January 29, 2013

Dora Canal….. Harris Chain of Lakes, FL

The Dora Canal connects Lake Eustis and Lake Dora.

Let’s take a short ride thru part of the Dora Canal.

If you go on a weekday, you may only meet a few boats……and when you are there by yourself….you get a feeling of the old Florida. It’s very slow travel and shallow in places. Lots of overhead trees so sailboats and those with a deep draft should forget the trip.


There are tour boats that take you thru the canal.


Enjoy the ride…..

January 28, 2013

1.26.13 Hauling out today

The sun going down made for a pretty picture last night.


We had our morning coffee on the rear deck and watched at least 30 fishing boats go past us before the sun was up.

Jim had plans to meet his brother, Carl, at the Buzzard Beach launch ramp, to go to  breakfast and then pick up our truck and trailer, so we got an early start.

We stopped to top off our tanks on the Dead River. It’s just a small gas stop and restaurant but kind of unique since it was built around the existing Cyprus trees.


These guys were hanging out on the dock.

This is a Snowy Egret…..                                                                                      and this a White Heron

at first glance the look the same….but note the yellow feet on the Egret , while the Heron has black feet. The beaks are also different colors.

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We met Carl and they headed off. I walked Raisin and watched boats coming and going. I asked one man if he had already caught the big one, as he nosed up to the dock, but he said they couldn’t get their trolling motor working, so came back in.

When Jim and Carl got back I mentioned it to Jim. They needed more extension cord to get to the electric so they could charge the battery so he loaned them ours. They were planning on being back for the weigh in at 3pm, we’d meet them at the dock.

This is the weigh in trailer with all it’s sponsors.


Carl hadn’t been thru the Dora Canal in some time so we took him for a ride. It is probably the best spot on the Harris Chain of Lakes.


I couldn’t resist a picture of this Heron…such a funny pose.


After our canal trip we headed back to the dock. It was around 1:30 and we wanted to get a spot before everyone came in to weigh their fish. It’s a good thing we got there early….


Boats tied up, or they just nosed in and dropped off a person to go for the truck and trailer then backed out and waited. It all went pretty smoothly for so many boats in such a small place. We had fun watching  them weigh. They are allowed to have 5 live fish. Total weight and biggest fish is what they look for…..then all are released back into the lake.

The guys returned our cord. They  hadn’t gotten the trolling motor working so didn’t go back out. They had already caught 3 large ones before 0830 so they just hung around for the weigh in……… but they should have gotten 2 more.  Their 3 placed them in 7th place…just 2 spots out of the money. Can’t imagine why you couldn’t fish without a trolling motor…..oh well….I guess when you are used to having all the bells and whistles…and something goes wrong…you forget how to “make do”. Jim and I were raised by “make do” parents and have spent most of our lives doing just that……and you can bet ….that if we had one of those high dollar bass boats and paid $60 to enter……we’d be out there fishing if the motor didn’t run and we had to paddle.

We waited until all the fishing boats had loaded up and the ramp was free, then loaded Meander. It takes us a few more minutes than the fishing boats and we try not to tie up the ramp for those on a schedule. We are retired and don’t have to be in a hurry.

Jim has a few more modifications he wants to do on the trailer….needs to fix the spot for the bow running lights and I want a couple of solar spot lights on the rear corners of the hardtop for watching the water at night.

We’ll head for the St Johns River in a week or two. See you then….

January 25, 2013

Dora Canal and Lake Dora 1.25.13

We thought we had the sun rise figured right…but we were wrong…moved the boat to a spot with less trees.

While having coffee the boat started turning …  Jim decided to paddle us back into the sunshine.


We watched the Heron in their tree top nests, the Gallineaus on the lily pads and the Anhingas sunning to dry their wings.


We are traveling the Dora Canal today. It is a bit of “old” Florida, the way it may have looked in the past.

On the way, we stopped at Buzzard Beach launch ramp, walked the dog, got rid of trash and had breakfast.


Dora Canal…..

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Lake Dora seemed quite commercial after traveling thru the canal.

How about having your own plane ramp.


We watched this plane take off….I have a video but will have to post it on youtube.com later. No editing on this computer.


Kind of unique houseboat….

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A Blue Heron with his own solar array….


another Heron


We decided to head back to the Dead River and anchor where we did last night. I believe this is a Struery Houseboat.


A beautiful Anhinga…


A few minutes after I took this it dropped back into the water and disappeared.


They can swim a long distance underwater because their feathers don’t trap the air. When they are swimming all you see is the head and neck. So they spend a lot of time drying themselves.

And of course, a “flying” turtle. I love these Painted Turtles.


Sun is down, late supper tonight….and a few hours on deck listening to the birds settle in and the frogs. Another great day on the water.

January 24, 2013

Lake Harris….1.24.13

We seem to be able to find the best fishing spots. We’ve had company at most of our anchorages. This pontoon boat was here all afternoon, then put out a big light for night fishing.


We sat on the rear deck, had our wine and watched the boats coming and going.

This morning the sun was over the trees around 0730 and started warming the boat.

Coffee on the rear deck …. a couple of Purple Gallineaus swam by.


We decided to cruise for a few hours then drop anchor and have breakfast. Our trip for the day is around the edge of Lake Harris.  Beautiful day, warm, sunny and only a slight breeze.

We are anchored in the Dead River, it runs between Lake Harris and Lake Eustis. We picked a nice shallow spot…and it turned out to be a popular short cut so we had company all afternoon……fishing boats, pontoons,kayaks and even a pair of paddle boarders…


We spotted several Herons nesting in the Cyprus.



Another Limpkin…


A pair of Wood Ducks….the colors on the male are beautiful….


The anchor locker box, Jim built, works great. Even makes for a good seat to watch wildlife. We brought the dingy with us but havn’t needed it so it’s stored on the bench seat next to the locker.

We have no cleat in the center and have to tie off on either side cleat, so Jim added some nice smooth corners to keep the anchor rode from chaffing….unfortunately…he forgot to allow for the bow running lights so will have to modify them when we get home.

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Suns going down…we’re going to sit on the rear deck and watch everyone heading home. Great day.

January 23, 2013

1.23.13 Hanes Creek, Burrell Lock & Dam, Lake Harris

Down in the mid 40’s last night.

At 6 am we started the generator, heater and chargers, and went back to bed until 7:30. By then, the sun was shinning brightly on the rear deck. We have 3 items we can run on our 1000 watt generator: toaster, coffee maker and heater, but only one at a time, so I unplugged the heater and started the coffee. We sat in the sunshine and enjoyed it.

There was a light mist rising from the water. This is looking back into Gator Hole.


We had our breakfast of a toaster waffle, eggs and sausage and then hauled in the anchor and headed across Lake Eustis to Hanes Creek.

It’s a long slow ride to the Burrell Lock and Dam. This is my favorite spot. I love these old Cyprus trees and their “knees”.


Just before the lock I spotted this White Heron and “Elusive” Limpkin.


Now …. who would think Florida would need a lock…but there are several through out the state.

The last time thru here we only dropped 2’…today it was 5’. Once in Lake Griffin we only had a depth of 3’ for quite a ways so we decided to head back to Lake Eustis, get some gas and cross into Lake Harris and anchor for the night.


There were several fishing boats on the creek.


This Osprey didn’t show us his best side…but he did show off the fish he’d just caught. Bet it’s not “catch and release”.


This Anhinga is a common sight on the waterways. Sometimes called the “Snake” bird because its long neck and head are all you see when it is in the water.


Here’s a cute little “Shanty” boat for sale.


We are anchored by Long Island in Lake Harris, FL. Turns out to be an interesting spot. While I was working on this blog and fixing supper, several Sea Planes took off and landed.

This one had just landed.


Didn’t see this one till it was already in the air.


I guess we are anchored along side the runway.

Suppers on the stove, batteries are charging….then it will be wine on the rear deck. What a great way to end the day. Hope we have a few more landings.


Meander is on the water again 1.22.13


We launched at a little boat ramp on Lake Eustis, FL. Only about 2-3’ of water. One man’s depth gauge read 19” at one point.

We decided to give it a try. Our hope is to launch at Lake Jessup, just down the road from our place, and it is a very shallow lake and ramp. This ramp had room for 4 or 5 boats to launch so if we had run into a problem and tied up the ramp, it wouldn’t have interfered with anyone else’s plans for the day. Great day and place to practice shallow launching.


Once the boat was in the water, Jim took the truck and trailer over to his brother’s house. I got some pictures of the local wildlife.

I think this is a Great White Heron or sometimes called Great Egret.


Little Blue Heron


Purple Gallineau



He and Carl stopped for subs and water. We had lunch and then went for a cruise on Lake Eustis.

After returning Carl to the dock we headed back to the anchorage we’d decided on…..”Gator Hole”. No gators, but a pretty sunset. We sat on the rear deck and enjoyed a glass of wine, a quick chat with our boating buddy, Larry and then off to bed.