Hi all ~
THE WEBSITE HAS MOVED!
It has come to my attention that some of you only read the Windigo newsletters as it is emailed to you without going to the Eletter on the website. Although the email MAY be interesting here and there, it is only so much blah, blah, blah. . .
If you have the time and ability to check out the Eletter, you will be rewarded with photos that tell the story in another way.
The pix for this Eletter are at:
Check out the photo links posted in each folder at:
Also, always know our position by visiting:
See our last month of travels at:
I would start by thanking everyone for their concern after my crash. I am glad to report that I have retained my amazing healing power, and am all better – except for my teeth. It seems that I damaged three very important teeth and to restore those and gain full function I must submit to 9 months of dental work, including orthodontia. I have managed to get into the clinic at USF after a two-month wait, and will get quality care for my thousands of dollars. Oh boy.
Even though we are stuck in the Tampa Bay area for the duration of the dentist appointments, I could think of worse areas to be trapped. We have three anchorages that offer completely different views, conditions, and shorelife opportunities. We move between them at will with little effort, except for scrapping the barnacles from the prop prior to each trip. We have made the most friends in Gulfport, and spend most of our time here.
Gulfport is also the closest port to Karin’s job, which she enjoys thoroughly. She worked at this mortgage investment company for a month-and-a-half on second shift, then quit for a “vacation”, but was hired back upon her return. She lobbied for a move to day shift, and two days after getting a supervisor position on day shift; they discontinued second shift and laid everybody off.
I have continued to solicit yacht deliveries, and brought back a sailboat from the British Virgin Islands last month; A beautiful 1100-mile voyage through the heart of the Bahamas with my friend Jim of Dianji. I am arranging day charter and sunset cruise work in the area for when the tourist season picks up again in a month or so. I am also getting certified by the American Sailing Association and will begin teaching next month. I hope to contract more long-distance deliveries when the hurricane season winds down.
One of our anchorages is right adjacent to downtown St. Pete between “The Pier” and the Renaissance Vinoy Resort. Very nice harbor with lots of activity. The Pier offers many open house gatherings including art openings, music festivals, free food celebrations and a free aquarium. The YMCA has an annual youth competition at the park to encourage team involvement. The JetSki Nationals were held just on the other side of the break wall from our anchorage. Lots of people and machines and spectator involvement. We had a ‘pet’ cobia, about five feet long, circle Windigo every night for a month. He would do this for hours, sometimes breaking the surface with his dorsal fin imitating a shark. There are southern rays everywhere, much to the dismay of the fishermen, as they inadvertently get snagged on their lures.
The Tampa Port Authority runs a free tour boat every day and takes people on a two-hour trip in and around the Port of Tampa. When Windigo is anchored in the seaplane basin on Davis Island, it is featured on the tour! We are used to this, as we were also on the tour of the Sturgeon Bay canal when we stayed there as we were leaving Wisconsin.
Some of our other activities include a semimonthly bike ride to a grapefruit tree in Tampa. This tree is on the grounds of a senior living complex and produces fruit year-round. The maintenance guys are sick of cleaning up fallen grapefruit, so they encourage us to pick as many as we can; so we do!
We also make an occasional trip to the back door of the local bagel shop about 10 minutes after closing. “Hector” meets us there, and he discards the leftover bagels for the day. We carry the 12 to 15 dozen bagels back to Windigo and carefully slice them into thin chips. We then dry them thoroughly in net cylinders. The final bags of chips last months without spoilage, and provide a healthy snack.
One Saturday we rode the bus system throughout Pinellas County to run errands, go shopping and sightsee. They have quaint trolleys that go up and down the beaches. A very interesting day for $3/person!
Another day our friend Gene Lucky was our guide on a canoe trip through the mangrove-wrapped creeks on Weedon Island. The man-made ditches are just barely wide enough to paddle, much less turn around! Interesting wildlife.
Our latest land-based adventure was a late-night bike ride to the St. Petersburg Astronomy Club [get it? = SPAC(e)!] to view our neighbor Mars, as it is closer to Earth than it has been since man has been able to see it - for 59,620 years. The Club had several telescopes set up, including one in an observatory, and allowed anyone to peer at the now really close planet. Very cool. Not only could I see the ice cap on the South Pole, but also could see many rocky features; and, over the course of a couple hours, I could easily detect its rotation. There are tons of website to look at with info and pics:
Check it out – it is your solar system, too!
I thought the true adventure of this sailboat life would be trekking off to foreign ports and dealing with different cultures. I had no idea how great it would be to look at our American society through the eyes of a guy that doesn't really have a job or a house or a car, but has the appearance of one who does. Never being in a hurry adds enjoyment to the most frustrating situations, and causes my little mind to come up with devious schemes . . .
I have Windigo federally documented, which, although is good enough for the USCG and foreign governments, most greedy state governments want to double or triple tax each and every citizen to keep their worthless employees on the phone and at the candy machine. They do this by requiring any boat that stays in their waters for a certain length of time to "register" [read: pay fees] with their DOT or IRS or DMV or all three!
We’ve been hangin' out in different anchorages in Florida, and I hear that there is a special registration for "antique" boats - instead of paying the usual double-digit fees and triple-digit sales taxes, an owner of any boat 30 or more years old pays $4.25 for a registration sticker. Wonderful loophole.
So I go to the license office for the FOURTH time getting my antique boat sticker. They have changed the rules and requirements each time I go in to suit their inferior mental capabilities, but I persevered. During my last visit the supervisor said that I needed to prove I had the boat registered in some other state prior to coming to Florida to show I didn't just recently buy it and bring it here. It was registered in Wisconsin in 1999, and the DNR said they would fax over the registration.
The last clerk I dealt with here didn't even bother to call 'em. She said she believed me. Funny.
But then she got so confused on the computer trying to enter my data that a different supervisor came over to help. The ditzy clerk was so flustered that in the end, the supervisor sent her to lunch just to get her out of her way. Ah, government job security - if you suck at your job, just go to lunch! Not really funny.
M hull number is simply 2048. Since my hull number is not unique [it belongs to dozens of trailers and mobile homes already] I suggest 40 minutes into this fiasco that they could use my USCG documentation number and it would be unique. But this made too much sense and they resisted. . . . . . .
. . . . . . one hour and three phone calls to Tallahassee later, she is told to use my documentation number - too funny.
Then she rings it up as a regular [not antique] registration, after I tell her about 11 times that I wanted an antique registration. She has to go to the BIG boss to delete that one and do a new one. Crazy funny.
Then I give her a $100.00 bill to pay the $4.25, and she has to go off to another room for 20 minutes to get change. Hilarious.
So now I get my sticker: after three visits at about ˝ hour each, and the last one at 2-hours+; taking seven employees to work on it [I’m on a first-name basis with half the tax department]. As I’m leaving, the awful supervisor that I told you about is manning the counter at the entrance. I stop, hold up my new sticker, and say, "I don't expect an apology for calling me a liar yesterday, but the four visits here totaling over 3˝ hours, tying up seven employees for this four-dollar-and-twenty-five-cent sticker has been the epitome of government inefficiency. That pay raise that you expect every year for sitting on your butt and hassling taxpayers is only going to be a incremental cost-of-living adjustment until you retire. Bon voyage."
(The "bon voyage" was a clever nautical reference, don't you think? Heehee)
She responded with that wonderful slack-jawed government look that says, "I would laugh at your sarcastic humor, but it is oh-so-true and besides, I am dumber than a rock and don't really get it."
Or, in Cro-Magnon-speak, "duhhhhh.
Oh yeah, I have another good story, but if you really want to read it, look up:
Congratulations to my daughter Jessy & my new son-in-law Greg on their wedding! I do not have photos yet, but will show them off when I am able. [Baby pictures also due before the end of the year!]
Our permanent and
Capt. KL & Karin Hughes
S/V WindigoIII • PMB 365
88005 Overseas Hwy. #9
Islamorada, FL 36033-3087
A temporary address
here in St. Pete:
Capt. Kevin L. Hughes
2475 47th Street S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33711
addresses aboard Windigo, checked daily:
And of course, the NEW LOCATION of the Windigo Travelogue