We German….We Hope You Like German Too..

Sunday March 29, 2015

Ben opens a German beer

Since we had spent a good portion of last week introducing Hannes and Ben to a number of new American things they had never experienced before (Walmart..smores) they figured it was time to pay us back by bringing a little German into our lives.  Or, one good night Germanizing us.

This would include a German dinner cooked by our very own Smutje Hannes, master of the galley, and enjoyed with real German beer.  Whichever one we could find here in Southern Florida.  The meal our master chef ended on was Königsberger Klopse, roughly translated to King’s Meatballs.  Yesterday we scoured the local Walmart for all the ingredients where each of us had to memorize a list of 3-4 items as Ben’s phone lost battery power and we were left to remember on our own how much pork, veal and bay leaves went into the recipe.

(On a side note, this was the same day we had the Magic Bus break down on us in the parking lot of a Taco Bell when we went to leave and discovered the power steering lines busted and drained fluid all over the lot.  If you ever want lots of stares and random photos taken of you, try crawling under, in and above the hood of a short bus just off US-1.)

When our German night came up on us we found ourselves in the middle of a Polar Freeze with temperatures plunging from high’s in the mid 80′s to the mid 60′s.  Nights now in the low 50′s.  It was too much for our now tropical blood to handle and we all showed up to the patio in long pants, long shirts, and jackets. I may have even run back to the boat to grab a scarf because heaven forbid a cool breeze pass over my bare neck.

Getting ourselves set up outside we put Ben to work peeling potatoes as one of our sides, a job I quickly took over once he realized he was also on broccoli duty and our master chef saw that getting those cooked was of leading importance.  Before the sun could fully go down on us and we’d lose our nightly ritual of an evening drink, we made sure to stop and smell the German beer.  And taste it too.  What we had been able to find was Warsteiner which I guess is actually a pretty popular pilsener back home in Deutschland with some very entertaining commercials that we looked up on Youtube.

Matt, Hannes, & Ben

Matt, Hannes, Jessica & Ben

cheers with Warsteiner

I thought at this point that becoming Germanized meant I could just to sit back and enjoy my beer as I watched on. Smutche Hannes had other plans and continued to bark out orders for the rest of us to follow as he oversaw the operation.  Ok, maybe that’s not true, but we all withstood a little more time getting our hands dirty preparing this meal.

I may not have had the worst part of it as Hannes actually was the one getting his hands dirty, mushing up all the ground meat while I tossed in things like bread crumbs, spices, and anchovie paste.  Soon the blended flavors began to smell so good that I couldn’t keep myself from swiping the rim of the bowl with a piece of bread and eating just a bite of it raw. It.Was.Delicious.

It always cracks me up how we take up about three tables outside whenever we do a meal.  One table to sit at and eat and drink, one table to keep all our ingredients and supplies on, and one table to actually cook on since the kitchen doesn’t have a stove and the guys bring out their two burner that runs on denatured alcohol.

making dinner on patio

Before I could worry myself about eating too many pieces of raw meat though, Hannes had turned his bowl of ground veal into a plate of large meatballs and we were now working on the white wine sauce.  While taking a few swigs directly from the bottle after pouring a cup or two into the pan of course.  Then there was testing one of the meatballs after it had been cooking for about 15 minutes and still a bit pink inside.  Still delicious.

Even though Smutje Hannes and I had decided from our taste test that we were ready to dive into this meal we still let the meatballs sit another 15 minutes since there were others in the crowd that didn’t want any pink in their meat.  Cowards.  However, this did give us a little more time to thicken up the sauce and before we knew it we were ready to eat.  My mind was full of images of me stuffing 3-4 of these King’s Meatballs in my face although my stomach was only able to handle too.  I think it also knew that dessert was on it’s way from another boatyard friend of ours, Mack.  Strudel and ice cream.  A perfect complimentary German last course.

German meatballs

cherry strudel

To finish up this great night and because it was so ridiculously cold to all of us, we moved ourselves over to the fire pits to enjoy the remaining bottle of wine before we all burrowed under our covers for the night.

Overall I think our German night was a huge success and Matt and I did very well on our way to becoming Germanized.  Or as Bob Marley may have sung if he were with us:

Yeah, we’re – we’re German,
We’re German,
See, I wanna German wid you
We’re German (German, German, German)
I’m German: I hope you’re German, too.

fire pit at marina Sunday Funday with Sailing Conductors

 

 

 

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Throwback Thursday: And So It Begins

Now that we’re sitting in Indiantown Marina and it’s obvious that we’re going to be here for quite a long time while we fix up Serendipity to sell and Daze Off to sail, I don’t want to bore you with stories that are only related to boat work.   I know that’s what some of you crave, but if you’re like me, you also need a little fun in there.  A little travel and a little adventure.

So, for the foreseeable future while we are doing nothing much more than boat work I will be adding a Throwback Thursday post in every week as well.  Cataloging our trip so far, giving you that needed sense of travel and adventure, and for those of you that haven’t started with us from the beginning, catch you up on some of the most important or memorable parts of our travels.

The second installment goes back to cover our first day as cruisers.  Leaving our home port for the unknown and what we thought at the time would be a 4 year circumnavigation.  Back when 20 knots of wind and 5 knots of speed used to scare the crap out of me.  Oh how things have changed.

You can find the original post here.

Sunday August 12, 2012

You’d think that the night before departure my nerves would be running like crazy and I wouldn’t get a wink of sleep, but somehow I managed to sleep soundly through the night and was even disappointed when the alarm went off at 5:30 am this morning.  It may have been that we had friends on board past midnight, forcing them to drink all our beer to empty our fridge and lighten the boat.  Surprisingly there wasn’t the mass excitement you normally get before a big trip, it just felt like we were getting ready for another day sail.  Just while it was still dawn.  Trying to clean up some of the last minute clutter we organized the cabin slightly and then went into the dinghy dock where Matt’s mom and step-dad were waiting to say goodbye to us and bring a few things we couldn’t fit in the car the day before.  With hugs and photos we said goodbye and Matt’s mom joked through her tears that we better like our new lifestyle because our bedroom was going to become a scrap-booking room that day.  Putting the rest of the belongings in the dinghy we loaded up and got ready to push off so Matt’s mom could take photos of us leaving the channel.

Looking around the marina for the last time I was sad to say goodbye to what had been our home for the past few years but also excited to finally get underway.  While motoring out to the channel I went below and fixed us a mimosa with some sparkling wine a friend had got us so we could celebrate the occasion as we passed through the channel one last time.  Navigating through the dozens of fishermen that thought it would be the perfect place to troll we made it near the mouth of Lake Michigan and waved to Chris and Jack at the lighthouse.  And as soon as we were in the waters of Lake Michigan I may or may not have dropped my phone in the water, hurtling at full speed directly toward the lighthouse.  No use for that thing now.

Getting into the lake the water was calm and glassy and there was no wind.  Leaving the motor on we set the autopilot for north and Matt took a nap in the cockpit while I kept a lookout.  After an hour we switched although I of course took my nap in the comfort of the v-berth below.  The engine was kicking warm air through the heater and it was nice and toasty down there.  When I woke up I found Matt busy working on reefing lines on deck, getting them ready so that we’d be able to run all three from the cockpit.  I sat and looked on, handing tools here and there and trying to soak up the sun that was rising over us.

Finally turning off the engine around 2:00 we raised the spinnaker to do some actual sailing.  There must have been some lines twisted in there somewhere and what ensued was a hectic 10 minutes of untying and retying lines, twisting sail cloth, and making my hands raw from pulling on lines (I have gloves but was not wearing them at the time).  Once we finally had it properly set we were exhausted and retreated to the cockpit for a lunch of cold pizza.  Soon after it became overcast and the temperature took a dramatic dip.  I had already changed from a fleece to a heavier jacket but this was cold enough to make me take the blanket from our bed and wrap ourselves in it.  At this point neither of us felt like being productive and spent the rest of the afternoon in the cockpit hiding from the wind.  I did put my bibs on after just a little bit which helped dramatically with the cold but not with the laziness.  When dinner time came near I thought a nice hearty oven cooked meal would make us feel better and started pulling out ingredients for what I have coined ‘The Jackie Meal’, something she had fed us on her boat a few weeks before.  It’s basically a tin foil dinner with slices of cooked sausage, meatballs, zucchini, squash, potatoes (which we substituted for onions), sprinkled with seasoning salt and garlic powder, topped with a spoon of butter and wrapped in tin foil.  So delicious.  I could smell it cooking in the oven long before we pulled it out and it completely hit the spot.

Dousing the spinnaker as the sun was going down I prepared myself for bed since Matt had the first shift on watch.  This was the first time I allowed myself to get a little scared about what we were doing and the vast waters we’d be traveling and I’d be alone on watch that night on a very big lake.  Winds were picking up and I was worried something terrible might go wrong in the middle of the night.  I just had to keep reminding myself that I knew what I was doing (for the most part) and I’d have Matt there to help me if I needed it.  It still took me awhile to fall asleep but when I did get up for my shift the winds had calmed down to about 10 knots at our stern and we were following along calmly at a steady 3.5 knots.  Oh, I could totally handle this!  As we switched the harness over to me I sat in the cockpit, bundled up in the blanket that was still up there and kept a lookout for any lights on the water.  Most of them were from shore but after an hour on watch I saw some directly in front of the bow and even after I’d do a good sweep out the side of the fabric of the bimini they did not look to be getting any closer.  I warned Matt about them when he woke up for his next shift and I went back below to quickly fall asleep this time.

Waking up again at 7 am the sun should have been coming up but alas it was clouds a second day in a row.  Being filled in on the mysterious lights I found out there were not actually boats but also shore.  We had been headed at a point that jutted out in the lake, and although Matt had been aware of this the whole time and planning on changing course before then you just happened to be able to see the lights from miles and miles away.  Taking my spot under the blanket a second time I watched the sky turn from dark to gray as we came upon one of my favorite places in the world, the Sleeping Bear Dunes.  This day though they looked dark and dreary and not as dreamy as I remembered them and definitely not living up to the title of The Most Beautiful Place in America that they had been given the year before.  I was a little disappointed but just had to tell myself that there are going to be so many beautiful things along the way that I can’t be put out by one cloudy day.  And I did still have the climb to the top of the lighthouse at South Manitou Island to look forward to, clouds or not.

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Leaving the dinghy docks.

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Last day at the mooring.

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Breakfast of champions!

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‘Bon Voyage!’

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The ‘Jackie’ Meal.

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Confined to the cockpit.

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Our first stop!

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Photo Caption Week: Life with the Sailing Conductors

Wednesday March 25, 2015

Hannes, Ben & Matt get Marianne's engine back in

What can I say?, there’s been nothing interesting to report on the progress of Serendipity because general cleaning work is pretty ho-hum.  Unless you’re interested in knowing things like Matt was all ready to polish the side when he realized we didn’t have pads for the polisher, so we had to wait three days to get a ride into Stuart to buy a few…only to realize they were the wrong size and had to wait another five days before we could get back into town to replace them.

The good news is our nights have been incredibly busy and incredibly fun as we get together with Ben and Hannes almost every single night.  From sushi making to smores, hot wings and pool at the local saloon to watching the sun set between our boats with a cold one in hand, these guys have been great company for us during our time here and I can only hope that we do the same for them.

Life may not be very productive when you have such new yet good friends just mere feet away from you…but it sure is a lot more fun!

Hannes records Ben making sushi

Hannes records Ben as he slices the fillings for sushi.  Think it will make it onto an episode of Soundwave2Berlin?

Matt and Alex at Indiantown

Matt hangs out with the local hooligans, Alex and Adam.

Hannes inspects wasabi sauce

Is it still considered wasabi sauce if it comes in a squeeze bottle that came from Walmart?

Sailing Conductors - Hannes & Ben

Are they saying they love Moosehead Lager or they love each other?  We’ll let these special friends* decide for themselves.

Ben making sushi

Ben adds some smoked salmon to drown out the flavor of imitation crab.

homemade sushi

Although it came out pretty pitiful looking, trust me, it tasted fantastic.  Look, it even had sliced ginger!

bringing up the engine

Marianne’s engine is finally rebuilt and being brought back on board.

cheers for Marianne's engine

Hannes & Ben cheer while Matt tries to forget  that one of them is in their underwear.

bonfire at Indiantown Marina

The guys prepare to enjoy their first smore ever.  The anticipation is killing them.

Sailing conductors first smores

They may have been all smiles for this photo, but they were choking those smores down.  Too.Much.Sugar.

hanging between Marianne and Serendipity

After going out for happy hour and hot wings we gather between our boats for a few more beers.

Matt & Hannes

O.M.G.  I don’t even know what to say…

Captain Ben Bart

Hannes captures a close up of Ben while playing with my camera lenses.

Hannes smutche

Hannes contemplates life…music….or perhaps what all of us are going to do tomorrow night.

Sailing Conductors - Marianne

Marianne….best boat yard buddy anyone could ask for.

 

 

*Inside joke.  They’re not actually a couple.

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Work Time on Serendipity

Saturday March 21, 2015

Hannes & Ben working on Marianne

I will be honest.  The first two full days we had Serendipity on the hard, we were working machines.  Getting to work by 9 am, scrubbing and cleaning until after 6.  The days flew by and we hardly knew where the time went.  Then…Ben and Hannes got back from Tampa and as we mentioned, our crews became distractions for each other when it came to getting work done.

That’s not to say that it hasn’t been happening on both ends.  Just not as gung-ho as before we all met.

So what’s been getting done to Serendipity?, you might ask.  In short, we are trying to make her immaculate for her next owners, whomever they may be.  There really aren’t any big projects or fixes we need to worry about, just little touch ups and a bit of TLC.

One of the areas that had been neglected for awhile and needed to be addressed was the teak on Serendipity’s deck.  We hadn’t done this since last May/June because of all our passages and we knew that the salt water hitting the deck would help destroy any time we put into it so we put that project on hold until we were in Florida.  Because we know that varnishing is a pain-in-the-butt, the last few times we’ve taken on this project we’ve opted to use Starbrite Tropical Teak Oil .  Just clean the teak, easily paint to coats of this on, and you’re good to go.  I think taping off the areas took me 3x longer than the application process.

After that was the start of some serious scrubbing and cleaning.  For two days I spent my time in the aft lazerette with a bucket, and sponge, and a toothbrush; trying to wipe off every speck of dirt from every wall, nook, and cranny.  Some areas were a little harder than others and I would have to exercise my contortionist skills just to get to them.  Other areas I scrubbed for a good ten minutes not realizing it was a shadow being cast in front of me and not in fact a very stubborn section of dirt.

We also now have one area of the boat that is completely cleaned and needs no more attention, and that is the v-berth.  Surprisingly that one only took one day as we scrubbed every surface, bleached it to prevent future mold, and emptied and organized the storage spaces under the cushions.  I have to say, it’s so nice having a second boat to drop off extra junk at as we spruce this one up.  So far Daze Off is holding our life raft, guide books, and spare electronics.

Serendipity on the hard

cleaned out v-berth

storage in v-berth

Serendipity on the hard

 

My project de la semaine this week has been to replace the zippers on the dodger.  Some of the teeth have begun to fall out and they don’t do the best job of going up and down anymore, so I’d hate to leave that hassle for the next owner.

At first I was incredibly happy to get outside of the boat where temperatures are already beginning to skyrocket toward 90 degrees so that I could sit in the fresh breeze outside.  placing myself under Serendipity’s hull I’ve been shaded by the sun, and as long as I have my x-boom next to me, I’m a happy little girl.  With the exception of ants….

A few of the yard workers had come by early on to warn me about red ants in the area, but since I didn’t see them at all I paid their warnings no need.  That was a bit of a mistake.  The reason I didn’t see them running around is because they are so incredibly tiny…but that doesn’t mean they don’t pack a huge punch with their bite.  They’ve gotten me a few times now and the painful and itchy bumps they leave behind torment me for days after.  We’ve sprayed around the boat a few times now which I think is finally starting to keep them at bay.

There have been a few times though that a rogue ant or two will still get through the barrier and take me by surprise.  Unfortunately they usually do this by crawling up my shorts.  There have been multiple times now where I’ve been sitting there sewing or chatting with the guys next door while they work and I shoot up like a bullet and begin shaking my legs around because I literally have ants in my pants.  Not very fun.  I make sure to keep double cushions between me and the ground now.

working on dodger

Photo courtesy of Hannes.

Each day still ends the same, and that’s with me and eventually Matt wandering off to Marianne to see how progress went that day for Hannes and Ben.  I inevitably end up there first with the lure of shade and the promise of cold beer.  Today they just fixed their fridge and had a champagne of beers already waiting for me, so it was perfect.  I also like to get over there in time to see them record their daily progress to send back to their production company for the documentary series they have back in Germany, Soundwave2Berlin.  I rarely understand a word of what’s being spoken, but it’s fun to watch Ben or Hannes step in front of the camera and become animated as they speak of what they were or were not able to fix that day.

So, slowly and surely we are getting there.  Before we know it (we hope), Serendipity will be in the water and on the market and we can begin tearing apart Daze Off.  Although if our work so far on boat #1 is any indication of what’s to come, we could be here a very, very long time.

Ben & Hannes working on fridge

Hannes recording Ben

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Throwback Thursday: Survival of the Solstace

Now that we’re sitting in Indiantown Marina and it’s obvious that we’re going to be here for quite a long time while we fix up Serendipity to sell and Daze Off to sail, I don’t want to bore you with stories that are only related to boat work.   I know that’s what some of you crave, but if you’re like me, you also need a little fun in there.  A little travel and a little adventure.

So, for the foreseeable future while we are doing nothing much more than boat work I will be adding a Throwback Thursday post in every week as well.  Cataloging our trip so far, giving you that needed sense of travel and adventure, and for those of you that haven’t started with us from the beginning, catch you up on some of the most important or memorable parts of our travels.

For the first installment I will take you back to six weeks before we left to begin cruising with Serendipity.  This post is very special to me because it explains how I first my my now boating bestie, Jackie of Skelton Crew.  Incidentally, now that a few years have passed, Jackie and her husband Ron are about six weeks away from leaving on their own cruising adventure.  But once upon a time we were back in their spot and they hadn’t even bought their cruising boat yet.

So sit back and relax and prepare yourself for a nice long story.  No, seriously.  I used to write frickin’ novels.

 

Wednesday June 20, 2012

This was a really exciting week for me to get out racing again, not only because I had missed last week but because one of our blog followers who lives close to the Grand Rapids area was going to come join me.  Jackie was one of the first people to like our Facebook page when I started it this winter and introduced herself stating that she and her husband were looking to go cruising in a few years as well.  We did a lot of corresponding through Facebook and comments on the website, and when she mentioned that racing might be a good thing for her to get into as well I told her she needed to come join me some night.

So after months of talking online we planned to meet up at a McDonalds on the way to Muskegon where we would carpool to the marina and she could finally experience all the fun that I kept bragging about.  When I walked into the restaurant she wasn’t hard to spot (partially because she was the only one in there) and immediately we started talking like we were long time friends just picking back up where we last dropped off.  After ordering a yummy iced coffee, just got hooked on those after visiting AZ, we loaded my car up with the beer she brought and made our way out to Muskegon without having to fight any traffic this time.  Along the way we discussed my trip, her trip, and all the different blogs we follow which turned out to be the exact same ones.  We also found out we listen to the same morning radio station and have a lot of the same interests.  It’s like we were twins separated at birth and finally got to meet for the first time.

Since we were making such good time on the ride there, when I pulled the car into Torresen’s I brought it back to the slip they had put Serendipity in while trying to find a new mooring for us.  We got out for a second to look around and while we didn’t go on deck or below I promised Jackie that I’d have to have her and her husband out sometime for a ride before Matt and I left the next month.  Looking over at the yacht club and realizing we should probably get over there I parked the car and we grabbed our stuff and walked the quarter mile down the road to MYC.

Walking down the dock to Island Dream I had Tom and Shannon waiving at me from on deck as usual and Mike and John were busy moving around getting all of the lines run.  After stepping aboard and introducing Jackie, the first words out of Tom’s mouth were “Would you be ok with not racing tonight?”.  Hmmmm…..the one time I bring out a friend specifically for the racing experience and we might not go.  I didn’t know if he meant that we’d just be sitting at the dock all night, but he explained that the winds were pretty high and we were short crewed and maybe a pleasure cruise on Lake Michigan would be better for us that night.  He also hinted that this would give me the opportunity to take the helm or handle some lines since we’d just be out for fun and not keeping a specific course.

I looked at Jackie and we both shook our heads ok.  Besides, it was the official first day of summer and we had two coolers packed with beer.  It was after we agreed to this that we found out the crew was split with half wanting to pleasure cruise and half wanting to race.  Part of me was still hoping that we would race just because winds were so high that it would be really exciting, and I could also show Jackie what a race was like.  While her and I stood on deck trying to stay out of Mike’s way while he still ran lines, the census from Tom came back that we would actually be racing that night.  Until a shackel broke which meant we weren’t, and then it was fixed so we were back on again.

I hontestly had no clue what was happening with the on again off again race and it wasn’t until John and Mike were busy uncleating us from the dock that I had any clue on if we were even going to leave or not. Jackie and I sat up on deck with Shannon for a minute until Tom said that because of the high winds and the small crew that he wanted everyone back in the cockpit. We all made our way back and found seats spreading from one side to the other.

Many of the other boats were already on the water with their sails raised and would dash back and forth from one end of the lake to the other. Heading out to where the course started we were downwind so the wind coming from behind us didn’t feel too strong but when we turned on a beam reach once we had reached the area of the start the winds were hitting us right on and it felt like they had picked up 20 miles an hour. Mike had the spinnaker all set to run while we were at the dock but with the whitecaps rolling over the water it didn’t look like we’d be using it that night. Turning ourselves into the wind the mainsail was raised and while most of us on board (myself included) were wanting to get the headsail unfurled Tom thought that conditions were too strong to let any of it out, but after Mike and John worked on him a little he agreed to let it out about 1/3 of the way.

Passing by the Torresen’s boat we found our division would be starting first and Shannon was ready with her stopwatch when the first horn blew with our five minute warning. With John being our tactician that night he would tell Tom when to tack and where we wanted to be  per the countdown and it somehow worked out that when the horn blew for the start of our division we were the first ones out of the gate, so to speak. There were no close calls of anyone hitting us that night but I pointed for Jackie to turn around and we watched all the other boats in our division fight for spots and come very close to knocking into each other.

Because many of them were sailing with a main and a head it didn’t take too long for others to start passing us by. Without any work assigned on the lines Jackie and I sat aft with Tom near the helm and I would point out to her the things I actually did know were happening. Like when two minutes after the starting horn about three boats that were on our course tacked off into a completely different direction and that the first marker we were headed toward was probably close to a straight line forward from our starting spot and that while we’d all eventually have to tack that direction anyway these boats were doing it early because they most likely didn’t start on a good course or figured they could get better speed going in a different direction. I wasn’t sure if it was right but it sounded smart and I’m pretty sure I actually did impress her as one by one all the boats on our course ultimately changed to that direction as well. Maybe I could even be tactician next time. Although I’m sure all my directions would be ‘Oh, everyone else is tacking? Ok, we should probably tack too.’.

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The gusts of wind were blowing on us hard as we made our way upwind and we were probably heeling near 25% most of the time. I looked back at Jackie to make sure she was doing alright and found that Tom had given her a job as photographer. This worked out very well as Tom loved to get action photos of the races but would always get yelled at by John for taking pictures while racing, and it also worked out for me because I left my phone down in my bag below deck and there were not any good moments to run down and go get it.  Finally decent photos of the race I can share from a real camera.  She was just sitting there with a smile on her face, taking pictures with one hand and hanging on for dear life with the other.

When it was time to do tacks Mike, John and Shannon would work the lines while Jackie easily slid from one side of the stern to the other and I would try and find the best opening, doding between people and the wheel and usually slipping on some line along the way. Not my most graceful race ever but I always eventually made my way back over to the high side. As we neared the first marker a few of the division 1 boats that started after us had now passed us and were also rounding the mark and throwing up their spinnakers. I was very surprised to see them using their kites in winds that were gusting over 30 knots but I figured these guys were the pros and knew what they were doing.

Shortly after we rounded the mark ourselves and didn’t have to do more than just tack we began to watch the destruction unfold of the boats ahead of us. One of the division 1 boats that had been flying their spinnaker had now broached and were having a hard time getting righted. They couldn’t turn themselves in a direction that would bring them upright again and their spinnaker was getting lost underwater. It was like a trainwreck where you couldn’t take your eyes away and of course Tom and I were shouting ‘Jackie, get the camera, get the camera!!’. Luckily these guys do still know what they’re doing at it was only a few moments before they were able to get their spinnaker back on board and were fully upright again.

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Also on our downwind run we were treated to one of the smaller (but much faster) race boats, a Melges I think, with one of the crew members yelling and screaming about how the spinnaker was not raised properly. I think I learned three new curse words while listening to him. Have I mentioned how happy I am to be on a boat with Tom? As we sailed safely and slowily downwind there were a few more moments of other boats having out more sail then they couldhandle. Every strong gust of wind seemed to take at least one more boat down with it, usually just for a moment before they gained control and were back on their way.

There was a point where we rounded the second marker to begin heading back up wind and just moments after we had passed it Mike was looking behind to a few division 1 boats that were about to round. I’m guessing they had gotten too close for comfort and one had to quickly veer way to avoid a collision. The boat that did veer must have also had an accidental jibe because as Mike described it, all the guys who were riding the high side were all of a sudden in the water because it very suddenly became the low side.  Probably a second or two later they popped back up and continued racing which fortunately meant that no one fell overboard.  It also didn’t take very long for these two division 1 boats to accelerate right past us as well as most of the other boats in the race.  By the time we had gone around the course once more and were now on our last upwind stretch toward the finish there was absolutely no one behind us.  I think a number of other boats had dropped out due to the strong winds or possible damage to sails, so it felt good just to know that we would finish at all.

While we still had almost half of the last leg to complete the only other boat racing now besides us had crossed the finish and we wondered if the Torresen’s boat would even wait for us to cross as well before upping anchor and head back in.  I guess sometimes if the last boat is still a long way out they don’t always wait for it before packing it in.  As we tacked back and forth the last few hundred yards that little red boat was still waiting for us and when we passed between it and the marker we got our horn to signify we had completed.  There weren’t a whole lot of cheers on Island Dream but I think everyone was just tired and worn out.

Instead of heading back to the docks as usual we hugged the windward shore where winds weren’t blowing as hard and opened the cooler to enjoy a drink on the water before going back.  I tried to get Jackie to have an official end of the race drink, a Lime-A-Rita, but she said she wasn’t much of a tequila drinker and stuck with the Land Shark she brought although she did at least taste mine and said it was a lot better than she thought it would be.  Tom let me take over the helm and we cruised slowly past the mooring field that should have been housing Serendipity by this time and I didn’t get to show her off as I had wanted.

After performing a pretty nice tack we turned the other direction to mosey in the direction of the setting sun, enjoying that this was the longest day of the year.  I do love Michigan and the fact that the longest day of the year comes with a 9:30 sunset, keeping the sky bright until after 10.  I think that will be one of the things I miss most the further south we head.  Steering Island Dream closer to the yacht club Tom took back over the wheel for docking and parked us in a spot that was getting the last bit of sunlight before it fell behind the trees.  Everyone besides John was in no rush to get home and squeezed in the cockpit for more conversation and beer as Pete stood in the companionway to play bartender.  Tom’s wife Denise also joined us from where she had been watching the last of the race at the yacht club and pulled out the cheese and crackers she had packed for an after race snack.  Much more popular than the ultimate chocolate chip cookies I had brought which became slightly melted after sitting in my car for an afternoon in 90 degree heat.  I picked the cheese and crackers too.

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So nice to finally meet Jackie in person.

When everyone finished their second (or first) round Tom announced it was time to take the boat back to the mooring and wanted to know who was coming with and who was staying behind.  Being a big tall guy, Mike backed down saying he didn’t want to overcrowd the dinghy and he’d wait for us at the yacht club.  Shannon and Pete stayed back with him which left me, Tom and Jackie to moor the boat.  Since I’m usually pretty handy with a boat hook having to use one myself all summer anyway I asked where it was so I could be ready at the bow to grab the mooring lines.  After I was told it was in the aft berth I searched through the cushions and sails but did not see the hook.  Being notorious for missing things right in front of my face I had Jackie look as well and when she came up empty handed I took over the wheel so Tom could look as well but with no luck.

He did come up with a hammer though and said he would just lay on deck while using the back to grab the lines.  For some reason I actually felt confident that I could bring us up to the mooring and perfectly slide in allowing Tom to grab the lines.  I knew enough to throw it in neutral early so we didn’t come barreling in at top speed but as we were slowly coming up on the dinghy and mooring ball I lost sight of them and ended up running over the lines instead of just pulling up next to them.  He was still able to grab the lines from the side before they went under the bow and since we came in slow enough we began to drift back a little where he could fully grab the lines and attach them to the cleats on deck.  I think from now on I’ll get my practice in with Matt and Serendipity to actually bring the boat up to the mooring instead of just grabbing the lines so I won’t have these kinds of issues again while driving someone else’s boat.

As Tom prepped the boat to close it up Jackie and I went about loading up the dinghy for the ride back to shore.  Finally and area her and I know how to do well!  I think Tom was actually surprised when he stepped back on deck to find everything neatly stowed away as I’m guessing most of the woman he’s gone sailing with always get on and off at docks and have never even stepped into a dinghy before.  Us two girls had no problem in one and also had no issue bringing up to shore and unloading it.  The big cooler was dropped off in Tom’s car and we wandered into the yard of the yacht club to find Shannon, Mike and Pete still waiting for us.  Since everyone was still in the mood to celebrate the solstice and the fact we were still alive we all headed inside where Tom treated us to MYC’s signature drink which includes rum and gin but I can’t remember what it’s called although I do know it was very tasty.  Jackie and I talked more about our identical interests and how eerily similar we were.  It was also fun playing with Tom trying to get him to believe that we really had only met 4 hours earlier.  There was of course talk about how Jackie would have to come out to race again, next time with her husband Ron in tow, while I would also try and get Matt to make it out for one race.

As the sun had long set by now everyone was starting to say their goodbyes it was mentioned that there would be a two week hiatus due to vacations and holidays.  Which means that I’ll only have two more opportunities to race since the last Wednesday before we push out for good will be just before the Chicago to Mac race which most of the racers will be participating in.  That doesn’t seem like nearly enough.  I’m still very sad and disappointed that I came into such a fun sport so late in my sailing career.  At least I know my ‘life’ on sailboats is just about to begin and that’s something to look forward to.  A lot.

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Who Needs Work When You’re Having Fun?

Wednesday March 18, 2015

St. Patrick's Day with the Sailing Conductors

A little over a week now in the work yard and we have spent about…hmm two of them working.  Ok, ok, there have been some projects happening (and I’ll get to those in one of my next posts), but the truth is, we’ve just been having lots of fun instead. Those Germans we talked about, Ben and Hannes, have a way of distracting us from our work with fun.  Although they’re telling us the same thing, so I guess it works both ways.

Matt and I still have not gotten over our habit of sleeping in and by the time we get to ‘work’ after 10 am, we usually only get about a good 2 hours in before it’s time for lunch and a little socializing.  Which is extremely easy when you’re friends are less than 50 feet from you and you just wander over to say hi or “Whatcha working on?” and it turns into an hour conversation.  Then beer-thirty comes just a few hours after that and it’s relaxing in the space between our two boats with a cold Miller High Life in hand. Monday night we had another late night at the patio with these guys, but yesterday was even better when we introduced them to an American St. Patrick’s Day.

We’d heard through the marina grapevine that a group of people were headed up to the local watering hole, JR’s Saloon, for $1 tacos and $1 drafts, their Tuesday night special.  When we thought there might be green beer involved as well we jumped at the chance to join and found out the guys were doing the same. As a huge treat for us, Hannes and Ben agreed to drive us out their in the school bus they just purchased and are renovating into a type of RV for a road trip across the US in a few weeks.  As we stepped on it for the mile long journey, we could see that they’d taken out all but one row of seats and thrown their cockpit cushions on the floor as well as most of their other belongings.  I have no idea what it will be like to road trip in this vehicle for six weeks, but it will be interesting to see what they do with it.

Getting to JR’s and locking up the bus with a good ol’ fashioned chain and padlock, we entered to find we had come fashionably late and almost everyone was already done eating.  I guess that’s what happens when you show up 30 minutes before happy hour ends.  We spent a little time meeting new cruisers from the marina, but personally I was having much more fun with Ben and Hannes, noting the differences between our cultures and making light jabs at each other.  Like when I handed the guys a Shock Top and told them it was a delicious wheat beer, they about spit it out and said that it was extremely watered down and if we wanted a real wheat beer we needed to come to Germany.  (All in teasing though, I mean, they do drink nothing but Miller High Life at the marina).  Then it was my turn to make a few jabs at Ben as he told me a little bit about his family.

“My cousin just got a baby”

“Really?  Where did she get it, Amazon?”

“You don’t say ‘got’ here?  What do you say?”

“Have.  One has a baby.  Usually you would only say ‘got’ if it was something you were given or was purchased”.

“Oh, ok.  Well, she ‘got’ hers on clearance, very cheap.  It was a German model.”

Without skipping a beat.  I love it.  And it was like that with them all night long.

Jessica & Ben, St. Patrick's Day

 When we’d finished our meals and the crowds had thinned out, it turned out the four of us weren’t ready to go home yet.  Plus Matt and I wanted to make sure we forced some more terrible American beer down their throats so we purchased a pitcher of Shock Top and made our way over to the pool tables.  One pitcher turned into two, and two games turned into four.  Before we knew it the sky had grown dark and it was time to go home. Ben racking for pool. Hannes breaking for pool. Jessica & Ben playing pool Ben shooting pool Matt & Ben Hannes & Ben on the bus

We thought the night was going to be over once we got back to the marina but it turns out that all our fellow dinner patrons that left us at JR’s were just bringing the party back to the patio.  Music was already being played between acoustic guitars and even a fiddle.  We were already tired and knew we needed to at least try and get up early the next morning to get some work done, but when there was a bottle of rum placed on the table along with some fruity mixers that one of the cruisers was trying to get rid of, there was no way we could say no.

We ended up spending another couple of great hours sitting out at the patio, enjoying live music, and sipping on a few green cocktails.  The guy that had brought the green food coloring to the bar to give us a hand there with our beers since they apparently were not serving it, made sure to leave it in the kitchen at the marina so we could keep with the St. Patrick’s Day theme all night long.

Hannes and Ben grabbed their instruments to join in on the fun and I was even given a quick lesson on how to play the cello.  I think that for only having two strings at the moment, I did pretty well.  So, now you can see why we haven’t been getting much work done on Serendipity so far.  All these impromptu events keep coming up and we don’t want to turn them down.  Life is too short, and hey, the work can wait.

Jessica with a green cocktail

jam session at Indiantown Marina

Jessica playing cello

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Haaaave You Met the Germans?

Sunday March 15, 2015

Sailing Conductors - Hannes & Ben

Hannes & Ben – The Sailing Conductors

“Have you met the Germans?  Such great guys, interesting story…”.  ”Oh, there’s a couple of young German guys here, have you met them yet?”.  ”You guys have to meet the Germans”.  This somehow seemed to be the most common phrase we’ve heard around the marina our first few days.  Apparently these two German guys seemed to be all the rage here and after a few days of sitting around we did eventually get a chance to meet them.

On Monday Serendipity was hauled and blocked, and while we were busy chatting up this nice fellow Paul at the patio while the boat was in transit we later found they moved us to a spot in the DIY yard that was conveniently right behind the bathrooms and right next to these legendary Germans.  In time we made our way over to the new spot and we could see they were elbow deep in grease while working on an engine that was sitting on the ground next to their boat, so we only exchanged a brief hello before I started bugging Matt to find a ladder for me so I could get up and into the ‘Dip.  I had to make a run into town for essentials, and by run I mean walk since we have no mode of transportation at the moment and it was already falling into the late afternoon.  If we’ve gathered one piece of advice here so far it’s that you don’t want to be wandering the streets of Indiantown after dark.

The next morning as we were just getting used to our routine of being on the hard again, having to get off the boat and climb down a ladder every time you need to use the bathroom, we saw the guys getting off their boat and into a car.  Exchanging pleasantries again they mentioned they were using a rental for the day to go hunt for a vehicle to purchase.  When we responded that it was on our list of things to do as well they invited us to join them but we declined since Matt wanted more time to research cars in the area and also wanted to dive into some jobs on Serendipity for the day.  That was the last we saw of the Germans until Friday night.

Having spoken with our new friend Paul a few more times, one on a much needed ride to Stuart to get ourselves to a decent hardware and grocery store, he gave us a slight background on the guys and told us they were looking for an RV to drive around the US with for a road trip, when he suggested they look into getting a school bus instead because of the convenience of having it easily fixed anywhere you go.  They took his advice and were in Tampa finding one the right size and price for themselves and also getting it insured.  So Friday night when I was sitting at the patio area with my computer and a glass of wine, I jumped to take a look at the school bus as it pulled into the parking lot.

Finally getting a proper introduction to our new neighbors in the work yard I found out the guys’ names were Ben and Hannes, and when I mentioned that we should all hang out soon to get to know each other since we seem to be the only young people in the yard and we kept hearing they had an interesting story to tell, Ben invited us to come to the patio the next night for a few drinks and we could all exchange stories.  I thought mine and Matt’s double Atlantic crossing last year was going to put us in the ‘very interesting’ category for storytelling, but I was so wrong.  These guys did in fact take the cake when it came to interesting.

Sailing Conductors school bus

Hannes & Matt grilling

patio of Indiantown Marina

Here’s how it all began:  Ben and Hannes had originally met in Berlin at SAE Institute for sound engineering but had gone their separate ways after finishing and didn’t see each other for a few years.  Ben then moved to Australia for more schooling and when he finished in 2011 he thought to himself, “Why fly back to Germany?…why not do something different and sail back there”.  But not only was it just about the sail, it was also going to be about making music along the way.  Getting back in touch with Hannes, he agreed to the plan and flew out to meet Ben and the Sailing Conductors were born.

“For the last four years, friends and music producers Captain Ben and Smutje Hannes have been sailing their 30 foot nutshell boat Marianne from Sydney to Berlin.  Their goal is to traverse the boarders between music and musicians to redefine the concept of ‘world music’ – on 5 continents, 35 countries, and with over 100 musicians.”

So what they do, and is the coolest concept ever, is go from country to country recording artists playing original work.  Sometimes they’ll have one person start from scratch…but the best part is that they will also introduce that original piece to another artist in another country and have them add their own flare to it.  So an acoustic guitar piece from South Africa will be blended with vocals from Brazil, and an orchestra in Indonesia.  Ben, playing the cello, and Hannes, playing bass, will occasionally add to the pieces as well.  What comes from it all it totally original and completely amazing pieces music that are truly a form of art.

They’ve put out one album already, AAA, and I was able to get my hands on a copy today.  I’m already head over heals for the second song on the track, ‘All That I’m Leaving Here’.  You can take a listen to it on their site here, as well as all the other songs on the album (scroll to the bottom of the page).  This won’t be the only album they put out though and they’re still busy recording artists for a new one.  It turns out their ‘RV’ trip across the US in their new school bus is to hit some major cities and find new artists to record.

Well, after that story, our double Atlantic crossing was put to shame compared to all that they’ve accomplished and all they still plan to.  But since we now knew of their musical talents there was no way we could let them escape the rest of the night without playing some tunes for us.  First it was just me running to get my guitar off Serendipity along with about 50 pages of songs I had wanted to learn to play but never learned.  Then Ben ran back to Marianne to grab his nylon string guitar and we ended up switching since the nylon strings were much easier on my fingers and from there I was given a good hour or two lesson.

I’m really not sure how long it was because somehow we ended up staying out until 5:30 am.  Once the beer was gone I brought out the gin from St. Martin and once the guitar lesson was over I began leafing through songs to force the guys to play for my delight.  Grabbing some of their own song books we rocked out the patio and probably upset just a few boaters at the dock as we probably did scream at the top of our lungs to ‘What’s Up’ by the 4 Non Blondes.

It was hard to tear ourselves away from the patio as daylight was sneaking up on us and I suspect would could have very easily stayed to see the sun rise.  So it turns out everyone at the marina was right.  The Germans are great guys with a very interesting story.  I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more of them as our time in the yard progresses, and not just because our boats are sitting right next to each other.

Hannes at the patio

Captain Ben on the guitar

Jessica, Hannes & Ben

Hannes & Ben playing guitar

Jessica

Scarf turned into a headwrap….I sucked at it.

 

 

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First Glances at Daze Off

Monday March 9, 2015

Daze Off 3

One of the moments we all have been waiting for….a first look in person at our new custom aluminum boat.  Daze Off.  No, that name will not be staying.

Since it has been a couple of months that I’ve written anything about her, let me do a little refresher on her basics.  Daze Off is a 37 ft custom aluminum boat with a deck house.  The make is a Trisalu and it’s a French design but was built in Quebec in 1983.  She has a 7′ draft but also a lifting centerboard so we can bring her down to 3’6″ when we need to.

The layout of the boat features the deckhouse as soon as you step in the companionway, and this area houses a nav station; a seating area with a table; a quarter berth; and a very large and deep storage locker.  Walking down a few more steps to the main salon you have the galley on the port side and a full head/shower to starboard.

Forward of these items is a settee on both port and starboard.  Not enough to lie down and comfortably sleep, but good for relaxing  and putting your legs up. Then there’s the v-berth, only this one has a twist.  It’s a pull down murphy style bed.  So when we’re ready to sleep we unhinge the ‘wall’ and bring that area down to rest on the settee cushions and it forms the top 1/3rd or so of your bed.  Kind of an interesting feature and we’ll see how much we like it since that is where we plan to sleep.  Although we do plan to convert the deckhouse into our main sitting area, so we don’t think it will be an issue if one person wants to go go bed before the other.

To see an old listing for her (in French) click here.  If not, here’s a few photos of her from the listing…from when she was still cruising back more than 10 years ago.

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Notice how I said ‘when she was cruising more than 10 years ago’.  She has been sitting on the hard here in Indiantown ever since 2006, and has fallen into a bit of disrepair.  We knew when we bought her that she was going to be a complete fixer-upper and most likely a gut and rebuild, basically using the hull as an empty shell to begin from scratch.  A hull which incidentally, has holes in it.  Yup, first order of business on this new adventure is going to be to get some welding done on the bottom so at least she won’t sink when put in water.

But the first first order of business once we arrived at the marina was to go take a look at her.  We contacted the broker via email and since he knew that we should be arriving that day and he’d left the boat unlocked so we could get in and poke around her.  Getting directions from the marina office on what area she was sitting in inside the storage yard we took off, nervous, eager, and excited to finally lay our eyes on her in person.  So as soon as we walked up to her there was the initial thrill of finally seeing her face to face, followed by a slight wah wahhhh.  She is indeed a fixer-upper.

I think it was just the initial shock of seeing in person how dirty she is, but it shouldn’t matter because as we said we’re going to pull out and replace everything anyway.  The rust stained paint job on the hull shouldn’t be an issue either since we’d like to go back to a raw aluminum finish.  All the components we needed were there though at that’s all that mattered.

Oh wait…it didn’t have all the components.  It was very apparent and clear once we stepped foot on her that some very important items were missing.  Ones that we had full intentions of keeping.  Things such as the solenoid for the windlass; the regulator for the alternator; a very nice self tailing winch; all the blocks; and the plans for the boat which we had seen in photos when the boat was listed.  But the kicker, at least for me….the boat did not have a wheel.  It was just gone.  Removed.  No longer there.  We’re planning to switch to a tiller anyway, but seriously?  How does that not come with the boat upon purchase?!

In all honestly we can partially blame ourselves for this as we never asked for a list of items included when we purchased the boat.  So none of those things were promised to us…you just think they’d still be there.  Who’s going to have any use for them and why take them?  Oh well.  My rant for today.  They seem to be happening a bit more now, so I hope this returning to Florida to outfit a boat wasn’t a mistake.

She does have great potential though, that part is for sure.  We are still very much looking forward to not only designing a layout that fits our needs perfectly, but everything will be new.  Plus it will all be installed by us so we’ll know the complete history of this boat along with every single inch of her.  That part excites Matt the most but I do happen to get more excited about cosmetic type repairs…wood materials, fabric colors, a sleek and modern design.  What can I say..I’ll never be as into boats as most cruisers are.  I’m here for the lifestyle, not necessarily the sport or functionality.  Although I have grown to love, and always will, the option to travel with my home.

So now we have a real feel of what we’ve gotten ourselves into and the kind of work we have ahead of us.  A lot, in case you were wondering.  Like, a crap ton.  But we think it will be worth it.  As soon as I stepped below deck I could automatically envision myself sitting in the Caribbean on her a year from now as the sun shines through the hatches to her bright and open interior.  Spending evenings in the deckhouse watching the happenings of what’s going on around us and then cooking a meal in my newly renovated galley which will hopefully offer me a little extra counter space and keep me from using the steps to store items as I empty out the chill box.

In the meantime we have to get Serendipity cleaned up and ready to sell since we will not be having two boats in the work yard at the same time for $600/boat/month.  Hopefully after 2-4 weeks of that though we’ll have Serendipity in a slip and ready to sell, and begin tearing apart the new boat and start putting her back together.  Let the new adventure begin!

Daze Off 2

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Daze Off 9

Daze Off 15

Daze Off 12

Daze Off 19

Daze Off 22

 

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Welcome back to ‘Merica!

Saturday March 7, 2015

lighthouse in Jupiter

Even though I knew this day has been coming for about the past six months now, I still can not believe that we are all the way back in Florida, making our way up the ICW to see our new boat.  Part of me is extremely excited to finally see her in person and get started on working on her.  The other part of me….kind of wants to turn around and high tail it back to the Caribbean. Not because I don’t want this new project of fixing up a boat, mind you, it’s because we’re now back in Florida doing it.  The place we can never seem to escape.

I had been soooo looking forward to getting back to the land of convenience for awhile now that I forgot everything that comes along with it.  For so long I had been eager to pick up a radio station once more that didn’t soley deal out tunes based on sailing or drinking or anything to do with the water (the only station we could clearly get in the Virgin Islands), but as soon as I picked one up outside of West Palm Beach I promptly regretted it. My ears were immediately assaulted with advertisements for personal injury lawyers, annoying auto insurance commercials, and purchases you absolutely must have to make your life better, because we all know that just by buying into it that’s exactly what will happen.  Objects bring happiness, right?

I instantly wanted to scream to all these people, “What are you listening to this waste for?!  Don’t you know that in the grand scheme of things, none of it matters?  That there is so much more to life than finding a way to blame someone else for your problem or watching some unknown’s musical performance on whatever reality tv show!”.  They are distractions, I know.  But trust me, there are much better ways to distract yourself.

I kid you not, I literally had to keep myself from turning the wheel 180 degrees and heading right back where we came from.  Life was pure and authentic in the Caribbean.  People knew what was really important.  And now we’re back in the land of superficiality for a bulk of the population.  Which, to be fair, could have been the same in some of the Atlantic islands we visited but since I wasn’t fluent in the language I was blissfully ignorant of it.

Well, that’s my rant for the day.  You might hear me complain a little bit but I did have a ball at Publix the other day having whatever my heart desired right at my fingertips.  So maybe convenience isn’t all bad.  I’ll just have to learn to tune out the rest of the crap.  Plus, it is nice to be back in a land of friendliness between strangers, even if it is fake and superficial. One thing that was beginning to drive us absolutely insane in the Atlantic islands was how no one would smile or say hi, and if you went into a shop you were greeted by someone who treated you like you just ruined their day by asking for help with something.  And don’t even get me started on common courtesy of making room for someone to pass on the sidewalks. Ugh!  Ok, rant really done this time, I promise.

So…we’re back on the ICW now!  Traveling north from the same area we departed to the Bahamas from back in March of 2013.  Yesterday was a day spent trekking a somewhat familiar route as we backtracked our way up to Stuart.  Leaving at the crack of dawn we put Serendipity’s engine to good use for the first time in a long time and logged endless miles through the narrow (to us now) canal system and under countless lift bridges.  After a good 9 hours on the water we dropped the hook in a nice little bay just across from Sunset Bay Marina.  It was so strange to slip back into our old routine of traveling during the day, relaxing in the evening, and prepping yourself to do it again the next day. Now we’re so used to ‘go go go, rest rest rest’.

Today was the trip up the St. Lucie River to our new home for who knows long at the Indiantown Marina.  The morning started out extremely foggy and actually delayed our departure for a few hours, and I can’t say that I was upset to crawl back under the warm covers and wait it out.  Just after 9 we got our butts in gear though and sipped on warm coffee while wearing our foulies out in the cockpit.

This journey only took 5 hours in which time we saw our very first alligator poking it’s eyes out of the water and transited one lock.  By late morning the fog began to lift and we felt rays of sun sneaking through the clouds here and there.  This to us was a good omen since arriving at Indiantown was going to give us our first glances at our new aluminum boat that we purchased sight unseen six months before.

Well, we’re here now, safely tied up to a dock at the marina, and yes, we did get our first glances at the new boat.  But to find out if the good omen of the sun or the bad omen of the fog won out as to what we found waiting for us, well, you’ll just have to tune in tomorrow to find out.

lift bridge on ICW

lift bridge on ICW

lighthouse in Jupiter Florida

Hobe Sound

plane over Serendipity

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Virgin Islands to Florida Passage: Serendipity’s Last Sail

Thursday March 5, 2015

sunrise on Atlantic

Day 1 – February 24, 2015

  • Winds South 20 knots; Seas 1-2 meters; 
  • Storms started to come up just as we left the Charlotte Amalie harbor.  About 5 miles out, while Matt was sleeping, the winds shifted and picked up to 35-40 knots, also causing an accidental jibe.  It took me forever to tighten the genoa back in, surprised Matt didn’t come up to see what all the racket was.  Once we rounded St. Thomas the skies cleared and we enjoyed the hills of Puerto Rico in the distance until they eventually faded away.

Day 2 – February 25, 2015

  • Winds South 20 knots; Seas 1-2 meters; 119 nm
  • We crossed the Mona Passage today!  Except, we were about 100 miles east of it, so I don’t think that really counts.  Glad I pre-made a few meals in Charlotte Amale since I am in no mood to cook.

Day 3 – February 26, 2015

  • Winds South 15-20 knots; Seas 1 meter; 113 nm
  • Matt woke me up 30 minutes early this morning for the best.thing.ever.  Whales!!  Yes!  Right next to our boat was a pod of 3 or so Minke whales!!  They were just checking us out and swimming next to, under, and in front of the boat as if they were dolphins.  A few of them even came so close that if we reached our hand over the side and into the water we could have touched them.  They swam with us for about 30 minutes before leaving, but it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.

rainbow over St. Thomas

Minke whale in North Atlantic

Minke whale next to our boat

Minke whale next to our boat

Minke whale

minke whale next to sailboat

Day 4 – February 27, 2015

  • Winds SE 15-20 knots; Seas 1-2 meters; 121 nm
  • How is it that one can sail an ocean in constant 3-4 meter steep seas while cooking meals and de-boning fish, but running with 1-2 meters of spaced out seas, for 4 days now!, is making me feel like I constantly want to puke.  What has happened to my body?!
  • P.S.  We just found out through a satellite phone message that we are now a first time aunt and uncle!  Congratulations to Matt’s brother Travis and girlfriend Jen on their baby girl, Olivia.

Day 5 – February 28, 2015

  • Winds SE 20 knots; Seas 1-2 meters; 111 nm
  • This is probably one of the best weather we’ve ever had on passage.  Every day the conditions are identical and beautiful.  Sunny skies, moderate winds, and following seas.  We just passed the Turks & Caicos last night, I can’t believe how fast we’re making this passage!

Day 6 – March 1, 2015

  • Winds SSE 15-20 knots; Seas 1-1.5 meters; 115 nm
  • We should be half way done now.  Currently traveling up along the east side of the outer Bahamas, coming up on San Salvador.  To keep time from dragging I told myself that this is the point where I can let myself finally begin counting down the miles to West Palm Beach.

sunrise on the Atlantic

sunrise on the Atlantic

Day 7 – March 2, 2015

  • Winds SE 15-20 knots; Seas 1-1.5 meters; 116 nm
  • And now I’ve begun the constant movie watching on my tablet because there isn’t anything else to do.  You know, the kind you would never normally watch unless there’s no other option?  I’m treating those like there’s no other option.  I kind of forgot how funny Jack Nicholson was back in the late 90′s.
  • P.S.  I also have been reading.  Just introduced myself to Paulo Coelho and read a few of his books, but they can be pretty deep and I’m ready to give my brain a break.

Day 8 – March 3, 2015

  • Winds SE 15-20 knots, Seas 1 meter; 114 nm
  • Today we are finally turning ourselves west into the Northwest Providence Channel of the Bahamas, but we’re having a heck of a time getting in there.  We must be fighting a terrible current because we’ve now fallen to 2.8 knots while under power.  Seriously jealous of those tankers whizzing by us at 18 knots.

Day 9 – March 4, 2015

  • Winds SE 15-20 knots; Seas 1-1.5 meters; 102 nm
  • 24 hours and we will be back in Florida.  I can’t believe our cruising life on Serendipity is just about at an end.  I love her, I honestly do.  And even though I’m not a sentimental person I find myself giving her little hugs here and there.

Day 10 – March 5, 2014

  • Winds SE 15-20 knots; Seas 1-2 meters; 108 nm
  • AM: Wow, things really get crazy on the water the closer you get to land!  Last night we passed by Freeport in the dark but there must have been 10 tankers anchored outside waiting for light to make their entrance.  It was kind of scary passing within a mile or two of them while they were so close and brightly lit up, even though we knew they weren’t moving.  Also had to call another tanker overtaking us this morning to alter course so we wouldn’t come within 200 ft of each other any more.
  • PM: We’re here, we’re here!  Just over 9 full days on the water and we are now anchored in Lake Worth.  It feels so good to be sitting still again and to have a Publix right around the corner to stock up on all the foods I’ve been missing for the past 9 months.  Like Ranch dressing and ground beef.  Mmmm, we’re going to be eating so well again soon.

getting passed by a tanker

West Palm Beach from the water

sunset over Lake Worth

sunset over Lake Worth

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