14 November 2009 | Andalusia, AL
07 July 2009 | Panama City, Florida
01 July 2009 | Isla Mujeres
27 June 2009 | Isla Mujeres
26 June 2009 | Isla Mujeres
24 June 2009 | Isla Mujeres
21 June 2009 | No Name Cozumel Mexico
20 June 2009 | Cozumel Mexico
17 June 2009 | Turneffe Island Belize
16 June 2009 | Turneffe Island Belize
15 June 2009 | Turneffe Island Belize
14 June 2009 | Turneffe Island Belize
13 June 2009 | Turneffe Island Belize
Catching up & Cruising with RC
14 November 2009 | Andalusia, AL
Debbie Sunny 76
We have been very busy since we arrived in Panama City in July. After arrival we spent a week at the dock getting settled and meeting our neighbors. We discovered that everyone had a hurricane plan except us so we thought it was prudent to make one. Meanwhile, we unloaded Alaya and during the process Bob tore 240 degrees of his labrum in his shoulder. That resulted in surgery and weeks of therapy. He is definitely on the mend and should be 100% soon. We decided our hurricane plan was to dry dock Alaya since we would be in Arizona and Montana during the most prevalent months for a hurricane. We moved her to Pelican Perch in Pensacola and pulled her out. It was an overnight trip and really not much fun. We left around 5.00 pm and enjoyed a great sail and beautiful sunset. After that the wind died and we motored the rest of the way. Bob's was in tremendous pain and of course the engine started acting silly. It was a tough trip but we arrived in Pensacola Bay the next afternoon. By this time we couldn't keep the engine running so we were under sail power only. We hoped we could keep it running long enough to get her docked. We entered the bay and since we didn't have a chart of the area it took us awhile to figure out where to go but Bob (the expert navigator) found it. We sailed our way into the bayou. We saw a fuel dock so we decided to sail to the dock and fuel up. Unfortunately the wind did not cooperate so we did rub the dock but the goal was accomplished. The wind was pushing us into the dock so we cranked the engine in hopes she would get us to Pelican Bay. She didn't disappoint us and by late afternoon we were side tied to the dock . The next day Alaya was dry docked .
We went to Arizona to visit and celebrate my mom's 90th birthday in August. While we were sailing my brother and sister-in-law planned a surprise birthday party for her. I arrived early so I could make arrangements with the facility, order the cake, flowers etc. We hired a photographer to take some family pictures for my mom's present. Several of my cousins attended arriving from California, Nevada and Texas. Mom didn't know they were coming and Chase came too which really surprised her. We stayed about 3 weeks and then headed to Montana.
We stayed in Montana about 6 weeks visiting Chase and friends. Bob began his physical therapy there. We also spent the time packing our possessions. We loaded our furniture and stuff at the beginning of October and headed for Alabama. We rented a 26' truck and a 12 foot trailer and still had to leave the couch and our patio furniture with Chase. He was OK with that. We arrived here October 7 and since then have been unpacking and continuing to remodel our house here.
We found a screaming deal on a 4 night cruise on Royal Caribbean to the Bahamas. We were both jonesing for the open sea and decided it would be a great way to celebrate our 26th wedding anniversary. I must say it was very fun. They so spoil you and we could enjoy the ocean without any regard for navigation, weather or repairs. It is so funny how differently we viewed the ominous clouds on that ship compared to Alaya. Not the least bit of concern except for the loss of sunshine. We spent one day on a private island Coco Cay where we enjoyed the beach and swimming in the beautiful water. It felt like home. The ship cooked a magnificent lunch on the island. We were docked for one day in Nassau but Bob and I only spent about 3 hours on shore. The rest of the time we were at sea enjoying the entertainment, the great food and dancing. Wednesday night they had a midnight buffet and beach party at the pool. We had a great time line dancing, joining the conga line and ending with the limbo. We had a marvelous time and had wonderful dinner companions who we hope to keep in contact with.
We are having Thanksgiving dinner here and are looking so forward to Sherri, Kim, Kiri, Steve, Issac , Bruce and Betty spending it with us. We are trying to get the room downstairs completed so we have room and I am looking forward to cooking a Thanksgiving meal in a real kitchen. Steve is a great cook so I may even have some help.
We are leaving on Dec 5 to Phoenix to have Christmas with my mom. Chase will be joining us on Christmas Eve and my brother and sister -in-law will join us on Christmas Day. We will be returning to Andalusia on Jan 5.
We plan on making a few repairs to Alaya and putting her back in the water in January. We sure miss spending time on her and are planning our next trip. We are considering several options including the Med, Eastern Caribbean or returning to the Western Caribbean. We are still unsure of when we will go but one thing is for certain (God willing) we will be going.
Love to all - Happy Thanksgiving - Merry Christmas - Happy New Year and God Bless.
We finally arrived!
07 July 2009 | Panama City, Florida
We arrived at the entrance to St Andrews Bay in Panama City around midnight. We headed up the channel to find Snug Harbor in Watson Cove. Watson Cove was marked on the charts so finding the entrance was not difficult but navigating inside the cove at night was a little tricky. There are many inlets inside the cove and we had no idea which one held Snug Harbor. The depth inside the cove was very shallow in places so I stayed down in the cabin watching the chart and directing Bob to port or starboard. Austin had the spotlight on deck to assist in the search. We approached a few docks that were incorrect and then Bob spotted it. As we approached the slips we could see that it was definitely Snug Harbor but the chart showed that if we turned toward the dock we would be aground. Of course, that meant either the chart was incorrect or all of the boats at Snug Harbor were aground. We made our turn and headed for the end of B dock as directed earlier by the dock manager. We tied off at 1:30 am. We were so excited to be there we high fived each other and took a little walk around the docks and then Bob and I headed for the bunks. Austin waited for his girlfriend, Sabrina, to arrive. They were headed back to Nashville tonight but since it is so late or early they are going to wait until the morning.
The rest of the passage had the usual variety of wind velocity and wave height. The weather was as predicted for Monday. As the sun rose on my watch the thunderheads were everywhere. We skirted around most of them. Later in the afternoon we had to go through a couple of squall lines. Most of the storms we were able to avoid but we did get hit by a couple. Lightning hit the water very close to Alaya. It is always scary when you see the bolt and hear the thunder at the same time. That is way too close for me. Monday was not a pleasant day but all and all it could have been much worse. We arrived safely and Alaya is at rest. We will move her tomorrow to slip A9.
She has brought us over 8000 miles and has taken whatever the elements have thrown at her in stride and has taken care of her crew. She is a fine sailing vessel and our home on the sea.
Happy 4th of July
04 July 2009 | At Sea
Happy Independence Day!! We have 300 miles to go. The wind has moved to the west and is picking up. We are still motor sailing but should have enough wind to sail later. The seas are very flat which makes for easy galley work. We are making 6 + knots so if this keeps up we should be there by Monday afternoon. However there are thunderstorms predicted for Monday so they may delay our arrival.
03 July 2009 | At Sea
Another great day at sea. The weather is calm and so is the wind. We are having to motor sail some. We decided that it is not wise to sit in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico during hurricane season waiting for wind. We will sail when we can and otherwise we will continue to move toward Panama City by motor. We plotted our course to catch the circular current so mother nature is helping us along. Bob threw out the fishing line and hooked two marlins. The first one he was able to play with a little but realized we do not have enough line on the rod to play with the big guys. We saw him jump a few times and he looked to be 5 ft. Unfortunately he got away and took the lure (not the hook) with him. The second one was bigger and after he jumped a few times he took off and broke the line. It was fun while it lasted.
More Whale Sharks
02 July 2009 | At Sea
We took a shower and finished up last minute internet before throwing the lines and heading to the fuel dock. Once Alaya was filled with diesel and gasoline we headed to the open sea. A underwater reef lies between Isla Contoy and Isla Mujeres which should be deep enough for us to cross but after the depth meter read 8 ft and the waves were 2 - 3 ft we decided to go back to the lighthouse and exit through a known opening in the reef.. It was a great day at sea. The wind was 10 knots and the waves were small. We had the current with us so we were making great time. On into the afternoon we crossed an area ( a mound) that was 55 feet deep which resulted in choppy seas. The water was brown due to the algae as opposed to the normal deep blue. It also had an odor to it. We turned a little to starboard to lessen our time over the mound. 15 minutes into the algae Austin said " I just saw a huge fin". We looked around and we were in the middle of a pod of whale sharks. We slowed down and considered jumping in and swimming with them but the smell and murkiness of the water gave us pause. We continued on our way and watched these magnificent fish swim all around us. They were feeding on the algae. We also saw several other fins that belonged to something other than a whale shark. At one point we saw a huge manna ray jump our of the water. This ray must have had a wing span of 5 feet. Needless to say we were glad our course took us over the mound. Unfortunately we lost our camera and Austin's battery was dead. Since Austin didn't swim with the whale sharks we were glad he got to see them. They are something to behold!!!
01 July 2009 | Isla Mujeres
We are leaving in the morning for Panama City Florida. It will take us 4 - 7 days depending on the weather. We have really enjoyed our time in Isla Mujeres. Yesterday we took the ferry to Cancun. We walked around the hotel zone and then went to the movies. We then took the bus to downtown and then a taxi to Puerto Juarez and the ferry back to Isla Mujeres. We hate to leave Mexico but look forward to seeing family and friends. I will update when we get to Florida.