Sunday, January 15, 2017

2016 recap

January 2017

The year of 2016 was  a tough one with high highs and low lows. We started it cruising in the Bahamas. Then in March, Darrell's mom had a stroke. We agreed when we moved away to Florida that when the time came, we would go back to take care of our families. So we did. 

We became Ellouine's therapy brigade. Helping with physical therapy and post stroke rehabilitation. We were there in her home providing care and support 24/7 from April until November/December. She's not back 100% to her previous self but she's really close. And so it was time to escape the approaching cold weather and get back to life on a boat.  We are SOOOO proud of the progress she made!!  

One of the nice things about the year was all the quality time we were able to spend with family and friends in Texas.  We were able to attend 2016's birthday party for both of our grandchildren.  Linley turned one and Lyric turned five!  And we had a great Stadler Family reunion in May. Many memories to treasure!!

In order to return to Texas, we had to do something with the boat.  We still were in the process of trying to get quotes for the damages done to her when we got the news of Mom's stroke.  We finally decided to store her in Indiantown Marina (central Florida).  We THOUGHT that was a good, safe place away from the threat of hurricanes.  WELL, Matthew showed us a different scenario!  However, all the boats at that marina fared well.  When we went to Dallas for the family reunion, we flew to Ft. Lauderdale and made a mad dash to Key Largo and took the next 30 hours to get her up the coast and into a river and canal to the marina.  We spent a day or so getting her prepped for storage and then we took off back to Key Largo in a rental car to get our pick-up.  We drove the old clunker to Amarillo, skirting springtime storms much of the way.  Made it back by the Saturday before Memorial Day to get the dog out of the doggie spa.

In October and November, the weather in Amarillo began to deteriorate to temperatures that our bodies were ill prepared to deal with.  Roxy began putting on a winter coat - I refused to buy a lot of cold weather clothing that I wouldn't need when I came back to FL and the boat. I whined a lot about the weather.  Finally, we decided someone needed to come check on the boat and re-pickle the water maker since it had been six months since it was done.  Ann was elected (YAY!!).  So Roxy and Ann loaded the pick-up with most of our stuff and began a 2000 mile cross country trek back to FL.  Two stops to visit with very dear friends and several days later, we were in Indiantown.  The boat was in pretty sad shape with over six months of grime on the exterior, some water inside that I never did figure out how it got there, the hull damage to the bow from being hit in the Bahamas still there and everything stored inside!

After a few days of nearly constant communication with Darrell, he decided I needed help getting the boat back into shape for the water.  He set up some support systems for his mom and began making plans to come to FL.  By early Dec., he flew home too.  The work on Alibi began in earnest then.  We worked 10-12 hour days to get her back into shape.  After having Dave (Top Coaters, LLC) repair the hull, we had to polish the rest of the hull to match.  That was a real JOB!!  We painted the boot stripe and the decorative top stripe, three coats of bottom paint, replaced the stove, put on a new anchor (the old one had rusted to half it's rated weight), and got her ready to float again.  

January 10, we splashed her again and had a few mechanical issues to deal with before we could leave the dock.  With the help of our friends (Karl and Bri) from Key Largo, the pick-up was driven south and we headed east for the coast.  We are currently in Stuart hoping to get some quotes for a new Autopilot and possibly some other electronics work.  Right now, the plan is to leave in a week or two to be back in Key Largo by February 1 for Darrell to return as captain at Pennekamp Park.  

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Bahamas 2016 Part 2

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Bahamas 2016

     We finally pulled up both anchors and left the anchorage near the government center on January 7!!  On the 8th, we left Pumpkin Key EARLY to cross to the Bahamas. We made it to Bimini Sands Marina by 4:45 PM and didn't want to anchor out because the wind velocity and direction would have meant little or no sleep.  We continued traveling with the right wind and weather for six days - stopping for a good night of rest each day.  Arrived in George Town after those 6 days. Rested for a couple of days, Darrell played some volleyball and when the wind was right, proceeded to Salt Pond Long Island. 

     Arrived here on 1-17-16 following a nice sail from GT. We had been in contact with Alibi II - met them last year in Marathon. They are helping organize relief efforts here following Hurricane Joaquin. We did some work for a local fisherman and his family. Next week, we hope to do some work at the rectory in Clarence Town (south of here).  

     The people here are just so friendly and pleasant. No complaining, just pull up their sleeves and get to work following the storm. Always ready with a smile and a greeting. 

     The other night, we weathered a "blow" that was nothing like what they had last fall but eye opening just the same. We knew it was coming for days and we were prepared for it but it still made one think about how insignificant we are in this great big ocean and world. Roxy didn't care for the storm at all!!  The worst of it only lasted for ten minutes but it seemed an eternity. Fifty knots of wind is pretty terrific!!

     Anyway, almost half of our vacation time is gone. :(  Roxy is loving her beaches - you should see her smile :D  hopefully the weather is going to start settling down so we can enjoy some more beach time before we have to begin thinking about finding the right weather window to make tracks back to the Keys. 

And now for a couple of good stories. Firstly, one on us.....
     We were so excited to see places that hold fond memories from prior trips here. When we reached Norman Cay in time to make McDuff's before dark, we hustled in and parked the dinghy to go have a meal and drink. Should have taken a bit more time in getting that secured. No, no, nothing stolen!  Just returned after sundown to a dinghy that had taken on a little water to bail out before we could return to Alibi. Now, it is not JUST Ann that has swamped the dink with onshore waves!!

     Second story is on our friends (who know no strangers) here in Long Island. We went up south (yeah I know) to help a local preacher recently. On the return trip (remember how friendly I said the people are), we waved hello to a stopped vehicle heading the other direction and slowed to a crawl. The vehicle came after us racing toward us in reverse and our chauffeur, Bess, got out to talk to them. Now, no longer strangers, but new found friends with a farm and the potential for freshly grown produce!!  

     And then, as if I don't have enough material to write about, Darrell gives me more!! To prepare the boat for our next adventure, we needed to replenish fuel. Our boat uses diesel...... And that's what he thought he was putting in the jerry jugs. Ten to twelve gallons of gasoline added to our more than half full tank!!  So, what should have been an hour or two turned into all day ordeal and several $$. We located a cruiser here with a 12V pump and he located an empty barrel (and person willing to take the tainted fuel off our hands) to pump out our fuel tank. When we had all the fuel out we could get out and jerry cans of diesel to come back out, the dinghy motor decided to act up. Some locals from the island helped Darrell get that sorted out. We're back in business for the next adventure . . . . the Ragged Islands or Jumentos. On our bucket list ever since we started coming to the Bahamas!!!

     If we get the right weather in a few weeks, we won't be able to post after we leave there until we are home. You'll just have to watch for the next blog update or SPOT messages to see our route back to south Florida......

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Still in the Upper Keys

Okay so I haven't been very good at keeping this up to date.  Sorry!!

We moved the boat out of the marina around June 1.  We just aren't marina people.  Besides, the social gathering spot for most of the marina residents was just off the stern of our boat - ugh!!!  We like to be able to enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning without loudness and someone right on top of us.  We like to relax at the end of the day in the cool breeze of the cockpit without having to listen to a lot of talking.  The commute to work is also considerably shorter plus the rent is $0.  We are at anchor in Tarpon Basin near mile marker 102.  Within walking distance to many places.  Except for a little occasional drama with the other boaters anchored here, it is quiet and peaceful.

Darrell is still working at Pennekamp Park on the dive and snorkel boats.  I am working at three places but still not quite full time.  I captain at Blue Water Divers, Marine Lab, and I started at Sail Fish Scuba in June.  At SFS, I drive the first ever "twin screw" for me - it's like driving a cadillac!  Roxy goes to work with me at Sail Fish and hangs around the dive shop - makes herself right at home.  Anyway, with the steady work of the summer and continuing into the fall, we have been socking away as much as we can into the cruising kitty.  :)

We are beginning the countdown to the date when we are planning to leave for some coastal cruising in Cuba.  We have plans to meet Celtic Rover there in January and February.  Our hopes are to see some of the island before it morphs into just another Caribbean island.  Some of our friends were able to go there recently on a live aboard dive boat and the diving sounds INCREDIBLE!  Stay tuned for those updates!

In July, we welcomed our second grandchild into the family.  Linley Rose Stout was born on July 9, 2015.  She is beautiful and no I am not biased!!  I had the pleasure of sewing her entire crib set and some accessory coverlets.  We were able to be in Amarillo for her birth and sure were/are proud grandparents.  It had been a long time since I had been back - a good visit!  Lyric is going to be such  a good big brother!

The Holidays are fast approaching and we both seem to have some thoughts of wanting to go visit Amarillo again.  We had planned to return in September but the tropical weather made us a little afraid to leave the boat unattended.  Thank goodness we had a quiet hurricane season here.

We have been able to do a few projects on the boat but work has been getting in the way.  There is a list that needs to get done before we leave in January - hope we can get the essential items crossed off!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Google Map of the Caribbean Cruise

     I just spent several hours learning how to place markers on the map (google map link below) to show where we went for those two and a half years.  Perhaps I can do better at keeping it up to date next time we go out.  I wish I knew how to tell our SPOT messenger to send the link to a google map.  I'm not that computer savvy.

     We are now well past the new year and have settled in to life in the Keys again.  Darrell has one job and an occasional repair job or bottom cleaning work.  I have three jobs but none are too busy.  I also have done many jobs on our boat as well as picking up some sewing projects for others.

     We seem to have a pretty steady flow of friends coming to the keys for various reasons.  That gives us lots of pleasure.  Of course, we are counting the days until this summer when our granddaughter is due - July 7, 2015!!!

     In the meantime, the list of things we want to do to the boat dwindles but new items seem to replace the ones we get done.  I hope Tom and Lilly are not right, the earth vines might be getting a good strong hold on us.  In the meantime, come see us or give us a call.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

            We hope the holidays find you all healthy, happy, and doing what it is that you would like to be doing.  We know that our lives are richly blessed!  Roxy is truly in the festive holiday spirit!
            In late September, we got the opportunity to return to our home waters and homeland.  Yes, job opportunities sprang from the short visit we made to Key Largo so we jumped on them.  Darrell took a job working for Pennekamp Coral Reef Company driving dive and snorkel boats.  He may even get to train to drive the big glass-bottomed boat.  Ann took a little longer to find work but now is driving boats for Blue Water Divers, Marine Lab, and Horizon Divers – all part-time. 
            We moved the boat to Curtis Marine in Tavernier.  You all know that we are usually not the marina types but the cold, wet dinghy rides in the winter twice a day did not appeal to us.  Roxy sure likes the fact that she can get to walk several times a day.  She even has been getting better about staying on the boat and not annoying the neighbors by barking (not TOO much anyway) when we are gone.  We finally located a daytime daycare place that suits us and her that we can take her when we both are going to be gone to work for long periods. 
            Since we have been back in the upper keys, we have reconnected with many friends.  Several diving friends have been down to visit and dive.  We are looking forward to a holiday visit from Jim Fagan (he missed his annual spring break visit this year).  We are getting to do things that we have missed while we were out cruising like have big Thanksgiving and Christmas meals with friends and family.  We got to see friends and family who were in town for the Homestead/Miami race in November.
            It has been a good move for us to be in the upper keys.  We are planning to haul out and get some work done to thru hull valves and repaint the bottom some time after the first of the year.  After that, we’re looking at moving closer to Key Largo.  That greater than ten mile commute is really getting long!  LOL  In the meantime, Ann is really enjoying being able to practice yoga almost every day under a nice tiki hut. 

            Thanksgiving day, we were surprised with Lyric’s message to us that he is going to be a big brother.  Yes, we are expecting our second grandchild this summer!  We are SO excited!!!  What wonderful news!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Florida Keys

     What no update since early July? Sorry, got in the way. My how things change in a couple of months! Yes, the broken leg is doing well - no splints or casts - only a minor limp at times. All of the bills are paid and no more doctor or emergency room visits - knock on wood!
     We are still in Marathon but have been all over south Florida since the last post. Plus we have jobs in the dive industry once again. Captain Hook's Marina and Dive Center has kept us busy for a few weeks until the summer rush ended. Fun times to be back on the boat again! Roxy enjoyed us working - she got to go to doggy daycare in an indoor, air-conditioned place. At first, she hesitated to go into the back where there were a lot of barking small dogs but after a while, she didn't even look back when we dropped her off!
     The second week of August, we spent in Cape Coral visiting the kids and our gracious friends there. My gosh, Lyric is growing up fast!! He LOVES the water - I wonder where he gets that from. It was a busy, fun week! Thanks, Jerry and Sandy for the hospitality!
     When we returned to work, one boat was completely broken and the other was "limping". We worked a few trips before they decided to shut down and work on the other boat. Since we had never done a sea trial on the new rigging and boom, we decided to go sailing. Key Largo, here we come! The week was packed with trying to see EVERYONE and do EVERYTHING, lol. We sure miss all our friends there. The boat sailed great!
     We are back in Marathon and the dive boat is fixed but the weather didn't cooperate for diving for a while. Now, the slow part of the dive season is upon us. Back to tackling boat projects - at least it is cooler weather.