Sunday, May 06, 2012

Boating and Dolphins = Joy

It's no secret to anyone that I love being out on the water.  I have had a bad jones for a boat trip for weeks now.  I hadn't been out on my boat since before Christmas!  That's ridiculous, but there were circumstances.  I was preparing for surgery.  Then, I wasn't cleared to go on the boat until my month follow up appointment in February.  At that point, the mighty wind picked up in the Keys and continued to blow for what seemed like weeks -- or at least every weekend.  I got a Sunday morning when I thought I could at least take a little ride and discovered that my steering wasn't working.

Got the steering repaired, but the wind and bad weather continued.  There were great conditions one week in April, but, of course, it was the week that I was away! 

Today, everything came together!  I woke to a gorgeous day with a light breeze and great tide level.  I was ready to go by 10 a.m.  Got my stuff together, climbed on the boat and lowered the lift.  I was just about to launch when I realized that my boat was listing badly to starboard.  I boosted back up and called the service guy.  He was free and came down to check things out.

Wellll....although I'd boosted the bow up a few times to drain out water that might have accumulated from all of the heavy rains, things were trapped in the starboard hull and that side's bilge pump wasn't working.  Rick grabbed a wrench and unscrewed the hull plug, then we waited while gallons of water poured out.

So, a brief delay, but not a fun-stopper.  With the boat now properly drained, we fired up the engines, checked the steering, and launched off the lift.  This also gave him a chance to feel how the steering was reacting since he'd replaced the fluid pump a few weeks ago.  He wants to make some adjustments when he comes to fix the bilge.

We cruised through the harbor out Sister Creek to the Atlantic.  Once out, the wind was higher and the water choppy, but my boat could handle it.  I throttled up and we cruised over the waves.  It was glorious!  Water like melted blue topazes as far as we could see and a brilliant blue sky.  We kept up the speed and enjoyed the view, the speed, the sunshine, and the crisp, cool breeze.

We went around Boot Key and out as far as the hump of the Seven Mile Bridge before I turned us toward the home port.  We were a couple of football field lengths away from the channel markers when we spotted the first dorsal fin.  We slowed down to look around and soon spotted multiple fins in different groups all around us.

I grabbed my camera and started snapping, which is not easy to do when the boat rocks and one doesn't know where the next dolphin will pop up.  By my estimation, there were 10 to 12 dolphins in the area, including two or three youngsters that were less than two years old.

I am extremely fortunate to be around dolphins every day at work, but I never get tired of seeing these amazing animals.  In the harbor outside my house or out in the open water, seeing them swim, play or just hang out never fails to light my spirit and fill me with joy.  What a great day!

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Help with Color Choices, Please!

I'm about to move into my next home decorating projects.   I'm focusing on outside my house, beginning with my porch.  I spend a lot of time out on that porch by myself, with the pups, and with friends.  The view is lovely.  My house is along side a peaceful harbor.  A person can sit out there and breathe in the fresh air, watch boats and the occasional dolphin or manatee pass by.  There's usually a breeze blowing that can cool off even the hottest day.

I shot this picture at dawn one morning.

Since I spend so many wonderful hours on my porch, I want it to look nice and be comfortable.  The porch columns badly need to be patched and then repainted.  The concrete deck has needed to be repainted for a couple of years.  My porch furniture, a very (like at least 60 years) old wicker set, has definitely succumbed to years of salt water and heat.  It can't be salvaged.

I met with my favorite contractor today.  He's ready to do the job during one of my upcoming trips.   All I need to do now is pick out the paint color for the concrete deck.  That's causing me a bit of a dilemma.  I can't decide.

The house is painted a light purple -- sort of a faded violet or little-bit-darker-lavender. 

This photo of Nat and Pyxi was taken in the afternoon.  I'm going to miss that wicker sofa.  I loved the fabric when I first got the cusions redone.  They've faded, obviously, but the yellow was so vibrant and the colors in the print so sweet and cheerful!

This shows the color in the early evening about an hour before sunset.

I'm torn.  The porch columns, railing and ceiling will be painted white.  White does not seem to be a practical choice for an outside deck.  I love color.  John, the contractor, suggested a rich blue.  That's a possibility.  I went online to look at color wheels. (Home Depot's closed already today or I'd have run up to look at their paint cards.)  I was positive that this would help me find just the right blue.  Sure it gave me ideas, but not in the blue family.

Look at that center wheel.  Yes, I know that there's a pie wedge of blues on one side of the purple-lavender-violet slice, but look at the other side.  Pinks! 

So, I ask you.  Couldn't I choose something from the pink pie slice for the floor, or would that be too bizarre?

Should I mention that, while browsing catalogues for new furniture, I fell in love with a "reimagined" plantation chair and one of the finish choices is eggplant?

Tell me friends.  Am I on the verge of going too far over the top?  The plantation chair is a definite.  I can, I guess, be swayed on the concrete color.

Please.  Share your thoughts!