Thanksgiving Festivities at Indiantown Marina

If any marina knows how to throw a party, it’s Indiantown Marina.  Especially for Thanksgiving.  And that’s because it’s not just one night of partying, but three nights full of fun, entertainment, food and drinks, all leading up to a spectacular feast on Thanksgiving Day.  Think plates piled high with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes. green beans, and any kind of pie you want waiting at the dessert table.

Last year we had no idea what to expect when this week of festivities came up, but this year we knew we couldn’t miss it.  Hey, if our refit has to stretch so far into 2016, we may as well reap all the benefits.  Watch along as we cover all the festivities including Country Night, wine tasting night, all provided to us by the marina.

Enjoy!

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Naked Photos? I Don’t Want That

We’re back on the water!  If only it were on Daze Off, but sadly, she still isn’t even water tight.  Although we did have the chance to visit our friends Cati and Johannes on their new catamaran in Ft. Lauderdale for a night.  If you remember back to this spring, we spent a week hanging out with them in the marina before they sailed their boat Maverick back to Germany.  Once getting it there and taking care of some business, they flew back to Florida in October to begin a new start as a charter boat operator.

Preparing for their jump across to the Bahamas, they had just enough free time to squeeze us in for a night for a much needed break from boat work for all of us. Not only did it give Matt and I the opportunity to get Daze Off out of sight and mind for a few days, but it also gave Cati and Johannes an evening off from fixing boat parts to have guests over and perfect their hosting skills. (I think it was Matt and I that won out in this category)

Join us as we spend an evening in the water and under the stars, with entertaining moments including making our friends think we were giving them naked photos as a wedding gift, and have a long delicious German breakfast in the morning.

Enjoy!

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A Night On the Town in St. Pete

Since we only had a two night stay in St. Pete, the original plan had been to keep things quiet and relaxing, just the two of us with no plans in the world for a few days of down time.  The only thing is…we happened to be within about 10 miles of my best girlfriend, Melody.  Someone I had been trying to see, unsucessfully, for the past two months.  More on this later, but Matt and I had been hired to do a boat delivery from Indiantown and ending in her very marina in St. Pete, but both attempts at the delivery had been cut short due to engine problems.  But because I have the best husband in the world, he agreed to let our ‘us’ time turn into ‘all of us’ time, even on his birthday, so that I could grab dinner and a few drinks with my best girl.

After having spent a pleasurable day lounging out on the beach, and even sneaking in a nap after, we (I) gussied up for the evening, me in a thrift store designer maxi dress, and Matt in his regular uniform of shorts and a t-shirt. As long as his beard and hair length don’t get away from him though, I’m always fine with this.  Of course there was a manditory pre-dinner beer out on our patio, with the smell of fresh flowers blooming next to us and floating through the air as we took in our gorgeous surroundings.  Have I mentioned yet how much we’re loving the Blue Heron room at Inn on the Beach?

BCBG dress

With plans to meet Melody at her marina since her vehicle had recently gone kaput, we took a look around what was to be the final delivery destination of the boat that we never quite got here.  Maybe there will be another attempt in a month or two once everything is ship shape on it again?  We didn’t have long to think about it before Melody came bounding out from the docks, where the three of us piled ourselves into the front two seats of the van and headed off for the downtown area of St. Pete.

Being quite familiar with the area, Melody had picked out a hip and cheap place for us called the 5 Buck Drinkery.  Walking up to it, Matt and I were surprised to find it in the middle of St. Pete’s restaurant district.  With a name like that, we had expected it to be a hole in the wall off some dark alley, but here we were in the heart of downtown.  Taking a few seats at a table outside, we browsed the menu of meals for under 5 bucks, and took advantage of the last hour of their happy hour specials.

five buck drinkery

Jessica and melody

After we had finished our cheap, greasy, yet extremely delicious meals, we tried to make plans of what to do next as the night was still young.  Once we had made the decision to get up and just wander a bit, I excused myself to use the ladies room, and when I arrived back at the table, I saw Matt and Melody busy posing with two parrots while a street entertainer was busy taking photos with them cuddling the winged color bombs.  Apparently I had gotten back to the table a little too quickly, because the original plan was to surprise me with the photos later and make me completely jealous I had missed it.  Mission accomplished without me even fully missing the event!

Matt & Melody parrots 1

Matt& Melody parrots 2

After a few laps around the restaurant district we were in, it wasn’t long before we found ourselves wandering toward the water and the swankier end of town.  Even though it was the middle of the weeks, groups of people strolled through the street, browsing through the shops or enjoying an evening drink at one of the many cafes or outdoor seating at the fancier restaurants.  Children walked around with gelato in one hand and their parent’s hand in the other, and we all realized what an opposite end of the spectrum this is from our normal day to day lives. After all, at the moment, Matt and I have to wash our dishes from a spicket and walk a few minutes outside every time we want to use the bathroom.

Agreeing that are lives are by no means fancy, but still much better in our own eyes, we skirted the waterline of a small enclosed anchorage, and slowly made our way to The Vinoy, a historic pink landmark hotel built in 1925. Passing through the lobby and and admiring their revival of the original style and furnishings, we took our own little tour of their pools, wandering up and down flights of stairs, past cascading waterfalls, and finally ended at their rooftop pool and restaurant area. It was agreed that all of us were in the mood for another drink, although this wasn’t the right location for it.  We had something with an even better view in mind.

restaurant area of St. Petersburg Florida

Jessica taking photo

anchorage in St. Pete

The Vinoy St. Pete

Matt & Jessica

Having walked by a hotel called The Birchwood on our walk earlier, I had spied a group of people on the roof and remarked what nice views must be up there.  Turns out there is a rooftop restaurant here called The Canopy, and it is a very popular spot in town to grab a drink or two.  Taking the elevator up to the top, we found out it was ladies night, so Melody and I took part in drinking fancy cocktails at a reduced rate, while Matt stuck with a normal and manly beer.

the canopy

 (Image taken from here)

Although it was getting dark and we knew we didn’t want to spend the next day nursing a hangover, we knew it wasn’t time to call it a night just yet.  With Melody’s husband Chris just getting out of work, we organized to meet up for one, or possibly more, drinks back at a pub we had passed earlier in the evening and much closer to where our van was parked.

When the four of us all met up and took a seat together, it was like time was on fast forward.  We blew through nearly two hours like it was nothing, with lots of laughing, joking, and catching up on the past 9 months since we had all last been together.  It was sad we only had this one night to spend together, and I kept joking that when we checked out of our room the next day, we were going to show up on their boat and crash it for a few days.  Georgie was in good hands back at the marina and its not like we have a specific schedule we have to stick to.

Unfortunately that’s only the case for the two of us, and it wouldn’t have worked out to unexpectedly intrude on our friend’s lives, as fun as we all thought it sounded at the time.  There will be more opportunities in the future though, of that I’m sure.  But if all four of us get our wish, one of the next get togethers we’ll have will be out on the water, with no jobs, boat work, or anything else in our schedule, other than to have a good time.

Matt's Birthday

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We’re Like Catnip for Germans

If I look back to most of the young cruisers that have stopped into Indiantown with their boats, and inevitably ended up hanging out with us (since we’re the kids here), just about all of them seem to have one thing in common.  They’re German.  Starting with the Sailing Conductors, and then moving on to Mark and Hanna (an American and a German), and then Meike and Sebastian, it never seems to fail that if we make new friends, they all hail from this same country.  There just must be something about us.  It’s like we attract them here.

The next flood of Germans to hit up Indiantown happened to be from a couple we’d met once already, but were only able to spend a few hours with as they were here by car.  We talked them into another visit with us as they brought their boat from the Gulf side of Florida over to Palm Beach to prepare for an Atlantic crossing.  So, our now very good friends Johannes and Cati were back in Indiantown, with prepared to stay a few nights with  Maverick Too, and we were ready for an all nighter with us of drinking and talking, which was sure to end the next morning in terrible hangovers for anyone who listens to my persuasion of ‘Just have one more beer’.

A comment less surprising to come out of my mouth when I’ve just stocked up on a summer variety pack and my greeting once we met up began with, “Here, taste this Banana Spice beer”. Which really was how our first night started when we wandered over to Maverick Too in the water to check her out and inspect the Kiwi Grip non skid surface which is also scheduled to make an appearance on our boat soon. It was while we were sitting in the intense heat of the setting sun that I couldn’t wait any longer, and started forcing cold drinks on everyone. It wasn’t until the bugs started coming out around dusk that we eventually moved ourselves to the screened in area of the patio where I grossly underestimated how many burgers it would take to feed this group after we were all 2-3 beers in (16 oz cans no less). Cati and Jessica Johannes and Jessica

Matt, Johannes and Cati

The next morning Johannes and I joked over Facebook that we really should have paced ourselves with last night’s beer since they’d be in for more than one night.  That nights plan…pizza from Little Ceasar’s and a max of about two drinks each.

Earlier in the day though they did come by Daze Off for a visit and to also see how much we had not accomplished in the two months since they had been here last.  We did get a few oooo’s and ahhh’s over the deck, but basically everything else looked the same.  I had managed to get a few coats of paint to the inside of the head, which I was hoping for a dramatic contrast to the varnished wood inside, but because the painting isn’t finished all of the wood is covered in old newspapers to protect it and the effect was a little lost. Jessica and Matt on Daze Off Our pizza and limited beer night was just as promised, and it was then and there I learned what a slow eater I am.  For years Matt has always been able to eat two of whatever to my one, but when not only Johannes, but Cati, were able to keep up with Matt’s pace as I finished my first slice about ten minutes in, it was confirmed that I may be one of the slowest eaters on earth.

Now you’d think that with two nights in a row of hanging out with each other we’d want some time to ourselves, right? Nope!  Johannes was ready to play chef and invited us over to Maverick Too for their third night in the marina so we could have rotis, a meat and curry dish wrapped in a tortilla like bread.  Or actual tortillas if that’s all you can round up in Indiantown.  It had to be specified before dinner was made that not all in our party could handle spicy food, so they nicely agreed to make the children’s version for us. Even though the meal basically had to be made in a crockpot because they had run out of propane and couldn’t get a fill with their European adapter, the rotis were a big hit and I wasn’t even three bites in before begging for the recipe.

Dinner was followed by straight gin for Johannes and I, as Cati and I found earlier that Indiantown also does not seem to carry tonic water.  After 5 stops looking for it.  A few (neat) gin  drinks in and I was pulling Ricky, their stuffed cow, out of his comfy little hammock and giving him lots of hugs while learning his history, how his name is really short for Maverick, and how he’s probably put on more sea miles than the two of us. Johannes, Jessica and Matt

Jessica and Matt (and Ricky)

(Photos courtesy of Johannes).

After three nights our group finally did take a break from each other so we could all catch up on a full nights sleep.  It was all we needed to keep the four of us apart though, and by night five we were ready to get back together.  I made my beef stir fry down at the patio, although as it always goes, it was never as good when I make it for company as it is when I do it at home.  They were nice enough to tell me it was a great meal though, which is always appreciated, even when I know it’s not my best.

Our 12 pk of Dos XX disappeared way too fast between the four of us and it wasn’t long before I was sneaking off to buy a little more booze when Matt was looking the other way.  Basically another repeat of day 1.  We like to blame these Germans that come visit us as bad influences, but the best part is they are always more than happy to take the wrap.  All week we joked with Johannes and Cati that we were getting nothing done on Daze Off because of our nights out with them.  They just laughed and replied, “That’s fine, you needed the break”.  Which is actually very true.  We are long overdue for any kind of vacation and have been looking for any reason to slack off lately.

Cati with camera

Cati and Johannes

Johannes Erdman

By their last night here we were too tired to really create any kind of ruckus, but at the same time, also knew it was our last time to see each other and still wanted the company.  Making dinner extremely easy on all of us by just picking up another pizza from Little Ceasars, we gathered at the patio once more where we all slowly sipped on beers and put the television on where our bodies molded into the backs of our wicker chairs, watching a marathon of Naked and Afraid.

For three hours we watched people that actually did have it much worse than us, and suddenly, the boat projects we had all been complaining about earlier didn’t seem so bad.  I’m sure we wished we could have gone out of more of a bang, especially since Johannes and Cati are leaving soon to take their boat back to Germany, and for most people this would be a forever kind of good-bye.  We promised ourselves it would not be, though.  As it happens, these two will be taking ownership of a charter boat in the Bahamas this fall, just around the same time we’ll (hopefully) be cruising again.  So as we walked over to Maverick Too the next morning to give a farewell from Indiantown, at least we were able to say “Until we see you again”, and know that it will be a good possibility.

group shot

 (Photo courtesy of Johannes)

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Random Happenings in the Boat Yard

It’s time for random happenings in the boat yard!  Times where there isn’t quite enough on a single subject to fill a full post, but things which are important enough where I don’t want to leave you in the dark completely.  They also come in handy when I forget to take pictures of something that could have been a full post, something I’m sadly becoming very good at.  Kind of funny for a person who used to get scolded for never putting their camera down and just experiencing life instead.

So, here’s a few things that have happened over the past few weeks which you might enjoy a sneak peak at:

  • Work continues, slowly, in the head.

As I get back to my task of painting the cabin top outside, Matt has once more taken to the head.  Normally I wouldn’t trade places in there for anything (remember my sanding woes of a few months ago?), but Matt is the lucky one that gets to do some amazing things in there.  After having put together pieces of sap covered cherry hardwood and plywood to make the cover for our composting toilet and also our cabinet door, he has now made the counter the sink will sit on.

For this we used 1/4″ thick by 2.5″ wide pieces of cherry hardwood that also had sap marks on them, and glued them on top of a 1/2″ piece of marine plywood.  It’s actually come together so nicely that I’m sad 2/3rds of it will be covered by the sink.  When that was done he began trim on all the pieces he’s made in there, routing rounded edges to take the place of the sharp 90 degree angles.  Having received our new toilet seat and lid in the mail, he was also able to cut the hole in the cherry lid, and also the square that will allow us to open a portion of the cherry seat to empty the…contents…of our composting toilet.

(I now realize I should have been using manual focus on these shots since the auto focus wanted to concentrate on the wall instead of the inside) cherry counter top in head cherry cover for composting toilet cherry cover of composting toilet

  • I am already in love with our new maple counter tops.

Yes, this has been one of the projects that both of us have been the most excited to start for months now.  For much too long we’ve been staring and the beautiful, pristine, and unblemished boards of maple hardwood sitting in our storage unit.  This wood will also eventually become our floors, but since that is the absolute last project we are going to complete on this boat, doing the counters in the galley will give us a small taste of what it will look like.

There is a slight difference between the sink counter top and the floors though.  On the floors we will be gluing 1/4″ thick pieces of maple hardwood to 1/2″ plywood, but in the galley we skipped the plywood and decided to go with 3/4″ pieces of hardwood maple.  Come to think of it, the lid of the fridge and freezer are also 1/4″ maple glued onto the plywood lid we’d already made.  Either way, we know that these two spots will be much easier than the floors, and that is because they are square.

For the sink counter we measured the general area and took into account the hole for the sink.  Going just a little large on that area, we glued all those pieces together, and once they had a few days to sit and harden, Matt attached the sink and used a router bit to properly trim the wood around the sink.  The lid to the fridge and freezer gave us just a little more trouble since we glued the full length of both of them together with the maple, and later went back to cut the line between the fridge and freezer so each can be opened on their own.

The line for the freezer side was perfect, but we forgot to take into the consideration the width of the blade and it cut deeper than we would have liked into the foam lid of the fridge.  Nothing a few more days and epoxy filler plus a few more layers of sheet fiberglass couldn’t fix, but it would have been better if we didn’t have to go back and fix any mistakes at all.  Now we just need to add some trim and a fiddle and that area will be all set!

gluing together maple counter top

  • maple counter tops installed
  •  New friends came to see us in the boat yard!

After nearly a year of corresponding back and forth through emails and Facebook messages, we were finally able to meet up with fellow young cruisiers, Johannes and Cati.  The funny thing about our getting to know each other is that although Johannes had been following our blog for a few years, he didn’t reach out to say hi until we arrived in Indiantown and just started refitting Daze Off.  As it turned out, we had mutual friends in the Sailing Conductors, who knew Johannes from being interviewed by him in Germany for Yacht Magazine, and them being our new neighbors and best friends in the work yard.

Ok, so maybe location was more of a coincidence in timing of them contacting us when they did, as him and Cati were passing through Florida and were situated in Palm Beach for a few days, extremely close in cruisers terms. Unfortunately it didn’t work out at the time, and we even missed out on each other once more this winter when they flew through Florida again on their way to the Bahamas, but the third time was the charm.

With their boat in Miami for a few days and a rental car at their disposal, they made the drive all the way up to Indiantown just to see us for dinner!  Showing up with a variety of German beers for us and cat treats for Georgie, it was nice to finally meet face to face after having become friends online. We quickly took over a table on the patio after giving them the grand tour of our boat, although we knew it wouldn’t be a late night (this time) because they still had to drive back to Miami.

We never had a lack of things to talk about as we compared boat projects, passages, and generally all got to know each other better. Some of our discussion was even able to revolve around the Vineyard Vines photo shoot we had all just participated in. When the producer had come to me in need of a solo sailor I was able to recommend Johannes as once upon a time he crossed the Atlantic alone in his old boat.  He’s since moved up to a bigger one as well as a beautiful companion, and we were able to laugh and swap stories of how each other’s shoot went…including the run in of his boat with the chase boat while sailing/shooting out on the Atlantic!

This was another occasion where I only brought my camera out for a total of about three photos, otherwise I probably could have written an entire post on our fun night.  The good news is that they’ll be passing through here soon enough on their boat as they cross through the Okechobee Waterway before getting back to the Atlantic and setting off for Germany in May.

Cati, Johannes, Jessica & Matt

German beers

  • My computer is trying to silence me.

For the past few months I’ve been having issues with my computer that I’ve been ignoring too long.  Mostly it consists of my screen shaking on me, and sometimes momentarily freezing.  Whatever is doing it, it has now gotten so bad that I literally can’t get on my computer do any kind of work (or even pleasure surfing) for fear of seizures or at least a terrible headache.

If you’ve noticed…it’s been about a week since I’ve gotten my last post up.  If you’ve sent me an email in the past 2 months, there’s a 40% chance I’ve not replied yet.  Getting on my computer to do anything has been a complete frustration lately and I’ve basically been ignoring it except when absolutely necessary.  I should say, some days are better than others, and although I should be spending my time looking in on how to fix this problem instead of sticking my head in the sand about it…I take whatever moments of visual stability I can get on it to do all the work that one would need to do on their computer.

We do have a few other devices I could use…but my computer is the only one with the photo editing abilities I like, and also the only device we own with an actual keyboard.  I may be old fashioned, but I don’t like to type posts or write emails with a touch screen.  I spend more time fixing mistakes than getting any actual work done.

There is good news though!  I posted a short video of my problem on our Facebook page, and a number of you poured in with recommendations of what might fix it.  Although I’ve tried just about every personal way to fix it that I can, it sounds like it may have to go in for service due to a lose wire or connection.  Or…I may just end up having to get a new one altogether.  Which may not be the worst case, because I don’t want to leave the country this fall with a computer that I’ve been limping around on.  I can already tell you from personal experience that buying new electronics in the Caribbean is not usually an easy (or cheap) task.  So this may have been the push I needed to get it done.

Since both Matt and I are so stubborn about letting go of money where we don’t need to though…I’ll probably keep limping along until we make t to Arizona to visit my parents in a few weeks.  At least there we’ll not only have a lot of free time on our hands to visit techie stores or service desks, but we won’t have to drive 30 miles each shot to do it.  So until then…just be patient on the lack of posts and updates on my end….I should be back to a more regular schedule soon.

shaking computer screen

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Adventures of Ani

Ani riding bike

We absolutely love when we’re able to get a rare chance to meet up with old cruising friends again.  Something about reminiscing of days past when, not only were we cruising, but when we were still total newbies and figuring it all out.  We have a small and tight knit group of cruisers that we were lucky enough to call our close friends our first season out back in 2013, and on this evening we were lucky enough to meet up with two of them again.  Only…their crew had now grown to three.

Back when we had just gotten into the Bahamas and started exploring them in March ’13, we made a stop at Long Island and partook in some of the Easter festivities, including a fish fry being hosted by the water on Good Friday.  We were still clinging to our friends Brian and Stephanie that we had just been reunited with a few days earlier, but lo and behold, there appeared to be other young cruisers at this get together.  Shyly walking up and introducing ourselves, we made quick friends with this new couple, Ren and Ashley.  Through a few drinks we found out that they frequently visited Long Island for it’s proximity to Dean’s Blue Hole, one of the deepest in the world.  This happened to be very important to them as they are both freedivers and also make their living by not only competing professionally, but giving lessons through their company Evolve Freedving.

Through the next few months we spent a lot of time with Ren and Ashley, traveling the Bahamas and even sailing over to Jamaica together where we parted ways, for who knew how long.  Turns out three years was how long it took to bring us all back together as they were just outside Indiantown with their new boat, a trimaran named Jade.  Going out to see them as well as their new boat, we were also able to meet the newest crew member, Ani.  A bright a cheery two year old that was just a bump in Ashley’s stomach the last time we were all together.

It was a great reunion as we pulled into the marina and saw our long lost friends.  There was so much to catch up on and a new boat to take a tour of.  Having done a pretty good refit themselves, they knew exactly how we’re feeling right now and gave lots of encouragement as well as tips.

Then it was time to wake Ani up from her afternoon nap so she could meet mommy and daddy’s old friends.

Ren and Jamal

Sandpiper Marina

Matt on s/v Jade

Ani Chapman

When she came out to be introduced to us she was still a little tired and understandably shy.  As the adults sat around with wine and snacks though, she wandered the boat and became more talkative and bubbly as the evening went on.  Instead of hiding her face in Ashely’s lap she was now running around the deck and showing off her toys including a tricycle that she desperately wanted to take for a ride.

With Ren rustling up Ani and her bike, I grabbed my camera and followed along. Having gotten her very own camera for Christmas, she knew what to do and was more than happy to take my Sony NEX 5T off my hands ans snap a few shots with it.  I tried to take a moment to explain the auto focus properties to her, but as soon as she found the shutter button she was off and snapping.

For a two year old she was doing a very good job of keeping both her fingers out of view of the lens and cropping the photos she wanted to take.  Here’s a few examples of her work.

Ani's photo of Jessica

Ani's photo of Ren

Then it was time to get down to the real business of riding her bike around the parking lot.  With white blonde curls poking out of her helmet it was all I could do not to scoop her up and make a run for the van so I could keep this cuteness with me all the time.  I refrained though.  I don’t think I’d be very hard to track down and I am in no way equipped to handle a screaming two year old when it comes to bed time.  The nightmares from my babysitting days still haunt me.

Ani riding a bicycle  As the sun was already setting on us, it was a short bike ride and, after a few tears, we were back at the boat once more.  From then on Ani occupied herself with dolls and books and we were able to squeeze in a little more adult time with Ren and Ashley and their friends Tania and Jamal that were in the same marina (whom we’d also briefly met in Indiantown).

Before we knew it, dinner time had come and gone, Jade was filling up with new overnight guests, and Matt and I were far behind schedule to make stops at Harbor Freight and Home Depot before they closed.  Sadly we had to say goodbye as well as plan and wish for the next times our paths may cross again.  Our visit with the Jade crew was short, but it also warmed our hearts to see old friends as well as get the encouragement to keep pushing on and the motivation to get out sailing again.

With so many amazing memories with these two in our past, we can’t wait to make new ones in the future, with Ani running around and keeping us entertained as well.  It wouldn’t hurt if we could go back to starry nights and sandy beaches in the tropics instead of passing by each other in the States, so we’ll have to hurry our butts up so we can join them during parts of their Caribbean travels.

Ani swinging from companionway

 Make sure to follow more adventures of Ani through Instagram @evolvefreediving.

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A Visit From the Skelton Crew, and the Champagne that Went Bad

Jessica opening champagne

It’s not every day, I would assume, that you meet someone whose interests can be so aligned with your own.  Throw in the fact that this person found you via, the internet,  happens to be the same age as you, shares the same exact random thoughts as you, and even live within 30 miles of you to boot, is nothing short of astounding.  Yet this is how I met one of my best friends Jackie just over three years ago.

She happened to be a Lake Michigan sailor, just like me, who had plans to leave her life behind to cruise the Caribbean with her husband who has some obsessive compulsive tendencies, just like Matt.  From the very first time we met in person, participating in a Wednesday night race on Muskegon Lake, we instantly connected to the point we could finish each other’s sentences. Ever since that night we’ve had dreams of cruising the Caribbean together in our boats. Afternoons snorkeling, evening sundowners and dinners together, and night time bonfires. Fate appears to have something against our plans though, and for some reason keeps trying to squash our dream to sail together.

From the time Jackie and Ron were scheduled to come spend a week on our boat in the Bahamas, and we were delayed in Florida and stuck on the hard due to an accident; to our plans taking us to Europe when they were ready to begin their cruising, it was starting to look as if we’d never get our time together on the water.  Although this was disheartening, I had begun to think fate may have changed it’s mind when we purchased Daze Off, and had hoped to have her cruise ready just in time to intercept them at the end of the ICW.  That obviously has not happened.  As it turns out though, we will not be cruising with them for other reasons.

When Jackie and Ron left Muskegon Lake on the 4th of July, I began monitoring their progress south toward us, stood by to give advice when asked (and sometimes when not), and also lent a sympathetic ear when some of the not so glamorous realities of this lifestyle set in.  Admittedly I sometimes became a bit distracted with work on my own boat, but I always made sure to go back and read their blog posts to see what kind of adventures they were getting themselves into, and trying to catch them to chat on the occasions they had internet.

As their arrival date to south Florida approached I had the mixed feelings of being incredibly excited to see them, and also incredibly sad that we were not in cruise ready condition. For so long I had wanted nothing more than to throw off our lines and join them on a Gulf Stream crossing to the Bahamas.  As it turned out, this second part did not matter.  For as much as I wanted the four of us to be official boat buddies, the universe did not have it in store for us.

Since it has now been announced on their own blog and I am not putting out any spoiler alerts, is they have realized the cruising lifestyle is not for them.  An unforgettable experience, that’s for sure, but after many discussions on their part they realized that their joy lies in the purpose the daily routine that work brings, with the benefit of weekend pleasure cruising.  I can remember the slog that is putting on miles just to get south, sitting behind a wheel for hours on end with no real enjoyment, only making sure you didn’t stray off the magenta line, and I can’t say I blame them.  That part of cruising was not enjoyable for us either.  Matt was missing work, just like them, but luckily for both of us I was so determined not to go back to work that I made him stay the course until he fell into the routine of having no daily plan.

I kind of want to cry about the fact that we’re losing our first boat buddies, but I can’t.  This is what is right for them, and if anything, at least the world brought us together through cruising.  They’ll be lifelong friends that we’ll always cherish, and just because we may not be sharing the same anchorage does not mean we won’t stay in contact.

So when Hullabaloo pulled into Indiantown Marina where she’d be hauled the following day to be put into storage until she’ll be shipped north in the spring, it was still a reunion for the books. Full of hugs that went on for ages and diving right into a case of beer as we caught up with each other.  Taking up residence at one of the tables at the patio, we sat and talked for so long that it wasn’t until I realized my stomach’s growls were taking over the conversation and Matt and I had never had lunch.  Except it was almost time for dinner already!  Taking a short break, we agreed to shower, I was going to shove a few slices of peanut butter bread in my mouth, and we would reconvene for dinner an hour later on Hulabaloo.

As a special treat for this occasion, I had been saving a bottle of champagne for the past few months for their arrival.  A bottle I had swiped off the Free Table at the marina, but that is neither here nor there.  Although I should have realized that one should be very weary of free champagne.  As Ron stood on deck taking down sails, and Matt chatted away with him about boat projects, Jackie and I went on the offense in the cockpit trying to get this bottle of champagne open.  That plastic top was in there damn good.  Passing it back and forth to one another and breaking out towels and rags, we finally passed it on to one of the guys to loosen, and handed back to Jackie for the honor of popping it open.

Pouring it into one of the 8 gazillion Tervis tumblers that sit on their boat, we noticed right away that something seemed odd about this particular bottle.  It’s contents were along an amber line of coloring.  Not to be deterred from free champagne though, I tilted my glass back to drink up.  And in doing so, learned there was probably a reason of why it was on the free table.  It tasted like a bad batch of fermented apple juice.  Both Matt and Ron dumped their glasses overboard after we did the initial toast, (Cheers!, I got you rotten champagne! So glad you’re here!’), and Jackie was polite enough to finish what was in her glass before passing the remainder of the bottle to me.

champagne that went bad

Jackie opening champagne

Jessica opening champagne

Jessica & Jackie

I asked Ron to take a photo of Jackie and I.  This is what I got.

 

It was determined that this gift was not a success, but also that none of us had enough beer to get us through the rest of the night.  So while Jackie got to work starting on the meat for a taco dinner, Ron and I made the run up to the local IGA to pick up a couple cold cases of beer.

Through the next few hours we went through nearly both cases of beer, and even Matt was getting into throwing a few back.  Ron brought out his guitar, and even though I had been promising for the past few years that I’d be ready to play with him when we got to Florida, all I could conger up was the ability to sing along to a few tunes.

I sampled a few of the alcohols they picked up at the St. Augustine Distillery, and Jackie forced around a bottle of cherry soaked rum.  Like that would have been hard to turn down anyway.  We only had one night together, and we were going to do it up right.  It may not have been what we’d all originally imagined a year ago, or even six months ago, when I’m sure all four of us thought we’d be on our way to the Bahamas together.  It doesn’t mean that can never happen though.  By this time next year we might actually have a boat in the water and ready for company.  And I can think of no one else we’d rather save our quarter berth for as our first guests.

Jackie cooking dinner

Ron on computer

Ron playing guitar

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A Saturday Sail with s/v Selah

If there was one thing that kept me going during those torturous days of sanding and other painfully dull jobs that I had been complaining about not to long ago, it’s that our friends Bo and Allison had promised us a day out on their boat as soon as they arrived back to Stuart after finishing up jobs and other odd and end things. Back on Daze Off while my arm were growing numb and dust kept seeping into the corners of my mask, I could usually keep myself happy in my head with daydreams about a fresh breeze blowing through my hair while having a good conversation with my friends, and most importantly, a cold cocktail in my hands.  Don’t get me wrong, I love hanging out with these guys, but the promise of booze makes any outing infinitely better.

There were a few times that plans were made and then cancelled due to last minute things with work and family, but eventually they made it down to Florida, as as soon as their boat had it’s owners back for a few days to get it in ship shape, we were on our way. All of the 90 degree weather that had been bothering us for so much of the month had now decided to replace itself with off and on showers for the past few days, but we were not going to let that keep us from getting out on the water and having a good time. Walking down the dock in my new rain jacket and a set of Keds that had not yet been broken in and were tearing at the flesh of my heels, I quickly kicked them off and made myself at home as soon as we stepped aboard their 42 ft Brewer, Selah.

There were of course hugs to go around, as well as a tour of their boat to see how the layout differentiated from all the other Brewers we seem to have been spending time on in the last year.  They showed us their new fridge and freezer with pull out drawers as we stood there drooling over it, since we had found something very similar we almost purchased, only it wouldn’t fit in our space.  Time for 5-foot-itis to set in already. A few more spaces to tour, and we were ready to get this party underway.  Before we could head out to the open waters of the St. Lucie River though, we needed to swing by and pick up a few other boaters in the mooring yard.

New friends to Bo and Allison, Cameron and Dani are another set of young cruisers that are looking into the lifestyle of setting off into the sunset, and are currently living in Florida while trying out a new boat for them (long story).  We quickly rafted up to their 41′ Morgan with painted blue handrails and took a moment to tour it as well as play with their adorable cat and dog. Soon the 6 of us were piled on to Selah and were off again.  During the ride we had a nice presentation of fresh veggies and dip places in front of us, and after I returned to the cockpit after a quick trip below, I found a mimosa waiting for me as well.  Even with threatening clouds in the background, this day was off to a great start.

The sails may not have been attached to the boat yet, and no one felt like catching a bridge opening to get to a wider bay of water, so we just moved ourselves a mile up the river and dropped anchor off the side of the channel.  A better way to spend the day anyway, so this way no one had to watch out for other boats or shoaling, and we were able to just sit in the cockpit and enjoy each others company.

Bo

Jessica in Vineyard Vines

Bo grilling burgers

After having a fun little photoshoot on deck where I was able to show off some of the new gear we just received from Vineyard Vines, the grill was fired up and lunch was turning into a fancy affair with burgers made from grass fed beef and placed on a buttered bun. The mimosas had been finished off and we were moving on to ice cold beers as all of us talked about our sailing experiences in Florida and how thankfully this whole boat realized how overrated Marathon is. I told myself I would never bring it up again after our quick visit there, but yes, it is a floating trailer park.

As Bo and Allison get ready to depart for the Bahamas, we gave them our ‘not to miss’ list of places that we really liked while we were there, and they promised to make a list for us of their favorite places in the Abacos.  An area we have yet to hit in that island group. Dani and Cam are planning on sitting tight in Florida for just a little longer while they cruise while having the ability to work from their computers.  Lucky bastards.  Just joking, they’re a great couple and we may have been just a teensy bit jealous that they still have a paycheck coming in.  It does suck to watch your bank account dwindle down, and rebuilding a boat does not help.

We were lucky that the storms appeared to be passing all around us, but never over us.  And although we could have stayed out all night, (Which was my original hope.  Slumber party!) Matt and I had to get back to Indiantown for a Saturday BBQ they put on and we had signed ourselves up for as well as promised our presence to a few people.  While we were busy trying to get all our friends to come back with us, they were busy trying to get us to stay for the rest of the night.  With the promise of cold beer and a Hot’n’Ready pizza, it was a tough coin to flip.

Indiantown eventually won out, with only two of us attendees, and so it was time to drop Cam and Dani back off at their boat and bring Selah to her slip. We didn’t have the sun or even any sails for our day out, but it was exactly what we needed. I will say that I’m disappointed that this is the only time we’ll be able to get out and do this again because everyone but us will be moving on, although maybe that just means we’ll have to hunt Bo and Allison down somewhere in the Bahamas or Caribbean when we’re ready for a good long break from boat work.

Cam and Allison

Matt in Vineyard Vines

Jessica on St. Lucie River

rain on St. Lucie River

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Buddy Boats Reuinite

Saturday August 8, 2015

Anthyllide & Serendipity, crews together again

(Photo courtesy of s/v Anthyllide)

Daze Off has officially had her first overnight guests!  These guests may have actually been sleeping in their Jeep parked next to the boat instead of inside her since a vehicle happens to offer more sleeping room than she does at the moment, but I’m still going to count it.  In fact, this may be the closest thing we’ve had to overnight guests since our trip from Muskegon to Milwaukee back in 2010.

The cool part about these semi-overnight guests is they happen to be Serendipity’s very first buddy boat!  Scott and Kim from s/v Anthyllide.  Matt and I first met Scott and Kim in Cape May, NJ after they spotted us wandering down the road in flip flops and with backpacks (an obvious sign of a cruiser), and invited us to their boat for the evening for a few glasses of wine.  They also found another couple to invite, whom turned out to be our longest lived buddy boat so far, Brian and Stephanie of s/v Rode Trip.

With our very first guests coming out to see us now that we have Daze Off in the work yard and not in storage, we cleaned up as much as one can do while as my friend Tasha puts it “Living in a work space of a boat”. From this angle she looks fairly presentable, but that’s also because you can’t see the massive zone of clutter and chaos right behind me.

Daze Off, cleaned forward salon

 As soon as Scott and Kim arrived we gave them the grand tour and talked about how all of our projects were coming along since they have an aluminum as well and we’ve been shooting Q&A emails back and forth for the past 5 months now.

As Matt and Scott dove really deep into boat talk and welding, Kim and I decided we couldn’t take the 95 degree temperatures anymore, inside of the boat and out, and went to the air conditioned kitchen to enjoy some of the Black Box wine they had brought along.  Between a bit of girl talk we caught up on how things were going along with the boat and with my wild hand gestures I managed to fling my glass of wine on the floor, shattering the glass and spilling red wine on my dress.  Time for me to be cut off.  I swear, you can’t take me anywhere.

On a short hiatus from the wine, we hopped in her Jeep where I showed her everything that Indiantown had to offer in less than five minutes, and we swung by the grocery store to grab fixing for dinner and also the Circle K because they offer the best specials on beer. $3 saved on an 18 pack?  Yup, worth the extra trip up the road.

Getting back to the air conditioned kitchen we found that Matt and Scott had also succumbed to the heat and were already on their second beers.  Now needing a cold drink myself, I popped one open as well.

Through the night there was never a shortage of things for us to talk about. Going all the way back to when we first met them and had only one open water passage under our belts, to the stories they’d told of of salvages in the Caribbean as we sat wide eyed in Annapolis.  We relived when they hopped in a rental car and came to see us in St. Augustine along with Brian and Stephanie, after we were stranded there for months after our accident.

After our old memories together it was time to catch them up on what had been going on since we’d last seen each other in the Bahamas last spring.  I do have to say that Matt and I shoved a lot of sailing and new places into that 10 month period. Then it was time for us to hear about their boat restorations and what it was like spending time in Green Cove Springs, FL.  Once again, it actually did make us feel better about our decision to rip apart a boat, and live in it, when you hear the same stories from someone else that is doing something just as crazy and stupid as you are.

I’m sure we could have stayed up until all hours of the morning talking and having fun, but a trifecta of too much heat, too much work, and one too many beers had me literally falling asleep inside the kitchen, trying to sprawl myself out as best I could in a wicker love seat with my head rested in Matt’s lap. I was the party pooper that shut the party down.

Scott & Kim

Matt & Jessica

(Above photo courtesy of s/v Anthyllide)

 

Luckily for us, Scott and Kim didn’t have to run off first thing in the morning and after enjoying a coffee on the marina’s patio we went out for a nice big breakfast at one of the local restaurants.  The kind where the shirts read ‘You kill it, we grill it’.  I still have no idea if they are serious or not.

Too soon though, although we did get to enjoy a nice leisurely two hour breakfast, Matt and I had to say our good byes to our friends.  We’re so happy they were able to take time out of their schedule to come see us.  A few familiar faces and some good laughs were exactly what we needed right now.  We hope it won’t be too long before we see them again. And hey, if we can find a rental house on the water with a dock large enough for two boats, maybe we’ll end up doing all of our boat projects side by side!  Share a house and share a dock. I think I may have to go check some real estate listings.

Scott & Matt

Kim & Jessica

Jessica & Matt on Daze Off

(Above photos courtesy of s/v Anthyllide)

 

 

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Random Happenings in the Boat Yard

Monday July 27, 2015

George looking for food

Sometimes, a lot of the time now actually, I’m finding that we’re so all over the place with our boat work and every day life that it’s hard to keep track of it all.  Lots of things that don’t warrant a blog post of their own, ether because the event itself is too small to worth noting, or even because there’s a lack of good photos.

Take for example our last night with our Young Bloods group.  The six of us, including Mark and Hanna of s/v Cara, and Meike and Sebastian of s/v Meise, had a great night out at JR’s Saloon as a final farewell before Mark and Hanna left to go West and Meike and Sebastian left to go East.  But I only had 2 photos of our night out. 2!!  Hardly worth encompassing a post on, even though we all did have a really good time.

Looking through some of my photos as I’ve been prepping other blog posts I found a few other cases of the same thing.  I don’t want to leave them out necessarily, but I can feature a whole post on them either.  So instead I’ll give you a quick rundown of the random things that have been happening here over the past few weeks.

  • I’ve been spending a lot of my time doing epoxy coatings.

Glamorous right?  Not exactly, but a necessary evil. We want to be so absolutely sure that no wood on our boat rots that we’re taking every precaution to keep it from happening.  Since condensation is most likely to form against the inside of our metal hull, anything we put up that is near this metal needs a water blocking epoxy coat.  The furring strips that attach to the aluminum frames running horizontally though the boat and every piece of wood that gets attached to these furring strips.

So every piece of Eurolite that is being turned into ceiling, or overhead, or floor, gets a coat of epoxy to it’s back side.  The fronts will be coated with primer and paint (except the floor).  I’m still debating on if I like doing only 2-3 pieces at a time to quickly get the job done and over with, or if I like them to pile up after a few days of measuring and cutting, then spending a good half day out in the blazing sun but without worries of having to do it again for another week.  One great part about finishing each time though means we get to install them and there is visual proof that we are making progress on this boat!

epoxy coating boards

epoxy coated boards

  • The people that previously wired this boat are idiots.

No, I’m serious.  It’s a wonder no one has died on here yet from electrocution or the boat hasn’t gone up in flames.  We found some of their stupidity when we first arrived to Indiantown while looking into compartments in the pilot house and found out that some of the wiring was done with an orange extension cord. That was pretty bad, only it doesn’t end there. When we were ripping out the overhead in the forward salon we noticed that they used an extension cord for their wiring in the mast as well.  WTF? So now, because of whomever these idiots were and thought they could take such a stupid shortcut on wiring, we’re going to have to drop the mast so we can fix it.  Another unexpected chunk of change out of our pockets.  Yippee!!

bad mast wiring

bad mast wiring

  • We made some new friends!

Unfortunately this is not a case of someone new at the marina to hang out with on a near daily basis, but we were contacted by the super fun Bo and Allison of Sailing B+A because they were shortly in town. Another young couple just like us, but these two are not just only new cruisers but newlyweds as well!  Having just tied the knot in May, they left Orange Beach Alabama just a few days after the wedding and have recently pulled into Stuart to keep their boat in a slip for hurricane season.  Realizing they were a mere 20 minute drive away from us they shot over an email to see if we’d be up for a dinner out sometime.  Of course we would!

Wanting to give Bo and Allison the full taste of what Indiantown has to offer, we suggested we meet up at JR’s Saloon for Taco Tuesday.  Along with us for the fun was our mutual friend Ellen (online to them, and in person to us). It’s too bad that we were only able to meet up for a few hours because these two are a hoot and the five of us could have stayed and closed the place down.  The good news is they’ll be back in Stuart in a few months, between odd jobs to keep the kitty full during hurricane season, and we’ve already made plans to meet up as soon as their back in town.  In fact, us girls aren’t even going to wait that long.  As soon as Allison is able to make it back to South Florida we’re going to have a girl’s night on her boat in Stuart full of wine drinking, talk about hair and make-up, and possibly a chance for me to wear my crazy print leggings without getting an eye roll from Matt.

(Again, I only took two photos while we were out.  What is wrong with me?)

Matt and Bo

Sailing B+A & MJ Sailing

 

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