Condo Bliss – Square Grouper

Jeff and Stacy Logan came to visit us for a week. They flew into Palm Beach Airport on Monday and rented a car. We met them at Guanabanas in Jupiter for dinner. We knew the tropical atmosphere of Guanabanas would quickly acclimate them to south Florida. On Tuesday we gave them a tour of Stuart which included a visit to Bathtub Reef beach and lunch in the sandbox at the Pelican Cafe.  Since it was Valentine’s Day we wanted to avoid restaurants and do something special. We called around to find stone crab claws. Only one seafood store had a few claws. We bought them and three 1.5 pound Maine lobsters. We steamed the lobsters and dined outside on the pool deck next to the river.

Priscilla, John, Stacy and Jeff

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Nothing says Happy Valentine’s Day like Maine lobster

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On Wednesday we went fishing on the Lady Stuart. The boat was less than half full compared to the full load the last time we went. The reef fishing was slow and we only caught a few odd fish such as cobia ( too small to keep ), bonita and grunts. It is always fun on the water but no keepers.

The Lady Stuart

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In the afternoon Jeff and I went to the Snook Nook bait and tackle shop to buy some tackle for snook fishing off the condo dock. This included a lure, bobbers, hooks and DOA (dead) shrimp for bait.

Fishing on the condo dock for snook

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We wanted to grill out on Wednesday but it was windy enough to blow the plates off the table so we joined Beachcomber Dan, Iris and Mary at Conky Joe’s. Conchy Joe’s has great seafood and a great view of the Indian River.

On Thursday Jeff and Stacy planned to take the Island Princess sightseeing cruise but unfortunately it was sold out. ( note to self, book a week in advance ). We went for a morning walk and then went back to the Snook Nook to purchase a fishing rod to compliment the fishing reel Jeff brought me as a condo gift. We bought an Ugly Stick rod for dock fishing and a surf casting rod. In the afternoon we went to Bathtub Reef beach and surf casted while Priscilla and Stacy collected sea shells.

John and Jeff surf casting on Bathtub Reef Beach

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In the evening we went for an early dinner and a show at the Lyric theater. The entertainment was “Two Women? from Jersey. They were hilarious comedians. “I told my husband if he cheats on me he better decide in advance which family member he wants me to stab in the eye with a fork. That way it is family and personal.” The comedian was Sicilian.

Friday we went fishing with Captain Henry and mate Jim onboard the 44′ fishing boat Sunday out of the Pirate’s Cove Marina. Captain Henry said his father built a few small fishing boats when Henry was young. His father would take him fishing on Sundays which was his fondest memory of his youth. We put a few Mahi in the box in the morning and a few more in the afternoon. It as a good day on the water and we all caught at least two fish. Mate Jim gave us his favorite recipe to deep fry Mahi. We went to Basin’s seafood market and bought 2 pounds of stone crab claws and then went to the Publix supermarket to buy the ingredients for our Mahi dinner. We had a marvelous feast.

John and Priscilla onboard Sunday

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Stacy put a Mahi Mahi in the boat while Jeff cheers her on

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Priscilla put one in the boat too

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On Saturday we went for our morning walk over the Sewall’s Point bridge and then returned to the Pirate’s Cove marina to go on an Eco tour. Our tour guide and boat driver Nancy was passionate about ecology and saving the environment. She has been an environmental advocate for over 40 years. She shared many opinions regarding how the state of Florida could do a much better job of environmental protection. The cruise included a stop for lunch at bird island.  Bird island is a 1.5 acre rookery on the St Lucie River for over 3,000 birds. It is an amazing sight.

Captain Nancy onboard her Eco pontoon boat

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On Sunday we had brunch with Beachcomber Dan, Iris and Mary at Piertros. Pietro’s is located on the beach overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. There is an umbrella rental company that rents blue umbrellas that make a beautiful contrast to the white sand outlined by the deep blue of the ocean. We have lunch at Pietro’s almost every Sunday while we are in Florida.

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After brunch we went to Hobe Sound to view the murals. We met some locals while looking for manatees near Pirates Cove. They recommended seeing a series of murals painted by a group called the Highwaymen depicting the history of the area. We went to the chamber of commerce to get a map of the mural locations. Today is Sunday and the chamber is only open weekdays.

There is a manatee

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Our next stop was the Jupiter lighthouse which has a lot of historical significance in the area. It was built during the Seminole wars when the US government decided the best place for the Indians that lived in the Everglades was to relocate them to the Midwest. During the civil war the Confederates stole the prisms from the lighthouse and buried them nearby so the Union fleet did not have use of the lighthouse to identify the Jupiter inlet.

Jupiter lighthouse

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A view of Jupiter inlet from the top of the Jupiter lighthouse

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The lighthouse is maintained through donations.  They sell commemorative bricks.  This brick was purchased by Jimmy Buffett.  It is located across the channel from the Square Grouper bar where he recorded the music video with Alan Jackson – It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere.  A square grouper is slang for a bale of marijuana.  Occasionally the local fisherman would find a bale floating in the ocean and they called it a square grouper.

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Bonus photo – The Waterways Cruisng guide for Cuba arrived.  Time to start planning our next adventure.

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Condo Bliss – The Rich and Famous

It has been 43 days since we arrived at our condo in Stuart. The time has flown by like a drunk Friday night ( Zac Brown ). We had visits from all of our children and grandchildren and their spouses as well as my cousin Scott and his wife Selena. We are looking forward to a visit from our friends Jeff and Stacy Logan next week.  I have been faithful to my one hour morning walks.  Often our guests will join me to get a view of the St. Lucie River from the Sewall’s Point bridge.

Imagine taking a one year old to a restaurant and they get to play with other children’s toys in a giant sand box. The Pelican restaurant in Stuart has an entire seating area in the sand. We went to the Pelican with Alison and Jackson on Friday and Saturday night. Jackson had a great time playing in the sand, throwing the sand over the fence and just digging and burying everything in the sand he could get his hands on. This is a “must do” with the grandchildren every year. It was as much fun as going to Stuart Beach.

Dining in the Pelican restaurant sand box.

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Good times at Stuart Beach.

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I drove to the Pirates Cove Marina in Port Salerno to check out charter fishing boats. There are three private charters and a head boat docked there. There is an upscale marina with a tiki bar. This could become our new favorite place. On the way to Port Salerno there is a section of road with a tunnel made of banyan trees. It is a bit surreal to drive through this area. This is also the same road we take to go to Gettin’ Crabby one of our favorite Thursday night restaurants.

St. Lucie Boulevard in Stuart Florida road under the Banyan Tree in Martin County. HDR image tone mapped using Photomatix Pro.
St. Lucie Boulevard in Stuart Florida road under the Banyan Tree.

Having visitors gives us an excuse to try new restaurants. We went to the Dolphin Bar and Grill with Scott and Selena. This restaurant was previously called the Out Rigger and was owned by the movie star Francis Langford. It has a great location on the Indian River in Jensen Beach. I recommend this restaurant for lunch so you can enjoy the view.

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We went to Bathtub Reef beach during their visit and also went on the Island Princess cruise of the ICW from Stuart to Jupiter (not the planet). The tour guide pointed out the homes of the rich and famous on Jupiter Island. This included Celine Dion’s $72 million house complete with her own water park.  Alan Jackson, Olivia Newton John, Greg Norman and Tiger Wood to name a few also have homes on Jupiter Island.  This was also Perry Como’s favorite island back in the day.

Scott and Selena onboard the Island Princess

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Celine Dion’s home – $72 million

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Scott and Selena departed on Friday. My brother Bill and his wife Joanne were due to arrive on Friday night but severe snow storms in the Northeast caused their trip to be cancelled. They cannot come to the Sunshine State due to the snow. Seems ironic.

Scott and Selena enjoying the sunset at Pierpoint

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It is only 20 days until we depart for our month long sailboat cruise to Cuba.

Scott helped Beachcomber Dan and I keep up the tradition of the Lantern south on Thrsday night.

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Bonus photo

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Answer below………………………..

 

 

 

 

Schooner or later you’ll ketch up

Condo Bliss – Which Way to the Beach?

Our time in Stuart continues to be magical. Having our friends Fritz and Holly Hanselmann from Chicago nearby makes for fun times. Fritz and Holly bought a condo at Tarpon Bay in Jensen Beach which is 20 minutes away.  Their condo complex is the home of numerous retired circumnavigators. These folks have literally sailed around the world. Many of them are close friends of Holly’s long time live aboard parents Bev and Dave Feiges. Tarpon Bay has a deep water marina for boats up to 50 feet. The real advantage is the dock fee. Up until the end of 2016 the cost was $1.00 per foot per month. In 2017 the price increased to $1.50 per foot per month. Still an amazing bargain. Fritz and Holly have a hard bottom RIB as well a several kayaks at the marina. They took us on a tour of the river.  Much of the river is parkland with bird sanctuaries.

Fritz and Holly at Tarpon Bay

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Alison, Oscar and Jackson had challenging weather on the first few days of their visit to Stuart. That did not keep us from swimming in the condo pool on Friday and going to the beach on Sunday. This was Jackson’s first experience with the ocean. He loved playing in the waves. Yes he is fully clothed but we had a change of clothes in the car.

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Jackson at Stuart beach

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Oscar caught the first fish off the pier at our condo. The water is very thin around the pier. You can see the bottom all the way to the end of the pier. Fish are jumping around both sides of the pier and the Pelicans are constantly diving for the fish. Oscar caught a horn belly snapper. Watch out for the very sharp spines on the belly. The mouth is as large as the fish is wide.

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Oscar catches the first fish from on condo pier.

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One of the challenges of condo living is not having a workshop. However, with a little creativity the whole world is my workshop. I just set up a drop cloth on the beach and spray away. I sprayed five sets of folding doors and this entry table with Rust-Oleum Universal. I love the fan spray tip on the Universal aerosol cans.

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The folding doors were spray painted in the shadow of our palm tree.

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We finally made it out for a sail on the Indian River today on a Flying Scot.  The winds were light and variable but my daughter Alison’s expertise on the helm kept us moving nicely.

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Our friend Mary Berkley finally arrived from Califirnia.  She purchased a condo in Cedar Pointe near Dan and Iris.  She had a complete rehab completed while she was away.  It will be very exciting for her to see the results. We met Dan, Iris and Mary at Guanabanas restaurant in Jupiter to welcome her back to Florida.

Iris, Mary and Dan at Guanabanas.

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Captain Father John and Beachcomber Dan carry on the Thursday night tradition of the Lantern south.

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Bonus photo

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