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Monday, December 31, 2012

Ready To Launch....

Getting closer to splash!  Engine, Genset, Sat phone, Radar, Hull, Decks, Canvas, Sails, and more, all set to go.  Waiting for  "Island Time" to catch up with us....things never happen when you expect them to down here!  Makes life interesting, though :)  We have prepped, cleaned, polished, and buffed everything we can think of.  Fortunately, we did such a good job getting her ready to come out of the water, Mañana was easy to get ready to go back in-a nice surprise for our first effort. *Patting selves on back*  The only really difficult part about being delayed these extra days?  Living on the boat on the "hard" means climbing a 14 foot ladder just to board the boat.  And climbing down that ladder every time you need anything.  We have water, but cannot use the heads, fridge, or freezer. 

No Explanation Needed....
Ryan & Morgan arrive this evening, and we plan to head up to St. George's first thing in the morning. Our plan is to anchor in the outer bay for a few days, so we can do some sightseeing with the kids.  I will also be doing our provisioning there...finally, food on the boat! 

Grenada Bound

We watched San Francisco disappear into the fog as we lifted off on our way back to Grenada and Mañana, although it took us two days to get there!  Our one night stopover in Miami was a good transition from the chill of California to the warmth of the Caribbean. We arrived in Grenada on a slightly rainy, very humid evening...welcome back!  

Could not wait to get to the boatyard to check on our girl.  When we arrived at Grenada Marine in the morning, we were not especially surprised to find that a fair number of items on the "to do" list that we contracted for had not been completed. (Or even started!)  Things work very differently down here.  We were able to get some of the items done, but a few will have to wait until we make our back up through the Islands. Such is life.

We made the most of our extra days, enjoying La Sagesse, the resort we stayed at, while waiting for our "splash" date.  The staff were super pleasant & friendly, and I was able to get my cat fix in....the resort mascot enjoyed hanging on the chair just outside our room.  

Our Feline Companion

 Of course, I could not ignore the dog, either :)

Our Canine Companion
Grenada is really a beautiful island, and La Sagesse Bay was an great spot to spend a few days, so no great hardship as we waited! Snapped a few pictures around the Resort:

La Sagesse Bay
La Sagesse Gardens

The Jungle Takes Over

Orchid Growing on Palm

Making the Move

Literally & figuratively!  I must has been months since I last posted a blog, and even then I had to apologize for my lack of follow through! *holding hand out for a slap*  The last year has been a steep learning curve, and learn we did!  We learned how the boat works inside & out, what she is capable of handling, what WE are capable of handling, and what we needed to call in the troops for. We sailed from Annapolis, MD, all the way to St. George, Grenada, in ten the time we arrived there, after visiting more than eight countries, and many more islands in those countries, we were tired!  We had been through some pretty heavy weather, high seas, and many repairsWe had also been shaken down, shaken up, and learned that beer makes a great "Boat Boy" bribe. We discovered that we can live together in close quarters, without killing each other-handy, that!  And we discovered that Laurie has a mental block when it comes to tying knots: sometimes she ties them no problem, and sometimes brain farts are involved.  Go figure.

Out She Comes

We had visits from Dick & Kay (Bill's mom & dad), Jack & Donna (Laurie's dad & his lovely wife), Ryan, Morgan & Vickie (our two demon spawn & a girlfriend), Steve & Yolanda (Carmel friends), and Bruce & Abbie (more Carmel friends).
After a very short debate, we decided that it had taken us so long to get this far, with such a short time to really enjoy it, that we were not quite ready to leave the area without exploring it more.  Hence our decision to head for Grenada, and put Mañana up for Hurricane season. This allowed us to head home for a few months & finalize the sale of our house in Carmel, visit family & friends, and have a break from boat life for a bit.  We flew to Wisconsin in late July, spent a couple of weeks there, then headed back to Carmel.  During our time in Carmel, we managed to finally close on the house, sold all of our remaining furniture and miscellaneous items, and unloaded the truck at a used car lot, pretty much on the way to the airport.

Front Entry

A bittersweet moment when we closed and locked the door for the last time.  We spent ten years in that house, and put our hearts into the remodel that made it so much a part of was almost like leaving a family member behind, albeit a silent one!  If the walls could talk.....

Life goes on, and so do we

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Crossing the Gulf Stream

Also known as the Florida Current ☺ We actually made it up & out of the marina at 4am, as planned, to take advantage of a perfect weather window for our Gulf Stream Crossing.  Of course, every other boat in the harbor was doing the same thing, so the first hour or so of our passage was quite interesting!  City lights, boat lights, harbor lights, various navigation lights, and the line of boats ahead of and behind us all competed with each other, making our trip out of the Harbor quite a challenge!

Sailboat ahead, leaving West Palm
We had a perfect crossing; wind & seas cooperated nicely and we enjoyed a smooth ride over. If we didn't know better, we'd wonder what all the fuss was about!  This was no horror story; the seas were really like glass...or a lake!

This is the North Atlantic Ocean??
We did see a couple of squalls off in the distance, but nothing ever came close enough to sprinkle on us.  

Squall off to Starboard
 We even "caught" our first fish!

Poor fish!
He must been washed onto the deck by a wave, or taken a bad "bounce" off of one-it was a flying fish, and they are total crack up; they sort of skitter across the surface, flying for an amazing distance without ever touching, and then they just barely tag the top of a wave & get some serious lift off it! . Unfortunately for the fish, we didn't see him until it was too late :( Since he was too small and way too dead for sushi, we tossed him back. Hopefully some other critter was able to make a snack of him...

Can not begin to tell how you how excited we were when we sighted land, and it was finally official: we had reached our first foreign (warm!) port!  West End, Grand Bahama Island, The Bahamas.  

Land Ho!
Clearing customs was a breeze (once I signed my passport-oops!)and we were soon docked & enjoying a celebratory cocktail.

Customs Dock, West End, Grand Bahama

We spent few days at Old Bahama Bay Resort & Marina, waiting for a weather window to open for our next jump to Great Harbour Island, in the Berry Islands.  Bullocks Harbour, here we come....

Tamarind Tree, Old Bahama Bay Resort

Charleston, SC to Fort Pierce, a nutshell!

I feel like I left poor Charleston with her hem showing in the last blog, so in order to make sure she is treated like the Southern Belle she is, I am rearranging her "skirts" a bit! Charleston is a lovely city full of gracious old homes & pretty tree lined streets.  We spent a week there, getting various repairs and to-do list items done. As a University/College town, Charleston has a lot to offer in the way of Arts, Culture, and events.  We could easily have spent a few weeks enjoying all the area had to offer, especially the restaurants!  It was honestly not enough time to explore as much as we would have liked to...But Southern warmth was calling our name, so off we went!  

We did a nice day sail to the St. James River, where we anchored out for two nights.  Other than a very strange "Deliverance" type moment the evening we arrived (One member of the food chain was apparently consuming another member in a most hideous, noisy,  fashion), our stay was uneventful-which was quite nice.  We thoroughly enjoyed christening the new grill with a liberal application of Steak, potatoes & sweet baby peppers.

Enjoying a cigar on the St. James
Our next Port of Call was Hilton Head, South Carolina, where we stayed at Skull Creek Marina.  Hilton Head itself was a bit of a letdown-pretty, but very quiet and sleepy.  We did find a great waterfront restaurant that was quite lively, though, and met some fun local folks.  We listened to live music one evening, and caught some football the next....But we had places to go and Savannah to see, so we were up & out of the Marina by 7am on our way to visit Bill's old stomping ground: River Street, on the waterfront in Old Town Savannah.

Skull Creek at Sunrise
We docked just East of the Public Dock, away from the "riff raff" we were told would cheerfully sit themselves on our boat whenever they felt like it....our private dock wasn't so private, as you can see from the walkway just in front of the iron railing-that is River Street!  Considering the fact that we regularly jumped the "locked" access gate, can't see where it would have stopped any serious transient from doing the same...but fortunately, that didn't happen.

We hit town just in time for Halloween, which made for some great people watching! It was a pleasure to revisit the city for a few days and enjoy the Old Cobbled streets, fantastic Graveyards, and various Squares filled with amazing homes, complete with Wrought Iron.

River Street
River Street Stairway
A cold front moved in, letting us know it was time to continue on in our quest for warmer weather, so we hauled the dock lines in & headed back down the river on our way to Scenic Brunswick, Georgia. We picked up a spot on Dock 14, which was our home for the next month.  Bill's Mom & Dad stopped to visit us for a few days on their way down to their condo in Fort Meyers Beach-they were our first official visitors (other than the kids!) on the boat.  We had a lovely time exploring  St. Simon & Jekyll Islands. 

Jekyll Island
Gargoyle on Jekyll
Staying in Brunswick for the month meant we were able to get to know a few of the local people, so we were able to get some insider knowledge on places to go, things see & the best places to eat-bonus!  I have no pictures, but the Oyster Shack was one of our favorites, and I am really not sure that a picture would have done the place, or the people in it, justice!  Suffice to say that is was local hangout loaded with some interesting Georgia people. We left Mañana tucked safely in Brunswick, and flew to Lake Tahoe for Thanksgiving-a long standing Ehlke Family tradition :) and had a great week with the kids.  There was one alteration to the familiar schedule this year, when the King family drove down to South Lake to see us, instead of the usual Ehlke trek North to Incline Village to see them.  Much fun was had: The Annual bowling tournament was held for the first time ever without bumpers!  Also spent an enjoyable afternoon outside at Fire & Ice watching the hordes of boarders & skies coming and going on the Gondola. Hard to believe it was November in Tahoe!

Fire & Ice
Then it was back to the boat to prepare for our final run down the coast to our last port before making the jump to the Bahamas... We left Brunswick behind with nary a glance back & pulled an all-nighter to Fort Pierce for quick stay, then right off in the morning to West Palm Beach.  We pulled into the Lake Worth inlet, and stayed Rybovich Yacht Center. Talk about feeling like a poor relation; most of the boats in the marina were over 100+ feet, and many of those were over 200ft!  West Palm Beach had lively downtown & we decided it would be a lot of fun to return at some point & spend a week there exploring the area.  Our plans called for leaving Lake Worth at 4am, so it was early to bed for us :)