Home for the Holidays

We arrived back in Windsor, Ontario Canada over a week ago. It was largely an uneventful trip, traffic moved well, we had a nice hotel room just north of Cincinnati, the car, as usual, ran like a monster! Awesome.

So…are we home? Or are we away from home? Hmmmmm. Good question.

Nice new siding

Nice new siding

Our bed sure is comfy, the house looks fantastic with it’s new siding and window caps, it’s nice to have a dishwasher again….but it’s not Moorahme. Yes, we now have a much larger garage, in fact we can fit a car in there, unlike the garage on Moorahme where I shuffle things around to place a case of bottled water. We also have a basement…the basement on Moorahme is a touch on the wet side. We have 3 bedrooms, same as Moorahme, but only one bathroom here…but it’s tiled, not plastic lined. We don’t have to wait in line to use the head on Moorahme…here we time our visits. Ok, too much information, but I think you’re getting my drift.

Front porch decorations

Front porch decorations

It has turned cold here, started snowing a tad late yesterday. It is really warm in Florida…..I’m not going to talk about this subject any longer…<grin>

We stopped in at the Port of Detroit office to apply for a U.S. cruising permit on Monday….a what? A U.S. cruising permit. I’ve been here six years the officer stated, and I’ve never heard of that…have you Dolores? Nope, not me she says. You have a Nexxus card? Yes, we both do, but we would like to have a U.S. cruising permit…..could you perhaps google it and go from there? So, the officer googles U.S. cruising permit and says, well, look here, there’s a U.S. cruising permit…we don’t do that here. Not here she says…maybe the tunnel office, I’ll look up the phone # for you. So….we get the phone # for the tunnel office, and thanking the two now informed CBP officers, we leave. I try the # for the tunnel office..and go through the teleprompting…..and get no answer. No further ahead. We will try again in Florida I guess. Geesh!

Speaking of the car….it is a 2011 Infiniti G37x, fully loaded 4 door sedan. It is a bluish-grey color, has brand new tires on it, and only has about 83,000 k’s on it at present. It is an awesome car, does everything but wipe your nose. The lease is up in June of 2015, and the buy out on it is about 19,800 Canadian dollars. We will not be buying this car. So…if anyone is looking for a new to your automobile, this is a good deal. Right now here in Windsor, the local dealer has one listed at 30,000 dollars, but with less mileage.

Beth, Courtney and Sean put the Christmas tree up and decorated it the day after we got home, it looks great!

Christmas tree 2014

Christmas tree 2014

We were fortunate in that Rob was home and we were able to include him in the dressing of the tree via some Apple program on the Ipad that I know nothing about. Technically challenged? You bet! (that would be FaceTime)

I took some pics of the dinghy for Kewalo, the oars and sails in the bags. Craig could not see these items when he came up to have a look at Kewalo, so pics will have to do until he comes up in the spring to close the deal. Yes, Kewalo is sold, Craig is from Connecticut, and was looking for a Bayfield 29 cutter rig. Ours fit his bill, and a deal has been struck. We will miss her, she was a stand out boat for us.

So, enough for today, I am sure that everyone is busy prepping for Christmas, as you should be! ….where does time go? On the 20th of this month, I have been retired for one year….and it has certainly been a busy one. This time next year….the Caribbean islands!!!

And his lady-friend

And his lady-friend

A handsome cardinal in our backyard

A handsome cardinal in our backyard

Have a very Merry Christmas!

Keep your stick on the ice!

Update time – Crossing The Gulf

Well, where did we leave off?

Fog rolling in to Palafox Pier

Fog rolling in to Palafox Pier

The enclosure is completed, looks mighty fine, the artisans at Coastal Canvas worked their wonders and the full enclosure really looks great.  The 50 amp electrical service is also complete, all new wiring and breakers.  Electrically, we are ready for just about anything, such as the addition of another air conditioning unit….someday<grin>
Dave on the look out

Dave on the look out

Beth’s notes: Before we left, our friends Dave and Joyce came for a sail with us and then we went to Cosmos, an awesome restaurant, in Orange Beach and met up with Mark and Sue. A few days we got our official vessel registration and had a renaming ceremony.

Randy and Dave

Randy and Dave

Randy and Dave

Randy and Dave

Sunset at Orange Beach

Sunset at Orange Beach

Dinnerat Cosmos in Orange Beach with Mark & Sue and Dave & Joyce

Dinnerat Cosmos in Orange Beach with Mark & Sue and Dave & Joyce

  

We have pretty much rounded out our inventory of spare parts, spare pumps, hoses, belts, zincs, etc. and it is time to move on.  Having ice in the bottom of the dinghy pretty much tells the tale, it’s time to head south.  Unfortunately, we won’t have any help this trip.  Stanley has work commitments, and Caroline just can’t take that much time off work.  So, Beth and I are prepping for a two hander across to Port Charlotte Harbour, a trip of about 370 miles or so.
Finally, boat officially renamed to "Moorahme"

Finally, boat officially renamed to “Moorahme”

Tuesday morning, the 6th of December finds us casting off our lines at 8 a.m.  Tony and our new favourite dog Roxy were there to see us off, and we had friendly g’bye waves and best wishes from Harbour Master Ron and Q, the engineer from Nyhaven, the 90 foot Azumit we have discussed previous.  We are kind of sad to leave…the Panhandle area of Florida has a true southern flair, great folks, real friends.  I know that we will be returning there one day soon.
Ready for departure

Ready for departure

Ready for departure 2

Ready for departure 2

Saying goodbye to new friends

Saying goodbye to new friends

is going to be that hardest part of this adventure

is going to be that hardest part of this adventure

We head out Pensacola Bay, and Beth’s cell phone rings..it is Keith, the former owner of Moorahme, calling to wish us a safe journey, and to poke me for not having the head sail up yet.  Going to miss that guy!
jet from airbase

jet from airbase

We hit the pass, the waters are fairly calm, the tide is going out, and we are going out with it.

Rounding the last can in Pensacola Pass

Rounding the last can in Pensacola Pass

Once out of the pass, I hoist the headsail, and we head off to Charlotte Harbour.

Toward the East

Toward the East

It is a beautiful day, winds from the north east 8 to 15 knots, 2 to 3 foot swells out here in the Gulf.  We are making good time, rolling along at 6 knots or better.  The winds die off, and we start the iron lung to help us along.  Beth is beginning to feel just a wee bit sea sick, and she lays down.

Sunset crossing the Gulf 1

Sunset crossing the Gulf 1

Sunset crossing the Gulf

Sunset crossing the Gulf

Around midnight, all hell breaks loose.  The winds have now jumped to 15 to 20 knots, and we are sailing along at a great rate of speed.  Then, our wind indicator shows an apparent wind speed of 35+ knots, and Moorahme jumps to 10.4 knots speed over ground, and is heeling over pretty good.  I tell Beth that we have to reef the sails, we’ve been caught with our pants down, and I prep to go out to the mast by hooking up my safety tether to the jack line.  The winds are not backing off whatsoever, and I instruct Beth to round Moorahme up into the wind so that I can pull down some sail cloth to slow the boat down and maintain control.  Beth is having trouble bringing Moorahme round and holding her there, and we do at least a couple of circles while she tries her best to bring the boat under control.  The headsail halyards are whipping about, and I am quite literally hanging on to the granny bars, a set of chromed bars at the mast which help a person to hang on in rough seas.  I really have no idea what the seas are doing at this point, but I can quite confidently state that they were at least eight foot waves with a fairly short fetch……which means that the waves were very close together and pounding us pretty good.  I finally got half of the mainsail pulled back in, or reefed, and went back to the cockpit to reef in the head sail…not as easy as it sounds…the headsail halyards had loosened off and were getting caught on various items on the deck preventing me from reefing the sail as quickly as I would have liked.  I finally managed to pull the entire head sail in, and headed in to the cockpit, soaking wet with saltwater and sweat….what a fun exercise!  NOT!
Beth meanwhile is very nauseous, and not thrilled at all with the conditions at hand, and quite honestly scared.  Our research on a Stevens 47 had me convinced that these conditions, though adverse, would not be an issue for the boat, but may be for us.  Poor Beth and her seasickness would carry on until we were almost to Port Charlotte Harbour, a trip which ended up taking us some 56 hours, of which Beth was seasick some 49 or so.  Not a pleasant trip for her at all.
Later that day, there were at least 4 dolphins which played at the bow of Moorahme for probably a three miles, or about 25 minutes.  They were so much fun to watch!  The remainder of the day was pretty much taken up with course plottings and taking care of the mess down below which occurred when we heeled over in the heavy winds.  Spending too much time down below was not a good idea for either of us, but the jobs needed to be completed were.
That night, the second overnight leg of the journey, was a long one.  We encountered a lot of cruise ship, freighter and barge traffic, and at night, even though you can see them a long ways off, you still have to maintain a constant vigil on this larger traffic to ensure your own safety.  Thursday morning found us well past St. Pete’s and the larger harbours, and traffic decreased accordingly.  Beth was able to take over the helm and I could get some needed rest.
Going into Port Charlotte Harbour

Going into Port Charlotte Harbour

We arrived at Burnt Store Marina around 3 p.m. on Thursday, and I was quite happy to bring Moorahme into the dock and tie her down.  Our first big saltwater crossing was an eventful one, and one in which we both learned a lot.
Our trip home was great, the car ran flawlessly.   We had rented a car in Punta Gorda, and drove it to Pensacola to pick up our car, which Tony, the canvas man, had stored in his locked compound.  It was great to see him and Roxy again before we left.
We spent Saturday night at Keith and Linda’s home, and we were entertained like royalty.  Special fried shrimp, cheese grits and Turley wine, along with the great companionship of our hosts, made for a wonderful night.  We departed early Sunday morning, and drove to just north of Cincinnati,where we took a room for the night at a nice, new Hampton Inn.
So, that’s a “quick” update for everyone, I’m sure there would have been additional pictures had Beth been feeling better.  Next time!
Keep your stick on the ice!

Getting Ready to move on

Beth’s Note: WiFi has been giving me grief about getting these posts in – sorry, there are two combined here and a terrible lack of photos.
 
Well, the laundry is done and hanging on the safety rails to dry, the boat is washed, the “garage” cleaned as well, time for another Moorahme update.This next week should prove to be very busy.  The canvas folks are hopefully going to complete the full enclosure, the repair guy is going to install the Racor fuel filters and update the 50 amp service wiring, Beth is going to pre cook some food for our upcoming trip…trip you ask, what trip?Well, it’s time to move on.  Really.  We have been here in the Panhandle long enough.  There was frost on the building roofs again this morning, ice in the bottom of the dinghy.  That means…..time to MOVE ON!  It’s cold here, and there is warmer weather south.  So, let’s head south!  As soon as the work is completed on Moorahme, and my little projects are completed, we’ll begin our move.  But not on a Friday..oh no, bad luck to leave on a Friday, King Neptune doesn’t like that.  So, it’s either Thursday or Saturday.We hope to gain a weather window which will allow us to sail straight through to Burnt Store Marina in Charlotte Harbour.  We are looking at just over 2 full days non stop.  This would be our first overnight sailing, which in itself is quite exciting.  A friend that we met in Daphne, Stanley Posey, has offered to make the run with is.  Stanley is a U.S. Coast Guard licensed captain, and has a ton of experience on power boats.  Great of him to make the offer!

So, where are we on refrigeration?

Randy and Mark Working on the Refrigeration

Randy and Mark Working on the Refrigeration

It is working fine, we run it for about two hours or less per day, half in the morning, and then in the evening.  If we have a beautiful sunny day such as we are having today, the two 110 watt Shell solar panels provide us with sufficient power to run the refrigeration, and the fresh water pump for the washing machine without draining the house batteries.  In fact, we were running at 5 amps just before noon today.  Love the “free” power!  Our issues with the oven not staying lit are passed us now, Google is my best friend..well, second to Keith!

I inspected the “jack lines” today. What are jack lines you ask?  They are straps that run from the bow of the boat to the stern, and they provide a safety tie in to the boat.  You hook your tether, which is a short safety line, usually about six feet long, from your life jacket harness to the tether when you have to leave the cockpit and go up on deck.  This “tie off” will help to prevent a person from going overboard at an inopportune time, such as at night.  I inspected the straps stitching and general integrity to ensure that they look good to use, and they are.  We have also purchased two PLB’s, or Personal Locator Beacons, which we will wear on our lifejackets.  In the event of a disaster, or falling overboard, these PLB’s can be activated and they notify the search and rescue authorities that you are in trouble.  Most boats have one, but Beth and I decided that we would like to each have our own PLB in the event that something would happen and we get separated.

So, back to my favourite topic…food!  Beth is planning on prepping ahead her home made macaroni and cheese, home made soup, pre bake some potatoes and a steak so that we can have refried potatoes, steak, bacon and onions for a meal as well.  Supplement that with sandwiches, fruits and desserts…and of course some energy drinks for me….and we’ll be good to go!  I’m getting hungry just thinking of all that good food!

Mark the refrigeration technician showed me how to recharge a Freon system, and I found some MP-66 refrigerant in Orlando on e-bay.  I was lucky enough to win the auction, and I purchased a 26.5 lb. bottle of Freon for $100.  It doesn’t get any better than that.  When we repaired the refrigeration, we used 4 lbs. of Freon to get things back in working order, after sealing up the leak….just a loose fitting that you had to be a contortionist to tighten up.  Bleeding knuckles?  LOL….I could write a book.

Our Canadian registration has been completed, and hopefully Beth’s daughter Courtney will be scanning and sending us a copy any day now.  Then, it’s time for a “re-naming ceremony” which involves copious amounts of liquor for Neptune, Poseidon, and any other water God who wants some.  And of course, there will be some for us to consume as well, with as many of our friends attending as well!  I’ll let you know how that goes<grin>.

Max, Donna and Max’s daughter Melissa paid us a visit last week, and we had a GREAT visit.  It was really nice to sit down, force feed them with beer, fresh boiled shrimp, crab salad and chips, peppers stuffed and pickled with prosciutto and provolone, and a few other items.  Makes a person just a tad home sick..maybe.  Then, when you look at the weather back home….and the feeling goes away pretty quick.

Taquilla !

Taquilla !

Henry the Heron still comes around, but I think it’s time he and I have a little chat.  Henry really likes our boat, and enjoys sitting on it…and shitting on it….and maybe not in that order.  I have no issue whatsoever with him performing that act on the dock, I don’t mind hosing the docks…but not on our boat!  We will be having that conversation very soon! LOL!

Beth is once again not feeling well, appears to be a trip down memory lane from this past winter.  The old sinus infection issue has returned, and it’s not nice.  If she isn’t feeling better soon, it will be time to visit an emergency care office and get some drugs…woohoo!  Drugs!  Ooops, got a little carried away there.  Thank goodness Windsor Salt has the retirement package that it has, and we have healthcare coverage here in the U.S.

So, that’s a “quick” update for now.  I’ll tell you about our Thanksgiving meals on the next update…..deep fried turkey….flaming oysters…..and the list goes on!

Keep your stick on the ice!

Today is the Floor eeee dah weather one expects…..hot, 77 degrees F or so, sunny, no clouds!  I am sitting here in the  cockpit of the boat writing this blog, wishing all of our updating was complete, the next few days are showing a perfect weather window.  The winds are from the north east, 10 to 15 knots…remember, a knot is 1.2 miles per hour.  The wave height out in the Gulf of Mexico from here down to the Ft. Myers area is about 2 feet…..Moorahme would be sailing right along in those conditions, we would easily be busting 6 knots or better speed over ground…..or SOG.  This would make it ideal for a straight through trip lasting about 53 or so hours to get to Burnt Store Marina….you really should look up their site, over 500 boat slips!  And a 7′ channel at high tide to get in there….key words being at high tide….so we will be waiting for a rising or high tide to both arrive and depart this particular marina.  Here is a link for you
http://www.burntstoremarina.com/boating_overview.htm#.VHtlSzp0zIULast night we were fortunate enough to visit a couple of sailors from Mississippi.  They own the Tayana 52 located 4 slips down from us.  She is a 1983 model, so younger than Moorahme, and the hull is a beautiful dark blue with gold and white striping at the waterline.  She has a 15’8″ beam according to the owners, and a 6’8″ draft.  The mast height is 70 feet, a true blue water cruiser.  She is an aft cockpit version, so you control the boat from the very back end, unlike ours where you are more centered in the boat.  All lines are led aft to the cockpit so that you can control everything without leaving the cockpit.  Very, very nice set up.Looking across the fairway here at the marina, Dana, the fellow who traded in his Cobia 52 valued at  1.3 million dollars u.s. for a Hatteras GT 70……the new Sportfisher, brand new, has twin 1900 hp Cat engines, a pretty blue hull and the tuna tower is over 3 stories off the water…approximate value about 4 million u.s. dollars.  It has a top end of 45 knots SOG….so multiply 45 x 1.2 to get the mph top end, and while doing so burns 200 gallons per hour of fuel.  It is fast, very, very fast and very, very good looking.  If my memory serves me correctly, I already have alluded to the Grand Banks 59 that we toured in Orange Beach….a 2007 model, with more electronics and gadgets than we paid for Moorahme.  It carries enough fuel to travel 2000 miles according to it’s owner named Neil.   I really do think that the boating industry is NOT hurting at all here in the Florida Panhandle.Here’s a link to the Hatteras GT70                    http://www.marinemax.com/boats/details/4741456/new/hatteras-gt70.aspx

Here’s a link to the Grand Banks 59                  http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/2007/Grand-Banks-Aleutian-59%27rp-1814473/Phuket/Thailand

Joe Patti’s….I have spoken about this awesome fresh seafood palace…or as I like to refer to it…a large, black hole that sucks you in, takes your money, and spits you out, only to have the same thing happen again, totally, in a few days time, and you are just so happy to have been there.  Another “quick” visit there today, Beth and I will be enjoying fresh royal red shrimp, the largest they have, and a nice tuna steak.  At least, if Beth is feeling better she will….I’m hoping that the fresh seafood will help her to het over the sinus attack she is suffering through….funny how a man thinks is it not?

Speaking of black holes…..I also visited West Marine today, and ordered the Maptech Chartkit for Western Florida and the Keys.  Paper charts are invaluable when navigating, and these charts, which are a brand new release last week, also come with a disc to install in your computer…I’ll let you know how that works out.  We all know how technically challenged……………
I had tried to go online and order the same during their Black Friday sale, but was unable to get through on the site…but they are going to honor the Black Friday sale price for the old guy…that’s me……how nice of them to do so.  The charts are 129.99 u.s., or almost a half million Canadian these days with our dollar sinking as it is.  I googled “lead balloon” and guess what came up?  Yup….it sure did.

Aaron and Caroline and Harley put out an absolutely fantastic meal on Thanksgiving.  Deep fried turkeys, oyster dressing, flaming oysters, and a variety of side dishes fit for a king.  What a great bunch of people!  Aaron and his son in law were to go out wild boar hunting the next morning, so we didn’t stay too late.  It was a bit of a ride home with our overstuffed bellies and fond memories.

So, enough pontificating for today, time to hang out the last load of laundry for the day.

Keep your stick on the ice!

 

Thunder, lightning, big winds and rain!

What a great combination eh?  Glad we’re tied to a dock!

We are somewhat protected from the north west winds which are currently gusting to over 20 knots.  We are securely tied to a dock, sitting in between a 44 foot Sea Ray and a 46 foot Irwin sailboat.  In fact, I think I can smell Ron’s pipe as I write!  Vanilla flavoured tobacco…..Ron and Linda are from the Kemah, Texas area, and great folks.  They own the Irwin, a good, heavy sailboat.  We haven’t met the owners of the Sea Ray, Ron says that they also are from Texas somewhere.
Between Erwin and SeaRay

Between Erwin and SeaRay

Trolls under the bridge

Trolls under the bridge

The weather has really gone for a ……no, no snow like some of you have had already, but we did experience a moderate quantity of lightning and thunder last night about 5 a.m.  So, it was time to get up and check things out on the boat, throw the companionway hatch back and have a gander outside.  No Leonid meteors to be seen…too much rain and cloud!  The small electric heater that we purchased in Gore Bay this past summer is keeping the boat nice and toasty warm, and it is much quieter than our reverse cycle air/heat.
I get the feeling our Weems and Plath barometer is not telling the whole truth, it is currently showing a reading between “change” and “fair”.  Fair?  It certainly isn’t fair, and we hope any change is for the better, although the forecast is for gale force winds tonight.
We will be leaving Alabama this week, probably on Friday, and heading back to Pensacola.  We’ll return to Palafox Pier and Marina, where we will have the opportunity to entertain some of our sailing friends from Ohio, and also some friends from Amherstburg, ON.  We’ve got company coming to visit! Yahoooooo.  Our time at Palafox will also allow us the time needed to complete the full enclosure and have the diesel fuel Racor filter system installed. Then we should be ready to head south to the Ft. Myers area, and hopefully stay at the Burnt River Marina for a bit.  A nice change of scenery, and it should be much warmer down that way.  I will have to ensure that we purchase the spare air conditioning water cooling supply pump before we depart Pensacola, the last of the spare pumps that we should have on hand for our travels.
Beth was out shopping yesterday with the gals from Texas while some of the guys viewed a movie at the local theater here.  We watched Keanu Reeves new thriller John Wick.  An amazing amount of blood, bullet casings and fisticuffs.  Good, mindless entertainment.  Beth was able to finally get us a couple of fold up chairs for the boat, which will be put to good use when we have “docktails” which of course is the boatee version of cocktails.  There just isn’t anything quite as grand as swapping stories/lies, imbibing great liquors and food, whilst sitting at the end of a dock in the sunshine, watching the sunset and dolphins swimming by.  The day before yesterday, there was a dolphin so close to the stern of the boat, that had I been sitting on the swim platform, I could have scratched it’s back.  What a great sight!  And no, I wasn’t “sent to the swim platform to be punished”, I just happened to be back at the stern when the dolphin happened by.  We also viewed a manatee swimming upstream, another great sight to see.  There are also Osprey here around the marina, so there really is no shortage of wildlife to view.
Note from Beth: Although it’s been too cool for bugs, they were eating us alive a few days ago – especially the “No-See-Ums”. So I looked up a recipe for homemade bug repellent on Pinterest and got to work.  
Made a lotion to keep the No-See-Ums and Mosquitoes off us

Made a lotion to keep the No-See-Ums and Mosquitoes off us

Ingredients

Ingredients

The Lotion

The Lotion

I used therapeutic grade citronella oil, Coconut oil and Witch Hazel. I’ll let you know how it works when the bug come back out. 
So, lazy day today, rain and high winds will keep us onboard and either “surfing” the internet, or reading a book.  Time for a day off!
Keep your stick on the ice!

Rib eye

Piggly Wiggly…yes, say it again….Piggly Wiggly.  Supermarket, grocery store, provisioning store.  Call it what you want to, but there just isn’t a Piggly Wiggly where we come from.

It's just so much fun to say

It’s just so much fun to say

Rib Eye steaks, nice ones, not 3rd class meat, $6.18 lb., an inch and half thick, beautiful marbling…..am I making you hungry yet?  Sure wish I had one of two things….either my charcoal bbq, or my new burner for the propane bbq on the boat, which is s’posed to be shipped to us from somewhere in the bowels of British Columbia, Dickinson Marine bbq’s, sometime tomorrow, five day expedited delivery.  I’m holding my breath…we’re out of here on the 21st and back to Pensacola.
Piggly Wiggly has an awesome meat department, followed closely by an awesome dairy department…but both are totally overshadowed by the store brewed and bottled beer(Walkerville breweries hold your breath) and a wine department second to none.  They actually carry Ridge Zins, and can order in Turley Zins as well….wish we were here for another two weeks, we’d be loading up on Turley!
It is cold here now, 5C all day, dropping to 1C or thereabouts tonight and tomorrow night.  WTF?  REALLY!  WTF?  November?  Geeesh!
Beth and I had a cold, rain day today, and decided to hit the Tanger Outlet Mall in Foley, Alabama.  A short drive away, with a great restaurant, Lambert’s Cafe, Home of the Throwed Roll.  Yes, that’s right, the “throwed roll”.  They throw the dinner rolls at you, fresh out of the oven, from anywhere on the restaurant floor.  And take it from me, they are HOT!  The young fella could pitch for the Tigers, he has a dead on toss!  You get 2 sides with most meals, and then there are the “passarounds” which included fried potatoes and onions, macaroni and tomato, boiled cabbage….all you could eat!  And eat…and eat!  Coffee and hot chocolate in thermal mugs the size of a watermelon.  The food was awesome, I brought home half a chicken that puts KFC totally to shame, and Beth had the chicken pot pie….way too much food.  No wonder people are so obese!  Just a general observation, not a critical statement.<grin>
Last night, we joined our friends from Texas at Ginny Lane’s for dinner, and most of us ordered the 10 oz Prime Rib for $14.95, which came with potatoes and green beans…and a FREE martini.  The banana martini’s are to die for, but I gave mine to Beth and had a nice glass of red zin wine.  They are a fun bunch to hang with….and saying “y’all” is really hard not to do when with them, eh?
Our boat has reverse cycle air conditioning and heat, thank goodness.  But knowing that we would someday head north with her, we had ensured she had heat.  It is cold outside!  Speaking of cold, the refrigeration guy says he will be back tomorrow…hmmm, tomorrow….not sure exactly what “tomorrow” means down this way where they are on “island time mon”, but he says he will be here tomorrow a.m. and install mp66 refrigerant in our system and have us on our way, with an instructional class included on how to recharge the system.  Says he will even throw in an old set of gauges to troubleshoot the system….tomorrow.  Tomorrow….ahuh.  Tomorrow.  I’ll let you know how that turns out.
Yesterday Beth and I watched a Manatee swim up current on the GICW, and of course the dolphins put on their usual show about an hour before dark.  I have kept close correspondence with our good friend Jim from Onekemaw, Michigan, to ensure that beer thirty does not go unobserved, and he has assured me that he has added additional nails into his kidney coffin the past few days and is blaming that scenario on his company from Michigan the last few days.  Beer thirty, five o’clock somewhere, boats, water….are you getting the picture?<GRIN>
Alright, enough blithering/blathering on….winds tonight are to hit 25 knots or better, and the bottle of Red Zinfandel from the Marietta Vineyard in Sonoma California, 2011 vintage, has completed it’s job.
Mmm, wine

Mmm, wine

Just enough left for breakfast in the a.m……no, no , just kidding!<grin>  It is a very, very nice wine! $20 U.S. dollars, so about 990,000k in Canada.  So just take my word for it, it really is nice…unless you are one of our U.S. blog followers….you can go and get it, but hurry, it’s that good.

Keep your stick on the ice!
Note from Beth:
I’m starting to think we should call this blog “Food, friends and fixes “ 
Also somewhere in this time frame we joined Aaron & Caroline and there friends  for more lovely food – oysters, gumbo, crawfish bread. And I took pictures of the oysters and the preparation- aw shucks 
Shuckin'

Shuckin’

Shucked

Shucked

Cookin'

Cookin’

Harley and Raster

Harley and Raster

Orange Beach and The Blue Angels

I don’t know why I want to refer to this area as Orange Grove….but if I do, bare with me…..it’s an age thing I guess.

We have met a ton of boaters from Michigan, in fact, yesterday, a Viking 43 motor yacht from Harrisville Township pulled into the slip beside us.  Dave and Michelle are awesome people, he retired from Chrysler 7 years ago, she retired in June from a car dealership.  We headed out to Lulu’s, a restaurant bar just downstream, that is owned by Jimmy Buffet’s sister.  It had pretty good food,  and is very large.

At Lulu's

At Lulu’s

I can only imagine how busy it must get in the “warmer months”, and every once in awhile Jimmy himself pops in and does an impromptu serenade for the patrons there.  That didn’t happen yesterday, darn it.

I am happy to report that the Yamaha 9.9 pushes our hard bottomed dinghy right along.  It is a bit of a bear to wrestle down off of the davits with the engine on the dink, but nothing that Beth and I can’t handle.

The Wharf Marina is a great spot to sit and just watch traffic go by on the GICW, or Gulf Intra Coastal Waterway.  There are dolphins a plenty, and a lot of barges.  Some are hauling coal, others are moving dredging apparatus up and down the waterway.  It is really something to watch, these barges are huge, and how they negotiate the bends and twists is quite remarkable.

The front of the barge

The front of the barge

middle

middle

it just goes on

it just goes on

and on

and on

the end

the end

We are still without refrigeration, I’ll do some inquiring today to see if there is anyone around who is able to recharge our system…sigh….we’ve wasted a fair bit of cash on ice….ice here in Alabama is priced somewhat the same as our Canadian gourmet ice back home….$11 for a forty lb. bag.  With the cool weather that we are expecting here for the next week, the ice will last quite some time in the freezer and refrigerator.

I ordered a new burner for the barbeque yesterday from Dickinson Barbeques in British Columbia.  Should take about five days to get here, a big hole blew through in the center of the burner the last time I used it.  I’ve applied some JB weld to hold it over until the arrival of the new burner….I have my fingers, dingers and gingers all crossed hoping the old burner makes it.  It is going to hit the mid 60’s here today for a high, so I can see where we’ll be buying a roast of beef and trying out the galley oven very soon.  The horseradish that we purchased at the Pepper Palace will be put to good use…..brings a tear to my eye and my nose runs just thinking about that horseradish!  And once Beth is feeling better, we’ll try out the Bloody Mary mix we purchased there as well.  I do believe that she is coming along now….she actually suggested today that we pick up a bottle of Bailey’s for our morning coffee.

Yesterday, our good friend Tony from Coastal Canvas picked us up, and of course Roxy was with him.  They are such great friends, Roxy was very pleased to see us, and resume consumption of the chicken jerky dog treats that we had purchased at Sam’s club.  She just loves those jerky strips!  We headed off to Pensacola, and we finally met Tony’s wife Annette, a real sweetheart of a lady.  Tony took me over to his friend’s 63 foot steel hulled Sparkman Stephens designed sailboat, a ketch rig built in 1958.  Eddie and Trish have owned the boat for over 20 years, and it is 93,000 lbs of pretty boat.  Huge pilothouse, you could easily put 50 people on this boat and still have a ton of room.  She is powered by a Detroit diesel 671 naturally aspirated engine, everything on this one is big!  They spend a lot of time diving in the Bahamas, and this boat is set up to do exactly that with an onboard air compressor and everything else needed for diving expeditions.

Eddie and Trish are great people, and they graciously invited us to their new home to watch the air show being held this weekend at the Pensacola Naval Air base.  This is the Blue Angels Homecoming weekend, and what a show it is!  There were parachutists, tons of bi-planes, old world war two planes, aerobatic planes…a full day of wonderful entertainment. IMG_0702

Right over the house

Right over the house

Fat Albert

Fat Albert

And then, shortly after two p.m., it was real show time…the F-16 borne Blue Angels came up.  Their display is second to none, very fast, crisp and quick moving.  Eddie and Trish’s house is located directly north of the runways, and we had front row seats without the crowds.  In fact, so front row, that the Blue Angels fly directly over the house, no more than a hundred feet off of the ground…….I only wish that all of you could have attended to witness the bone shaking noise as six F-16’s pass right over your head close enough that it feels that you could jump up and touch them, they fly so close to the house.

Blue Angels 2

Blue Angels 2

missed 'em

missed ’em

IMG_0721

Blue Angels4

Blue Angels4

This is one day that will stick in the old memory banks for some time!

After the show, it was hamburger/hotdog time, with salads galore and fun conversations…..being teased on how we talk….heck, it’s not us that talks funny is it?<grin>

Tony Pontificating

Tony Pontificating

We had a wonderful time, and just before dark there were a lot of the planes leaving the show area and heading back to their home hangars, so I pretty much had a decent fill of airplanes for the day…..something I just can’t get enough of.

I know that we are in Florida, and most of you think of Florida as hot, sunny, humid and all that, but let me tell you.  It is very humid and damp in the Pensacola area, and when the sun goes down, and the temperature drops down to 11 Celsius, believe me, it is freakin’ cold!  I mean bone chilling, go right through you type cold.  Unreal!  It has me thinking about heading south…..soon!

Our travel plans have been modified somewhat already, as Beth and I say, our plans are written in the sand at low tide.  We had originally planned on leaving the boat in Pensacola and returning home for Christmas, and then after Christmas heading to the Ft. Myers area to visit with friends and family.  The “locals” here have told us that the sooner we can leave this area, the better.  There aren’t a lot of windows of opportunity to catch to sail south, the cold northern fronts cutting into quality sailing time.  So, best to listen to the natives, right?  We now plan on heading to Burnt River Marina in the Ft. Myers/Pine Island area sometime the first week of December when we have completed our visiting with Max and Donna, sailing friends from Cincinnati, Ohio, and HUGE Buckeye fans; and Dave and Joyce Llewelyn from Amherstburg; and last, but certainly not least, Jan and Jean from Colorado (Beth’s note: I’m pretty sure it’s Kansas), who we met earlier this year when we stayed in Brunswick, Georgia.  We are hoping to do some cruising with Jan and Jean, they have a 45 foot Jenneau and know the Bahamas intimately.

Our friends Dave and Michelle on “Just Us”, a 43 foot Viking motor yacht departed early this a.m. to continue their travels on the “Loop”.  They are from Harrison township in Michigan, and began their journey of traversing the loop in July when Michelle officially retired.  They are FUN people, and we hope to catch up with them again soon.  Safe travels to them!

Tony is dropping in today to install some additional canvas that is ready to go on.  We are very pleased with his work and our boat is really looking much better with her new “clothes”.  Beth and I are really looking forward to the completion of this project, as the full enclosure will warm up the cockpit on those days when it just really isn’t t-shirt and shorts weather.  Those days are much more common place now, unlike when we first arrived in Pensacola and were enjoying the hot, I repeat, HOT weather.  How quickly the weather changes.  That’s the update for now…

Keep your stick on the ice.

Go Crimson Tide (or Roll Tide as they say here in ‘Bama)

(a note from Beth: we’re finally someplace with decent internet and it is so much easier to add pictures and post – so we’re doing some catching up)

We departed Pensacola yesterday, and headed over to the Wharf Marina in Orange Beach, Alabama yesterday.  For various reasons, all of them good, it was time to get out of Florida and see some new to us sites.  The trip was all done with the diesel pusher, and took about 4 hours.

For those of you not familiar with college football, Bear Bryant, a legendary college football coach, coached here for many, many years, and is one of the most respected college football coaches ever, and he ruled the Crimson Tide (That’s the University of Alabama  football team for all y’all who aren’t sports fans).

There wasn’t an abundance of traffic on the Gulf side of the ICW, and we cruised along at a nice leisurely 6 to 6.5 knots, our 100 hp turbo yanmar barely breaking a sweat at 2300 rpms.  Our raymarine chartplotter chip ran out of close in information just past the Florida-Alabama border, and we navigated with our I-Pad until Keith, the former owner returned my phone call about chart chips and told me to just back out to about the 3 mile point on the screen, and I would have chart information on the screen.  Not as intensive as having a chart chip for Alabama, but sufficient to allow me to relax somewhat.

At times on this trip, there was only just over 3 feet of water under the keel, which makes me very nervous.  That makes for a little better than 9 feet of water, but with a 6 foot draft….I get just a wee bit edgy.  The center of the marked channel is the obvious choice for transit, and moving over when meeting traffic allows me to do so.  It should be interesting for us in the Bahamas, as there will be a constant 1 or 2 feet of water under the keel for extended periods of travel….oh boy!  Definitely not the north channel.

There's the first bridge

There’s the first bridge

How high is that bridge?

How high is that bridge?

How tall is our mast?

How tall is our mast?

How tall is our mast?

How tall is our mast?

Are you sure?

Are you sure?

No crunching or ping sounds

No crunching or ping sounds

Made it!

Made it!

We passed under two bridges, both with a height of 73 feet.  Our boat has a mast height of 65 feet plus instruments, so going under the bridges also had me a bit nervous.  But, no issues at all, and we carried on as if we are normal.  The houses along the ICW are incredible, as are the various yachts that we met, all BIG!  Our 47 foot sailboat felt like a dinky toy when meeting some of those yachts.  The ICW twists and turns along this stretch, and is just gorgeous, and very well marked.  We finally met some dolphins just before Orange Beach, they are always such a treat to see.  You should google Orange Beach, it is an amazing area, white sand beaches, beautiful hotels and an awesome vacation area.

Houses along the beach

Houses along the beach

The ICW around Ono Island

The ICW around Ono Island

A very cool condo at Orange Beach - zoomed in

A very cool condo at Orange Beach – zoomed in

The sand is so white

The sand is so white

A very cool condo at Orange Beach

A very cool condo at Orange Beach

IMG_0685

The Wharf marina is a very nice marina facility, and Beverly and Ryan made us feel right at home when checking in.  Ryan helped us into our slip, provided us with some great info and insights to the area.  Beth was very pleased with our docking procedure, smooth as silk and totally uneventful.  I’ll take the time today in the 75 degree sunshine to wash the boat down and remove the salt.  Each docking procedure is making it easier to dock successfully, thank goodness.  She is a big girl, and just a wee bit different to dock than Kewalo.  This marina caters to “loopers”, and when you tell the staff that you are a looper, dock fees are significantly cheaper.  I told Beverly that we were “loopy”, and that got us the reduced rate.  So, with the 11% tax that is charged here in Alabama for hotel rooms, docks etc., our total dock fees for two weeks is $525.  Not bad at all, much cheaper than a hotel room.  By the way, if you can stay here for 6 months, the 11% tax fee is removed……hmmm, 6 x 30 or 31…nope, no can do.  The customs and border folks wouldn’t like that…….Floating docks, laundry facilities, loopers all over, even from Canada….nice place to stay for awhile.

Tony from Coastal Canvas is going to bring our car over for us one day this week, good thing, as the closest grocery store is 3.4 miles away.  A bit of a hike when hauling groceries on foot.  There are quite a few nice restaurants very close by, and one of them, Ginny Lane offers a lunch special, good to 6 p.m., that comes with a free martini!  YES!  We will come to know this place very well methinks<grin>  There is a ferris wheel just across the street, and all kinds of attractions on the wharf here in Orange Beach.

Sunday afternoon we sailed with Keith and Linda, the former owners.  Their in depth knowledge of the waters around Pensacola, and their vast sailing abilities are remarkable.  Linda is an avid racer, and delivers sailboats, while Keith no longer races but truly enjoys sailing.  His ability to trim the sails was something to watch and learn from, his skills obvious to my constant observations.  It is awesome to watch a truly skilled and experienced sailor trim a boat.  We arrived back at Palafox in the dark, and I was able to dock our boat in backwards on the second attempt with some help from the crew.

Pensacola Bay sunset 1

Pensacola Bay sunset 1

Pensacola Bay sunset 2

Pensacola Bay sunset 2

Pensacola Bay sunset 3

Pensacola Bay sunset 3

In closing, a Hinckley 46 with a beautiful dark blue hull, gold trim, and woodwork that gleamed, was at Palafox.  I had noticed a different wake when he arrived, and in talking with the owner, from Traverse City, Michigan, discovered that he had jet drives.  Big, strong, Hamilton jet drives.  He claimed that the drives gave him about a 10% better fuel economy, and made the boat as easy to handle as a jet ski, and only a 2.5 foot draft.  I have no idea what it was worth…..but scary would be a good term.  Awesome motor yacht!  Should have grabbed a couple of pics in hindsight.

So, Orange Beach, here we are!

Keep you stick on the ice.