Boating Articles by Tom

Starting with the little two-person inflatable raft I had as my very first boat, I have always loved the freedom and the feeling of being out on the water. With my father's help, I added a hard plywood floor to that little inflatable, and that was the beginning of a long chain of boats I have owned, loved, maintained, modified, fixed, enjoyed, and scared myself to death on over the past few decades.
A lot of boating time is spent fixing boats, maintaining boats, and upgrading boats with new boating equipment to suit our specific tastes and needs. Lots of salespeople at stores that sell marine boating supplies and boating accessories have learned to recognize me over the years. I have spent my share of time and money working on just about anything you could name on a boat, and made plenty of mistakes. I'm here to share the lessons learned.

Small Boat Cruising Without A Plan

A Boating Misadventure in the Florida Keys Most people do not undertake to go cruising in small open boats, but teenagers will do anything. One summer, my brother John and I decided on a whim that, since we had the time and we had a boat, we … [Read more...]

Cruising Florida’s Panhandle — Part 11: Another Crossing From He**, and Home

Was that jet doing aerobatics, or what?Our last sunset of the cruise was really spectacular, and I took several pictures. Part 11: Oct. 25-26, 2006The Trip Home: We Decide To Make A Run For It Our plan evolved once again in response to the … [Read more...]

Cruising Florida’s Panhandle — Part 10: The Weather Changes Our Plans Yet Again

Part Ten: Oct. 24, 2006 Carabelle, Not Carabelle, Cedar Key, Not Cedar Key Morning coffee was enhanced by aromas from the galley of toast frying in butter, to be topped with the last remaining avocado I had brought from home, which was slightly … [Read more...]

Cruising Florida’s Panhandle — Part 9: To Carabelle We Go

We passed many friendly boaters on our trips along the inland route. Nicki the Navigator has found her sea legs and is enjoying the trip. Part Nine: Oct. 23, 2006 Cold Weather, Even in Florida I woke up around 6 am and it was COLD! Made … [Read more...]

Cruising Florida’s Panhandle — Part 8: A Relaxing Day in Port St. Joe

The marina's breakwater was a popular fishing spot. These "fish havens" are sprinkled around on the bottom of the bay around Port St. Joe, making it a fine fishing spot. Part Eight: Oct. 22, 2006 A Day In St. Joe Marina With not much going on, … [Read more...]

Cruising Florida’s Panhandle — Part 7: We Make Port St. Joe

A heron taking flight A pine clings to the bank for dear life Winner of the junky boat contest — and there were a lot of entries on this trip! It was rough and crudely built, but this makeshift gangway did its job. Part Seven: Oct. 21, … [Read more...]

Cruising Florida’s Panhandle — Part 6: To White City and the Alligator Hunters

Apalachicola is prettier from out in the river than it is up close. A sunken sailboat at the city marina. The spate of hurricanes turned a lot of docks into just pilings. Many have still not been repaired or replaced. A barge … [Read more...]

Cruising Florida’s Panhandle — Part 5: Kayaking in the Bayou, Repairing the Boom Vang

Anchored sailboats at dawn in Scipio Creek Sunken and derelict commercial fishing boats were a common sight along the waterway. A cypress appears to be levitating above the water. It was actually bolted to a piling, and had a bird house for … [Read more...]

Cruising Florida’s Panhandle — Part 4: Apalachicola and Scipio Marina

Charlie K docked at the Scipio Marina in Apalachicola. Apalachicola is a waterfront junkyard dominated by sinking fishing boats and broken docks Boss Oyster was Apalachicola's version of a glitzy waterfront restaurant. It's not often that the … [Read more...]

Cruising Florida’s Panhandle — Part 3: Dinghying to Dog Island, Fixing Things

We took the dinghy to go exploring on Dog Island, which seemed like a land that time forgot. There was much hurricane erosion in evidence on Dog Island. There were more cars on Dog Island — junked out and rusting in the salt air — than either … [Read more...]