Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year ! Happy New Decade !

Ahhh so many crafts so little time - New Years Day had a wonderful time - thank you Doris and Libby. Our wonderful friends Doris and Rod who live in Belgrade Lakes, Maine in the summer and Stuart Fl in the winter - have a little cottage ( with hot tub ! Yummm) Libby our fellow Westsailor has learned the craft of pine needle basket making.  We had both been the really fortunate recipients of one of Libby's baskets ~ Oh my ~ do we now understand all the work that went into it or what?!!:)  Both Doris and I have a lot of experience with different crafts - you would never have known that 3 hours into our lesson. We had to head back to the boat around 2:30 as our weather was ( and did ) due to change. That always means a storm here usually with serious winds and some rain.  back on the boat I continued to sew the basket and some of the details finally made sense.  I called Doris this morning to encourage her not to get frustrated - she had already torn hers out and started over. Stay tuned - our incredible pieces of art will be published !!  WE must get together again soon to collect more pine needles.  We were at least able to get enough on our break yesterday to replenish Libby's supply.  Libby the beauty of your baskets is only outdone by your generous spirit.  Thank you so much for a wonderful , fun day.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The day after Christmas - at the beach ! That's a new one to me !

Ft Lauderdale ~ A busy place though as our friends Ed and Brad showed us around the drastic dip in the economy shows loud and clear in empty buidlings - even beach front condos. We had a great visit  - lots of good food, good cheer and a really nice walk at the beach to try to make up for it all. The advantage of having our car this year is that we have been able to make these trips to see our friends.  It's more like we are living here at the moment than cruising.  We will get under way again but not for several weeks.  I have a lot of tax thigs to take care of, reservatons are very busy in January, this facility is just great and the friends we have in the area are a joy.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

~Stuart, FL~ 75 degrees, cloudy ~ We miss you all but are having fun - Click to enlarge so you can see our tree ! Its a live Norfolk pine Don won at a cruiser's dinner ! Our day was very relaxed opening gifts alone in the morning - and then a cruisers pot luck at 3PM - the marina provided a turkey and ham and we all brought a dish - tons of food - lots of friendly people.  It's been really nice to reconnect with some people we met 2 years ago here in Stuart and to get to know some new people as well.  Everyone is doing the same thing...enjoying being south instead of north. This is the marina facility building with our shower rooms, laundry, lounge with tv and wifi - ships store and patio and front porch for gatherings. one of te nicest facilities we will come across on this trip.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sharing Christmas cheer with the Tubios from Bayside !

We had a wonderful visit in Davie ,Florida yesterday visiting our friends and neighbor from Bayside ~ Joe, Laura, Olivia, Jack and Michael Tubio. It was wonderful to see their home and especially their gorgeous Christmas tree. I won't be home for Christmas this year with my many siblings so believe it or not Joe and Laura it was fun to see the kids being siblings.And this is a typical sibling shot if there ever was one !  Ahh that sisterly love !!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Santa Clause is Coming to Town

Dick our Westsail neighbor from Tarwarthie - looks jusst like Satna ! He was gravely disappointed wehn we went to Walmart and tere weren't any kids to starttle !

Monday, December 21, 2009

Life in Vero

Stuart ~ We left Vero beach this morning @ 7AM - 42 degrees so we are back in our Maine ski parkas, hats and gloves. We had a good visit in Stuart. My sister Sarah was there working for the Endicotts so we got a chance to visit with her several times including a fun dinner ( she cooked us a great meal ! ) at the Endicott's home. They asked us to bring our laundry :) can you imagine? After checking with Sarah ~ we did ! In Vero we raft usually 3 abreast. The anchorage is not as full as last year but we are so fortunate to have our friends Dick and Libby aboard Tarwarthie who love Tiller as much as we do and give him extra roaming room.  Sandy and  Merle aboard Amber Marie were gracious enough to let Tiller aboard their home as well. Those 2 were already rafted when we arrived so we willingly joined them. Having immediate neighbors can be a lot of fun - we sometime eat together ( thank you Libby ! ) and soemitmes play together. Don fiddles with the flute , Dick is learning the harmonica and Merle has some gorgeous songs he wrote and plays guitar.  The other evening Dick was playing a Christmas carol so I suggested Don get out his flute and play along.  Merle heard them and came out from under with his guitar - Lots of fun !

Saturday, December 19, 2009

We're cold ! That was a lot of rain and a lot of wind !

So last week we were too hot - the past few days we have had strong winds and lots of rain.  Not so much fun in the rain - but we have the clothing so it's ok - It's hard to sleep with the halyards slapping the mast and boat bouncing though here in Vero we are in a very protected anchorage ~ a small lagoon. We had to make a run to Walmart for Dick to get new boat batteries on Saturday – the Saturday before Christmas – we thought it would be packed – No the cold keeps the Floridians in . This photo is Monday the 21st on our way to Stuart from Vero - you can see Tiller wrapped in his little basket out of the wind - his favorite travel spot.  I'm just grateful for and my new smartwool long johns. Light and soft and warm !

Monday, December 14, 2009

We're Hot !

Well it is taking me a little bit to get going on the blog - I haven't had a lot of computer time - there is a learning curve to the program and we are hot ~ lethargic ~ the no see ums are thick and keeping us up at night. There are stories to tell and I will get to filling in the blanks.  This Vero beach anchorage is not as full as last year though we are rafted 3 abreast ourselves there are lots of doubles and plenty of singles.  Once again we are enjoying our neighborhood - a gorgeous walk to the beach through pleasant shaded tree canopied neighborhoods.  Yesterday Don and I put our feet in the ocean ~ I dream I might actually swim this year ~ those that know me well will get a good laugh out of that one.  Last year Florida had record breaking cold - this year it appears to be record breaking heat - Tiller is shedding in fine shape - Don and I are trying to acclimate.  50 degrees warmer than last year !  It's been fun arriving and knowing quite a few people.  Some are live a boards who appear not to have left Vero since we saw them last - others are just on the annual trek to the Bahamas stopping for a period of time here in Vero - with the bus system it's a really easy place to provision and work on the boat - We are here with a car for the first time but most are on foot when not on the boat so a good public transportation system is a gift.  being a Vermont girl transplanted to Maine it's tough to find Christmas here. Last night in the anchorage someone with a trumpet played Christmas carols, Don chimed in with his flute a rusty but nice rendition of Joy to the World -

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tiller rescued !

Tiller loves to get in the dingy and go for a ride - you can scan back through last years posts and see this is nothing new for him ~ Our second day here I had rowed to shore and upon returning to the boat Tiller jomped in so I took him for a little row - when we got back I grabbed what I thought was the painter ( the line to tie the dingy up ) and when I got up on our sailboat and puled the line I realized I had grabbed a line attached to NOTHING! Tiller was in the dingy - the wind was blowing and away he went.  Don was down below with our neighbor Merle who was doing some physical therapy on Don's foot, I shouted out - they came up, Merle's wife jumped in their dingy but it had not been bailed out since the rain storm the night before and with her weight the dingy tipped, spilling over the gas can and filling the dingy with gas and water - so we shouted to a passer by - he started for tiller but we realized he had his dog in the boat with him.  These nice folks who were headed to shore to the Saturday evening social hour - detoured to to pull Tiller back home.  At first glance it was all just fun and humorous. The reality is that is was quite windy and he was headed for the mangroves ~ had he reached that far shore he would have hopped out into the snake infested brush- ohhh~ let's not go there !   (If you click on our photos they do enlarge but then you ahve to click the back button to get back to the blog. )

Friday, December 11, 2009

One Day On the Road ~ Vero ~ Dick & Libby

Dick and Libby are fellow Westsail owners as you can see from the photo they are also great firends to Tiller.  Tiller just loves Libby and couldn't wait to see her again this year.  We are so lucky to be in Vero and to be able to be rafted with them. They are kind enough to let Tiller roam their boat and leave some of his cat hair behind !  We met Dick and Libby several years ago in Maine - Don spotted their boat - in Searsport I believe.  We saw them 2 years ago and last year had to settle for stories from our frind Greg aboard Argonauta about their travels.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Out of the Grand Canal and into the Bannana River

Mile 914~ Dragon Point - off the dock - that is Burt our wonderful host in Sattelite Beach waving as he shoved us off the dock and out the canal. No easy task truning the boat in teh canal - 4 uof us and a little perseveranece and we were on our way gratefully with Chrystal aboard to navigate us the 5 miles out of the canal sysatem, through 2 narrow opening bridges and into the Bananna River to one of our favorite anchorages. Its been hot - 80's - we of course had just arrived out tof the cold so with all the work to do to get the boat ready we have been struggling with the heat. Burt and Chrystal have lng  pants on - whew ! We are at anchor now and a front is passing through with some high winds - the first blast picked our screen up and threw it almost overboard but on the side of the boat making a huge sound - our first 30 minutes at anchor after 10 months and we thought sommething drastic had happened. That first blast of wind actually heeled the boat and as a reminder this boat weighs 22,0000 pounds.  Then we couldn't find Tiller - I could finally see him way under the dingy on the bow - it took 2 of us and a little of his favorite soft food to get him out and down below.  This cat has been an unbelievable trooper.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sattelite beach ~ Back on Heron !

Monay at noon - we arrived in Sattelite beach at the home of our friends Chrystal and Burt who have been lovingly caring for heron for us since February when we decied to shorten our winter trip and head back home.

It's hot here !! tiller had started to grow his nice, pretty and thick coat.  After just 24 hours he is already shedding like mad ~ It's over 80 degrees ~ we were cold in north Carolina - we watched the thermometer in the car yesterday from Brunswick,GA slowly but surly rise from 50 to 77 by the time we got here.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Seafood gumbo - great friends

Greensboro for the weekend - we have now made our way this Sunday to Brunswick,GA - we will be at the boat in Sattelite beach tomorrow

Friday, December 4, 2009

Caitlyn - UVA and on to Greensboro, NC

Taking the scenic route - over mountain passes and rural roads - Hey - you - out there ~ stop texting while you are driving - you almost killed us !!!!!!!!!!!!! Pay attention.  We spent the day driving from Blanford to Gettysburg,PA over hill and over dale - small roads the whole way.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

On the Road Again - Florida or bust

Bayside Maine to Blanford, Massachusettes ~ Common sense prevailed - we stuffed our Subaru full, put Tiller in his box and headed south - Our first stop to see Don's college friends , Martha and Steve in the beautiful little Berkshires foothill town of Blanford. Tiller travelled as well as we could have asked for.We had time for just one night with Martha and Steve but it was relaxing and always fun to visit.


Off to Vermont in the rumble bus to spend Thanksgiving with my parents in Saxtons River.Our first trip together in the luxury liner aka “magic bus”. It’s fun to slow down and take the scenic route but after about 2 hours of travel I finally said –“Do you smell exhaust?” Don said he did and turns out we have an exhaust leak so had to keep the windows open the whole way. At least we didn’t break down I say. I am not sure how many more parts Don can replace on this rig but it is kind of fun to ride retro.

My family owns a Christmas tree farm so while you were eating we were harvesting. Tis the season. The trees were heavy with rain and dew but 7 of us, my sister Sarah, my brothers, Sean, Michael, Will and Matt, Don and myself got I think the number was 213 trees by 1PM – we were soaked and ready to pack it in for the day.  Friday our nephew Tyler joined us in the pouring rain.  Saturday my brother Charlie cam from VA to help and we had to head home. It was fun to work as a group and I am grateful I could put in some time this year as I am usually not around at Thanksgiving. Sean and Michael for years have done the bulk of the work in addition to their real lives.

Whatever you paid for your tree know this: Cut, drag out of field, lift into baler, take off baler and stack, bring tractor , load onto tractor, take to barn, unload, next day load on to trailer for the retailer. All that for $15.00 a tree !!!! Enjoy your farm raised, organically grown , gorgeous Vermont Christmas tree !!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bus, Magic Bus

"Every day you'll see the dust (too much, the Magic Bus). As I drive my baby in my Magic Bus(too much, the Magic Bus)" ~ The Who           

So I am back to blogging - and trying to figure out the little quirks of the program - if you click the photos they will get larger but you have to click the back button to get back to the blog - anyone know a way to make the photo come up in it's own window?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Where are we going?

Back to Florida the slow route. This is Don's new passion - well not that new ...the car or the passion. Another boat without a shower I say.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Where have we been?

October 11,2009 ~ Where have we been? Working ! 36 privately owned homes for weekly summer rentals - yikes - that proved to be a little much.

What were we thinking ~ somehow when we got back to Maine we just dove in to land life – Don helped his cousin John through a very difficult time with bladder cancer. We are happy to report John is doing quite well and is wintering…brrrr….in the windy city of Chicago with his daughter and her family. I got totally and completely engrossed is pulling in reservations in a tentative economy. A lot of hard work but we ended up only about 15% down from the previous year. Renters didn’t take 2 week vacations though and we were turning over 27 houses a Saturday – I can’t even bare to think about it.

Don had foot surgery at the beginning of June so it was really tough losing his help with mowing and running here and there and everywhere which is what this rental business takes. So I put my head down and plowed through. Bright spots were our nephew Luke on his annual visit to us. He and our neighbor Olivia are our most valuable helpers. Tiller…well Tiller has been in 7th heaven, catching as many mice as possible out doors and once again hanging out at the golf course behind our home – he apparently is their mascot – we don’t’ golf so had to find this out from our great friend John Fleming. "Everyone knows Tiller" he says ! Too bad he only knows how to golf and not do paper work I say.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Bayside , Maine - this is a 2 yar old photo - but you get the drift !

Thursday, February 5, 2009


1540 miles - home safe and sound

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Monday, February 2, 2009

Dropping The Sails

We had a beautiful and calm evening on anchor Saturday night ~ our last night out in an anchorage with no one else around. We were wind blown after the trip up the Indian River and went to bed early. I slept the best I had in weeks. No lines creeking between boats, no lights from the marina, no dingy engine noises ~ just the spray noise from the dolphins feeding. We were up early to get ready to head in the residential canals to move the boat to the home of Burt and Crystal " " . We had to open the jib all the way to drop it to the deck - Tiller was full of himself. Running around and around the deck sensing his world was changing. He loved the tunnels in folds of the sail. We went through the Mathers bridge to top off our tanks at the marina and pick up Crystal who would guide us through the canals about 5 miles to their home. It was fascinating seeing the houses and going through 2 very small bridges . We arrived at the dock and Burt was there to greet us. Don eased in and we ran aground just a we expected to about 5 or 6 feet from the dock. The water is very low right now.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

We Hear The Skiing is Great

Mile 914.2 ~ Indian harbour beach around Dragon point - Too bad I got the water in this shot taken this morning as we first got back on the ICW leaving Vero Beach ( at long last ) and headed north ~ otherwise you might think we were headed to Sugarloaf. It was in the 30's this morning. The other day I was sweating my bejesus off. Don and I have spent a lot time in these exact same outfits moving this boat. The winds were straight out of the north blowing 20 - 30 - the seas on the Indian River were 2 - 3 feet.
It felt good to be underway ~but one of those nice Florida days shouldn't have been too much to ask.
As we undid ourselves from Greg's boat "Southern Cross" Tiller was running around looking back at Greg saying goodbye. He was a great raft mate and we've made a truly great friend. We are eternally grateful for the fabulous homemade lasagna he fed us for our farewell dinner. We have been very lucky with our rafts mates this year and last being to hospitable to Tiller.

As we continued up the waterway giving our opinion of every oversized home Tiller decided he was ticked off clearly in a bad mood. He finally curled up in his basket and didn't move until we got through the bridge in the Banana River where we have anchored. It feels good to be "on the hook" again though sort of humorous that we couldn't remember how to tie a rolling hitch for the snubber line. We got out the book and literally held it out on the bow as we worked together to tie the knot ~ that's when you know you've been in Velcro Beach too long.

Don,Greg & Mary ~ Big house ~ Seagull that followed us for an hour; herd of pelicans

Friday, January 30, 2009

A Gorgeous Day - 35 degrees tonight?

Vero ~ Yesterday was a gorgeous day - in the mid 80's ~ sunny ~ breezy. Last evening was one of those evenings that was just pefect. The air temperature was warm to stay in a t-shirt, there were no bugs , a decent sunset and beautiful stars. The kind of evening I'm sure many of you think we experence all the time. We sat out in the cockpit talking with our neighbor Greg well into the evening. Even after we got into the bunk it was the first night in a long time we had the hatch wide open. I lay awake thinking about going home and being cold and being closed in . When we started this trip last year one of the things I got frustrated with was the weather ~ our exposure ~ vulnerability ~ how it often dictated what we did or didn't do.
Now I appreciate it. I realize that even in nicer weather when we live in a house we don't pay enough attention to the sunrise and sunset. Most of us don't pay attention to the wind exept when it really gets in our way. It's quite a force this weather thing. I'm not saying I will like it when it's windy I think I'm just trying to say that camping on this boat makes me aware of my surroundings, not listening to the TV news all the time ads peace and moving at 5 miles an hour allows us to see details that we won't want to forget.

Today it's rain, wind and dropping temperatures - it's currently 70 ~ here is what is in the weather forcast for tonight ~ "Tonight
Clear and cold. Lows in the upper 30s. Northwest winds 10 to 15 mph. Lowest wind chill readings 30 to 33 after midnight."

So yesterday was about as hot as I can stand it ( I am a heat wimp ) and tonight will get us primes for our move north. Yikes all those warm clothes are packed in the car !

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Headed North

Vero Beach ~One of my favorite lines is that the only thing that is certain is that everything changes. We are headed North instead of South , taking our boat to Satellite beach then driving back to Maine. We had been dawdling because we have been talking about giving up our trip since way back in Georgetown , SC when we first learned that Don’s cousin John ~ our dear friend and "brother" to Don had bladder cancer. We want to be home to help him with the challenges ahead. Sailing can wait for next year or this summer ~ Maybe the O’day 22 lawn ornament we have in Maine will get put in the water this year and we’ll have some great summer sailing.

Don flew Monday to Richmond ~ thank you so much Bob & Sara for moving our car and having Don overnight ~ Gratefully Don’s trip back to the boat was uneventful.
I spent 2 nights alone on the boat – cleaning, packing, pulling things apart. A big job and not easy while floating. We have been taking stuff by dingy and inventorying what we will leave on the boat. We have never left a boat in Florida and never left a bot in the water so Don has been varnishing to help protect the wood from the summer sun. I believe we will put a dehumidifier in the boat and white tarp over as much as we can. WE’ll leave canned goods and some sodas and things – storing them below the water line. Truth is we have been cleaning nooks and crannies that really could have used cleaning !

Tiller is very good at packing :) ~ We leave Vero on Saturday ~ a wonderful couple Don met here in Vero are allowing us to keep our boat on their dock for a reasonable fee. It will be interesting as we hear there may not be quite enough water to get us all the way to the dock.

So back to my previous post about this cruising thing being about friends, the ones we already knew, the ones we have come to know and the ones we haven’t yet met. As we passed the word we needed to leave we have had many offers of help including Ron and Dawn on "Dawntreader" who will help us get our car to the boat once we leave Vero. We have also found several cruisers with information about bladder cancer that will help us give John information and options.
Now I just need to figure out how to bottle this sunshine and warmth and take it back to Maine ~Brrrrrr

Monday, January 26, 2009

Tea Time,Great Friends & I finally get it

Vero Beach~ While I was in Maine at Christmas Don made some new friends here in Vero including Bill and Fran on "Tea Time" sailing a 26' Seafarer - Homeport -Starks Maine. They didn't sail the boat down but had it trucked to somewhere in Florida and do intend to go further. I think every single boat we have met from Maine has been a good looking boat. This is a beauty - Bill and Fran restored it but the day Don and I had tea with Bill while Fran was in Maine caring for her father who was ill, I came to appreciate what a huge boat I live on. This boat is tiny ! Bill and Fran have met so may great friends here that Saturday they cooked a wonderful lunch for 10 of us ~ chicken Marsala - they accomplished this feat on shore - it was great fun and a further bonding moment for a group of us here .
Of course the truth is most of these friends go by our boat in their dingy's and we hear them say - "oh hi Tiller" - it is all about Tiller the famous dingy cat - we had to set him adrift yesterday as we needed to do some varnishing and keep his little paws out of the wet varnish. His love for that little boat is hard to resist - he and I are alone this afternoon and he has been in the dingy meowing so strong our neighbor even popped his head out to see what was up ! You can see we are having beautiful weather - I finally get why people want to be snowbirds. I always thought is was so corny - something truthfully I didn't know anything about - also I was a skier - or still am just haven't been skiing lately - I don't mind winter as much as Don does - It gets terribly long around April when other states are having spring and November and December can be hard to take when it gets dark at 4 PM or so. But it has its moments - wonderful white snow storms so pristine and fun. That said ~ as I've been walking to the ocean beach day and feeling the pleasant warmth of the sun on my skin - holding my head high with no winter clothes to be cocooned into I finally get that is just feels good to be where it's warm and it feels easier to say "hello" to passers by. I do think boating is like a lot of activities where the commonality makes friendship nearly instantaneous. We have met friends with big boats, little boats, used to have big careers, little careers - it doesn't matter - we share something in common, tell stories and hope to see each other again along the way.