Fluid Plans

Florida! Unbelievable rain and oh so cold! 

Our fluid plans were fluid once more. With storms and winds gusting to 30 knots, we prudently decided to stay in the safe marina at Sarasota. And as you may have previously read, I am on the manatee hunt. As Sarasota has the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, complete with manatees, we decided to visit. 

Out of rain ✅.  Engaging activity ✅.  Saw manatees ✅. 

Actually, it was a really cool place with all kinds of sea creatures, plus crocodiles and alligators, really well displayed with lots of hands-on stuff. There were also guides/docents who spoke about each creature. Really interesting place, complete with labs and research.

In the afternoon we vegged out on board Bushranger, Mark undertaking his writing studies and I watched Netflix. We managed an afternoon siesta in there, as well.

Today we awoke to semi clear skies and sunshine. We set sail at 8.30am in 9 degrees. We started out on the flybridge, but changed our minds shortly afterwards. 🥶

But the day was glorious for sailing. It went from this… to this

Along the way I baked bread… 930b70fd-e3e3-45b0-b045-f6c663151b2c

Whilst Mark helmed…dce8f925-5f6c-45b2-ac57-bb2f6e5c0b48

Now we are Mediterranean moored in Boca Grande Bayou on Gasparilla Island. A beautiful part of the world. Mark used the dinghy to tie the stern lines to the foliage. We then went for a little exploration, before trekking into the charming old world town of Boca Grande. Six streets over and we were lapping our toes in the Gulf of Mexico.

Oh, and we still have sentinels watching over us.

Such is Life!


We are six days into our voyage and this is the first time dedicated to recording our adventures. We are just having too much fun! And exploration is very tiring, necessitating an afternoon nap (where and when available).

The first three days we recommissioned Bushranger. Whilst in Tarpon Springs, we drove to areas we knew we didn’t have time to visit on Bushranger. We had lunch in the delightful city of Gulfport. Think glistening water views, brick roads, old gnarled trees laden with Spanish moss, artist shopfronts and eclectic eateries.

The time came to set sail. We were farewelled by our sentinels.

The seas were calm. The colour effortlessly merging from blue to green and back again. The water depth is shallow, sometimes being able to see the sandy bottom. We sailed past keys. Past breaking water. We sailed under two bridges,with Dunedin Honeymoon Bridge needing to be raised for us to safely sail under. 

Our first night underway we nestled snugly at Clearwater Beach Marina.

9f5874a4-9d2b-4c89-8540-d7b8e851ae12Met by a new guard, we explored the beach, complete with Pier 60 and artisan markets. The ambiance was exciting and colorful. We expected a noisy night, but instead enjoyed a peaceful night with twinkling panorama of Clearwater Harbour.



We were up early to start a long day of sailing to reach Sarasota. We sailed under 8 bridges, some with evocative names such as Treasure Island and Indian Rocks. We scraped under most with about 2-3 feet to spare. The last bridge was too close to call, so erred on the side of caution to have it raised. We sailed through a particularly lovely section of the IntraCoastal Waterway named The Narrows. This is all manatee waters. At times and for long sections, the speed limit was heavily reduced to protect these mammals. So, move over alligator hunt and bring on the manatee search. We haven’t spotted any yet, but everyone assures us there are lots out there!

22beee04-4ad7-4b9a-ab19-69fad4ff15daNow those who know me will know I don’t fare well in lumpy waters, which is exactly what we encountered when sailing parallel to Tampa Bay Bridge. Bay waters mixing with Gulf waters do not sit well with my stomach. I carried on making Mark’s lunch, but let’s just say I decided to lay vertical for a while in fresh air with nothing in my stomach. 

Onward, ever onward we sailed past the mouth of the Manatee River (no sightings) and on down the Sarasota Bay to Marina Jack, where we currently reside. We arrived in time to power walk Main Street, visit the Visitor’s Centre, undertake the walking tour of Sarasota and meet our neighbours, who happen to be Loopers from Canada. We had docktails aboard their vessel before dining on ours and calling it a day.

Today, Australia Day, we celebrated by touring The Ringling, the winter vacation residence of John and Mabel Ringling of The Ringling Bros Circus fame. It was on par with San Simeon – Californian residence of William Randolph Hearst. In other words, unbelievable! If ever US gold reserves need topping up, the gold paint alone would come to the rescue. Marble, gold and pastel shades of Venetian glass… unbelievable. 

35e3bf24-ad28-45de-895f-00c5f72dd220An afternoon nap beckons. This looping and exploration is darn tiring. But someone has to do it!

Such is Life!

A Tender view of Bushranger


Hi. We haven’t met. I am Bushranger’s Tender. I know this because I have emblazoned on both my saddle tanks in AR Cena font “Tender to Bushranger”.

How do I know this? Well I ask you, particularly the girls, would you remember your owners (call them parents if that helps) labouring over your rump with a big sticky tattoo, intent on adhering it just so, so that everyone that looks at you in the future will admire your tattooed arse?

I didn’t have a chance to talk to my predecessor, a quite beautiful and sleek Boston Whaler driven by a motor to die for. Not like my little 6 horsepower minnow. As I understand it, the Whaler was a little too heavy. I must tread carefully here. She was so pretty but, well, she’d either put on weight or back in the 70s they liked their tenders on the heavier side. Anyway, she is now enjoying the fast life skimming the waters of Lake Pickwick as a rescue tender.

So, I hear you asking, what is a tender? Well my job has a glamorous and a mundane part to it. Ask Bushranger – her job description is similar in some respects.

The glamorous part is being launched to serve a variety of purposes at anchor or in ports. I recall my first serious “work” when I was launched to receive our new boat buddy’s pooch that needed to pee.  Maddie Sue got hoisted aboard my brand-new INFLATABLE saddle tanks by a hand-held PFD (Personal Flotation Device for you lubbers). Maddie is a fluff ball with sharp claws. Imagine my horror!! To cut a long story short, she embarked without puncturing my hull or losing her pee too early and returned for ferrying back to her boat in one piece, having avoided lurking alligators.

I digress. My purpose.

Well, I am stern lookout. I sit at the back of the boat with no view of what is happening ahead. Everything that passes me has already happened. As the bow, with my good friend the anchor in pride of place, proudly forges forward, I am left to take the glancing blow from the marina pylon that the boss misjudged. The Boston Whaler does not know how good its new life really is!


I am, however, a lucky girl. In our last port layover I got a complete suit of new clothes. Hanging out the back can have its benefits but not in burning sun or pouring rain. My new cover stops that, though I think the owners were more intent on preserving my Tats than my wellbeing.

Enough from me. You may hear more from me if ever the back story to Bushranger’s adventures needs to be told. Did you get that? The Back Story. I’m at the back. No? Is my talent never going to be recognised?

Ah well!  To fair winds without following seas which quite frankly, frighten me.

Such is Life!


Back again – the first for 2019

Here we come again or is it there we go again? The plans have been made. The anticipation is high. Another set of adventures aboard Bushranger is about to begin. Whilst we were back in Australia, she has been professionally cleaned, waxed and polished and is looking mighty pretty.

Our sailing plans entail recommissioning Bushranger in Tarpon Springs, just north of Tampa Bay, Florida. We will set sail in a southerly direction, visiting the ports of St Petersburg, Sarasota, Venice and Fort Myers. We plan to stop at each of these places to explore the land and what it offers. In Fort Myers we will call on our buddy boat, Exhale, and her remarkable crew – Rick, Mary and their intrepid canine, Maddie. 

We will then sail eastward through waters with wonderful sounding names such as the Caloosahatchee (Ca-loose-a-hat-chee) River, Lake Okeechobee (O-kee-cho- bee) and Indiantown, all the while fending off alligators, until we reach Port St Lucie on the east coast of Florida.

From there the plan is to make our way north up the east coast, stopping at various places such as Vero Beach, Cape Canaveral, Daytona (yes… in time to see or hear the NASCARs), St Augustine, Jacksonville, Jekyll Island and on up to Savannah in Georgia, if time and weather permits. 

We are looking forward immensely to the journey. We hope you will join us through the blog and take pleasure in our discoveries.

At this time… Such is Life!