Monday, March 27, 2017

Family and Friends To Keep Us Entertained

It is hard to find inspiration to write a blog post when we are not traveling, thus 3 weeks have passed by since my last post.  One week was spent in Stuart waiting for a part to be delivered so the auto pilot could be fixed.  And we are happy to report Mr. Auto is now a working part of our boat crew, making driving her a lot easier!  We said our fond farewell to the great staff at Stuart Yacht and made our way north to Loggerhead Marina in Vero Beach on Monday, 3/13 accompanied by many dolphins happy we were once again cruising!  The next day, our family grew and I dedicate this post to welcoming the arrival of our Great Niece!

May I introduce Ms. Ainsley Rey Thornton the most precious great niece we have in our family!

She is actually the first in her generational line thus she is the only "great" we have and will shower her with all she deserves.  Apparently this was a special moment when she allowed herself a bit of sleep in her own crib rather than with a parent holding her.  Ahh the milestones rack up!  

Then we had more family enjoyment when Cait McMahon, the granddaughter of "TR", our brother-in-law spent a day on the boat with her family, Randae, his daughter Aubrey, and son, Jamir.  It felt good to get the boat moving for a day and to enjoy some kids aboard for a change.  It was a fun family Sunday!

Captain Al was relieved at the helm by young Jamir who skillfully turned the boat this way and that until he got the hang of driving a slow moving vessel.  The smile on his face was worth every minute of  worry that we would collide with another boat or run aground!  

And we have had some fun with old friends and new friends during the past 3 weeks .  While still at Stuart, we spent many a docktail with our good buddies John and Pam on Short Vacation and this particular night was our last and we included new friends Nelly and Jacques on Magic who hail from Paris!  They too are loopers.   Amazing how couples from across "the pond" can manage to plan for such a grand trip!

Jacques orchestrated the purchase of their boat via many hours on the internet, researching boats and learning what the "Loop" entailed.  Then they came to the states, looked at the boats on his list, found the one they liked and started on their adventure.  We continue to meet some of the most interesting and adventurous people!  

Nelly and John joyfully chat about boating and travel.   
And Al and I have continued our daily routine of walking sometimes with a turtle crossing our path. 

So now we are nestled in the middle of this string of boats at Vero.  You can spot her as the one with the red canvas.

Vero does offer us the opportunity to walk a beach once more as long as we have a rental car to get there.  This marina is not in the most convenient location. 

One day we just walked across the bridge that crosses from the mainland to the barrier island, Orchid Island which serves as Vero's beach and tourist location.  This shot is looking across the ICW that passes between the island and mainland.  We were just on that waterway 2 weeks ago. 

More days of walking the beach and indulging in our bad habit of catching lunch at one of the many good restaurants that this tourist location offers.  The ocean was particularly stirred up with winds that day!  Wouldn't want to be out there by boat!  In general, Vero has been quiet and maybe even a bit boring for us but we had one special treat this past weekend as the marina hosted a pig roast.  

I actually didn't expect a whole pig, but here it is, all roasted, skinned and ready to eat!  Our gracious chef is Steve the dock master of the marina.  We enjoyed meeting even more new friends while tasting lots of "pot luck" food choices.  The plan for now is to stay here another week and then move south to a sister marina owned by Loggerhead in Palm Beach Gardens.  That will put us closer to Miami for the drive to visit the eye institute for a recheck.  That won't be the last recheck but we are hoping they will find that Al's eye continues to heal and that the bubble is diminishing to allow him to fly to the next appt.  If so, we will clear out of Florida as fast as our boat will take us!    In the mean time, "Go UConn" as the women's basketball team battles to win another NCAA national title!! 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Engaging in S.K.I.N! What?

So a while back, a wise old friend said while in retirement, we should live by the motto of S.K.I.N or Spend Your Kid's Inheritance Now!  Spending money was never easy for me and Al has always said I saved us enough over the years so we can afford our boat and this adventure.  But in the past 8 weeks of being at Stuart Yacht, we have been seriously diminishing any chance Erik will inherit from us when we move on to heaven.  But the boat is in great shape and she looks fabulous.  We just have been sitting still too long and at this moment, because the auto pilot has been a booger to fix, we don't have a sail date as yet.
Besides our original work list for boat work, we have added several things and one very exciting thing is installing this new washer/dryer combo unit.  We have replaced parts and babied our old washer and had one too many times of it overflowing onto the floor so we finally went out and bought this beauty from an RV Center.

Installation was a challenge but nothing too great for the strong and clever guys that work for Stuart Yacht.  Yup, she was hanging on a crane!  

She was carefully guided over our beautiful teak rails onto the bow of the boat. 

From the bow, she was slid through the front window (removed for the process).

And carefully slid down a 4"x6" board to the Salon floor.  Then she was bumped down the 4 steps to the galley, slid down the hall to neatly fit into the tight space we call the "laundry room".  There is nothing these guys can't do to improve a boat which is why we are engaged in S.K.I.N.!!  When we are not spending our money, we have been busy preparing California Lady for her trek to Indiantown Marina for storage on "the hard".
So on Monday 2/27 we, with 2 other captains, Gene from Free To B, and John from Short Vacation made the 3 hour trip to Indiantown. 

It was nice to have 3 captains aboard to handle a boat that is not our own and not as familiar to us.  

We had one lock to pass through and again, it was nice to have more hands handling lines.  John took the midline, 

And Gene took the bow line and I just took pictures!!  

And now California Lady is out of the water and other than one more visit out there to check on her electric connection, that project is complete. So what else have we been doing while in Stuart?
I crocheted a baby afghan for my future Grand Niece who is due to arrive in the world sometime this week. 

The fun part was making this cute ruffle around the outside edge.  
We also had a lovely day cruise with friends from Firestone, Nancy and John Behr who have been avoiding the Michigan winter in Cape Coral and drove 3 hours to visit with us.  

While on this cruise we determined the "fixed" auto pilot was not fixed and still needed more assessment and calibration. 

Just as Nancy asked "have you ever run aground" Mr. Auto turned the boat to the right and nearly plowed us into the river bank!  So now a full week after that day cruise, we need a part that must be special ordered tomorrow before the auto pilot can be tested again.  Always something to add to the S.K.I.N. plan!! 

And every day we enjoy our walk past the turtle hole and many times are greeted by our new little friend. 

This is the prettiest part of our walk.  Yup, we are enjoying the eternal summer weather. 
Lastly, and of importance is the update on Al's eye.  We went back to Miami 2/22 for the monthly recheck and so far his retina is flat and attached and healing properly.  He is frustrated by the new, much slower to dissipate gas bubble because it impairs his vision much more than the previous oil bubble, but it is doing its job of holding the retina in place for healing.  But we are grateful for the wonderful medical team at Bascome Palmer Eye Institute.