marina out to the basin area, that water is low.

I took these pictures just above Marshall Ford Marina which you can see here. The Marinas have to stretch out the docks as the water goes down so everyone can still get there boats out.

This is Commander point marina, I have never seen it this low and it just went up 5'!

Paul, the Marina manager and jack of all trades has to re-configure the marina as it either moves up or down with the water levels.

These are the steps leading down to the marina..a long way down. When the lake is full it is just a few steps to the docks.

This is Paul re-adjusting the ramp to get out onto the dock.

I had to go out and check on all my friends boats, this is Bills Pearson 33, always looking Bristol!

This is Rick's Catalina 34, I noticed he has removed his Jungle Gym from the stern and added proper dingy davits.

There are so many fun stories about this Dana 24' I just like to look at it and reminisce.

Looking out onto the basin from the marina, still plenty of room to get out.

Here is looking up the steps, you can see where Paul has added on to the steps with a downhill sidewalk. The 1st three sections were completed when we were still at the marina, but the next three sections were done during the latest drought.

Whole Foods was doing a shrimp boil out on the sidewalk so we had to taste it. Sorry not as good as the Lions Club
shrimp boil in Gulfport Fl. They cooked these guys just a bit to long.

Before the Experience Jimi Hendrix show we went to a restaurant down around 2nd street that our son suggested. The Tacos were great, here is a oyster taco on the right and a steak one on the left. These were excellent.

I took this pic with the I phone, we saw around 30 great musicians during this show but Jimi was not there. The show was in the New Austin City Limits Theatre and you can tell they spent all the money on the sound system and acoustics. Not a bad seat in the house!

This was our little cottage during this Austin stay, very near our old neighborhood, close to everything in Central Austin and easy to get everywhere else.

Well what do you write about when your not cruising? I just figure that for those out there who may be contemplating on doing such a thing that the parts that are not about fun and adventure must be thrown in so it is understood it is not sailing fantasy every day. We needed to go back to Austin to take care of some business and we have been delayed since the Austin business dates just would not line up with our cruising dates. So we have altered our plans to stay in the Tampa Bay area till the end of this next hurricane season. We just did not feel good about using the 2 months we will have left before the start of Hurricane season to rush around the rest of Florida and some of the best cruising grounds. We instead will take some day and overnight trips to enjoy the Tampa Bay area from Tarpon Springs to Sarasota. This will give us plenty to do for the 7 months and we will be staying in Westshore Marina and Yacht Club, the most Hurricane safe area I could find in the entire area. After having our boat go through Ike it is a essential for us for our own peace of mind to find the safest place to stay. Even though the locals say the area seems to miss all the Hurricanes I can not believe that with our very weird weather systems these days that you can trust the history of weather anywhere as an indication of future weather patterns. The Admiral will be especially pleased with the upscale amenities of this marina. The marina I think was originally planned for property owners only but the economy and cash flow hit everywhere so they are accepting vessels that can pay the monthly slip rent/fees. I spent about 3 days preparing WS to be left without daily attention. The marina has full time security and I made sure the office had all the info they needed before departing to Austin,Texas to meet up with the Admiral. They assured me they would keep an eye on her daily and would call if anything was out of the ordinary. Florida marinas are just different this way from those in Texas. It is a character of the huge boating community in Florida.

When I got to Austin I had to drop the Admiral off for a Hair appointment so I spent the afternoon driving out to our old sailing waters of Lake Travis. I wanted to see the lake levels for myself and Commanders Point marina where we had our Catalina 30. The watershed just had 4-5 inches of good rain the night before and added 5' to the depth of the lake so I was interested in seeing how high the water was. I was surprised to see it lower than I had ever seen the lake. Since this is the primary source for water for Austin I wondered what will happen if the drought continues. Central Texas is known for floods and drought and this last drought is not a record like the one that lasted about ten years from the 40's to the early 50's but the difference is there are millions more people who depend on the water source.
As I walked down the stairs at Commanders Point I saw the marina manager doing what he is always doing as the lake level falls or rises, he was cables that anchor the floating docks and the ramps that connect the docks to the shore. We had a fun conversation about the marina folks and it was interesting to learn he had spent a bit of his childhood sailing the Tamps Bay area. I went to check on my old sailing friends boats and they all look good remembering the fun times with this very Austin sailing culture.

Our son's family lives in Austin so we had a great opportunity to catch up with them and our grandchildren. He had tickets waiting for us to see "Experience Hendrix". Music is primary to any activity in Austin, and we were thrilled to get to go see the new Austin City Limits Moody Auditorium. The line up included Billy Cox (Jimi Hendrix Experience and Band of Gypsys), Brad Whitford (Aerosmith), David Hidalgo & Cesar Rosas (Los Lobos), Doyle Bramhall II, Dweezil Zappa, Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Mato (from Indienous), Robby Krieger (The Doors), Robert Randolph, The Slide Brothers & Eric Johnson, Stevie Ray Vaughn’s drummer Chris Layton and several others that I guessed just showed up which is not unusual in Austin. It was an incredible night of Hendrix music both in it nearest to possible original form and in many individual interpretations of his music. Jimi was not there however but a very fun night.
We made soccer practice and soccer games with our grandkids, a great treat for us. Even though Austin's population has grown dramatically it is still a small town in many ways, I ran into Terry Conlan a soccer friend who I coached with for several years. All this combined had me thinking about my years of coaching kids of all ages, thoughts that have not surfaced at all in the last several years since we left Austin and set our sights on cruising.

Yesterday we went to a free Water festival hosted by LCRA and learned all about the Colorado river system and all the Highland lakes. Then last night we went to the Salvage Vanguard Theatre on Manor Road to see a recital presented as part of the requirements of a Doctor of Musical Arts at University of Texas. Ian Dicke and Steven Snowden were the Doctoral students presenting their nine very different compositions with 26 different performers. This is just 1 more reason we love Austin so much, you can see something completely creative, new, incredibly presented for free. The Admiral and I discussed how you could describes experiencing the performances of these compositions. We used phrases like Naked Music, New Music Waiting for the Event, Music in the Raw, Music searching for its purpose? If you come to Austin checkout for all sorts of free entertaining fun and check out the link connected to the title of this posting for the calender to the Salvage Vanguard Theatre, you are bound to see something different here.

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