Sea Oats

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Doing videos now

I've moved into the world of HD videos. It's much harder than I thought, but I really like it. I've never owned a video camera before so it's quite a learning experience. If you'd like to see my fledgling efforts, you can do so by going here: Videos and photos.

As always your comments are welcome. I hope to post many more soon.

In addition to learning how to use tha canera and how to pick subjects, I am aslo learning all the new software.

To say the least, it's been a busy three weeks. Love my camera, the Canon HF Vixia M500. Amazing camera in such a small package. Hope I'm up to the challenge.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Secret Spot

I follow a trail in the sand, so little used that grass has grown over it in most places. The mangroves and hardwood trees form a canopy that lets the sunlight ripple shadows across low growing plants edging the path.

Above me the slightest breeze rustles the leaves, but the breeze never reaches me. I expect more bugs, no- see- ums and other biting nasties, but except for the occasionally flitting butterfly, bugs are remarkably absent.

The smell of hot sand reaches me and just above the rustle of the leaves, the soft rolling sound of waves lays an undercurrent around me. I can see a glimpse of the beach ahead. The soft green of the undergrowth gives way to crisp white.

I step out onto the sand and immediately regret not even wearing flip flops. Man, is that hot! I run almost on my toes to keep the soles of my feet from catching fire. Finally, the Gulf.

Crystal water runs around my ankles. I look out to where the sky folds into the sea. If I had a job, I’d buy a boat and be out there, and  pelicans, who, if they were a more aggressive species, go by in what would be called a strafing run formation. Bet the sand is too hot for them too. 

I climb back up the sandy shore line and find a place not to far from the water’s edge. As I throw my backpack down in relief, and I don’t carry much, I glance around. What’s that about a half mile off? Is that a person? I glance at the sand with accusation, but there are no foot prints in the area, so I don’t feel betrayed by my secret spot.

There are no buildings here. No stands selling beach fare or Mylar balloons or even suntan lotion. No man made intrusions.

A gull flies low overhead. She was obviously trained by tourists that anyone who stands upright is a lunch wagon. Sorry to disappoint. She yells at me as she wheels up the beach towards the intruder.

Two hours later, crispy from the sun, but not caring about aging skin, I break out some watermelon I brought. That and a stick of Juicy Fruit gum are all I have in my back pack to eat. My girlfriend says I should lose weight, until she needs something heavy lifted, then it’s you’re so big and strong.

Three and a half hours and no one has disrupted my view of the Gulf.

My secret spot still is.

For those of you who have to know, yes this a real place on the Gulf Coast of Florida between Sarasota and Cedar Key.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Travel for the less than stupid.

Travel is fun. You go new places, have new experiences, visit old favorites and just chill out. It can be reasonable in its costs or it can be as extravagant as you want. I just read short piece in a well-known travel magazine about skin care. As many of you know, I have been a boat captain for over 45 years. On the water usually for ten to twelve hours a day and I never, ever, never ever used lip balm thatcost eighteen dollars a tube! How stupid do have to be to fall for that kind of crap? Are you kiddingme? It’s frigging beeswax and maybe lanolin or some other tiny amount of another ingredient. Askany of the girls I’ve kissed over the years and I would bet that not one of them ever thought, “I don’tthink I’ll kiss him anymore. His lips are so rough. I wish he’d use that really stupid expensive lip balm.” Get yourself some Blistex Lip Balm and be done with it. Works great and it’s not very expensive. Or the next bit in the article that said to use skin cleanser to get the sand out of your skin. Out of your      skin? How big are your pores?

Plus you cannot believe everything you read in high end magazines. They quite often get their facts wrong and they don’t take kindly to being corrected. Example, one recent article said that they only way to get to the Dry Tortugas off the Florida Keys was by boat. Not true, there are several airplanes that fly out to the Fort on a regular basis. Such as this service: Seaplane
Fancy rooms are nice, such as those at the Breakers in Palm Beach. But I’ve spent many a quality night in La Quinta Inns at very good rate. I rather have the money to go out and run around and do stuff. Yes, I know that are certain unidentifiable “perks” of staying a high end hotel, but if you want to travel a lot and you have to work for a living, you can expand your horizons by staying in a lower priced room.
I’m going to add to this article as I go along in the next few weeks.
So unless you overloaded with cash, use your head. The front of the plane actually gets on the ground seconds after the regular seats do. Save some bucks, unless you vacation involves staying the plane at your destination.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Dock at Crayton Cove, Naples, Florida

I like waterfront restaurants and generally the food, but not this one. The restaurant is fine, it overlooks the Naples Florida City Marina but the food was not very good. I ordered a pastrami sandwich and a Sprite. My server, Vicky, was great and even drew me a map to the City Zoo, but not even her great demeanor could make up for the poor sandwich. I'm pretty sure who ever made it in
The Dock from the Dock. Beautiful Setting.
the kitchen, never ate their own food. In the short time it took to come from the kitchen to my table, it had dissolved the bread on the bottom. That is because the coleslaw on the sandwich was on bottom and leaked through the bread and when I went to pick it up, it fell apart. I had to turn it over and eat it like an open-face sandwich. The pastrami must have been brought in from another city and thrown in the microwave just before serving. It was dry and actually a little stiff. Not a good thing for pastrami.
Inside the dock. Classic waterfront dining.
So while the server and the view were great,. I couldn't finish the sandwich. As I only ate there once I don't know how the other items might have been treated. But someone abused this sandwich

Monday, April 8, 2013

Bonefish Grill - Truly Exceptional

Every once in awhile you stumble on to a place that is so exceptional you can hardly believe it, and Bonefish Grill is one of those places. 

I had never been to a Bonefish Grill but was being treated for my birthday. As it is in a large strip mall, I wasn’t expecting much. We walked in and were greeted by a host who seated us near the windows. Shortly there after a party of about six arrived with a small child. I thought that my lunch was taking a turn for the worse when lo and behold, the host seated them several tables away. I was able to catch the host’s attention and thanked him for not putting the party right behind us. He said that he understood and he liked to have some room when he ate also. If only more restaurants would follow this lead instead of seating everyone at one table after another because it is more convenient for the servers. The place is nicely decorated with hard wood floors and had soft jazz playing on the speakers,. Then things became even better.

Our server, Alyssa, (and I hope I spelled her name correctly) took our drink order and brought us fresh, warm bread. We had arrived around noon, as they open at 11:00AM on Sundays and 4PM during the week so the place wasn’t crowded. We looked over the Brunch menu but decided to order from the regular menu. We both had the Long Tail Tilapia, she with Lemon Butter sauce and I with Pan Asian. I had the Garlic Whipped potatoes and she ordered the French Green beans. The Lemon butter speaks for itself. Wonderful on the fish. My dinner partner ordered the butter on the side which I believe was a good choice as it may have been a little much if ordered directly on the fish. The taste was remarkable. Light and seasoned perfectly.

The Pan Asian is a very light soy sauce which I ordered on the fish. I was amazed that neither topping over powered the fish. With my Pan Asian, you could taste the soy sauce but the flavor of the really fresh fish came through from underneath. The fish appeared to have shaved carrot strands on top also. My friend and I commented throughout the meal about the fish, which also came with a side of Garbanzo beans with spinach and diced onions mixed in. 

My roommate’s appetite in notoriously undersized as she has been known to eat only half a child’s meal, finished the whole fillet. I can honestly say, I’ve never had finer seafood and have paid many times more for a lot less.

Pleasantly full, but not bursting at the  seams, I decided since it was birthday meal, to go for desert. Alyssa mentioned they had strawberry short cake that day. I can hardly resist strawberry short cake, so I let go the Key Lime pie option I normally have and went for the cake. Alyssa informed us that the short cake was actually a biscuit. Think biscuits and gravy biscuit. I said fine.

When she returned, I thought she was carrying a tray. It turned out to be the shortcake. The biscuit was cut in half and stuffed with whipped cream. On top of that were what appeared to be fresh sliced strawberries. Around that was an amazing surprise, Crème Brule sauce. This added a truly amazing taste to an already wonderful desert.

What a wonderful finish to a truly fantastic meal. If the Bonefish Grill is always this good, you needn’t go anywhere else for dinner. Truly exceptional.
10197 West Sunrise Blvd.
Plantation, FL 33322
Phone: (954) 472-3592