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The travels of the "Leah Gent"

Florida (part 1)

In the land of sunshine and big boats

11/02/04  Our first stop in Florida was here in Fernindena Beach. We have been here by car but coming in by boat was totally different. The first thing you see when coming up the channel is a big paper plant and another plant at the other end of town. At least I think they make paper there. The docks here are nice and the town starts at the end of the gangway. Lots of shopping and resturants just a few hundred yards away. We like it here.
 
11/03/04  Well I've finally done it! Yep, I drank from the Fountain of Youth here in St. Augustine and for only six dollars no less,  I'm good to go for another 47 years at least.  I think it's all the sulfur in this water that kills whatever kills you that makes you live forever.  Ponce De Leon died at something like 42 so I guess it might not work for everything. They did name an Inlet after him though. Now I'm not going to cancel my insurance just yet just in case.  We had a nice tour of the fort and a wonderful meal at the A1A Ale Works overlooking the harbor. My Grandfater took a lot of pictures here and put them in the log in 1941 so we spent the day getting pictures of all the same places for the scrap book that Debbie is putting together of our trip compared to theirs. Lots of change.
 
11/5/04  Sunny Daytona Beach today. We are here for a week and wouldn't you know it, the 41st edition of the local jurried art show is today just a block away. Debbie is happy about that. There are 300 artists exibiting along with food and bands. The weather is great. We rode our bikes about 5 miles to the beach and it still looks the same as when we played here in our younger years except for the erosion from the hurricanes last summer. Barely enough room to drive a car on the beach anymore at high tide. We will use the public bus system to visit the Daytona Speedway tomorrow. I often think back on all the good times I had racing there in my younger days. I've always been fortunate to do all those exciting things that most people only dream about.
 
One thing I must comment on here is the fact that in all our travels so far we have always had the big boats slow down when meeting so that their wakes don't empty the pantry. It appears that this will not be the case in Florida. We had 4 boats with monster wakes pass us without slowing on the way from St. Augustine to Daytona. I hope this is not a sign of things to come from here south. We always slow for other boats and even fishermen. I wish the big guys would also. Now I feel better!!
 
11/18/04  We have been in a canal off the southern tip of Merrit Island for the last few days and will stay here for a couple of weeks. My cousin's wife's grandmother lives on the water here and has a nice dock that she has been gracious enough to let us use. This is a wonderful place to tie up and has no wakes, no tides and no noise at night. Perfect!!  I took the dingy down today and went fishing under one of the local bridges ( I tell you where when we leave) and decided to try my luck at catching some red drum. The pin fish are in abundance here so after feeding them a shrimp dinner I decided to try fishing like Charlie Schiel and I do at Cape Hatteras for red drum. I took one of the pin fish and cut him in half for bait on one of those big circle hooks we use back home. In less than 4 minutes I had one one and never got him turned back towards the boat. I'm using 25# test line with almost no drag and still couldn't stop him. These are BIG fish!! He broke the line around the bridge pilings. The next rig lasted about as long with the same result. Broken line and no fish. I will catch this fish before I leave here.
 
11/24/04  Just back from a trip to Disney World. My cousin, Doug, is a bomb dog handler for Disney and had some passes so we spent a nice day with him touring the Disney parks. If you have never see the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom you are missing out on the best there is. I've seen a lot of fireworks but Disney is light years ahead of everything else out there. We sat a the end of Main Street and the castle was lit in every color possible and the fireworks are above the castle. A perfect night!!!  We visited Orlando again and some old friends there then stopped by Port Canaveral on the way back for some smoked Marlin. They have the best!  We will head south next week if the weather lets us but we have had a great time here in the Melbourne area. Oh, that fish I was talking about ended up being a Gag Grouper. 27" to be exact and I was broken off on the pilling once again after that one was caught so there seems to be more down there. I haven't found anyone who has caught them in this location before so I may be on to something here. My Aunt Carol fixed a fabulous dinner (Debbie even loved it) for the four of us using just one of the fillets. I also had the chance to fish with my cousin, Brian, for snook the other night. WOW!!  We fished the Sabastian Inlet in the dark on an outgoing tide that runs under the bridge at about 12 knots!! After a bunch of drifts and near misses with the bridge Brian hooked a snook but he was an inch to small to keep so back he went. This is fishing on the edge. The idea of being swept thru the breakers out to sea was interesting to say the least. Like I said, this really is fishing on the edge. Not much room for error. Never try Sabastian Inlet in anything but a planning power boat. We were in a 17 foot flats boat and at times we were on plane only to glance over at the jetty to find ourselves holding position in the same place. All this with another 15 boats doing the same thing. I think I'll stick to bottom fishing for redfish and grouper in my dingy.

Capt. Greg Gent
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We are docked somewhere in the middle of this pic
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11/30/04  Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me...................for once my age is lower than the temperature on my birthday. Temp outside is 74 and today is my 48th birthday. I like that kind of points spread!!   We are still tied up in a canal off the tip of Merrit Island. The picture above was taken Sunday from the seat of a Cessna 172 that my cousin, Greg, was the pilot of. We had a fabulous ride down to Ft. Pierce and back. Thanks Greg!!  We have had a wonderful time here. It's been so nice to get together with all the Gent family and we also visited my dear friends, Martin and Laura Cooper. I'm looking forward to the return trip in a few months.

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