Goin' South

Goin' South
On the Gulf Coast Waterway 11-2011

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Joaquin 30 Miles From Georgetown

We've been getting e-mails asking if we're OK after Hurricane Joaquin, and we heard that all the boats in Hole #2 survived unscathed!  Hooray!  Georgetown had a lot of wind and flooding, but the hardest hit were southern Long Island and the Acklins Islands.  Daren, Libby, and I are grateful to be far away from all the excitement...in Slidell, Louisiana, since mid-August.  Not that we're out of the hurricane zone!  This year was the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the survivors all have tales that make your hair stand on end!   It's incredibly beautiful here and the food is amazing, but we are heading back down to the Bahamas and Flying Dogs at the end of the month!  Time to fly south for the winter!  We were SO pleased to find Watermakers Airline, that let Libby ride inside a crate next to my seat in the cabin, nonstop from Georgetown to Ft.Lauderdale's Executive Airport!  We couldn't have had this vacation without them!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

One Year in Georgetown!

     Thanks to encouragement from Michael and Pat in Texas, former owners of our boat,  I'm back on the blog after 6 months!  It's good to know people read it!  : )
     We extended our Bahamian cruising permit for another year!  Compared to the Florida Keys, Georgetown is an easy commute for Daren!   (Thanks Al on Wind Dancer, who commutes to Houston).  Daren takes Delta from Nassau to Atlanta to San Jose, then an MVE car to Modesto!  He gets there on the same day, thanks to 3 time zones!  So, we'll stay here in Hole #2, Stocking Island, on a St.Francis Resort mooring as long as he's at MVE.
      Georgetown is great!  Bahamians are proudly Christian, and not cowed by political correctness, so there's no confusion about gender or marriage, or Who made us!  Faith and love trump fear and anger!  The locals are friendly, happy, healthy, and speak English!  They're hard-working, entrepreneurial,  family-oriented, and know the 10 Commandments,  so there's very little crime!   We love the Bahamas and mostly Bahamians!   The beauty of these islands is an added bonus!  : )
       S/V Windhover, with Susi, Henk, and son Theo are now in the Dominican Republic, and signed up for 4 months at Marina Zar Par, near Santo Domingo, on the south coast.  They spent a lot of time in Ile a Vache, Haiti, and loved it!  We'd planned to travel with them in December and that was our destination for Daren's commuting adventure!  They love the Dominican Republic, and we may catch up when Daren retires, if Jesus doesn't return first, which is a distinct possibility! 
       Have a wonderful Independence Day Celebration this weekend!  Bahamian Independence Day is July 10, and Daren arrives!  Hooray!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Day at Emerald Bay!

    Hope you had a great Christmas!  The holidays are flying by!  We had a wonderful Thanksgiving on Bonnie and Steve's amazing St. Francis catamaran, Paradigm Shift with 4 other H2O (Hole #2 Occupants!)  couples!   
     Marathon friends Pam and Rick on Forever, are still at Emerald Bay Marina, which is part of Sandals resort and were able to arrange day passes for us!  What a place!  We had a wonderful time and met 3 new couples!  It was perfect weather!   We rented a car and Libby was happy to hang out in the car with walks between our incredible meals!  What a place!
      We actually did try to leave Georgetown Dec.11, but Conch Cut was too rolly, so we anchored at Hamburger Beach for 10 days and loved it!  We felt like cruisers again being at anchor!  After much deliberation, we decided to delay our trip to Santo Domingo, until the weather's more settled!  We're just having too much fun!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Hurricane Season OVER!

     It's been a great summer, and the time has flown by!   Daren's in Missouri for the weekend, finally getting to visit our good friends and former neighbors before it gets too cold there!    He'll be home tomorrow evening....hooray!
    After spending July near Chat 'n' Chill, we moved to a more protected mooring in Hole # 2 on Stocking Island, near the St. Francis Resort.  It worked out really well, because Libby and I take a path over to Honeymoon Beach twice a day to swim.  There's also a 5 mile long ocean-side beach, where Libby likes to dig up crabs, but the waves make it hard to swim there!  About a month ago, we met a cruising family on a big ketch, Windhover, who are heading for the southern side of the Dominican Republic, too.  They invited us to the Anglican church and Daren and I both loved it!   It's very old, with a beautiful stained glass window, amazing choir, and we sing traditional hymns!   Henk, Susi, and their son Teddy work at the library, so we've been taking our picnic lunches there after church!  
      The weather's been gorgeous for all but a few rainy days all summer, and we've had Hole #2 pretty much to ourselves, surrounded by 16 Canadian boats.  A few of their owners have arrived in the last week, and I was invited to a party by Michelle and Dan on Sea Monkey, a neighboring trawler.  The party grew and was moved to the St.Francis Resort, where we had a great evening!   I met a lovely couple who own one of the St.Francis catamarans and they charter it for 3 couples. Bonnie and I took our dogs to the ocean beach this morning, and I got a tour of their boat.  Oh MY!  It's truly amazing, with 4 staterooms, each with shower or bath!  Go to www.sailparadigmshift.com if you'd like a look at the layout...nice photo gallery, too!  The owners of the St.Francis resort are from South Africa and their catamarans are built there.  They're VERY seaworthy, since they sail them up to Georgetown and then to the Miami boat show and the one in Annapolis.   
      Daren's bringing our new reverse osmosis water-maker when he comes home tomorrow, which means we'll never run out of water...anywhere!   Hooray!  He plans to take the month of December to move the boat down to Santo Domingo, where he will continue commuting to Modesto.  My sister Barb is planning to rent a house down there and bring her standard poodle, Ollie to play with Libby!   Rents are rumored to be very cheap there, so we hope to have lots of company this winter!
     

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Trip to the States

     Before we left Missouri in search of our boat 3 yrs ago, we promised our neighbors we'd attend their final annual Family Reunion in 2014, no matter where we were!  Who knew we'd be in Georgetown, Bahamas after so many changes in our sailing plans!  
     Sadly, just one of us could go, since Miss Liberty can't fly commercially...especially in July!   Daren volunteered to watch her on the boat, so I flew out of Georgetown on July 9-13th.   A whirlwind trip indeed!  Good friends Don and Cheryl picked me up in Kansas City about 7 pm and drove the 2.5 hours back to their house in Warsaw, after dinner at a wonderful Italian restaurant that even had gluten-free pasta!  
      We had a wonderful visit!  I'd forgotten how beautiful Missouri is in the summertime....SO green!   Cheryl drove me around the next day, and I stocked up on gluten-free foods from Wal-mart.  The weather was perfect and it was fun to see the library ladies and neighbors from our Flying Dogs Farm days!  I even got a real haircut in town!   Friday night, Don took Cheryl and me to see a fun movie in Sedalia, Jersey Boys, about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons!   Afterwards, we stopped at a real Dairy Queen for sundaes!  It was such a nostalgic and memorable evening, I felt like I was back in high school!!  
       The reunion in Fristoe on Saturday was great fun, too!  Lots of terrific food, friends, and entertainment!   Cindy and Jeff have 3 new horses, and gave rides to the kids.  I even sat on one and didn't get thrown off!   Daren posted the pictures to prove it!
      The next day, Sunday, I had to fly back home, and Don and Cheryl took me to Springfield Saturday night, where we got to see daughter Holley and stayed at Cheryl's Dad's house.   The visit was over so fast, it was like a blink in time!   But I'm so glad I got to go!  
       Daren had to go back to work in Modesto on July 15, so we had just one day together before he left for 2 weeks.  I'm SO glad we have these iPads to communicate with Face Time!  He's on his way home and will be back tomorrow for 2 weeks.  Hooray!  Libby is ecstatic!   It's too bad we didn't figure this out 2 yrs ago!  Oh well, no regrets!   We had a good time there, as well.  

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Thank God and Garmin we're Here! Georgetown, Exumas!


    We left Nassau Harbour Club Saturday morning, after a wonderful evening with our neighbor John, on Hanco, a lovely Hatteras, the night before, at SeƱor Frog's!  We had a great 40 mile sail over to Shroud Cay,  part of the Exumas Land and Sea Park, with moorings.  How nice not to bother anchoring or worry about dragging or damaging coral.   Sunday, we had a nice run to Black Point, on Great Guana Cay.   But Monday was the last and longest day to Georgetown, going straight into the wind and tacking every 2 hours for 12 1/2 hours to Monument Beach.  We couldn't have come in at night if not for the Garmin ap on our iPad!!  Truly impressive technology that shows exactly where you are and where the rocks are...where to zig and zag!
     Tuesday, July 1st, we went another mile to Gaviota Bay, where we finally caught up to Sue and Al's boat, Wind Dancer.   We had a great lunch at Chat and Chill with Sue, right in front of our boats.  Sue and I took a water taxi across the harbour to the Government Dock, where she showed me around town to Exuma Market and Batelco, where I signed up for internet service.  Nicki couldn't've been nicer, and we loved the sign on the wall that said "Treat others as you would like to be treated!"  If only everyone lived by this paraphrase of the Golden Rule!   I love this country!
      We were hoping to see Al tomorrow, for 4th of July, but he was just admitted to a Houston hospital for at least 10 days, because of a MRSA infection in his arm!  The doctors thought he'd been bitten by a brown recluse spider, but this is actually worse!  Please pray for his complete and speedy healing!  
      We are signed up for a month on this mooring, and it's really a great spot.  Libby loves the beautiful beach and jungle trail at the end that leads to Sand Dollar Beach, although there are no sand dollars, just picnic tables, which are a nice touch!    
      Hope you have a wonderful Independence Day tomorrow!  Bahamian Independence Day is July 10th, so I hope that means fireworks!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Nassau!

We finally left Marathon after nearly 2 yrs last Sunday, and had a great crossing to Morgan's Bluff, arriving there Tuesday afternoon.  Daren had no trouble clearing customs and immigration there and they couldn't have been nicer!  What a great welcome and Libby's all set to run the beaches at long last!  
     We left Wednesday morning and made it to the west end of New Providence Island, at Lyford Cay...very upscale neighborhood, but full of flies!  Ugh!  Worst thing was realizing we didn't  have a fly swatter onboard, and had to flail around the boat to chase them out!  Good exercise, I suppose!  : ) 
     Yesterday, we came around to Nassau, and kept going, anchoring at Athol Island, so we'd have a quick trip to the Exumas, but a nasty squall came up and we decided to go back to an old favorite marina, Nassau Harbour Club, where we tied up just before they closed at 6 pm.   We met nice neighbors, Laura and Rich, on a big Hatteras, Forever Young, who gave me 4 laundry tokens, so I was thrilled to wash all the wet things we had!  We had to go out to eat, so walked over to the Poop Deck, where we had a lovely, albeit expensive fish and lobster dinner!  We'd planned to leave this morning, but didn't leave early enough, and the weather 's not so great anyway.  So, tomorrow we'll head to Norman's Cay, Sunday to Big Farmer's Cay, and Monday,we should reach Georgetown.  We are thoroughly enjoying our trip so far, thanks to your continued prayers, and will have an update and internet in Georgetown.  Right now, we're at the Starbuck's across from the marina, at a great shopping center with a Bed Bath and Beyond, that had flyswatters! 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Man Plans and God Laughs!

   We came SO very close to leaving for Georgetown this weekend, but missed our weather window by just a couple days!    Saturday would've been ideal for motoring across the Gulf Stream, but we just weren't ready yet!  Now the wind's blowing straight out of the east, which is where we need to go for over 200 miles to Nassau before we turn south.  The difference in speed could be 2 knots compared to 6, so last night, we decided Daren should go back to work earlier than planned and come home for a longer stretch of days off next time he gets home, June 17th. 
   We are very disappointed, of course, but Daren just had too many projects to complete when he got home last Tuesday.   On the bright side, we now have a working wind generator and brand new auto-pilot and a literal boat-load of food!  : )
    Meredith and her husband Brian had their baby on May 13th at their home in London.  All went well, and my sister Barb is visiting them now.  Lina Bird is the first grand-baby/great niece in our family, so this is a big event!
      Last night, I spoke with my sister Judy in Pensacola, and am hoping she'll come visit Libby and me while we're waiting for Daren to get back.  That'd be great fun!   We had such a nice visit with Mary!   
     We are SO anxious to get to the Bahamas and we know we will...eventually!!  As Daren says, "We're a long time leaving, but we'll be a long time gone!"
      

Friday, May 9, 2014

3 Days on the Hard!

      I'm so happy to report that we finally got the boat hauled and bottom painted while Daren was home last time!   Out Monday morning and back in the water last Thursday, May 1st.  Thanks to diver Bobby the Viking scrubbing the bottom regularly,  it was remarkably clean, and we were pleasantly surprised to see the bottom in such great shape!   No blisters or barnacles, and minimal damage to the fin keel, which Daren fixed with carbon fiber.  It was a very dog-friendly yard, on the bay side, Keys Boat Works.  We were able to stay on the boat at night, and Libby went up in a bosun's chair Monday night, but was unwilling to come down the next morning!   The yard manager brought a forklift and pallet over to provide an elevator for her!   I wish I'd had the camera!  It was pretty funny and I was impressed with his kindness!   Once we found her life vest, she was fine being hoisted up and down.   There was even another German Shorthaired Pointer to keep her company,  Captain Snoop.
      We had to raise the waterline 5 inches, because we keep putting things on the boat!  Sue and Al are waiting for us in Georgetown, (for nearly 2 months!) and need their mainsail repaired, so I packed my sewing machine.  Daren's found all kinds of canned food online, like grass-fed meat, cheddar cheese, and best of all, New Zealand butter, for all those lobsters!  Yum!
      Saturday was my birthday, and although I was hoping we'd be in the Bahamas by now, we had a great visit from long-time boat friends, Tom and Jodie, who drove down from Stuart!   Tom's birthday's just a week before mine, so we had a great celebration!
      The big family news is that niece Meredith and husband Brian are expecting a baby any day now.  My sister Barb is flying out to London tomorrow for a couple weeks.  We don't know the baby's name yet, but will very soon!
        Daren's decided to commute from Georgetown for a month or so, then on to Dominican Republic, and we think we'll finally leave when he gets home May 20th.  We shall see...
       
     

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Almost Ready!

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and great 2014 so far! We're shrinking our to-do list, and are pretty much down to the stuff we just have to buy; another solar panel (flexible & fits on the bimini), de-salinizer, small generator, and new sails (on order)! Daren's always working on boat projects when he's home. He pulled the wheel out of the cockpit and put in a lovely new tiller, which gives us a lot more room. He moved the 6 shrouds (cables that stabilize the mast on the sides) to the outside of the boat from the middle of the deck, which gives us more room to walk around. He installed new stainless steel davits he had made in CA. We still haven't hauled the boat to paint it yet, but are thinking of March, just before we finally leave Marathon! I know! You'll believe it when you see it! Daren's still very happy at MVE, so he's having a hard time leaving them. As much as Libby and I miss him when he's gone for 2 weeks, there are a couple of advantages. I can read late at night, or rearrange things, which makes a big mess! I just got rid of a bunch of dishes so we'll have more room for food! There are lots of boats in the harbor right now, most waiting for good weather to go to the Bahamas. It's been pretty cold here for about a week, but today we're back to the 70's, and a few boats left today! My younger sister Mary's coming down for a visit Feb.8-10. She'll be in Ft. Lauderdale after a Caribbean cruise, so we're very excited about seeing her before she heads back to Denver.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Time Flies!

September already?? I thought I'd add a few photos, and found updates of friend's blogs when I ck'd in. I'm glad to hear that Michelle and Joe on Simple Life are heading back down to the Keys. Daren and I've been busy when he's home, but decided to postpone the haul out and bottom paint job until we get to the Bahamas next January. We had a great visit from Don and Cheryl in July for Daren's birthday.
This is that corner cushion that caused me so much grief! I was happy to finish it about 2 days before Cheryl and Don came to visit, thanks to upholstery tips from Welder Dave! Isn't it great to have company to inspire you to finish projects!? Things are pretty quiet in Marathon, but we're getting some things done when Daren's home. Right now, the 3 of us are at the Motel 6 in Dania Beach and Daren's watching Monday Night Football! Libby and I will drop him at the Ft. Lauderdale airport first thing in the morning and head back to Marathon and drop off the rental car. Libby and I are getting pretty good at finding our way back and forth...it's actually a very scenic 3 hour drive...well, especially the Keys part of it! Here's a funny picture Don took on Daren's birthday at Lazy Days! Great view and has a creative chef! That's raspberry sauce with his key lime pie!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Luperon!

So much has happened! Mom passed away in her sleep on May 9th, so I'm very grateful that I got to say goodbye! Her Pastor Bruce has been on a mission trip, so tomorrow, July 1st, is her celebration of life service in Denver. I thought Daren would be gone back to work, so I'd decided to stay here In Marathon with Libby, but he was just given time off for Independence Day until July 23rd! Of course, Libby and I are thrilled to have him home for so long, and we have plenty of projects to do. We're having the boat hauled out and painted August 9th and Daren's going to replace the wheel in the cockpit with a tiller, so we'll have more room outside. We found a great little Yeti cooler that fits the gaps in the cockpit seats perfectly to make a bed on each side. We love the new fridge, which is very efficient and runs very well on the solar panels. I made a water-catching awning for the forward hatch, but Daren's going to get a water maker as well. He's also putting in new chain plates on the outside of the hull and new davits so the dinghy will be higher off the water when we're underway. We're planning to spend next hurricane season (summer) in the Dominican Republic. I met Griselda, a lovely Christian lady from Puerto Plata, who's been helping me with my Spanish. She's married to Roger, an American on a sailboat here and they just left for a family visit to Domincan Republic last Thursday. They kindly loaned us their car while they're away, and we've been exploring the area, finding more dog-friendly places to eat! Libby enjoyed the Coco Plum dog beach Friday AND Saturday, but today we took the day off to give her a rest! Luperon sounds like a wonderful place to live and a perfect hurricane hole, since the mountains block them! They grow most everything there, and none of it's sprayed or GMO! It's a Christian country with little violent crime and no drug trafficking! Most of you boaters have read Bruce Van Sant's great book, The Gentleman's Guide to Passages South (the Thornless Path to Windward). We just bought his 12th and final edition. He's made dozens of trips from Florida to Venezuela, and lives in Luperon, so that's quite a recommendation! The Dominican Republic's not very far from the Bahamas and airfare's cheap, in case Daren's still working for MVE by then! We're looking forward to it, but are enjoying the preparations and living here in beautiful Marathon. I recently discovered frozen conch at our Publix fish counter, so we've been eating a lot of it...sauteed in butter with Tiger Sauce. I think I'll make some right now!!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Denver and Florida Road Trip

Mom had a massive stroke on Mary's birthday, Monday April 15th, and Daren insisted on flying me out to Denver on Thursday, the day after he got home from CA! It was a great visit, under the circumstances and in spite of snow! Mom is out of the hospital and happy in her new nursing-care room. Everyone's really nice there, and most of the staff know her since she's lived on the assisted living side for several years. It was sure good to see Mom! She's doing SO much better and miraculously, her paralysis went away! All 4 of us daughters were there, and I got to see 2 out of 4 of our nieces, too. It was a nice family reunion! Daren & Libby picked me up at FLL Monday and we drove up to see boat friends in Stuart and Green Cove Springs (near St. Augustine). Daren is so sweet! He thought I'd need cheering up, and it was also a birthday road trip, since he's going to miss my big 60th birthday May 3rd! We had a great time, although it was pretty cold in St. Augustine and Green Cove Springs! I had to get my Colorado clothes back out! It was a whirlwind trip and we got home Thursday night. Daren added more insulation to the fridge, but still plans to buy a new one. At least the old one's back together and working! He left this morning, and I still have 2 cushions to sew, but they're the tricky ones. It's nice to be home again, but it's better when Daren's home, too!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Weather

Daren's back in Modesto, after a weather delay that stuck him in Austin Tuesday night! Last night, we were expecting a big blow here in Marathon, but it didn't hit until 3 AM! We were hunkered down and fine, but Libby was terrified by the loud thunder, and wanted up in the V-berth with me. That's always been the one place she's not allowed, but she looked so pitiful I helped her up and played music on my little radio to calm her down! She was quite comfy this morning, snoring softly as I had my tea and read in bed. We listened to the Marathon Cruisers' net on VHF 68 at 9 am, to learn that a 30 ft Catalina was dis-masted here last night! YIKES! There was a huge group to help get the mast back on deck this morning. This is a very helpful place, and apparently, the owner is fine, as well as his macaw! There's an open FB page called "Boot Key Harbor Cruisers", and was told there'll be photos posted this afternoon. Libby and I came to shore this morning before more rain hit, and are planning to sew a couple sail bags and a propane cover if and when we get off the computer! : ) My friend Michelle, with the cool blog, showed me how to put the photos in the right place, instead of off to the side. Like this:

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

What a great Easter Sunday it's been! We've been having a great time since Daren got home! We went to see The Sound of Music at the local playhouse last Sunday, and it was excellent! What a happy story and lovely songs and it was fun to see sailing friends in it! Steve, Mimzie, Jacob, and Danielle were all involved and the local paper did a great write-up on them. The weather's been perfect and Daren's building a cabinet over the chart table. Every time he's home, he has a new project! Last time, it was a new dining table! This boat just gets better all the time! The next project is a new fridge. Our Adler-Barber uses too much juice because it runs so much, so Daren wants a low-energy Engel system. Our friends Michele and Joe on S/V Simple Life have a keel-cooled fridge that sounds interesting, but you have to haul the boat out to install it, and we're not quite ready for that! Our wind generator's been humming along lately, but it takes a lot of wind to get it going! It sure beats running the engine! Daren just finished scraping the bottom of the dinghy, and reports that the water's pretty cold! It's all relative, as I'm sure we're still in one of the warmest spots in the Country! You must check out friend Michele's blog, which should be listed as one that I'm following. It's www.sailingsimplelife.blogspot.com Excellent, and she's already posted photos from this morning's Easter sunrise service! We got to Skype Mom this afternoon! It was great fun to see Alex and Barb's new standard poodle puppy, Oliver, just 8 weeks old! CUTE!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Left Behind!

Sorry for the blog gap! I've gotten some interesting e-mails from friends wondering what's happened to us!! I always thought "No news is good news!" Everything's great and the harbor's been packed with boats. Time slips away down here! Daren's still commuting to Modesto every other 2 weeks, and Libby and I stay busy with projects. Bill and Diane on Tugnacious left Monday, and JoElla drove her car up to Jacksonville. Gary left with their boat Caveat yesterday, and I miss them all already! Lots of boats are leaving the harbor because of the fair weather. The wind blows ALL the time around here, which is why it's so nice in the summer. Libby and I are working on new interior cushions out of Sunbrella velvet, which is washable. Daren hates slipcovers, but these I can peel off and throw in the wash! We've been meeting lots of nice new people and last night, I went to a potluck at the chiki hut, which was a fare-well to departing boats! This morning looked like a boat parade! Soon we'll be among a few dozen boats instead of a few hundred!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Gilligan's Island Picnic!

What a fun day today! Bobby the Viking had the great idea of inviting everyone in the harbor (on the daily VHF radio net) to dinghy over to an uninhabited island past Sombrero Beach, called Gilligan's Island, for grilled chicken fajitas. He brought his grill and big bag of marinated chicken breasts and tortillas and cheese and I brought grilled onions and others brought chips and homemade salsa! Yum! 15 of us from 9 boats followed "Beastie" over to the island at 11 am for a great lunch! There would've been a bigger turn-out if the weather hadn't started out cloudy with a bit of rain, but by noon, it was another Keys-perfect day! Libby had a blast running off-leash with 3 other dogs and one 25 pound cat, named "Crew" from S/V "Old Broad". We all had such a great time, that we voted unanimously to come back every Saturday from now on! I'm happy to report that Daren got our wind generator up and running and it's nice and quiet and seems to be producing electricity, too! Daren took a photo of it spinning, but the camera froze the blades! Anyway, you get the idea! We had a wonderful grilled snapper dinner last night on M/V "Caveat" with JoElla and Gary and their neighbors Bill and Diane on M/V "Tugnacious". JoElla and Diane are both talented quilters and Mah Jongg players and we all go to the same church, New Life AG, down the street. JoElla has a missionary friend in the San Blas Islands near Panama, and she's making gorgeous wall hangings and book covers using the Cuna Indians' intricate cotton molas to sell and help finance the mission..."Molas for Missions". Diane's making quilted notebook covers for a girl's orphanage in Brazil. They both have sewing spaces on their boats! I'm inspired by them to make new cushions, but will prob'ly work in the marina's "club house", since I like to spread out and make a mess! Hope you're having a great 2013 so far! Daren's going back to Modesto this Thursday, Jan. 10th, and Libby and I miss him already! Time sure flies when he's home!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Electric Start!!

What a great Christmas! Daren got home at 2 am Christmas morning, and woke up with the great idea of driving up to Stuart (5 hours) to see boat friends Tom and Jodie, while we had a rental car. We arrived just in time for the turkey feast and got to see both of their Moms and also Tracy, who stopped by after her family feast across town. After spending Christmas night at Tom's Mom's, we went to breakfast with Tom and Jodie and got to see their Union 36, which Tom's been restoring and looks great since we first saw it 6 yrs ago! They're planning to go cruising in a year, when Jodie retires. We all went to Calico Corners in Stuart, where we found some gorgeous fish fabric for the interior cushions. The sheet slipcovers I made are looking pretty bad, but at least they're washable! Libby may not be as welcome on the new ones, but we'll see....she's such a good dog!! Daren and I spent Thursday trying to find a used outboard motor in Marathon to replace our 15 HP that we got tired of throwing money at! No luck, so Friday, we picked up another rental car and drove up to Tampa (7 hours). Daren'd found a gem online, and we needed it right away, since we were borrowing our friends' Diane and Bill (Tugnacious)'s dinghy! They were so kind to loan it to us! We got home late last night, after a stop at Bass Pro and Chick Fil-A, near our old neighborhood of Ft. Myers. Daren designed the master plan for 10,000 acres on Alico Road years ago, and it was fun to see how great it looks built out! Part of it is called Miramar Lakes with a sign that claims to be "The Number One Community in the USA"! No surprise to ME! Daren and Bill just got the new motor installed on our dinghy this afternoon! It's a 9.9 HP Mercury with ELECTRIC START!! Just that phrase makes me smile! : ) Push a button, and it starts right up....a MIRACLE! I will be the envy of Boot Key Harbor!! It runs like a top and is pretty quiet! Funny the things that make our lives better! Daren and Bill are watching football at Hurricane's so Libby and I are enjoying the computer to ourselves! Daren's home until the 10th of January, so I know "we'll" get a lot of projects done!! Next up: the wind generator! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12-12-12

It seems like a memorable date to update the blog! The harbor's still full of boats, but a flotilla left last Saturday, Dec. 8th, including Al and Sue on "Wind Dancer". The weather's been lovely, and I just got home from the post office, where I was the only customer! I DO love this little town of Marathon!! Good pal, JoEllen, on a Marine Trader 34 (like the one we had 15 yrs!) and I went for crab claws Monday and stopped by the Purr-fect Thrift store, which is ALWAYS closed, it seems. A nice man opened it up for us, having just arrived to take care of the cats. Cats were everywhere, and JoEllen and I are, well, dog people, but we found some real treasures: small sea-life paintings and a mint-condition spritz cookie press, with all 12 templates, including the camel and dog! Funny the things that make your day! Yesterday, I baked cookies all day, but because of the heat or humidity or lack of enough flour, all the shapes looked a lot alike! But they tasted great and it was a fun project while listening to Christmas music! Daren had to go back to work last Saturday, and we drove up to Miami Friday night and stayed at a really nice Motel 6 in Cutler Ridge. We got to see good friends Don and Cheryl while Daren was home and stayed with them at their lovely time share on the beach. Libby was invited to stay here on our friends' boat, No Mas, a 41' Morgan with 2 kids and 2 dogs. She had a blast and we had a nice worry-free visit! We went to a fabulous French restaurant, Chez Paul. It was a wonderful farewell dinner before we parted ways. They went back to Missouri and we drove back to Marathon. Daren'll be home Christmas Eve, and then he's off until Jan. 10th! It's very tempting to take the boat to the Bahamas, but so much easier to stay here, and Marathon has everything! Our nearby church (New Life AG) is renting the Conch Train in Key West Dec. 18th to go caroling. There are lots of kids at that church, since they run a day-care, and it's always fun when they sing...too cute! Tomorrow night, the youth group is having a Christmas program, so there's plenty going on around here. The boat parade was last Saturday night, and JoEllen and I had ringside seats from her trawler's flying bridge. I can't believe she wants to sell that great boat, but she's a sailor at heart! Hope you have a wonderful Christmas season, too!

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Keys Thanksgiving!

The harbor's filling up fast with newly arriving boats, mostly on their way to the Bahamas. Our friends Sue and Al on Wind Dancer got here Wednesday, Nov. 14th, just in time to say goodbye to Daren, who left early the next day! I hardly recognized Al, who's been gluten-free for nearly a month. He lost 9 pounds the first week and his stomach is gone! Not that he was Santa...but still quite a healthy improvement. Sue'd read a book that pharmacist friend Don had also recommended...Wheat Belly. Wheat's very inflammatory, and I found that cutting it out (Paleo diet)caused my swollen knee to finally return to normal...hooray! Health friend Sage took me to a lecture on Curcumin a few weeks ago at our local health food store, and that stuff's amazing! It's from tumeric root, which is used in curry. Apparently, Indians don't have anywhere near the Alheimer's, dementia, or depression we do. ...Also less cancer and heart disease, but that might be from a lack of junk food!? The day before Thanksgiving, Sue and Al hosted a lovely gluten-free brunch on their boat for 8, all of whom are heading for the Bahamas, except me. But that's OK! I really do like it here and it's a much easier commute for Daren. I found a really easy GF recipe online for pumpkin, orange, pecan, cranberry bread that was quite yummy. It had no sugar in it but, slathered with honey butter, it was delicious! Yesterday was a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration at Dockside Bar & Grill. They provided the turkey, ham, and desserts, and we each brought side dishes and a $5 donation, which went to a local charity. There must've been 150 people and 7 dogs there (Libby stayed home). The shaded deck was packed, but we found a double picnic table in the sun behind the stage where 8 of us enjoyed a great visit without the full volume of the fantastic live music! There was an amazing selection of fabulous foods by creative cruising cooks! The weather was perfect, and it was such a fun day, it was impossible not to be FULL of gratitude!! I hope Dockside'll host another feast for Christmas! We'll see.. Sailor friend Sage flew to Rochester last Friday for Thanksgiving with family, and I went with her and cute dog Bella to the Key West airport. (Southwest Airlines!) Bella can go anywhere as a designated service animal and I sure wish I could get that for Libby!! It was fun having Sage's little Prius car for a week. It doubled as a big kennel for Libby in the morning when I took showers! Dog's aren't allowed and Libby makes quite a fuss when she's tied outside! But she was quite content in Sage's car, allowing me to take longer showers! I picked up Sage and Bella today, and they had a great time with family. It's a stunningly beautiful drive and only an hour west of Marathon. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving, too. Daren was in California, but will be home next Wednesday! Sue and Al were afraid they'd miss him, but everyone's waiting for this north wind to shift back to the Southeast in order to cross the Gulfstream, and who knows when that'll happen! In the meantime, it's nice having them as neighbors!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hurricane Sandy!

Libby and I are having an exciting day! Hurricane Sandy's going through the Bahamas right now, but we're getting some pretty serious wind and rain from the outer bands! Yesterday, I battened everything down, but didn't bother with the bimini canvas top, and this afternoon about 3, I ended up hanging onto the straps, sure it was about to take off, frame and all, for what seemed like a long time...prob'ly only 10 minutes! It'd been grey and rainy all morning, but when it stopped, I'd considered taking Libby to shore, even though I had the dinghy all tied up behind the boat with the outboard tightly covered. I was on the phone with nice trawler-friend & neighbor, Jo Ellen, who suggested I "wait until this next squall goes by!" Then, POW, we got hit hard! I tried standing on the deck to measure the wind speed with our little hand-held anamometer (where's spell-ck?!) and it showed 55 mph before I had to get back inside because it got a LOT stronger with blinding rain! This is certainly a bigger deal than Isaac, but it's not over yet...supposed to last through tomorrow. Things'll be fine for about an hour and then we'll get blasted again! At least I was able to get the bimini down while there was a lull! I'm sure glad we're not in the Bahamas right now! Who can believe we'd have a storm this late? Daren's back in Modesto and will be home Nov. 3rd. He loves MVE's big design projects and his co-workers and has a great schedule...2 weeks on and 2 weeks off! We signed up for a whole month on the mooring thru the 18th of November, but I'm kind of hoping we'll stay through the winter. I've met so many nice friends here and even found a good church last Sunday (New Life Assembly of God, so I felt right at home!) I met the young family on S/V No Mas, who'd just started going there, too! Mimzie and Steve have 2 great kids onboard and 2 dogs that we took over to Boot Key where the 3 of them had a great and exhausting time Tuesday! Our good friends from MO, Cheryl and Don are coming to Daytona Beach, so we'll rent a car and take Libby up to see them! I'm hoping we'll have lots of visitors down here this winter. We're finding some really great restaurants! Our new favorite is the Keys Fisheries, where you can get stone crab claws for $1.25 apiece! Served cold with mustard sauce and a knock-out view of the bay! The best part is, it's right across the street from the marina! About a week ago, Daren and I saw a catamaran, Speck come into the harbor. We'd met in the Bahamas about 16 yrs ago! (Who could forget THAT name!) We were sure there'd be new owners by now, but I was happy to see Irwin in his dinghy on my way to the marina and I recognized him right away, but he wasn't so sure about me! I had the advantage, having seen his boat, and of course, we had our trawler, New Issue back then! Our friend Candy in Texas is looking for long-lost boat friends Linda and Prentis on S/V Oceana, last address here in Marathon! Let me know if you've seen them lately, and I'll let her know! That's the great thing about boats...seeing great friends all the time, and you can always pick up where you left off! No matter how different people are, boats are a great common thread! It's always good to find similarities, and we all have SOMETHING in common, whether you're a Christian, conservative, dog-lover, or foodie! I'm still on the Paleo Plan and feeling great! : )

Saturday, September 22, 2012

At Home in Marathon!!

Last Sunday, Daren and I realized that we really DO like it here in Marathon! I keep hearing that old Jimmy Buffet song in my head... "I Have Found Me a Home..." and may even get myself a "big red bike"! It's nice not needing a car and having a private island for Libby to run on...if I can just keep her ON it and out of the water! $300/month for a city mooring is actually a pretty good deal in Florida, and there'll be no anchor-anxiety. With Daren commuting for awhile (depending on the Election results!), it makes sense to stay in the States. He loves Southwest Airlines, and they're starting service to Key West November 1st, so we may move back there. The Keys will be hard to beat in the winter....we're below 25 degrees latitude. For comparison, Stuart's above 27, Rockport's at 28, and San Diego's at 33! Not that latitude is everything, but neither of us like the cold and got rid of our winter clothes!! We've sure enjoyed Daren's time off. Summer's officially over, so it's cooled down and we're having wind and rain. Sorry the blog kind of bogged down! I'll let you know when we next move the boat! In the meantime, have fun, stay well, and keep praying for our Country!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hooray! Daren's Home!

I picked up Daren at the dock yesterday (9-11) at 2 AM, and Libby and I are thrilled to have him back home! He had his rental car all day yesterday, so we had a fun day on wheels! Just after we got back to the boat, a big squall came along and dragged our anchor! That was exciting, as Daren had to pull it up and re-set it twice, but I kept thinking, WHAT IF HE HADN'T BEEN HERE?! I can barely lift the 48-pound jerry cans of water, much less the anchor and 200 feet of chain! Daren thinks I "horrible-ize", which is worrying in retrospect, but he WAS here, so thank God for that! He sure looks out for Libby and me! I'm real glad Tom's offered to let us stay on his mooring when we get to Stuart! It's always good to minimize potential problems! : ) Marathon had beautiful calm weather the whole week Daren was gone! Tracy drove down from Stuart Sunday and we had a great time! She is SO entertaining with such funny stories! We had a big dinghy ride Monday, chasing Libby who was chasing birds almost out of the harbor! Libby just wouldn't listen to either of us, but we're both big dog-softies, and need sterner voices! Tracy's from Stuart but has only been back there about a year. We were next-door-neighbors in Denver about 10 YEARS ago! Her childhood friend, Colin, has a world famous sail-making company in Stuart...Mack Sails! (You've seen their full-page ads in sailing magazines!) Tracy brought me a cool Mack Sails hat and a great big tote bag made from sail material! It's my new favorite thing! Daren has 2 whole weeks off, so we plan to move the boat up to Stuart as soon as the weather settles in a few days! We are ready for a change of scene!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Isaac Gone!

Just realized I didn't post this! It was in the drafts! Isaac came and went, Sunday night and Monday, (Aug 26&27) and we are very happy to be just fine! We're in a very protected place here in Boot Key Harbor, and have decided it's a good place for Libby and me to be while Daren's in CA. I've got a new library card and a good dinghy to take Libby to shore, so she and I will be just fine, other than missing Daren.! He's leaving Monday morning, and Libby and I will take him to the dock to meet the Keys Shuttle at 6:30 am for his noon flight out of Ft. Lauderdale. We're very excited about this new adventure and it will be tricky to move much, but we are determined to get to Stuart and then the Bahamas! Stay tuned... : )

Company Coming!

Glad I found the Isaac post! No wonder people were confused! We moved back to the anchorage on the 30th, and Daren went to Modesto Monday morning 9-3. I'm happy to report he's having a great time with lots of design projects that should keep him busy for a few years! Libby and I are keeping the boat afloat, but we're glad he'll be back home Monday night, with 2 weeks off so we can re-locate. We're not sure whether to go to Stuart first, or straight to Bimini or West End in the Abacos from Miami. There are lots of flights from Marsh Harbour, and Nassau and Georgetown when winter arrives. Tracy e-mailed today and said she'll drive down tomorrow for a visit, in case we don't make it to Stuart! That's awfully nice of her, and we'll have a blast! We haven't seen each other in quite a while!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Hunkered Down in Marathon!

We almost left Thursday morning to head up to Ft. Lauderdale, thinking there was still a chance Daren could make his flight Monday morning to CA. We only got as far as the fuel dock, where we discovered fuel in the bilge! Daren thought we might have a leak in the fuel tank, so we took a mooring ball at the City Marina. The tank's fine, and it's actually a good thing that we're here, as yesterday would've been an awful trip between Rodriguez Key and Miami, and then we'd still have a 3rd day up the Intracoastal to Ft. Lauderdale! So it all worked out, and we ended up getting new FL driver's licenses! No waiting at all, as we were the only 2 customers at the DMV! It was a lovely day and we secured the boat, but didn't take the sails off, just wrapped them up good. The mooring balls are rated for a category 3 hurricane, and we have 3 lines on it with fire-hose chafing gear, compliments of the marina. The weather experts keep downgrading the storm, so we decided to stay onboard instead of getting a motel, as we'd rather not be stuck onshore without our dinghy, which would be stored at the marina. This way we'll have everything we need, and not have to depend on restaurants for food. When Daren went through Hurricane Andrew ('92 in Nassau, with our trawler), he and Pete stayed in a hotel (its roof blew off!) and he had to eat out of vending machines for 3 days! I was on a trip for Continental, based in Newark, but made it to Ft. Myers from Ft. Lauderdale in a rental car and stayed at a motel near the marina in Ft. Myers with boat friends, but I digress! We're only going to have a Tropical Storm here, or at the worst, a Category 1. Today, it's raining hard and real windy, and lots of the anchored boats have decided to pick up mooring balls, and having quite a time of it. It's supposed to clear this afternoon, so Libby might get one more trip to shore before we secure the dinghy and motor. We'll see.... She's hopeful. Isaac's supposed to arrive Monday morning about 8 am. I was hoping for night, so we could just sleep through it! : )

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Stay or GO??

We had everything ready to leave first thing tomorrow morning; groceries, fuel, propane, & charts. We even had a farewell dinner at Burdine's with our boat neighbor Kevin! Then we found out that the prevailing SE wind will shift tomorrow night to NE, which is unheard of this time of year, and the last thing you want on the Gulf Stream, which runs the opposite direction. We'd planned on a nice offshore overnight sail, but with north winds, it'd be a motor trip, hugging the shore (and dodging lobster traps!) to avoid the Gulf Stream's "square waves", as Uncle Bob calls them! On the other hand, the farther north we can get, the less weather we'll have from the hurricane. After agonizing over this, we decided to stay here on a mooring, take the sails and canvas off and stash them, and get a motel room Sunday night. Isaac's already been downgraded to a Tropical Storm, but should go right through Marathon, which means up to 70 knots of wind and lots of rain for several days. Then, when it calms down, we'll do that offshore trip to West Palm Beach and take the Intracoastal from there to Stuart, and Daren'll fly to work from West Palm Beach. Sounds like a good plan and it'll be a fun place for me to be while Daren's at work, hanging out with Tom and Jodie and Tracy and John.

Waiting on Isaac!

We're still in Marathon, and those of you on my e-mail list know the great news that Daren's office in Modesto, Mid Valley Engineering, is ready for him to come back to work, after about 2 yrs of waiting for the economy to recover! We're both excited about it, but commuting will certainly be a challenge! Daren planned to leave this morning at 4 AM on the Keys shuttle to fly out of Ft. Lauderdale, but because of this possible hurricane, he put it off until next Monday (8-27), which is now the day they're predicting it could hit! It's too early to know when or where or even IF it'll be any big deal, which certainly makes it hard to make a plan. So, we are trusting God will make the choice clear to us, but for today we're staying put. We just talked to Tom up in Stuart and thought, if we go up there (150 miles), Daren could still fly out of West Palm Beach. At this point, we're concerned that his Ft. Lauderdale flight could be cancelled on Monday. Right now, the weather's nice, and we are definitely overdue for a change of scenery, although it's been really nice here. Yesterday was good friend, Don's birthday and tomorrow's the 1 yr anniversary of buying our boat in Rockport! Time sure flies, although "Flying Dogs" loves to rest for awhile between flights!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Outboard Motor FIXED!!

SO happy to report that we finally have our outboard fixed! Hooray!! Daren rowed to shore to pick it up this afternoon from Jim, who finally found the part (coil) on E-Bay! We'd pretty much given up on our old motor, but finally asked God to solve the problem, and not 2 hours later got a call from Jim that he found the elusive part! Quite a "coincidence" don't ya think?! Sure wish we'd thought of it a lot sooner! It's really true that "God is in the details!". Daren came zooming home this evening and it was a wonderful sight...wish I'd had my camera handy! We've been rowing so long (over a month!) that my arms look like Rosie the Riveter's! We've met so many nice people here in Marathon! Our next door neighbor, Kevin, has a guest onboard with a cute chihuahua mix puppy, Sammy! It's fun to see him try to play with Libby when we take them to shore twice a day. She mostly ignores him! Every morning at 9, there's a cruisers' net on the VHF radio with all kinds of good info. Norm and Barbara left San Francisco 18 yrs ago, and are now heading for Texas to put their boat on a truck back to CA. I just finished reading a fun autobiography called The Motion of the Ocean, by a woman who left Seattle on a sailboat on their honeymoon and made it all the way to Hong Kong in 2 years! According to the author, you have to have a B-HAG, or a Big Hairy Audacious Goal! I prefer to say PLAN, as it makes for a better acronym! I love reading about other people's sailing adventures, and hope that someday we'll make it to the South Pacific, too, but we don't want to subject Libby to a trip like that! Meanwhile, we'll be glad to get over to the Bahamas, so I can change the photo at the top of this blog to something a little more tropical!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Libby's Good to GO!

Well, the tooth is fixed and we bought another phone, and Don called from Missouri Thursday night with great news: he and Cheryl received Libby's Bahamian dog entrance papers...in the mail! Here we've been waiting for the FAX to arrive at Tracy's office in Stuart! Cheryl's daughter, Holley, scanned and e-mailed them to us to print out, so Hooray! We celebrated Daren's 65th bday on Friday, July 20th. I'm glad to say he's hardly changed in these 35 years since we met in San Diego, just before his 30th! Boat life keeps him strong, healthy, and happy! We're still in Marathon, and still waiting for an outboard engine! Things don't happen very fast in the Keys! Mechanic Cody's working on a 15 HP Mariner for us, but we're not sure when it'll be ready! We'd like to leave for the Bahamas before lobster season begins in August, and the water becomes an obstacle course of traps! Tom up in Stuart is looking for an outboard for us, too, but we hope to find one here and make a bee-line for Bimini! Meanwhile, it's such a great spot! It's a very calm anchorage, and every morning, I row Libby over to the south end of the defunct bridge, where there's an old un-used road (since the bridge is out!), with nothing but trees and land crabs, a radio tower, and a few trash piles. Libby and I also found some burned-out bee hives...about 15 of them at the west end of the road. One colony's still buzzing with activity, but we didn't get too close, in case they're Africanized (aka killer-bees)! Boat neighbor, Kevin loaned us a great book, Voyage of Commitment, by Raymond Triplett. He and his wife made an 8 yr circumnavigation between 1973 and 1981, going west from San Francisco. They had some amazing and harrowing experiences! He reminds me of Dirk Pitt in those Clive Cussler novels....a quasi-super-hero getting out of tight jams! Triplett gives God credit, though, and of course, that's the key to his "luck"! I love this line: "Time, not money, is the real currency of our lives...when time is expended, it can never be replaced." There's a sobering thought! I'd better get off this computer!! : )

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tooth Delay!

We're still here in Marathon, and as the saying goes, "there's always something!" I broke a filling on some organic popcorn (should've used Orville's!) on July 3rd and am still trying to get it fixed. Today's the day, but I have sworn off popcorn forever! The dentist told me it's the #1 cause of broken fillings, which is small consolation. The delay was a result of the holiday, of course, so my timing was pretty bad! Daren's still trying to get our outboard engine fixed or find a good used one, but in the meantime, we're getting lots of rowing exercise! It looks like we might need a new cell phone, too! I think the charger just fried ours! It's real hot and won't turn on! I miss it already, but I guess it's good practice to live without it! We had a wonderful July 4th celebration with an amazing fireworks display and live music at a waterfront pub. Sue and Al left for Fort Myers Beach on Friday, the 6th, and it's been raining off and on ever since! At least the weather's cool, and we're meeting fun people here at the anchorage. Mike on "Fast Times", from England, just arrived from Cuba, which he does NOT recommend! He said the people are so depressed by their government, they wear long faces and the service is terrible (no work incentive!). He got sick twice from the food, and said there's next to nothing to buy in the "shops". Another neighbor, Kevin, on "Imma-Nu-El" has some amazing stories! He fell off his boat 10 miles offshore and managed to swim back to it while it was sailing! Quite a feat! He has a nice guest onboard from PA, and they just met on Craig's List! That's quite a leap of faith for both of them! I just finished reading Tania Aebi's inspiring book, Maiden Voyage, about her solo circumnavigation as a teenager in the mid-'80's!! (Thanks to "Flying Dogs"' previous owners, we have a very well-stocked cruising library!) It took Aebi 2 1/2 years, but what an achievement! She managed to by-pass Mexico, and we may follow her path to Panama by way of the Caribbean Islands. We heard from Jack and Sharolyn on Heaven's Island (our twin Islander 36 we met in Key West) and they made it safely to Isla Mujeres, where Jack teased that their trash and entry fees were confiscated, but they were allowed to keep their boat!) We hope to catch up to them again one of these days! You gotta hang on to friends who make you laugh! Hope you're enjoying your summer and staying cool! We're happy to stay here for awhile until we get everything ready for the Bahamas trip. We got a call from Sandy and Charles in Alaska last night, (we met in Port Mansfield and she cut my hair like hers) and they have us all beat, weather-wise! I'm sure it's gorgeous there!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Marathon Key

Al got back to Key West from Houston Friday, June 29th, in time for nice weather again! He missed all the rain and wind! We moved the boats back to the free anchorage and spent a day being tourists! The 4 of us left Key West Sunday morning and arrived at Boot Key Harbor on Marathon Key in time for a great outdoor dinner at a waterfront restaurant, Burdine's. It was a lovely day and we even got to sail a bit, once the wind shifted off the nose! Today, Sue and I hit the Publix grocery store and I did 3 loads of laundry. It's a very boat-friendly place, with about 300 moorings, which are mostly vacant this time of year! We've had a great time traveling with Wind Dancer, but tomorrow we'll part ways until they return to the Bahamas in November. They're heading back to Ft. Myers and we're going to Miami, stopping at Fiesta Key and Rodriguez Key on the way. There's no big hurry, as we're still waiting for Libby's dog papers to be faxed from Nassau! I called again this morning, and they still haven't rec'd our application and money order sent 2 weeks ago! Hopefully, they'll get it SOON! It's such great weather in the Keys...nice breeze and temp. between 80 and 90 degrees, but it'll be a lot hotter in Miami. We don't have AC unless we're tied to a dock, which is why we're heading for the Bahamas. Congratulations to Tracy, who just got engaged to a wonderful guy! (He'd HAVE to be!) We got a laugh out of her e-mail announcement and photo of her "4th of July Sparkler!" We'll have to wear shades when we see that huge rock and meet her fiancee'! They plan to drive down from Stuart to Miami, hopefully with Libby's Bahama dog papers! It's great to have friends with FAX machines! Have a wonderful Independence Day celebrating our Country's freedom!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Garrison Bight Moorings

Friday, we moved from Wisteria Island over to the moorings east of Fleming Key. We left with Wind Dancer about noon and felt a huge relief when we went from rough stuff to lake-like protected water. Our young friends Ryan and Amanda (Millenium Falcon) crewed on Wind Dancer (since Al's in Houston), and Daren, Ryan, and Amanda all got soaking wet (big waves and pouring rain!) on their way back to Millenium Falcon, which Daren and Ryan towed (no rudder) to a calmer spot at Wisteria Island. Sue and I were biting our nails waiting for Daren to get home, but of course, he was fine. We are all sleeping well again, not having to worry about dragging the anchor or getting tossed about! It was fun to finally meet Sharolyn and Jack on their identical Islander 36, Heaven's Island. They're still planning on going to Isla Mujeres and on to Rio Dulce, Guatemala as soon as this weather improves, but have been waiting here for over a week! It's blowing hard and raining a lot, and everyone's watching the track of Tropical Storm Debbie, which is in the Gulf. Let's hope it just fizzles out. Our friend Kat from M/V Zesson is here, too, waiting for Patrick to get back from Switzerland. He has a pretty cool job as a pilot for a Greek billionaire. She's British and writing a book at Finnegan's Wake while he's away. It's such a lovely pub, she feels right at home there! Speaking of books, friend Stephanie (Tally Ho!) gave me an excellent book called The Help. I couldn't put it down, and I'm not usually a fiction fan. We signed up for 3 days on the moorings ($18/night adds up fast!), but may stay a few more until this weather lets up! It's SO windy, it's nice to stay put! Libby does pretty well on a leash, but she's afraid of cars, and there's plenty of traffic on US 1. She's such a couch-potato, she doesn't really need to go to shore, but hates to be left alone now that Pete's gone! Stephanie told me I could go to a psychiatrist who could have her designated an "emotional support" dog. Very tempting, because then she could go everywhere with us....airplanes, restaurants. I think she'd have to be better trained, though! : ) And I'm reluctant to see a psychiatrist! Sounds expensive! Last night, on Sue's boat, Libby jumped into our dinghy (on davits, which broke loose!) and started swimming over!! She's crazy, but we love her to death!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Farewell Dear Pete

Today we had to have our Pete put to sleep. Most of you are dog-lovers, too, and know how hard this is. However, we're trying to look on the bright side. Thanks to his surgery by Dr. Stork back in Rockport, TX in Oct, he got an extra 8 months of quality life to run around and chase birds! It's true that his left leg was getting lumpy again, but it wasn't until a few days ago that it swelled up to twice its size and he was clearly in pain. This morning, we decided to take him over to Stock Island. A nice vet referred us to the SPCA for reduced-cost euthanasia and cremation, and we were glad that the Pink Cabs here allow dogs to ride. I can't say enough nice things about the SPCA! They were so kind and compassionate and only charged us $35, which was really helpful. Daren was with Pete until the end. I was there with our last cancer-ridden dog, Dixie, and just couldn't do it today, so I guess we take turns. For all the crying we've done, we still believe dogs are worth every tear you shed when they go to dog Heaven! Pete will be sorely missed, but I think Miss Libby will be happy to be an only child! She might even lose a few pounds, as she was constantly stealing his food!! Dogs have such short lives, but they teach us an important lesson: Every day we have here on this earth is a gift, and we need to follow a dog's example of showing all the love we can to all the people we can, every chance we can! (with apology to John Wesley)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Key West

We've been here at Wisteria Island anchorage in Key West for a whole week, having arrived last Thursday. After we left Fort Myers, we spent 3 nights in Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas with Wind Dancer and had a great time touring the Fort and finally being in clear water. The dogs weren't happy though, since they had to be on leashes and not allowed on the bird sanctuary island at all! No surprise there! We spent another night in the Marquesa Islands, but couldn't take the dogs to shore there, either! That's one great thing about the anchorage here: we can take the dogs to shore and let them run! It's just a low scruffy island that apparently can't support development, so the dogs lucked out! We've been enjoying the town of Key West, but I have yet to find the grocery store! The weather's been windy and rainy, but it can't last forever! Daren was able to get an internet signal here on the boat today, which is great, since I didn't have much luck at the library! We need to get dog papers for the Bahamas and then we can head on down. Stephanie on Tally Ho! has been a great guide! I'm sure I'd never've found the laundromat without her! Amanda and Ryan on Millenium Falcon introduced us to a great Irish Pub, Finnegan's Wake, with $5 hamburgers at happy hour and homemade french fries! It's a fun town, but the anchorage is a bit roll-y at times, like yesterday and today! UGH! We'll be glad when this front moves out of here!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Leaving Fort Myers Beach!

We're heading for the Dry Tortugas today about noon, with our friends Sue and Al, who are celebrating their 30th anniversary on Sunday. We're looking forward to snorkeling at the underwater park with them for a couple days. We've had a change of plans. We've been increasingly concerned about going to Mexico AT ALL, and Thursday had further confirmation that it was a REAL bad idea. I met a really nice man, Mike, who told me more stories of murders and kidnapping on his property in Arizona, which is why he left and came here! He's the one who brought it up when I told him how much we are enjoying Fort Myers Beach, so when I told him we'd been planning to go to Isla Mujeres or Puerto Juarez, on our way to Rio Dulce, he said "DON'T GO!". Sometimes God gets our attention in really obvious ways through other people. So Daren and I decided to head on over to the Bahamas for the summer. I know it's hurricane season, but we can dodge them in the Bahamas as well as here in Florida, or so we hope! We won't be online as much as before, so bear with us and please don't worry, just say a prayer when you think of us!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Fort Myers Beach/Punta Blanca Island (Cayo Costa)

We left Clearwater Thursday morning, May 24th, and had a lovely day until about 7 pm! Then....yikes! High winds, nasty seas, driving rain, and lightning! The only thing missing was the scary music, but I knew we had lots of friends praying for us, (thank you!) and that we'd be fine. What a long, sleepless night, but the dogs were real troopers! They didn't get sick, whine, or even drool! I kept hearing Mom say, "This too will pass!", and she was right!! It also helped to think of it as a big washing machine, thanks to Meredith on "Bahamamama"! By dawn, all was well with the world, and we sailed through the Boca Grande cut and anchored at Punta Blanca Island, near Captiva. I rowed the dogs in for a well-deserved romp on the deserted beach, Daren changed the fuel filter, we ate lunch, and then headed for Ft. Myers Beach anchorage to see Sue and Al, whom we hadn't seen since November! It was a great reunion, and we all went to a wonderful outside dinner at Nervous Nellie's...in Sue and Al's dinghy, which turned out to be a mistake! When we got home, we found Libby tied to the wheel in the cockpit and DAMP! Hmmmm. Next morning, I met our kind neighbors Randy and Margaret on S/V "Neariad", who fished her out of the water...twice! Randy said the second time he saw her swimming, he brought a piece of line! Thank God they saw her! I shudder to think what would've happened to our sweet Libby, who tried to jump into the dinghy...and missed! Randy said she'd have swum to shore and been returned to us because of her chip! Still, we won't make THAT mistake again! We've had a wonderful time here with Sue and Al. The anchorage is really nice, with a dinghy dock and nice laundry and showers, and lots of restaurants and resorts. Fort Myers Beach has really changed for the better since we last saw it in '92, but the dogs have to be on leashes and they HATE that! The place was packed for Memorial Day weekend, but Sunday, we had a wonderful visit from Tom and Jodie, who we hadn't seen in 6 yrs! We met them in Nassau during the Christmas storm of '94. They live in Stuart and brought Daren a SCUBA tank we gave him when we sold our trawler in 2001! Good thing he didn't charge us storage! : ) We had lunch and then drove to a West Marine store. They are SO entertaining! Tom knows EVERYONE, and even met the founder of Bacardi Rum while captaining a boat in Puerto Rico. Tom learned the real reason there's a red bat on the bottle! Yesterday, we decided to bring the dogs back over to a deserted beach, but had to go 30 miles back to the one near Captiva! Deserted beaches are hard to come by around here!! We are waiting for more courtesy flags we ordered that we thought Tom and Jodie would bring us Sunday, but they hadn't arrived yet! It's tempting to leave without them, but Al and Sue would like to join us on the trip to the Dry Tortugas (west of Key West) and they're waiting for a battery charger anyway, and friends of theirs, Jack and Sharolyn, on an Islander 36 just like ours are going to meet us there, too. They're in Marathon at the moment, waiting for mail, too. Then we're off to Mexico, Belize, and Rio Dulce, in Guatemala, which is a great hurricane hole!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Crossing the Gulf to Clearwater Beach, FL

We had a wonderful trip across the Gulf, but it took us a whole extra day to get here! We left Pensacola Sunday morning, and hardly had any wind, but it was pretty lumpy, and poor Pete threw up after a couple hours of rocking around (he should've eaten his breakfast!!) Things calmed down when we got to deeper water, and both dogs were great the whole trip! I'd forgotten how gorgeous it is on the boat at night with all those stars, falling stars, satellites, and UFO's (kidding!). We took turns with 3 hour watches, starting at 8 pm, and only saw a few boats all 3 nights! It was like having the Gulf of Mexico all to ourselves! I was on watch yesterday morning listening to the radio and heard they were about to launch Space-X at 3:45 am from Cape Canaveral, so I woke Daren up so he could see the red streak in the sky. It was pretty cool to see it! How many people are up at 3:45?! A little yellow bird landed on our bimini top just before dark Monday night and spent the night inside the cabin, safe from the 2 bird dogs, then flew off the next morning! It was so cute, I took a picture! Yesterday morning, after 50 hours of motoring, we ran out of diesel! It was SO nice and quiet, and we had just enough wind to do 3 knots, so we didn't put the 2 jerry cans of diesel in until this morning, on the way in to Clearwater, which we decided was better than Tarpon Springs and a bit farther south. Our whole trip was 325 miles, took us 69 hours, with an average speed of 4.5 knots and a max of 8! (Aren't GPS's fun?) Also, we love Raytheon, our autopilot! We arrived at Clearwater Municipal Marina at noon today and topped off the diesel and water tanks. It's $2/ft/night to stay there... $72 for our boat, so we joined the boats anchored nearby! We rowed back to a waterfront restaurant and treated ourselves to lunch and groceries with the money we'd saved by anchoring! : ) A new friend from the anchorage, Stephanie, said this is the boat-friendliest town they've been to! She and her husband, Peter have 2 dogs on their 30' sailboat Tally Ho! We all walked our dogs on the beach and came back to our boat for a great visit. They've been all over the Caribbean and Bermuda and Cuba, too. We'd love to get to know them better, but are anxious to get down to Ft. Myers, and plan to leave in the morning.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Leaving Pensacola

It's not as easy as it sounds! We've had SUCH a great time here, it's tempting to stick around until sister Judy gets here in July, except for those pesky HURRICANES!! We said our goodbyes yesterday afternoon and anchored over by the Gulf entrance and Donut Island, where the dogs can run without fear of getting tickets from park rangers! We got things battened down with the idea of leaving this evening and sailing overnight to Panama City. Then Daren realized the wind would be right on the nose, so we'll leave tomorrow morning (Saturday) and go straight to Tarpon Springs. We should arrive in about 50 hours, on Monday morning. The weather couldn't be prettier, so we should have a lovely trip. It'll be interesting to see how the dogs manage without seeing land for so long, but it'll be a good experience for all of us! We'll let you know!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Fun in Pensacola!

It's hard to believe we're still here anchored by Judy's house! Here it is, May 8th, my sister Barb's birthday! The Regata Al Sol leaves tomorrow....without us! We've been having such a nice time, and we're getting lots of things done, but we keep thinking of more things to do! Karen's been so nice running me around! We went to Homeland Security for a zarpe (clearance from the US to Mexico) last week. It's never been required, but recently a sailboat "Judy Ann" was confiscated by the Isla Mujeres authorities for lack of one, so we're not taking any chances! It could be months before they get their boat back, so please pray for them. We went to Dub and Katie's for home church Tuesday night and it was really interesting...about the Gospel of Paul. They have been SO helpful letting me use their laundry machines and taking us to get diesel and propane and making copies for Mexico! I hope I can be as helpful to others, but they set the bar pretty high!! : ) Daren decided to get the full mainsail-repair treatment and we put it back on the boat Sunday afternoon. It's nice to know it'll last awhile! We had a couple days of nasty weather, so we moved the boat across to a protected spot by Perdido Key. The dogs loved running around and swimming in an uninhabited spot, but it was nice to get back over here in time for a surprise visit from our Missouri friends Terry and RaDonna last Friday. They'd driven to Alabama to see their youngest daughter and her husband and their latest grandbaby! It was fun to celebrate my bday just one day late with Boar's Head sandwiches from Publix grocery store. Yum! We all agreed this is the best view in town! Daren's doing some design work for our good friend, Don and we may be here a few more days or a week! We're still undecided about our next stop: Isla Mujeres or somewhere on the west coast of Florida! We heard from our Rockport sailing friends Sue and Al, who are on their way back to Florida from the Bahamas, and it would sure be fun to see them, as well as Alfred, Monika, Tom, and Jodie and Tracy. Meanwhile, Karen and her Dad are making some serious headway on the house, and I've been able to help a bit, too. Pete and Libby are quite happy hanging out at the house while Daren's drawing on the boat!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Pensacola! (805 miles from Port Mansfield)

We arrived in Pensacola yesterday evening after a lovely 53 mile sail across Mobile Bay from Bayou Aloe anchorage on Dauphin Island, where we spent 2 nights. We're anchored right in front of my sister Judy's new house on the Intracoastal Waterway. Our brother-in-law Yohannes is doing an amazing job...their house is going to be gorgeous! Everything in it is top of the line, and the cherry spiral staircase is an absolute work of art! They lost their house to Hurricane Ivan in 2004, and this house is going to be MUCH better than the old one! It's 3 stories high with a breathtaking view! I'll post some photos soon. We went out to a GREAT Mexican restaurant last night to celebrate niece Karen's 26th bday. We are so glad she's here, having just arrived from her librarian internship in Germany with a side trip to Morrocco! It was a great evening, and their neighbors, Mike and Susan joined us. They're really fun and interesting and know everyone in town! He told us about the upcoming Regatta Al Sol sailing race from Pensacola to Isla Mujeres on May 9th. It's really tempting to join them, as it's just 555 miles due south from here! The weather's so perfect right now, we could be on our way, but would hate to miss Tom and Jodie (who are in Key West for his bday!), and also Alfred and Monika, who we haven't seen in YEARS, so we'll prob'ly stick to a couple more west coast Florida stops. This morning, Karen and I took the mainsail in to have a 12 inch tear repaired by Hunter at Schurr Sails. I'd tried fixing it with the sail repair kit, but it didn't hold. Hunter was so nice to have it finished by this afternoon! Karen and I are planning to grout the shower tiles while I'm here, and I think that'll be at least until Tuesday. We'll see....

Monday, April 23, 2012

Another Day in Biloxi!

We've been waiting patiently for the strong north winds to die down, and tomorrow looks like the day we'll finally head for Dauphin Island (Mobile) and on to Pensacola! We've really enjoyed being at a marina and meeting nice people! Saturday, I met Bernandette and asked if, by any chance, she was going to church the next day, but she said she had to work (parks dept). I gave her our card and was surprised when she called later to say their boat couldn't go out in the strong wind, so we went to St. Paul's Methodist Church across the bridge in Ocean Springs yesterday morning. It was a lovely service with a guest speaker from Seashore Mission. Bernandette is really interesting! She lives in Louisiana, is a great health enthusiast (and it shows!), served twice in the Peace Corps (Guatemala and Roatan, Honduras) teaching organic farming techniques, and told me about a great book, Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon. I'd heard of it from Li Ling in Rockport, who wanted to give me her own copy, but I really must order it now, as it has a recipe for kambucha, a fermented mushroom drink I almost tried in the Bahamas! Many years ago ('93?) a visiting pastor gave everyone at church in Spanish Wells a start of this thing you incubate in strong sweet tea until it grows like a pancake on top, and it's supposed to be a great immune-booster. Anyway, a visiting "friend" threw mine over the side before I even got to try it!! She was a nurse and told me she could not in good conscience let me drink that stuff! It made me laugh to be reminded of it, and I'm inspired to try it again. Bernadette swears by the stuff and said I could get another start with JT's Kambucha at a HFS. We had dinner here on our boat last night with dock neighbor, Ron. He was our first-ever dinner guest, so I used the bird china! Daren thought the dogs would be a nuisance (!) but they were very good the whole time! Ron has a '69 GTO that he put in a Mustang Club's Car Show over the weekend. It was right here at the Isle Casino, so we didn't have far to walk! He won first place in the non-Mustang category (see photo). He and a bunch of his boating friends go to Pensacola twice a year so he showed us good places to anchor on the way. We're hoping we can anchor right in front of Judy and Apar's house on the Intracoastal Waterway. We shall see....

Friday, April 20, 2012

Biloxi, MS

We finally got underway yesterday morning, after 3 nights in Rabbit Island (without internet), and had a lovely sail across the Mississippi Sound. We made it all the way to Biloxi just before dark! We'd planned to anchor at either Ship Island or Hook Island, but both are bird sanctuaries, and it wouldn't have been nice to taunt the dogs by not letting them go to shore, so we headed for Point Cadet Marina in Biloxi. It turned out we were nearly out of fuel and had to sail most of the way to the marina. Daren kept the engine sputtering along by pumping it with the bulb pump we got in Galveston. It was a nail-biter, and we were REALLY happy to tie up to the fuel dock. We celebrated with a prime rib dinner at the Isle Casino next door. It looks like we'll be here a couple days, since the weather's supposed to turn nasty tomorrow and Sunday. The dock master told us that Hurricane Katrina brought 35' of water up to the third floor of their building! Seems everywhere we go there's a horror story of one hurricane or another, which should spur us on to Rio Dulce! We'll get there! We met a really nice dock neighbor, Ron, who has a gorgeous Hunter 44' sailboat. It's amazing how much roomier a boat looks without 2 bird dogs on it! Ron took us to West Marine, where we got the chart we need to get to Judy and Apar's house in Pensacola, and he showed us good anchorages along the way. We're only 2 days away, with a stop in Dauphin Island, just outside Mobile Bay. In the meantime, it's nice to get the laundry and re-provisioning done and catch up on e-mail.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Big EASY???

We made it through New Orleans today, but what an adventure! A gorgeous sunny day, but perhaps a bit too windy! The Harvey Locks went really well, then we zoomed down the Mississippi River at 9.5 knots (4.5 knot current) toward the Industrial Locks about 6 miles away. I was worried about missing the canal entrance, as it would've been nearly impossible to motor upstream! There wasn't much room to wait for our turn through the locks, so we were directed to a holding area on the side of the bascule bridge. Well, the strong (40 knot!) winds pinned us to the dock! As it turns out, we could've waited there until the wind eased up, but NO-O-O-O! I insisted we had to do get off the dock, so Daren skillfully pivoted with a bow line, which was no small feat! Unfortunately, I was so busy fending off the dinghy from the dock that I got left behind! I know it sounds crazy, but I waved Daren to go on without me, thinking I could get back on the boat from the bridge wall. I went up to talk to the really nice bridge tender, Xavier, who got in touch with the captain of a tug boat and barge, Sebring, who helped Daren tie up to them, since we'd missed our chance to go through the bridge and another boat was now in the lock. Meanwhile, I walked out to the end of a rickety catwalk after climbing and squeezing through various fences! I thought I could just climb down the creosote supports and onto our boat when Daren came through, but it looked kind of scary from 20 feet up, and the bridge tender was waving me back over to say that Sebring would pick me up on their way through the bridge to the locks. By then, Daren and the dogs cleared the lock without me. I went back to the catwalk and the crew of Sebring put a ladder up for me to climb down to the barge. >Whew< It was all rather embarrassing, but the crew of the tugboat were SO nice, and I got to go through the lock with them. Once I calmed down a bit, it was really fun to see the inside of a tug boat and learn about their interesting lives and schedules. They have 2 captains, Bobby and George, and 3 deck hands...all young guys; soon-to-be-married Hank, his cousin, Scott (who loaned me his camera phone!), and Eddie, who gave me some ice! This whole episode lasted about 3 hours, so you can imagine how happy I was to be back on our boat. After I went with Sebring through the lock, Daren pulled up along side the barge, and I got back onboard, to the ecstatic delight of Pete and Libby, who must've been worried about me!
You've got to admit that God was looking out for us today, since nobody got hurt, not even the dinghy! Captain Bobby told us of a place to anchor a few miles away, and we got here about 3:30! Daren took the dogs to shore, so it all turned out fine! I know we'll all sleep well tonight! We'll go 20 more miles to Rabbit Island tomorrow, but may have to wait for weather before we cross the Mississippi Sound to Gulfport, Dauphin Island, and then Pensacola, where we're looking forward to seeing our brother-in-law, Yohannes, and niece Karen.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Louisiana Bayou Country!

We've been having a wonderful scenic trip, but our fridge slowly lost it's cold again!! By Easter Sunday evening, we were desperate for ice, and I called on the VHF to see if anyone knew of a place to buy it...on Easter Sunday! Sure! The nicest boat captain called back to say he was getting a ride to shore and would send some back with another crew member, who brought a bag of ice right up to our boat in his skiff as we were driving along! It was an amazingly nice thing to do, and certainly saved our bacon (and everything else in the fridge)! I don't know why I'm always so amazed when things work out so well, but it always makes me smile and thank God for sending helpful people our way!
Daren decided to pull into a marina Monday night at Intracoastal City and fix the fridge again. Well, as soon as we plugged into shore power, it got cold, so it just needed...more power! Yesterday morning, Kurt from Shell Morgan Marina kindly offered us a ride to town (Abbeville) to buy a deep cycle battery. How nice was that?! His family's lived there for 7 generations, mostly rice farmers. He and his wife take turns cooking and haven't eaten out in YEARS! Imagine! They have 2 Clydesdale horses on his lovely property that was hit hard by the last hurricane, so he bought a piece of property on higher ground with a corral for the horses if another hurricane comes. We love the Louisiana accent, and everyone is so friendly and helpful!
We left the marina this morning and motor-sailed 38 miles to Charenton Canal, which crosses the Intracoastal Waterway at mm 122! We anchored just before the rain hit, and didn't even bother putting the dinghy in the water to take the dogs to shore.....it looks much too alligator-y!! Marsh on all sides! Pete and Libby had lots of exercise while at Shell Morgan, so they're fine!
We heard from Candy that The Bootlegger's back in the water today, so they should be on their way soon! I'll try to get some photos posted! It's just beautiful along the Waterway....like a big river, and the weather's been perfect!

Friday, April 6, 2012

On the "Road" Again!

We finally left Galveston yesterday morning after 10 days of running around, sightseeing with Darryl and Laurie, doing laundry and shopping by bus, and fixing the fridge! We had a great time, but felt it was time to get moving again. We left about 9:30 yesterday morning, only to find that we couldn't get past a railroad bridge that was closed until 1 pm!! So we anchored near Moody Gardens, a nature park with big pyramid terrariums, and had lunch. By the time we anchored last night, we'd only gone 21 miles!
Today we went 50 miles, and are anchored in a lovely spot, Taylor Outfall Bayou, and are grateful for our screens! We're at mile marker 290, which means we're still 290 miles west of Harvey Lock in New Orleans. Port Mansfield is at mm 630 and Rockport is at mm 521, so we've made some progress! We're still hoping Candy and Orville on The Bootlegger will catch up to us, since they're a lot faster than we are.
Tomorrow, we'll cross the Louisiana border at mm 265. The weather has been perfect, and we're actually able to sail along with motoring, which helps our speed. The waterway is scenic and fun and the dogs like to get to shore twice a day. It's also nice to be anchored before the mosquitoes come out at night!
Have a great Easter! Please continue to pray for our dogs! We're entering alligator country!!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Angels in Galveston!

We finally arrived in Galveston yesterday (Sunday) at noon, after an adventure Saturday night! Our engine quit just 5 miles from the anchorage at Offatt's Bayou about 5 pm. Daren set anchors to keep us out of barge traffic in the channel and decided to change the fuel filter. I rowed the dogs to shore so we'd be out of his way and sat on the dinghy and prayed that he'd get the engine started so we could be safely anchored in Galveston before dark! When we came back, the filter was changed, but we had an air lock and no diesel to prime it with. Just as we were kicking ourselves for putting the last of the diesel in the tank, a young couple with 3 dogs pulled up and asked if we were OK! They offered to take me to get diesel and off we went. The fuel dock was closed, so we went to their house to get a car and drive to a gas station, and by then it was pretty dark. I hated to have them running their boat after dark, since the channel marker to their house was a big STICK, so they said I could stay the night. Darryl and Laurie were SO nice about everything, I was sure they were angels sent by God! They said they just had a notion to go for a boat ride, and rarely ventured out as far as we were stranded. Hmmmm. They thought it odd to see a boat anchored in the channel, which is why they ck'd on us! They certainly saved the day! After I called Daren to explain the situation, the 3 of us had a wonderful evening and lots to talk about! They are high school teachers who met at school and are getting married in June in Grenada on a friend's sailboat. They have a lovely cottage on a canal with their own dock and yard for the dogs and plan to rent it out when they go cruising.
Yesterday, Darryl and his friend Doug took me and the diesel back to our boat, and the guys got the engine going while I ran the dogs onshore. An hour later, we were happily situated in Offatt's Bayou, with an invitation to a BBQ at Darryl and Laurie's a few hours later. We met Darryl's really nice parents (our age) and another couple of their friends. They brought us back by boat and we slept like rocks! We will always be grateful to these new friends!
This is a great place to be! Everything is close by and we're getting lots of walking and rowing exercise. Pete's doing really well and the weather's perfect, too! Life is good!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Crunching Numbers!

Some of you were confused about our Gulf coast plan and thought we'd given up on going south! Perish the thought!! With lots of time on my hands yesterday while the winds howled here at this lovely spot, Sanctuary, I did some math that might help explain things:
We plan to be in Rio Dulce, Guatemala by June 1st, the official beginning of hurricane season! That's only 72 days from tomorrow, when the weather calms back down! We'd also like to see our friends Tom and Jodie when they're in the Keys for his birthday, just 36 days away! We also want to stop in Pensacola and see the new house that brother in law Yohannes (aka Apar) built for my sister Judy. We also want to meet up with good friends Alfred and Monika in Tampa.
Here are some mileages:
From here to the Louisiana border: 213 statute miles (nautical miles are a bit longer)
Louisiana border to Harvey Lock (New Orleans) 265 "
Harvey Lock to Pensacola 180
Pensacola (offshore) to Tarpon Springs 285
Tarpon Springs to Ft. Myers 150
Ft. Myers to Flamingo 120
Flamingo to Key West (offshore) 80
Key West to Isla Mujeres, Mexico 345
Isla Mujeres to Ambergris Cay, Belize 200
A.C. to Rio Dulce, Guatemala 180
__________

Total= 1963 miles!

So, in order to see Tom and Jodie the end of April, we need to average 36 miles/day, to cover the 1293 miles, which sounds like a lot, but it's do-able, since some of that is offshore, (144 miles in 24 hours, doing 6 knots).
From Key West to Rio Dulce is 725 miles and, leaving the Keys April 29th, gives us 33 days, or 22 miles a day. That's not too bad! Still, we are kind of running out of time before hurricane season! We would love to travel with our friends Candy and Orville, and are hoping they'll catch up to us along the way. They're faster than we are, so it's possible.
I can hear some of you saying we should've gone with friends Sue and Al when they left on Wind Dancer back in November. They're down in the Bahamas now, enjoying clear waters and eating lobsters! But look what we'd have missed...meeting wonderful friends in Port Mansfield, and LEARNING about Rio Dulce (a lot closer than Golfito!) from friends Candy and Orville! We trust that God's leading us in the right direction at the right time, and putting the right people in our path! The journey is the thing, and we are enjoying each day, even the rainy or windy ones!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Port O' Connor

Hooray! We left Mud Island near Rockport this morning, and are 50 miles north, at a lovely development called Sanctuary, "discovered" by our friends Sue and Al on Wind Dancer. Back in mid-November, we drove up here for their send-off dinner! It was SO cold, Daren and I decided to go south instead! So here we are, 4 months later, and it's very windy and supposed to get nasty tomorrow, but at least it's not too cold! We are glad to be tied up safe and sound.
After the last bit of bad weather cleared up, we left the old marina at Rockport on Sunday, March 11, and have been anchored at Mud Island for a whole week! Daren built a helmsman's seat for the cockpit so we don't have to stand up to steer! Friday night, Larry and Sue and good friends Frankie and Sherry and their cute grandson, Shawn (9) came over on Gypsy Wind II to spend the night. We had a great time and a wonderful shish-kabab dinner! They left yesterday about noon, and we decided to spend one more night to get an early start this morning.
We had a BIG surprise call from Candy this afternoon! She and Orville were in Port O'Connor and wanted to see us! I told them we were heading for Sanctuary, and when we arrived about 4 pm, they were there to catch our lines! It was such fun to see them again, and they're hoping to catch up to us in Galveston. It sounds like a nice place, and we would LOVE to travel with them again, so we'll see...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Thank God and Gary...we're GONE!

Greetings from Rockport! Yes, we're back to our starting place! We left Port Mansfield late Sunday morning, after a slight mechanical delay, which Gary helped Daren repair...hence the title, which I just HAD to use! : ) There's an old country song, "Thank God and Greyhound She's Gone!" HAHAHA!
We spent Sunday night at a lovely anchorage (Yarborough Cut) just south of treacherous Baffin Bay, and the dogs ran up and down the beach so hard yesterday (Monday) morning, that they slept all the way to Corpus Christi!
We were grateful for 3 days of perfect weather with our friends on Bootlegger, and Flying Dogs lived up to her name! This boat is FAST under sail, and we had plenty of wind in protected waters. Last night, we were tied up to Snoopy's restaurant at the foot of the JFK causeway bridge in Corpus Christi and had a great meal there. The laughing gulls did keep us awake, though, which was no laughing matter, since we had to leave at the crack of dawn this morning to cross CC Bay before the wind picked up. With such an early start, we arrived at the Hook and Bull yard by noon! Bootlegger tied up to a barge there, but we headed out to Mud Island anchorage. It was so rough by then that we turned back and are anchored just outside the ICW channel across from the yard. We may move there tomorrow if the wind dies down, but it's blowing HARD right now out of the SE, so we're pretty content right here!
It's going to be tricky seeing friends here in Rockport, but we'll figure out a way. We don't want to tie up to a marina, but that's certainly the easiest! We're cruising now, so we need to stay at anchor. : )
We really enjoy traveling with Candy and Orville, and plan to hang out in the area while they get their boat hauled and painted. In the meantime, there are projects we can do on Flying Dogs, too.
I'll let you know when we're back on the "road" to Florida. If you don't hear from us, it means we're still here!